Britain’s best ice rinks

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  • Get your skates on …

    One of the greatest signs that winter is coming (apart from copious amounts of mulled wine) is the return of open-air ice rinks.

    Whether you skate like Torvill & Dean or end up in a sprawl across the ice in Bambi style, nothing is more festive than pulling on some skates, donning a wooly hat and taking a turn around an ice rink.

    With Christmas trees and lights as your backdrop, glide around one of our favourite ice rinks …

    Somerset House, London

    The grand 18th-century courtyard makes for a beautiful location for this 900 square meter outdoor rink. As well as the regular ice skating sessions, there are also club nights if you fancy mixing dance anthems with neo-classical architecture. There are a few après-skate bars too, serving cocktails, Welsh Rarebit and hot chocolate from the Fortnum & Mason Lodge and Skate Lounge. Little ones can take their first skating steps with Polar Cub Club, complete with penfuins to hold onto.

    Open November 18 – January 10.

    Royal Pavilion ice rink, Brighton

    With the ornate Regency pleasure palace as its backdrop, this open-air ice rink in Brighton is a great way to round off a day of Christmas shopping. Head into the rinkside bar afterwards and warm up over a glass of mulled wine, cider or hot chocolate served with lashings of cream and mini marshmallows.

    Open until January 17.

    Natural History Museum, London

    Centred around a beautifully decorated Christmas tree in the courtyard of the Natural History Museum, this is one of London’s most enchanting ice rinks. Next to the main 1,000 metre square rink is a smaller one for children, plus a vintage carousel and café bar serving hot chocolate and mulled wine (if pirouetting on dry land is more your thing).

    Open until January 3.

    Hampton Court, Surrey

    The sixteenth-century pad of Henry VIII makes for a picturesque backdrop to this 900 metre square outdoor rink – especially when it’s lit after dark. The Ice Bar and Café will be serving mulled wine, in case you need to steady your nerves before taking to the ice.

    Open November 20 – January 3.

    Eden Project, Cornwall
    A tree-lined tunnel, with twinkling lights and lanters, lead you to the main dome of Cornwall’s iconic eco-attraction. There are penguins to help little skaters get their balance, and ice skating lessons are also available. And why not combine your skating session with a trip to see the main man, Father Christmas, himself?

    Open until February 28.

    Tower of London

    Set on the dry moat of the fortress of the Tower of London, gliding around the rink at this historical setting is sure to put you in the festive mood. Skating sessions last an hour and ice guides are also available. When you’re all skated out, warm up over a mulled wine in the Ice Bar & Café.

    Open November 20 – January 3.

    Glasgow on Ice, Scotland

    This beautiful outdoor ice rink returns to George Square this festive season, where you can glide by some of Glasgow’s most beautiful architecture and twinkling Christmas lights. Sit back and relax in the double-deck cabin, which will give non-skaters great views over the shimmering ice rink, or check out the fairground rides.

    Open November 27 – December 31.

    Eyeskate, London

    Positioned beside the London Eye and facing the Thames, this open-air rink is one of the best-located rinks in the capital. If you want to take a trip on one of the pods too, there are various packages on offer – and discounts for booking in advance. Sessions last for 45 minutes and winter cocktails and champagne will also be served.

    Open November 14 – January 3.

    Winter Wonderland Cardiff, Wales
    The ice rink provides the centerpiece to Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland, which is situated right outside the splendid Edwardian baroque City Hall. Make a day of it with a trip on the ferris wheel, before heading to the Alpine village, which will have live music.

    Open November 12 – January 3.

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