The best ice skating rinks in the UK

Discover the best places to get your skates on in beautiful settings this festive season.

 Glittering ice rinks are popping up in cities and at attractions up and down the country. It’s a great opportunity to get outside with your family, don your skating boots, whiz round the rink together and afterward grab a hot chocolate or mulled wine (only one of those for the children, of course). Try out one of these top picks for where to go ice skating during Christmas and the festive season.

Ice skating at Warwick Castle, Warwickshire

For a picture perfect backdrop to your Christmas skating trip, look to Warwick Castle, the medieval castle built from a fort by William the Conquerer. Brand new for Christmas 2019, skaters can practise their moves in front of the iconic East Front of this spectacular castle. With warming festive drinks and snacks to feast on, the castle is also opening specially for late-night skating on selected dates. Other treats at Warwick Castle’s Christmas extravaganza include storytelling, breakfasts and even sleepovers with Santa, Christmas feasts in the Great Hall, carols at the Castle and winter bird of prey displays.
Open 23 November 2019 – 5 January 2020. Tickets from £13 per person.
www.warwick-castle.com/explore/christmas-at-the-castle.aspx

family skating at Warwick Castle

Everyone getting in on the action at Warwick Castle

 

Ice skating at Eden Project, Cornwall

Better known for its tropical biomes, each winter the Eden Project becomes a glittering winter wonderland thanks to its ice rink, housed under the stage canopy in front of the domes. The only place in Cornwall to skate indoors, the ice rink offers skating lessons, special sessions for children and toddlers and is also wheelchair friendly. There’s a cosy seating area where you can snuggle up with a hot chocolate or a burger.
Open from now until 23 February 2020. Tickets from £7 per person, plus entry to the Eden Project from £26.
www.edenproject.com/visit/whats-on/ice-skating

 

Ice skating at Somerset House

This rink is perhaps one of the most classic ice skating venues for the festive season. Set in the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Courtyard, it is surrounded on three sides by the gorgeous facade of this working arts centre. Called Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason, there are skating lessons, a late-night DJ during the Skate Lates and this year they held their first-ever Skate all-nighter, all next to the soaring 40-foot Christmas tree. After your spin round the ice, duck into Fortnum’s Christmas Arcade in the West Wing for seasonal shopping, enjoy gourmet dining with dishes like Welsh rarebit and wine-and-mushroom fondue in Fortnum’s Lodge or sit and watch the skaters go by with a hot chocolate in the Skate Lounge (with or without Baileys, depending on your choice/age). All sessions are wheelchair-accessible and they also hold 2 dedicated wheelchair sessions over the season. 
Open from 13 November 2019 – 12 January 2020. Tickets from £11 per person.
www.somersethouse.org.uk/whats-on/skate-somerset-house

Somerset House ice skating rink

A bird’s eye view of the Somerset House rink

Ice skating at Cardiff Winter Wonderland

The ice rink at Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland features this year a brand new Alpine Ice Trail. The new ice trail is an open-air skating experience running for 250 metres and the only one of its kind in the UK. The event will be focussed around a Christmas tree decorated by a local primary school and will also feature an accessible Big Wheel and double-storey “Sur La Piste” bar. The rink, set in front of City Hall, can accommodate 300 skaters at any one time. 
Open from 8 November 2019 – 5 January 2020. Tickets from £11 per person.
cardiffswinterwonderland.com/

 

Ice skating at Hampton Court Palace, Surrey

Historic Hampton Court Palace, once home to King Henry VIII, is another magical destination to step out on the ice. Located to the front of the Thames-side Tudor palace, the rink offers skaters great views, festive music and an array of seasonal treats for apres-skate. Both day and evening sessions are available and can be accompanied by a trip to the palace.
Open from 22 November 2019 – 5 January 2020. Tickets from £15 per person.
Hamptoncourtpalaceicerink.co.uk

 

Ice skating at Liverpool Ice Festival

Calling all thrill seekers! Set against the backdrop of the city’s waterfront, the Liverpool Ice Festival combines a huge covered ice rink with the UK’s largest ice slide. The slide features three super speedy 30m runs around six metres above the park. There is also an Ice Jet ride with sound and light show, plenty of rides for visitors, young and old, and a traditional Christmas market.
Open from 13 November 2019 – 5 January 2020. Tickets from £12 per person.
Icefestivalliverpool.co.uk

Liverpool Ice Festival skating rink

Kids enjoying the skating and thrills at Liverpool Ice Festival

 

Ice skating at Aberdeen Christmas Village

Aberdeen’s Christmas Village is back for another year, with its open air ice rink as the centrepiece. Skaters can enjoy festive fun against the striking backdrop of Marischal College, before exploring the rides and attractions, festival food and drink and the Christmas market set within the college quad.
Open from 21 November – 31 December 2019. Tickets from £4 per person.
www.aberdeeninspired.com/festival/aberdeen-christmas-village

 

More cold-weather activities for families over Christmas

Outdoor adventure: Winter activities for families

5 ideas for winter activities with kids

Travel: Best Christmas getaways for families

 

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About Jennifer Howze

Jennifer Howze is the Creative Director and co-founder of BritMums. She blogs about family travel at Jenography.net, tweets at @JHowze and Instagrams at @JHowze. Previously, she wrote the Alpha Mummy blog at The Times and as a journalist has contributed to The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Wall Street Journal, Travel & Leisure, Budget Travel, CNN.com, Allure, SELF and Premiere, among others. She won The Maggie Award from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America for a health article in Seventeen magazine.