Hundreds of people wrapped up warm for the official opening of this year’s SKATE in Calverley Grounds last Friday, December 1.
The grounds, which have been transformed into a winter wonderland, were lined with over 200 schoolchildren, waiting to take part in the first ice skating session of 2023. Visitors were joined for the opening by some of the cast of Beauty and the Beast, this year’s Christmas pantomime at the Assembly Hall Theatre in Tunbridge Wells.
New to the attraction this year, is the addition of the ‘Happy Wheel’, a 22-metre tall Ferris wheel which gives a panoramic view across the grounds of Calverley Park and the surrounding areas. Sponsored by G. Collins & Sons, the wheel has 14 gondolas and can have up to 56 people on the ride at one time.
SKATE will be open until January 1 2024, where visitors can enjoy ice skating, visit Father Christmas, take part in Bavarian Curling and enjoy a glass of mulled wine in the cosy indoor seated area. There are also dedicated ice skating sessions for parents with young children on the Parent & Toddler Rink.
Last year’s event attracted over 40,000 visitors – the second-most visited season in SKATE’s history. Historically the attraction has generated an income for the Council, however last year’s season did not create a surplus. According to a Tunbridge Wells Borough Council report, this was due to rising costs for fuel and electricity plus extra labour costs for the rising level of antisocial behaviour in the park.
Tickets for SKATE Tunbridge Wells are now on sale and can be purchased online at assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk/whats-on/skate-tunbridge-wells.html, over the phone on 01892 530613, or in person at The Amelia Scott. Early booking is highly recommended to save and ensure the best sessions are available.