Review: Ice Skating in Calverley Grounds, Tunbridge Wells at Christmas

December 23, 2018

It’s become an annual tradition in the Juggling on Rollerskates household to indulge in a festive skating session in the run up to Christmas. It’s an activity the whole family enjoy together to celebrate the start of the Christmas holidays and an event we all look forward to.

This year we visited the outdoor ice rink in Calverley Grounds in the heart of Tunbridge Wells. We’ve skated here before a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it so had our fingers crossed this would be just as good.

Booking Tickets

It’s best to book tickets in advance through the Assembly Hall theatre website. In the run up to Christmas sessions can get booked up so leaving it until the day can be a gamble. The website is simple to use and easy to navigate. Adult tickets cost £14.50 and a child ticket costs £9.75 for an hour session. You may want to search options for certain special skate sessions such as Parent & Toddler Sessions and Live Music Nights. Details of these are also available on the website.

TIP: The skating experience is a lot more enjoyable in dry weather. If you are planning to skate over the next day or so I would advise you check the weather is favourable around the time of your desired session.

Arrival

Throughout the festive period Calverley Grounds is set up like a pretty Winter Wonderland. You can hear the Christmas tunes as you approach making it incredibly difficult not to be caught up in the excitement. Along the side of the ice rink is a row of market stalls…one of which is clearly labelled ‘booking office’. Here you can book or collect tickets for your skate…or address any questions you may have to a member of staff.

Skates

Skate hire is included in the price of your ticket. Toddlers can wear skates that fit over their own footwear. Everyone else gets to wear the standard skate that fits like a ski boot. On our visit we found the skate hire staff to be incredibly helpful and even though it was a busy session all hands on deck meant that we received our skates within a few minutes. The skates looked new this season and were very comfortable.

Seal skate aids are available for hire at an additional cost of £4. I know this seems a lot when you’ve already invested in ticket but it will make a huge difference to your skate session if you’re with a toddler or novice skater.

TIP: Consider wearing thick socks if you’re feet are prone to rubbing. I also find tighter fitting trousers fit better with the skate boots rather than boyfriend style jeans.

Skate session

The ultimate Christmassy family fun experience! We all have the hugest grins for the hour long session and I always leave the ice feeling up lifted and ready for the festive season! In practical terms the ice can get busy, especially near Christmas Day so be aware of other people giving others plenty of space. We saw several helpers out on the ice for who needed a bit of support. The hour goes quickly once you’ve got your skating legs sorted, so make the most of the festive tunes and the giggles whilst you can.

TIP: The ice is quite wet so if you fall over you may need a change of trousers.

Food and Drink

The ice rink has it’s very own coffee shop, Apple & Cor! where you can warm up with a hot chocolate and cake. Or there’s The Polar Bar if you’re looking for something a bit stronger. There’s also a large seating area under cover where non-skaters can watch the action in the warm.

Anything else?

There are various special events taking place at the ice rink including live music and special appearances from local celebrities. Follow @rtw_xmas to keep in the loop. You can also book to see Father Christmas and explore the market stalls dotted around Calverley Grounds.

Verdict

A truly enjoyable Christmas experience for the whole family all taking place in a beautiful setting. Yes, it’s a bit pricey but well worth the money for a festive treat and something the children will be raving about until next year. The rink is open for sessions right through until January 2nd 2019. Book it while you can!

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