Ready for your triple salchow? The best ice rinks
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Ready to don your ice skates, mittens and bobble hat and venture out for some ice-skating? Here we go then! The best rinks in Bucks, Oxon and beyond for your delectation.
Millets Farm Centre, Frilford, near Abingdon, Sat 29 Nov – Sun 4 Jan
One of the more established rinks in Oxfordshire, Millett’s Garden Centre is open 7 days a week, with a bigger outdoor rink this year, a viewing area so your children can watch you fall on your rear, and a heated ice rink cafe so for a conciliatory mulled wine afterwards. On Tuesday and Wednesdays at 5pm (2-3, 9-10, 16-17 Dec only), kids can skate with Frosty the Snowman, have a tea box and take home a mini Frosty the Snowman cuddly toy. Skating sessions last 45 mins with the ticket price included in your skate hire. There’s also a Santa’s Grotto here if you want to overdose on festive cheer. Ho Ho Ho!
Ice rink: Adult £8.99; Child under 16 £7.99, Adult & toddler (under 4 years), £14.99.
Grotto: open weekends until 11 Dec; then daily until 24 Dec. Child Ticket £9.99 Adult Ticket £4.49 (kids must be accompanied). Frosty the Snowman sessions £13.99 per child, adults £8.99.
Wyevale Garden Centre, Bicester Avenue, Bicester, now until 4 Jan
Brand new this year, an outdoor skating rink at the Wyevale garden centre in Bicester Avenue. Sessions are 45 minutes long, and kids must be accompanied by someone over the age of 18 (quick, hire a hot manny!). There are push-alongs available to help kids balance, and a cafe next door for hot chocolate. The smallest ice skates provided are UK junior size 8 (below this size ‘bob skates’ can be buckled over outdoor shoes), but kids must be 3+ to go on the ice.
Frosts Garden Centre, Woburn Sands, Milton Keynes, 29 Nov – 4 Jan
More skating, cafe and grotto action, but also some foxy themed evenings. Firstly a Disco on Ice night (Fri 19 Dec, 7-10pm, £14.99) with free mulled wine and glow stick (!), and bar and food. Then a Festive Family Fun Night (Sun 21 Dec, 5-8pm), including welcome drink and mince pie, family magic show, unlimited rides on the carousel (under 7’s only), games on the ice rink, a BBQ meal and dessert plus a goodie bag for all children to take home. If that doesn’t knacker them out, nothing will!
Festive Family Fun Night, £30pp or £100 for a family of four.
Windsor on Ice, Windsor, 29 Nov – 4 Jan
Just over the border into Berkshire and five minutes from Windsor’s main shopping area, ‘Windsor on Ice’ is back for the 5th year at Alexandra Gardens. This rink is slightly different from the other temporary ice rinks in that the main area is covered but has an outside skating track, so you skate regardless of what the weather’s doing. There’s Santa’s Ice Bar and Grill for the obligatory mulled wine and mince pies.
£11.50 adult; £9.50 child (under 16); £38 family ticket. Booking info here
Absolutely Christmas and Winter Wonderland, Slough, 24 Nov – 11 Jan
If you’re down in the south of Oxfordshire, it’s a gentle glide to this outdoor rink in Slough, open daily from 10am to 10pm. In addition to a viewing terrace, there are Christmas market stalls and rides and activities for the kids, and if you rock up on the weekend of 20-21 Dec there’s also a Christmas fair, Santa’s grotto and reindeer meet-and-greet.
£8.50 per person including skate hire. Booking and more info online
Oxford Ice Rink, Oxpens Road Oxford
Not an outdoor one admittedly, but worth mentioning because these snowmen are just so goddamn cute. They join the ice rink’s existing ‘waddle’ of push-along penguins (above) in the run up to Christmas. This year is the 30th anniversary for the ice rink, so there’s also a Christmas Ice Show with the professionals on Sat 13 – Sun 14 Dec (shows 3pm, 6pm).
£22.50 family ticket (2 adults, 2 kids); £27.50 family ticket (2 adults, 3 kids). Penguins and snowmen £4 for 30 mins. Book here
Somerset House, Strand, London WC2, now until 11 Jan
Well, helloooooo Somerset House. This ice rink is an absolute stonker, in one of the most beautiful settings in London. This year Somerset House has teamed up with Fortnum & Mason, so it’s pah! to soggy mince pies and hello to champers, truffles, cream teas or fondues. Beginner kids can learn to skate at the Polar Cub Club, while at night the rink and house are beautifully lit, perfect for the club nights (yup, you read it right) from the likes of Ministry of Sound, Ninja Tune and Lovebox DJing from rink-side decks up until 11.30pm. Resist the temptation to bring out your fluffy bra and hotpants unless you can be sure to stay upright all night.
Nearest tubes Temple, Charing Cross or Covent Garden.
For more info, see the website
The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road London SW7, now until 4 Jan
As well as the main rink, set against the spectacular backdrop of the National History Museum, there’s also a smaller rink for kids and beginners. If you time it right, combine your visit with a trip across the road to the fab Christmas windows of Harrods (this year’s theme is a stunning interpretation of ‘The Land of Make Believe’). You can skate Thurs, Fri and Sat until 10pm.
Nearest tube is South Kensington. Book here
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London, now until 4 Jan
The UK’s largest outdoor ice rink in another magical setting. This ice rink is part of Hyde Park’s annual ‘Winter Wonderland’ with rides, Christmas markets, circus and Magical Ice Kingdom. The skating is set around the park’s Victorian bandstand and is illuminated after dusk with over 100,000 lights. Like, wowza. Open from 10am to 10pm.
More info and bookings here