Get yer skates on!
Ice ice baby! Nothing like a whizz around a rink to make you feel festive (followed by a mulled wine obvs). We've rounded up the best ones for your skating pleasure.
Pop-up ice rinks are back for the winter and whether you’re Olympic standard or a ‘cling on’ like me, they’re great for a family day out, or a fun slippy-slidey Christmas party, and there are several in Berks and beyond. Check out my round-up of all the best ones and I’ll see you in A&E, I mean, on the ice.
Windsor on Ice, Berks, now – Sun 5 Jan
This one is handily close to Windsor’s main shopping area which means it’s ideal for a skate followed by a last minute panic shop. There’s one hour sessions (including time to change your boots), a real ice bar and grill and a viewing platform. There’ll also be sessions just for little ones on Tuesdays. For more festivities, pop over to Windsor Castle to see their giant Nordmann Christmas tree. 10am – 9pm. Adult tickets £12.50, child tickets £10.50, family tickets £42.00
Reading Winter On Ice, Forbury Gardens Reading, now – 5 Jan
Who needs to schlep into London to get a taste of Winter Wonderland? Not us. Manage your expectation this is the Hyde Park juggernaut, but you’ll find plenty of mulled wine, German sausage, fairground rides and an ice rink to practice your triple salchow. readingwinteronice.co.uk
Bracknell ski slope and ice rink, Berks, all year
Bracknell’s ice rink is open all year round but will be getting in to the festive spirit with a panto performance of Snow White on Ice, 11 Wed – 15 Sun Dec.
Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey Surrey, now – 5 Jan
‘Skate back in time’ they say and you’ve a seriously stunning backdrop for your triple salchow at Henry VIII’s old gaff in Surrey, floodlit with colours for the evening. Skating sessions are 45 minutes, and booking is recommended. The cafe serves up pies, rum punches and fizz. Make a day of it and tour the palace while you’re there. hamptoncourtpalaceicerink.co.uk
Winchester Cathedral Ice Rink, Winchester Hants, now – 5 Jan
This whimsical rink is beside the cathedral but under a clear roof so you can skate whatever the weather. With a giant Christmas tree set up in the middle of the rink, it doesn’t get much more festive that that. winchester-cathedral.org.uk
Millets Farm Centre, near Abingdon Oxon, 16 Nov – 5 Jan
Oxford’s only outdoor, undercover real ice rink has returned to Millets for another year, along with the Ice Café selling festive food and drink. All ages are covered with skates that strap onto shoes with twin blades for smaller children, plus push along seals (I think I might need one of those too). The rink is open seven days a week snow or shine.
Opening times vary, 45 minute sessions, adult tickets £11.99, child tickets £9.49
Oxford Ice Rink (all year)
Not an outdoor venue, but worth the mention because its one of the biggest in the area. They also hold toddler and family skates and the odd Throwback Thursday Disco if you’re really in the mood for embarrassing yourself.
Planet Ice, Milton Keynes Bucks (all year)
Another all-year round indoor rink, Planet Ice will also be hosting Sleeping Beauty on Ice on 10 Dec, should you fancy leaving the skating to the professionals (probably for the best).
Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason, Somerset House, until 13 Jan
Skate at Somerset House is tying-up with Fortnum & Mason again to give us a Christmas shopping arcade and foodie treats in an Alpine-themed lodge where you can share cheese or chocolate fondues. Skate Lates music nights include takeovers from Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard and hip hop turntablist DJ Yoda. There’s a skate school for children and adults. somersethouse.org.uk
National History Museum, South Kensington, until 12 Jan
Triple salchows first, triceratopses after? Or the other way round? The Natural History Museum’s ice rink surrounds a huge Christmas tree centrepiece and there’s also an alpine style cafe/bar that overlooks the rink. New for this year, the museum has partnered with Viktor & Rolf fragrances to transform the rink (every Fri evening, 7 – 8pm, until 20 Dec) into a scented haven with the brand’s Flowerbomb perfume sprayed in the air, sparkly babbles on the tree and the ice turned pink. There’s also the option scoff afternoon tea with the launch of Scoff & Banter’s Dine & Skate package, which includes contemporary British tea with a wintry twist in Scoff & Banter’s Tea Rooms on Oxford Circus and tickets to skate. Core opening times 10am – 10pm, sessions are 50 minutes. Adult tickets from £12.65, children from £8.80 and families from £39.60.
Ice skating at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, now – 5 Jan
If you’re planning a day in London this Christmas, then Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park is a must. It’s packed with all things Christmasy, including, of course, an ice rink – the largest open-air ice rink in the UK. It’s set around Hyde Park’s Victorian bandstand under a canopy of sparkling lights. There are also circus shows, market stalls and rides and attractions. Tickets for the ice skating varies according to times and tickets sell out so booking is recommended. hydeparkwinterwonderaland.com
The Queen’s House, Greenwich, now – 12 Jan
How fancy does this look? Pass me a furry muff, we’re in period drama territory at The Queen’s House – London’s newest Christmas ice skating destination and the only outdoor ice rink in south London. Slip and slide at Queen Henrietta’s former summer gaff, then tuck in some hot food and a glass of mulled wine. Open from 10am-8pm; adult tickets, from £13.50; children, from £6.75.
Tower of London, now – 5 Jan
Apparently if you knock anyone over on this ice rink, you get sent to the Tower. Set in the historical grounds, at dusk the pop-up rink is illuminated by a light display set against the castle walls. Although early morning sessions are best for the little ones with penguin skate aids available on a first come, first serve basis (um, can I have one?). Sessions are 45 minutes, 11am-9pm. Adult tickets £15, child tickets £10.50, family tickets £45