Welcome to part three in our series on winter family fun. One of the things we love to do as a family in the winter is ice skate – how about you? There is something particularly special about ice skating outside during the winter months, and it is a great way to exercise and have fun as a family.
Over 56,000 took to the ice at Hampton Court over the festive period last year, with Tatler magazine proclaiming the atmospheric rink experience the country’s finest. This Christmas season the rink will once again be operated by experts Cousins Entertainment, headed up by Olympic Gold Medallist and Dancing on Ice judge Robin Cousins MBE. Cousins also run rinks at Winchester Cathedral, Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland and for the first time this year, at the Tower of London.
Robin Cousins said: “We had a terrific first year in this magnificent setting in 2014, with a great many visitors, some excellent plaudits, and a busy training programme to develop the ice stars of the future. We’re excited to be back this festive season, and our relationship with Historic Royal Palaces is even stronger in 2015, with our first year operating the ice rink at the Tower of London.”
Hampton Court Palace’s Director Paul Gray said: “The Hampton Court ice rink provides a unique opportunity to enjoy views of the palace’s iconic West Front and soak up 500 years of history. As Christmas approaches, we look forward to welcoming both visitors and local residents alike for some festive fun fit for all the family.”
In addition to the recreational skaters, beginners can book in for a Learn To Skate six week course on Saturday and Sunday mornings, under the expert tuition of qualified National Ice Skating Association (NISA) coaches, as part of the NISA Learn to Skate programme. Alongside the ice, the popular Ice Bar and Café returns, offering a whole host of delicious food and drink from The Pie Man; with mulled wine and hot chocolate to keep out the cold alongside more substantial fayre such as delicious hot pies and tasty filled crêpes.
After a one year hiatus, the Ice Rink returns to the Tower of London on November 20, operated for the first time by open air ice rink experts Cousins Entertainment, headed up by Olympic Gold Medallist, and Dancing on Ice judge Robin Cousins MBE
The rink will host 43 days of skating in the imposing setting of the 1,000 year old Tower of London, giving skaters the chance to celebrate the Christmas season at one of the world’s most famous landmarks, situated right at the heart of the capital. The new Tower rink will join those at Winchester Cathedral, Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland and Hampton Court Palace – last year voted the best in the country by Tatler – in being operated by Cousins.
Robin Cousins said: “It’s fantastic to be bringing the ice rink back to the Tower of London and to work closely with Historic Royal Palaces on this festive feature. We enjoyed a successful first year at Hampton Court Palace last year and are very proud to build on our portfolio of outdoor rinks in world-famous heritage sites. You couldn’t ask for a more wonderful location to skate, so we look forward to seeing you there this Christmas.”
Jim Malarkey, Head of Visitor Services at HM Tower of London, said: “We are delighted to be working with Cousins Entertainment on this year’s Tower of London ice rink, set in the shadow of this iconic World Heritage Site. With 1000 years of history coupled with stunning views of the city, we look forward to welcoming visitors for a truly memorable festive experience.”
Alongside the ice, there will be a rink-side Ice Bar and Café provided by The Pie Man, offering a range of high quality food and drink, from mulled wine and hot chocolate to keep out the cold, to more substantial fayre such as delicious hot pies and tasty filled crêpes.
Do you fancy a spin on the ice with your family this winter?
We have a competition for one family (four people) to win a skating session at one of the two ice rinks above OR the Cardiff ice rink (winner chooses) – just enter the easy widget below. Good luck!