Christmas is here – well almost… As the kids whooshed past their slow and brittle dad (their words, not mine!), festive decorations and lights sparkled from the edge of the rink, while onlookers sipping from steaming cups of festive hot chocolate watched from the Ice Cafe.

Our annual visit to the ice rink at Whitehall Garden Centre near Lacock was upon us, and with our shoes exchanged for bright blue skates, we were on the ice and away.

While the rink at Whitehall might not be the biggest one around, there’s plenty of space for the speedier and more skilled skaters to show their moves, while the less confident or full-on beginners edge more cautiously on or even cling to the low wall as the courage builds.

Ten out of ten to the skating staff who are on hand to offer useful tips and help up any skaters who take a tumble. For younger skaters, giant plastic penguins and bananas are also available to help them stay upright.

One of our fellow skaters was enjoying the on-the-ice experience from their wheelchair, showing just how inclusive the fun can be.

As the children sped past, there were plenty of chances for a quick rest and to take photos for the family album. During the 45 minute session, while my speed gently increased from glacial to really still very slow, the children were loving it, even keeping their grins going as they climbed up yet again after the latest tumble.

With our session coming to an end, we joined those diners in the ice cafe for deluxe hot chocolates and hot dogs and chips, before checking out the Christmas decorations for sale in the garden centre shopping centre.

It’s still only November but well done to Whitehall Garden Centre for getting us all in the Christmas mood.

For more details on the Whitehall Garden Centre ice rink and to book tickets, click here