Now in its fourth year, the Tunbridge Wells ice rink returns from Friday November 21st  2014 through to Sunday 4th January 2015 (excluding Christmas Day).

I would really recommend a visit, it’s a fun place for children to meet their friends and enjoy the skating or a Christmas treat for families. Prices start at £7 for children and £9.50 for adults (off peak). There are family tickets, concessions and very useful separate Parent and Toddler sessions at 10-10.30am every morning as well as some extra afternoon sessions before Christmas, very reasonably priced (let’s face it, you’re not going to be able to do your Torville and Dean routine then). Do have a look at the website for more details on group sessions, how to book, times and what to wear.

The rink is set up in the grounds of Calverley Park in a natural hollow which gives a special atmosphere to the venue. Lots of lights (the best part of Christmas) and laughing children (ok, mostly). At night you can see the laser lights from most parts of town. The rink is almost in the middle of Tunbridge Wells, behind Carluccios and right next to the Great Hall car park (near Hoopers)  It only takes a minute to walk from the station and buses stop outside the Great Hall , so it’s a great location. The ice-rink has grown in size over the last few years and is a good size to accommodate those who can skate and the ones that are trying their best to stay upright. If you are in the latter camp, wear padding. All over.

Outings at this time of year tend to be expensive and the inevitable ‘extras’ that somehow can seem so necessary in a child’s mind at the time can really add up (unless you threaten screen time stoppage on returning home, that one seems to still work). Extras here though are locally produced with the emphasis on local businesses which makes a very refreshing change. There are a series of Christmas chalets overlooking the rink, open every Friday to Sunday and from Monday 15th December (closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day).

Jewellery, Candles, garden products, handmade crafts and produce are some of the present buying possibilities. Most are local independent retailers, look out for, especially their children’s jumpers. Even if you don’t fancy a skate the Tunbridge Wells Ice Rink is a great place to have a wander, a bite to eat or a hot chocolate and watch the skaters.

Lots of good food to choose from, Basil on Ice (if you haven’t been to Basil on St.John’s road, do try it soon, locally sourced delicious food, cafe style, The Real Pasta Company (again, local), Salt beef bagels from the Salt Beef Company in Tunbridge Wells and delicious German Bratwurst (free-range and gluten free) sold via a camper-van. Not forgetting the Fuggles Pop Up bar selling real ale, some Belgium classics and other seasonal drinks.

Start practising your step-sequences now!

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