The Culture24 Guide to Ice-Skating Winter Wonderlands

By Laura Burgess | 08 December 2010
People ice skating on a floodlit rink next to the Tower of London
Skaters take to the floodlit rink at the Tower of London© PWR Events Ltd.
It's winter and snow has been spreading chaos up and down the country for the last week or so. For some it means the stress of travelling, for others it’s time to get kitted up and have some fun.

While there is a real winter wonderland happening, now is the time to head towards the seasonal ice rinks for some festive family fun. Culture24 picks a few we think deserve a visit during the Christmas period.

Natural History Museum
One of London’s top winter attractions, the NHM’s winter rink features a café bar and viewing station - and of course a glorious location just off Exhibition Road beneath the museum's Gothic towers.

Booking information (0844) 847 1576.
Website www.nhm.ac.uk/visit-us/whats-on/ice-rink/index.html

Somerset House
A sumptuous location awaits you at the neoclassical Somerset House. Special DJ nights, winter warmers in Tom’s skate lounge and cupcakes in the Tiffany Tuck Shop make this a top skating destination. There’s also a chance for under-eights to skate with penguins.

Booking information (0844) 847 1520
Website www.somersethouse.org.uk/ice_rink/default.asp

The Centre for Life
The Centre for Life rink is just a short slip and slide away from Newcastle railway station and once there you can sign up for skating lessons with Andrei and Susie from TV’s skating on ice.

Booking information (0191) 243 8223
Website www.life.org.uk/whats-on/skating-at-life

The Tower of London
There’s nothing quite so romantic and magical as ice-skating next to one of the capital’s most iconic buildings. The outdoor rink is placed in the dry-moat, under the fortress of the tower, a short distance from the River Thames. Music accompanies the hour-long sessions and a café serves nibbles and festive drinks.

Booking information
0844 871 8814
Website www.toweroflondonicerink.com/index.aspx

Hampton Court Palace
The rink, beautifully illuminated at night, sits against the backdrop of Henry VIII’s red brick Tudor Palace. The café serves warm food and drinks and can also be used as a viewing station for those who would rather sit and watch and listen to the music as families skate around the rink.

Booking information 0844 412 4641
Website www.hamptoncourticerink.com

Eden Project
The global eco garden has opened a rink inspired by Eden’s mining heritage and the Cornish Alps - not literally a mountainous terrain but the name of the area’s China clay tips. The Chilly Penguin sessions have activities and toys for children aged 6-12, there are parent and toddler playtimes and an adult evening 2-for-1 deal.

Booking information 01726 811972
Website www.edenproject.com/index.php

Winchester Cathedral
The Cathedral's ice rink is built in the centre of the historic Inner Close and is open to everyone. Its Alpine Café beside the rink has a selection of festive food and drink, including mulled wine. Much of the time the backdrop to the rink is also the Christmas market and Santa’s ice cave.

Booking information 01962 857276
Website www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk/icerink/

Brighton Royal Pavilion Gardens
The 700 square metre ice rink sits next to the impressive former Royal Palace. It has its own pre-school crèche, a beginner’s area and penguin skate aids. The rink’s restaurant has sourced its ingredients from Due South, with warm seasonal dishes including Castle Farm steak and real ale pie. There is a floodlit viewing area too.

Booking information 0844 847 2352
Website www.brightonvisitor.com/ice-rink-at-brighton-royal-pavilion/

Beamish
How about skating in the grounds of a pit village? You can do just that at this legendary North East open air museum with Edwardian surroundings and the strains of piped organ music.

Booking info and website www.beamish.org.uk/christmas/

Please check each venue’s website for skating admission fees and opening and closing times.
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