Skate, scoff, quaff
A crisp and sunny winter's day – perfect conditions for wrapping up warm and taking to the ice
Slap bang in the middle of the city, the Bath on Ice pop-up ice rink is a little haven just minutes away from the Christmas shopping frenzy on Milsom Street – and the skate, scoff, quaff (and glow-in-the-dark mini golf) combo makes for a fab family outing. When I took the Muddies last weekend, it was a crisp, clear day – perfect conditions to get on the ice.
It’s a pretty setting, in the bottom corner of the Royal Victoria Park, just off Queen Square, and overlooked by the Royal Pavilion (is it the mulled wine talking or is the Pavilion looking a teensy weensy bit Swiss?)
The place is well-organised, with hour-long sessions, friendly helpful staff on and off the ice, brand new skating boots and they’ll store your coats and stuff for a quid.
The rink’s real ice (none of that synthetic, plastic nonsense in Bath) which I think is easier to skate on if you’re a beginner and when you find your feet, allows you to really pick up some speed. Youngsters can glide around with penguin and seal skate aids; non-skaters can sit on benches and watch from the side.
It wasn’t too busy, even on a Sunday afternoon, with plenty of room for beginners to take it slowly without being being cut up by more experienced skaters. With the ice machine thingy scooting around between the sessions, to melt and refreeze the ice to make it super smooth again, the rink didn’t have time to become very slushy or rutted and hard to skate.
Whether you’re perfecting your toe loops and triple salchows going slippy toes around the edge hanging onto the rails, it really is the best fun.
Wear gloves. Take thick socks to wear with the skating boots and then fasten the boots as tightly as possible to give your ankles good support. Go to the loo before you start to skate: the loos are in the Royal Pavilion and you can’t wear your skates outside of the rink area.
No need to elbow your way through city shoppers to find something to eat in Bath, step across into the Moguls Bar.
Fill up on hot choc, mulled wine, churros, hot dogs (with onions, with BBQ, with teriyaki and wasabi), loaded fries (along the same lines) and selection of wood-fired oven pizzas.
Nab one of the booths by the wood-burning stove, wrap yourself up in a blanket, sip your hot choc and check your progress on Minecraft.
As well as the ice rink, the park’s crazy golf course is lit up from 4.30pm if you fancy a game of glow in the dark mini golf (we were too early to try it out).
HOW TO GET THERE
The rink is within easy reach of the central Bath car parks (the Charlotte Street car park is literally right next door) but in the weeks before Christmas, the Park & Ride might be your best option, with drop offs 2 mins away on Queen Square and Milsom Street.
TICKETS AND TIMES
Best to book online. Prices for an hour-long session: adult £9.25 off peak/£10.50 peak; under 16s £7.25 off peak/£9.50 peak; concessions with ID £8.25 off peak/£10; family ticket (2 adults 2 kids or 1 adult 3 kids) £28.50 off peak/£35 peak. Penguins/seal skate aids £5. Season passes also available. Times: 10.30am–9.30pm every day (except Christmas Day) from now until Tues 2 Jan 2018.
Bath on Ice, Royal Pavilion, Royal Avenue, Royal Victoria Park, Bath BA1 2NR. Tel 01225 436888. Bath on Ice