Put your worries on ice at these skate escapes
T hose of us who have been following Luke Campbell's progress outside the boxing ring and in the rink on Dancing On Ice will no doubt have felt just a little inspired to strap on some blades and try our hand (and feet) at ice skating.
For those who have done it before, you'll know it's not an easy sport to grasp; most beginners spend more time on their backsides than they do floating around the rink like Torville and Dean.
But, once you get the hang of it, ice skating can be an enjoyable way to spend a day – not to mention a romantic one as Valentine's Day hovers into view this week.
Plus, ice skating also has proven health benefits – once you can get past the bruised bum.
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As well as improving joint flexibility, ice skating helps building leg muscles, is an ideal way to trim down and tone up, boosts the cardiovascular system, improves your balance and helps keep you mentally fit – it takes a lot of concentration and spatial awareness to stay upright on the ice for any length of time.
So if you're not already following Luke on to the ice, why not?
If a man more used to floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee than gliding like a swan can do it, so can you.
Here's The Guide's pick of the best ice skating destinations within driving distance where you can hone your Dancing On Ice skills and buff up that Bolero routine:
Hull Ice Arena
Hull Ice Arena hosts a range of National Ice Skating Association courses where you can learn to skate in six weeks.
By attending a half-hour lesson each week, you will be taught everything from the basics upwards by one of our professional ice skating coaches. On the last week you will be assessed to see how much you have learnt.
Each course lasts six weeks and is graded from one to ten and then progresses through bronze, silver and gold levels.
The courses run on Tuesday evenings and Saturday and Sunday mornings. Skate hire is included in the price.
Cost per six-week course is £35 for adults and £32 for children (five years and over).
Where: Hull Ice Arena, Kingston Retail Park, Hull, HU1 2DZ, Call 01482 325 252. Visit www.hullcc.gov.uk
Since opening in 2003, iceSheffield has hosted a wide range of prestigious events including the Ice Dance Championships – and is open to the public, seven days a week, offering everything from ice skating lessons to curling classes.
The venue's Penguin Club is aimed specifically at parents and youngsters – teaching youngsters the basics and boosting their confidence as they take their first slippy steps in the rink.
Where: iceSheffield, Coleridge Road, Sheffield, S9 5DA. Call 0114 223 3900. Visit www.icesheffield.com
The Dome. Doncaster
Another venue with a penguin club for youngsters, Doncaster Dome's ice rink is one of the region's most popular skating destination. "Set within the ice cool environment of the Ice Caps," says the PR blurb. "The two interconnecting ice pads offer skaters of all ages and abilities a unique ice skating experience".
Ice skating lessons are available from five years old through to adults. The skating programme is set up in six stages with the emphasis on fun.
Where: The Dome, Bawtry Road, Doncaster, DN4 7PD. Call 01302 370777. Visit www.the-dome.co.uk
Open for a limited time during the half-term holiday, Stockeld Park, near Wetherby, may be a bit of a journey – but it will make for a full family day out, with skating just a part of its attractions. The outdoor Simply Skate rink is open from February 16 to 24. As well as general and children-only sessions, there are also ice disco party events to be enjoyed here. General skate sessions last for one hour.
Where: Stockeld Park, Wetherby, Yorkshire, LS22 4AW. Call. Visit www.stockeldpark.co.uk
It's not a ice skating venue, but Xscape's Sno!Zone is an ideal place to learn how to ski and snowboard on the 170m long main slope, which is covered with more than 1,700 tonnes of snow. There is also a dedicated lesson slope for beginners and novices to build their skills and confidence before progressing to the main slope. So you may not learn how to be the next Robin Cousins – but you could be the next Franz Klammer.
Where: Xscape, Junction 32 M62, Castleford. Visit www.xscape.co.uk
If you want to learn about the health benefits of skating – and why wouldn't you? – visit www.realbuzz.com