The Culture24 guide to the best outdoor ice rinks for winter 2013

By Sarah Jackson Published: 11 November 2013

The nights are drawing in, the days are getting colder; it’s time to get your skates on and find a festive ice rink in our guide to the best outdoor skating across the UK...

Couples skate on an ice rink outside the illuminated Royal Pavilion at Brighton
Couples enjoy the Royal Pavilion ice rink in Brighton© Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
The Eden Project, Cornwall, until March 2 2014

As the only indoor skate rink on our list, you never have to worry about the wrong kind of snow on the ice at the Eden Project. A host of flexible options include a discount card, two-for-one sessions and a mid-week saver, meaning you get a lot of bang for your buck.

For more information and to book, click here.

Natural History Museum, London, until January 5 2014

If you’re looking for a fairy tale atmosphere for your skate, you’d be hard pressed to find a more enchanting setting than the Natural History Museum. While you’re waiting your turn - or if you’re not skating - meander through the Christmas Market, take a spin on the carousel or warm yourself in the Café Bar.

For more information and to book, click here.

Spinningfields Ice Rink, Manchester, until January 5 2014

Just a short distance from some of the best shopping in Manchester, Spinningfields Ice Rink is the only ice rink in the city centre and the focal point for many Christmas activities. A big screen will play Christmas films and music to get you in the festive spirit.

For more information and to book, click here.

Skating@Life, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, until February 23 2014

A great option for families, Skating@Life, at Life in Newcastle, also features a 4D Motion Ride. In Sleigh Ride, Blitzen the reindeer and Bobo the elf embark on a madcap adventure to help Santa save Christmas to deliver presents across the world – all while being chased by a police helicopter.

For more information and to book, click here.

Royal Pavilion Ice Rink, Brighton, until January 19 2014

The Prince Regent might well have approved of this use of his extravagant seaside home as an ice rink, complete with pop-up restaurant and bar. The domes of the Royal Pavilion look spectacular lit up in multi-coloured lights, and a special fenced-off area for younger skaters make it a great destination for the whole family.

For more information and to book, click here.

Yorskhire's Winter Wonderland, York, November 23 2013 - January 5 2014

Located just outside the Castle Museum in the centre of historic York, this large rink with its medieval surroundngs has been curiously dubbed the Ice Factor. It sits amidst a festive sprawl of fun fairs, stalls, bars and a Christmas Grotto for little ones.

For more information and to book, click here.

Skate at Somerset House, London, November 14 2013 – January 5 2014

Somerset House is the home of London’s oldest, and arguably most glamrous, temporary ice rink. Skate after dark to a live soundtrack spun by top DJs during Club Nights, or enhance your skating experience with extras including champagne and chocolate, dinner at Tom’s Kitchen or even a luxury stay at The Savoy.

For more information and to book, click here.

Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland, Cardiff, November 14 2013 – January 5 2014

Situated in front of the iconic Civic Centre, this open air ice rink is accompanied by children’s festive rides, German-style Christmas huts bearing festive treats and drinks and the exhilarating, 60 metre tall Star Ride.

For more information and to book, click here.

Several people skate on an outdoor ice rink after dark at the Natural History Museum.
Natural History Museum ice rink© Courtesy Natural History Museum
Christmas at Beamish, Durham, November 16 2013 – February 23 2014

Father Christmas will open the festivities at Beamish, remaining in his magical fireside grotto until Christmas Eve with a small present for every child who visits. Step into Christmas Past with a stroll down The Town Street, Pit Village, Home Farm and Pockerley Old Hall.

For more information, click here.

Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire, November 21 2013 – January 5 2014

Illuminations, Christmas markets and ice rinks go together like holly and ivy - none more so than at Winchester Cathedral. As well as many advent and carol services and Christmas concerts in the cathedral itself, visitors will have the opportunity to visit one of the best Christmas Markets in Europe.

For more information and to book, click here.

Skate at the
Tower of London, London, November 16 2013 January 5 2014

Quite a few ice rinks can boast spectacular locations, but if you’re after a dramatic heritage setting the Tower of London ice rink takes some eclipsing. Located in the moat, in the shadow of the magnificent fortress battlements, it makes for a beautiful after-dark destination. The bar and café are perfect for Dutch courage or a winter warmer.

For more information and to book click here.

Edinburgh’s Ice Rink, Edinburgh, November 22 2013 – January 5 2014

Edinburgh's ice rink is located just below the Castle on its spectacular volcanic outcrop. Along with the ice rink, the newly-installed Edinburgh Eye wheel and two Christmas markets, German and Highland, will turn the city centre into a winter wonder.

For more information and to book, click here.

Hampton Court Palace, Surrey, November 30 2013 – January 12 2014

Set in the grounds of Henry VIII’s extravagant home, the view from Hampton Court Palace’s skate rink is extraordinary. Enjoy a glass of mulled wine or hot chocolate with a mince pie in the Ice Bar and Café and admire the evening illuminations of the palace.

For more information and to book, click here.

At-Bristol, Millennium Square, Bristol, until January 5

You can skate beneath the giant bauble of At-Bristol's planetarium in this new ice rink beside the city's popular science centre. It makes for a great combined visit for kids or an early evening glide by the harbourside for the adults.

For more information and to book, click here.

an aerial view of the Somerset House Ice rink illuminated at night
The ice rink at Somerset House© Marcus Ginns
Eyeskate, London Eye, London, November 27 2013 January 5 2014

In the shadow of the London Eye and overlooking the Thames, this new addition to the capital's outdoor skating destinations has a lot going for it. There are family deals, early bird and off-peak tickets and special offers to grab a gentle whirl around the Eye after your skate.

For more information and to book, click here.

Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, London, November 23 2013 January 5 2014

Part of the sprawling Winter Wonderland taking up residence in the park every year, this ice rink offers an elegant skate surrounding Hyde Park's Victorian bandstand beneath a cobweb of twinkling Christmas lights. Afterwards, Bavarian bratwurst, fairground rides, chalet stalls and a variety of bars should get you into the festive spirit.

For more information and to book, click here.

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