Icy Winter Wonderlands
There is no better way to start the Christmas season than with some magical ice skating on an open air ice rink. Wrap up warm and take the whole family to join in the festive cheer, or skate at night, lit by the twinkling Christmas lights for a romantic evening.
Set in some beautiful and historical sites, serving mulled wine, mince pies and hot chocolate and with an interesting line up of events make sure you don’t miss out on this good traditional fun.
Most rinks are open from November through to January. Here are some that we recommend:
* Natural History Museum Ice Rink, London
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Skate at one of the capital’s most popular attractions on a 1,000 square meter ice rink in the spectacular setting of the Natural History Museum’s grounds, and combine it with a trip to the museum to make it a full day out for families in London. Until January 8 2012 0844 847 1576; www.nhm.ac.uk/visit-us/whats-on/ice-rink/index.html
* Tower of London Ice Rink, London
One of the most famous landmarks in London, located in the dry moat beneath the Tower of London North Wall. The Tower of London ice rink offers a truly unique outdoor ice skating experience, with plenty of fun to be had for skaters of all ages. Until January 8 2012 020 8241 9818; www.toweroflondonicerink.com/index.aspx
* Somerset House Ice Rink, London
This beautiful ice rink is back for another year of open air ice skating in the Somerset House courtyard. There is a great atmosphere created by the sound of London’s top DJs and you can enjoy exclusively designed cupcakes, sweets and jewellery at the Tiffany Tuck Shop. Until 22rd January 2012. 0844 847 1520; www.somersethouse.org.uk/ice_rink/default.asp
* Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, London
For the perfect Christmas holiday entertainment day and lots of festive fun take the family to Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland. The park has transformed with rides, Ferris wheel, bars, E-cube for performances, circus, Santa land and of course, the largest ice rink in London. Until January 3. 0844 412 4650; www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com.
* Hampton Court Ice Rink, Surrey
If you’d like to skate with one of the most stunning backdrops in the world, then head for Hampton Court, located on the banks of the River Thames, where Henry VIII’s palace invites you to glide across the ice in style. The Ice café alongside the rink will be serves warming drinks and festive snacks. Until January 8.0844 871 8815; www.hamptoncourticerink.com/index.aspx
* Windsor Ice Rink, Berkshire
Ice skating at Windsor has returned for the 2010/2011 season in the beautiful setting of Royal Windsor riverside park, transforming Alexandra Gardens into a spectacular ice rink venue and with Windsor Castle as the back drop. Until January 2. 01753 743915; www.windsor.gov.uk/site/whats-on/windsor-on-ice-p657951
* Winchester Cathedral Ice Rink, Hampshire
In the cloisters of the cathedral and with and alpine café it is a wonderful spot for a spot of skating. Until January 2. 01962 857 276; www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk/icerink/
* Brighton’s Royal Pavilion Ice Rink, Sussex
Brighton’s first ever outdoor ice rink, so you can be one of the first to skate with the former Royal Palace as a backdrop. It has its own pre-school creche, pop-up rinkside restaurant and bar, beginners’ area and ‘penguin’ skate aids especially for youngsters, and promises to be the Christmas rink to visit outside of London. Until January 22. 0844 847 2352; www.royalpavilionicerink.co.uk
* Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland, Wales
The city’s ever-popular frozen attraction which creates a fantastic seasonal atmosphere around the Admiral Open Air Ice Rink at the City Hall Lawn, Civic Centre, complete with other attractions around the rink for all the family including the ice cafe bar, heated terrace overlooking the ice, traditional children’s carousel and rides. To January 2 2012.
029 20 230 130; www.cardiffswinterwonderland.com
* York’s Ice Factor
The Ice Factor, York’s award-winning real ice rink, brings the Christmas magic back this season in its brand new location at York Designer Outlet. The ice rink will be turned into a Winter Wonderland village square, surrounded by log cabins, an illuminated forest with reindeer, and a giant Christmas tree in the centre of the rink. Until January 8. 01653 619169; www.theicefactor.co.uk
* Newcastle Skating@Life
Why not combine your skating visit with a trip to the Life Centre and its Power of Ice live theatre show, Christmas Star planetarium show, exhibitions and motion ride. Until February 19. 0191 243 8200; www.life.org.uk/whats-on/skating-at-life
* Edinburgh’s Ice Rink, Scotland
One of Europe’s largest, Edinburgh’s open-air ice rink is a spectacular winter attraction in a stunning setting beneath the Castle, the Old Town and Edinburgh’s Christmas lights. Skate beneath the stars, enjoy mulled wine or food and enjoy a festive season of live music, entertainment and programmes of live shows including Christmas choirs and a visiting Santa. Until January 4 2010. 0845 370 1745; www.edinburghsicerink.com
* Glasgow On Ice
The ever popular Glasgow on Ice is back in George Square. The outdoor rink and fairground set beneath the square’s stunning Christmas tree and the sparkling lights are a breathtaking festive treat for all. Once you hang up your skates, treat yourself to a warming drink, have fun on the fairground rides and enjoy the entertainment in the Square Wednesday through to Sunday. There will be an array of fantastic family activities including live music – from choirs and jazz, to Celtic and ceilidh. Until January 3. 0141 564 4220; www.glasgowloveschristmas.com/?page=glasgow-on-ice.
Ice skating at The Eden Project, Cornwall.
The magical ice rink is back with a new glacial theme for 2011. In addition to general skating sessions, there are special sessions for all ages and abilities , so go down and get your skates on!
From 22nd Oct to 23rd Dec. Prices vary, for full details visit www.edenproject.com
A festive ice skate with a fabulous back drop. Go enjoy the synthetic skating rink in the stable yard at Hatfield House from 1st-23rd December 2011. www.hatfield-house.co.uk