Britain’s best winter ice rinks

Ice rink at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, London. Credit: Visit Britain
Ice rink at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, London. Credit: Visit Britain

It’s that time of year again when we prepare to don our skates at one of the many outdoor ice rinks around the UK. So, for this season’s coolest activity, get your gloves, scarves and skates on and check out our round-up of some of the best rinks…


A truly magical setting for this 1050-square-metre on the museum’s east lawn in the shadow of this magnificent late 17th-century building. There’s a separate rink for younger skaters and ice marshals to give guidance on the ice. Onlookers can do so from the viewing platform, or enjoy a hot chocolate or a glass of mulled wine in the Cafe Bar.


London’s original open-air ice rink celebrates its 10th birthday this year. To get in the festive mood, expect special events such as Breakfast with Tiffany (early morning skating sessions) and DJ nights. Warm up in the Skate Cafe & Bar or visit the Tiffany Tuck shop where jewellery, cupcakes and other treats are on offer.


Just a short stroll from the city centre you’ll find this winter wonderland complete with ice rink, a carousel ride and temporary arctic bar The North Pole where you can enjoy a seasonal tipple including a sumptuous vodka infused ‘Winter Crumble’.


The Hampshire cathedral, which has its origins in the 7th century, provides a stunning backdrop to the ice rink located in the Inner Close. Seasonal refreshments can be enjoyed in the cafe behind the rink and there will also be a Christmas Market selling high quality goods and food.


Returning to the beautiful Civic Centre for the ninth time, the ice rink here is suitable for skaters of all abilities. Not on the ice? There’s plenty to keep you occupied, whether you just want to watch the skaters as they glide across the ice from the heated terrace or buy a beverage in the ice cafe. Whatever happens don’t miss the opportunity to ride the big wheel which – 200 feet above the ice – gives you a 360-degree view of Cardiff Castle, the Millennium Stadium and Cardiff Bay.


Take to the ice on London’s largest rink, plus there are some other great attractions for the family including Zippos Christmas Circus, the observation wheel and the German Christmas Market with over 50 chalets and continental food and drink.


The giant biomes at this environmental project, come visitor attraction, play host to a festive ice rink with a winter forest theme. Bored of just skating around? You can even have a go at curling, a sort of bowls on ice. Plus throughout December get into the Christmas spirit with A Time for Gift event that includes Father Christmas, Cornish choirs singing carols, Christmas shopping and festive food and drink. Look out for special late evenings when you can join a lantern procession or take a stroll through the stunningly-lit Biomes afterdark.


The one-time home of King Henry VIII provides the perfect backdrop for skating under the stars on a real ice rink located on the banks of the River Thames. Once your skating session is over, warm up in the Ice cafe alongside the rink with a warming drink and festive snack.


Situated in the dry-moat beneath the fortress of the Tower of London – part of which dates back to William the Conqueror’s reign in 1078 – the real-ice rink offers the chance to skate in a truly unique setting on the banks of the River Thames.