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Skates on! 11 nearby ice rinks to visit this winter

We're heading into the season of slip-sliding, wall-grabbing, and pirouetting. Skate queen or just here for the mulled wine, check out these festive ice rinks within an hour of Essex.

Marsh Farm, South Woodham Ferrers, Essex, 13 Nov – 30 Jan

Hit the ice at Marsh Farm, which opens alongside a Christmas fun fair and train ride for the kids. The Father Christmas Experience (avec skates) starts from £35, or skating sessions can be bagged for £8.99.

Garon Park, Southend, Essex, 10-24 Dec

New this year and set to be a cracker (not literally, obvs…), this pop-up ice rink also promises fairground rides, street food, bars, a giant wheel, and a Christmas market. Is it December yet?

Bluewater Ice Rink, Bluewater Shopping Centre, Greenhithe, Kent, 18 Nov – 2 Jan

Located outside The Village, this outdoor rink will sit under a clear roof, making it the perfect activity come rain or shine this festive season. There’ll be quiet sessions, as well as parent and toddler sessions for budding skaters. Penguin and seal skating aids will be available for little ones plus bob skates to help guests stay steady on the ice. What’s more, party nights are back by popular demand this year – let the teens show off their skills to classic party anthems.

Calverley Grounds, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, Fri 19 Nov – Mon 2 Jan

It always heralds in the start of the festive season – when Calverley Grounds in Tunbridge Wells is once again transformed into a beautiful winter wonderland. There’s Father Christmas on-site to visit, Themed DJ Nights, Wreath Making Classes, Bavarian Curling and even Skate with festive characters including Cinders and those Snow Sisters!

The North Pole Festival, Parkers Piece, Cambridge, 19 Nov – 3 Jan

The North Pole Festival’s ice rink returns to Cambs this year with its clear roof to protect us from the English weather as we skate (hurray!). Younger kids can join the fun with the help of Penguin skate aids, plus there’s an ice slide, fairground rides, a new ice bar serving festive cocktails and German grill dishing out bratwursts and burgers.

CHRISTMAS IN THE CITY

Natural History Museum, London, until 16 Jan

If you’re in the big smoke, the ice rink at the Natural History Museum is already open for Christmassy business — and it’s the final ever one! After sixteen years of ice, the Natural History Museum will be converting its garden into a haven for wildlife instead from next year. Noble stuff. Better book fast while you can!

Skylight Ice Rink, London, 5 Nov – 16 Jan

Ice skating on the ground is so basic — we’re all about that rooftop skating, baby! And it’ll have to be this one, because Skylight’s ice rink is the only rooftop rink in Europe. Throw in some heated après-skate bars, cosy igloos, and plenty of (post-skate!) cocktails, and you’ve got a winner of an evening. Ice skating can only be booked on the day.

Somerset House, London, 17 Nov – 16 Jan

There are ice rinks without swanky Moet & Chandon partnerships, and then there are ice rinks with. Head along to some festive fun at the neoclassical Somerset House, this year featuring plenty of bubbles along with the ice.

Winter Wonderland Ice Rink, Hyde Park, 19 Nov – 3 Jan

Get your skate on at the UK’s largest outdoor ice rink, built around the iconic Victorian bandstand and open until 10pm daily — did someone say romantic evening skate? All welcome, including wheelchairs. From £10.50 for an adult and £7.50 for a child.

Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink, Richmond, 13 Nov – 9 Jan

Frolic in Henry VIII’s front yard in this large outdoor rink. Frankly, a bit of historic splendour is what’s been missing in our previous skate trips! There are plenty of festive refreshments also available. Pre-booking essential.

Alexandra Palace, London, year-round

A mainstay for icy fun, the rink at Alexandra Palace caters for all abilities, from toddling toddlers to acrobatic athletes. Things get especially fun at Christmas, with mulled wine and mince pies aplenty. You can even book into a Christmas “Club de Fromage” disco, and dance and skate the night away to cheesy festive tunes. Are you in or are you in?

After more festive fun? Check out these 11 rip-roaring pantos to book now

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