The UK’s Best Outdoor Festive Ice-Skating Rinks
The festive season is officially upon us. Christmas lights are brightening up our high streets, German markets have bratwurst and mulled wine at the ready and the John Lewis advert has been released. How better to embrace the Christmas spirit than with an evening of ice skating before warming up with a cup of hot chocolate? Here are eight places you can do that around the UK this winter.
Sky Light Rooftop, London
Step away from the crowds and onto this rooftop where you’ll find one of London’s best-kept winter secrets. Hidden away in Wapping’s Tobacco Docks, Sky Light Rooftop offers visitors the chance to whizz around on an all-natural ice rink whilst admiring London’s skyline. Afterwards, reward your hard work with a seasonal cocktail or comforting mulled wine inside one of the extremely instagrammable rooftop igloos.
When: 31st October 2019 to 25th January 2020
Eden Project, Cornwall
Whilst not strictly outdoors, this ice-skating rink sits under the famous Biomes of the Eden Project and is undoubtedly a unique experience. Surrounded by seasonal greenery and adorned with festive lights, this feels like an outdoor skating experience without the bitterly cold English weather. For less confident skaters, the Eden Project offers ice-skating classes at select times during the weekend.
When: 12th October 2019 to 23rd February 2020
City Hall Lawn, Cardiff
Cardiff’s new ice-skating feature is set to attract thousands of visitors this year. Along with the city’s usual ice rink, which can accommodate 300 visitors, Cardiff is pioneering the UK's longest outdoor Alpine Ice Trail. The newly added entertainment area will see Gorsedd Gardens decorated with a huge Christmas tree, Big Wheel and a two-storey alpine bar – everything you could possibly need for that festive feeling!
When: 8th November 2019 to 5th January 2020
Royal Pavilion, Brighton
Powered solely by wind and solar energy, Brighton’s outdoor ice-rink is considered to be the eco-friendliest rink in the UK. Everything from its twinkling fairy lights to its booming sound system has been curated with the environment in mind. As well as a guilt-free trip, visitors will be treated to prime views of the spectacular Royal Pavilion along with a convenient bar and kitchen area, the perfect place to warm up after a chilly skating session.
When: 2nd November 2019 to 19th January 2020
Ice Village, Manchester
Manchester’s Ice Village is returning with a bang this year! Not only are the usual suspects making a comeback, such as the ice-skating rink and Santa’s grotto, but this year visitors can marvel at impressive ice sculptures in the ice cavern or grab a drink in Manchester’s first and only Ice Bar. It sure is to be one of those ‘now it feels like Christmas’ moments.
When: 8th November 2019 to 5th January 2020
Ice Skate, Birmingham
Sitting outside the iconic Library of Birmingham, the city’s outdoor ice rink can be experienced in all weather, thanks to the installation of a new weatherproof canopy. The ever-popular Big Wheel returns offering riders a fantastic bird’s eye view of the ice rink and nearby German Christmas Market. Huge crowds are expected, so consider an early morning skate to enjoy the rink in all its glory.
When: 7th November 2019 to 12th January 2020
Somerset House, London
Somerset House is by far one of the most popular ice rinks in the UK, attracting millions of visitors from far and near every single year. Set in the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Courtyard and sponsored by Fortnum and Mason, the decorations are elaborate, the backdrop quintessentially British and the glühwein is to die for. With a series of events running through the festive season, from Skate Late parties to skating all-nighters, you’ll find an excuse to visit every single night of the week.
When: 13th November 2019 to 12th January 2020
Aberdeen Christmas Market, Aberdeen
Aberdeen’s short but sweet residency of its outdoor ice rink can be found smack bang in the middle of the city’s Christmas Market. Enjoy the grandeur of the historic Marischal College in the background as you glide around this picturesque ice rink, surrounded by alpine cabins selling plenty of festive foods and drinks.
When: 21st November to 31st December 2019
This article was originally published in November 2019 . It was last updated in January 2020