Something magical happens in Calverly Park over the Festive period. Tunbridge Wells’ very own Winter Wonderland springs up gorging our senses with smells of freshly cooked doughnuts and mulled wine, the mood lifting sound of Christmas songs and the sight of wide smiles..a result of the sheer fun experienced on the frozen playground that is Tunbridge Wells at Christmas!
We were lucky enough to visit the ice rink in that odd period between Christmas and New Year, when days and meals all merge into one. An activity that not only allows the family to experience something together, but also gets us outdoors and physically active seemed just the remedy for the severe cabin fever that had begun to set in.
We were able to park right next to Calverly Park in a small multi storey car park. As we entered Calverly Park our excitement levels rocketed on seeing not only the skaters whizzing about the rink, but also the festive stalls and sound of joyful tunes creating the perfect post-Christmas party vibe. The ticket office was clearly marked and we were able to collect our tickets with ease.
On entering the main skate building we were guided towards the skate collection desk. Again, we were served by friendly and efficient staff and before we knew it, it was time to head onto the ice! We booked into a 30 minute Parent and Toddler session as Logan is only 16 months. This session worked perfectly for us as a family of 4. Matt and I split our time skating with Daisy, our 7 year old…and pushing Logan on his Seal sleigh. You definitely need a 1:1 ratio…I would not have been able to skate with two young children if I’d been on my own.
Unlike other ice rinks I’ve visited in the past there were plenty of skate aids which meant that Logan was able to get on the ice promptly and without any waiting around. He seemed a little unsure to begin with but once I’d figured out how to skate at some degree of speed he was more than happy to enjoy the ride!
This was Daisy’s third time skating and her confidence had grown massively since last year. She still wanted to be close to the barrier and hold our hand but the posture was more upright and the smile definitely bigger than previous skate sessions we’ve shared. I do think that this was helped by the fact that the rink at Calverly didn’t seem overly crowded at any point. It is clear that a lot of thought has gone into providing a positive and enjoyable experience for skaters rather than cramming as many people as possible onto the ice (something I’ve experienced at other venues in the past).
Just as cramp was setting into my poor feet, the tannoy told us our session was over. 30 minutes might not sound long but it was the perfect amount of time for us. Logan had just started to get restless and decided he was ready to try skating without George the Seal and the rest of us were all starting to realise just how uncomfortable ice skates can be! We left the ice on a high and itching for more.
Again, returning our skates was a smooth operation. Staff were incredibly efficient and dealt with returning our skates in a matter of seconds. One final treat for our tractor mad boy was being able to watch the ice tractor groom the ice before the next session. The perfect end to a brilliant morning.
We were really impressed with every aspect of our visit to the Ice Rink. In comparison to other visits we’ve had the rink was well maintained and perfectly icy (no big puddles), the rink was not crowded and staff were incredibly helpful, friendly and efficient. I would recommend taking gloves, thick socks and a change of trousers for any visit to an ice rink to ensure your experience is as comfortable as possible!
The rink is open until Monday January 2nd 2017 this year…so there’s only a few days left! So hurry up, go now and get your skates on!