Review: Magic of Christmas @ Lee Valley White Water Centre

Until Sunday 24 December, Lee Valley White Water Centre has been transformed into a Bavarian themed winter destination complete with an ice rink, Santa’s grotto, festive food and drink, Christmas market and fun fair.

Ice Skating

At the heart of the this festive event is the state of the art ice rink which stretches over 420m². Ticket prices start from £5.00 per person and include a 45 minute session on the ice, skate hire and the use of a skate aid if required – perfect for experienced skaters and novices alike.

My husband cannot skate. My children aged 2 and 4 have never ice skated before. I’m a fairly competent ice skater but I was a bit concerned that I couldn’t be responsible for all three of them!



Thankfully after attempting using normal ice skates we were saved by the more stable skates that go over the children’s shoes and the sturdy penguin skate aids. Sadly neither came in my husband’s size though…

Our first skating experience was a huge success. The rink wasn’t over crowded, skate aids were plentiful (and at no additional charge) and the marshalls were attentive and helpful too. We warmed up afterwards at the fab coffee shop next to the rink.

Christmas market and food stalls

For those wanting to soak up the festive spirit, the Christmas market offers a range of stalls. With quirky gifts to dazzling decorations, the free market offers an opportunity to discover a host of presents for Christmas, with an array of arts and craft stalls, food stands and exhibitors from local businesses.


The girls (and the grown ups!) loved meeting the owls from Coda Falconry, based at Lee Valley Park Farm down the road. For a small fee both myself and Lottie had the opportunity to get up close with the birds – a wonderful experience.


There are also some lovely Christmas present ideas up from grabs from the local stallholders – but as i’m writing this before Christmas I can’t tell you anything about that…


There are some grear food options on offer too. Grab a Bratwurst or hot dog for the kids, a wood fired pizza or pulled pork and coleslaw in a brioche bun. Scoff churros for pudding and wash it all down with some steaming hot mulled wine (or juice for the kids of course!). All this is outdoors but if it’s a bit too chilly for you, the indoor cafe next to the ice rink offers hot drinks, cake, crepes and nachos too.

There are also a selection of fairground rides including a carousel and dodgems. We had a lovely time riding the traditional carousel, despite the freezing weather! The rides are paid for with tokens, priced at £1.20 each or £10.00 for 10 tickets.

Santa’s Grotto

No festive day out would be complete without a visit to Santa’s grotto, and that’s how we finished our trip…

Father Christmas is available to visit on Fridays between 5:00pm – 7:00pm and on weekends between 11:00am – 4:00pm. It’s advisable to book your slot in advance to avoid disappointment.

Useful information

Address: Lee Valley White Water Centre, Station Rd, Waltham Cross, Essex EN9 1AB


Ice rink opening times:

Wed-Fri: 4:00pm – 9:00pm
Sat: 10:00am – 9:00pm
Sun: 10:00am – 7:00pm

Christmas Market / Fun Fair opening times:

Wed – Thu:  CLOSED
Fri: 4:00pm – 9:00pm
Sat: 10:00am – 9:00pm
Sun: 10:00am – 7:00pm

Santa’s Grotto opening times:

Wed – Thu: CLOSED
Fri: 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Sat: 11:00am – 4:00pm
Sun: 11:00am – 4:00pm

Ticket Prices:

Christmas Market:   Free admission
Ice Skating:                £5 per person (Wednesdays and Thursdays)
Ice Skating:                Adult, £9.50; Child, £7.50 (Friday – Sunday)
Ice Skating:                £30 family ticket per session (2 adults, 2 children or 1 adult, 3 children)
Santa’s Grotto:         £7.50 per person
Fun fair:                     Free admission. Rides will require the purchase of tokens at £1.20 each.