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The UK's best ice rinks for Christmas

09 October 2019

There's nothing like taking to an ice rink over the Christmas period. And it's even better with a glass of mulled wine or a cup of hot chocolate. We pick our favourite festive ice rinks across the country.

The ice rink at Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland
The ice rink at Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland © Giles Smith -

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Ice rinks in London
Ice rinks in South East England
Ice rinks in South West England
Ice rinks in Southern England
Ice rinks in the Midlands
Ice rinks in Northern England
Ice rinks in Wales
Ice rinks in Scotland
Ice rinks in Northern Ireland

Ice rinks in London

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London

21 November 2019 – 5 January 2020

A glorious large rink, in fact one of the largest in the UK, beneath a canopy of glittering fairy lights spanning out from the park's Victorian bandstand, Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland ice rink is a romantic experience. Close by, a thrillseeker's paradise of fairground rides competes with a circus, an ice ballet and Santaland for your attention. A Christmas market and lots of food and drink outlets complete the experience.

Natural History Museum Ice Rink, London

18 October 2019 –12 January 2020

The venerable museum in London’s South Kensington plays host to what must be the ultimate grandchild’s day out – go inside and see the dinosaurs, come outside for a skating session beneath trees spangled with Christmas lights and finish off with a hot chocolate. Bliss.

Somerset House Ice Rink, London

13 November 2019 – 12 January 2020

The stunning neoclassical buildings of Somerset House provide a dramatic backdrop to what must be one of the coolest, no pun intended, ice rinks in London. Partnered by Fortnum & Mason, you can simply skate or, if you are so inclined, there are club nights with music from top international DJs on offer too. TTickets carry a per-ticket booking fee, plus a one-off transaction charge.

The Tower of London Christmas Ice Rink
The Tower of London's famous Christmas ice rink

Tower of London

16 November 2019 – 5 January 2020

Located in the moat and set against the magnificent fortress battlements, the Tower of London ice rink has surely one of the most stunning central London settings and is ideal for lunchtime skating, after-work gatherings, romantic dates and weekend afternoons out. 

Beautifully illuminated after dark, it makes a spectacular night time destination. 

Beside the ice rink, the Ice Bar & Cafe provides a welcome place to warm up after your skate, serving a selection of winter drinks and festive snacks. 

Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink

22 November 2019 – 5 January 2020

Skate against the backdrop of Henry VIII’s historic home, Hampton Court Palace.  Located in front of this Historic Royal Palace, the stunning ice rink is open daily from 11am until 10pm. Afterwards, perhaps warm up again at the Dip-Dunk Lodge with a fondue or a hot chocolate.

The Royal Pavilion, Brighton
The Royal Pavilion is a magical place to ice skate this year©Visit England/Hugo Philpott

Ice rinks in South East England

Royal Pavilion, Brighton

2 November 2019 – 19 January 2020

Following the huge success of previous years, the winter ice rink returns to the iconic setting of Brighton’s Royal Pavilion this Christmas. This beautiful rink accommodates up to 250 skaters per session, with penguin stabilisers for younger skaters and a  learners’ area for the unsure-footed. 

Whether you’re a skater or not, everyone is welcome to enjoy delicious food and drink by day or night at the stunning Rinkside Bar & Kitchen, which offers warming snacks, delicious lunches and dinners. 

White Cliffs Christmas, Dover

1 December 2019 – 1 January 2020

Dover's cruise terminal at the Western Docks of the Kentish port will once again be transformed into a Christmas Market and ice rink. The historic building features Christmas activities, bumper cars, a tea room, bar and food outlets.

Canterbury on Ice

29 November 2019 - 1 January 2020

The historic city of Canterbury already boasts a roaring Christmas market and this year it sees its first Christmas ice rink, taking place at Dane John Gardens at the heart of the city centre and surrounded by Canterbury's medieval wall, just a short walk from the bus station and Canterbury East train station. Food, hot drinks and alcohol will also be served, so enjoy a mulled wine and a bite to eat before or after taking to the ice. Wheelchair friendly.

The North Pole, Cambridge

16 November 2019 - 5 January 2020

Tucked away in Parker's Piece Park, Cambridge, the North Pole is a popular winter destination for all kinds of festive fun, including funfair rides for all ages, including classics such as dodgems, waltzer and a fun house, and plenty of food options such as bratwurst, crepes and veggie burgers. The large ice rink is covered for skating whatever the weather.

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Ice rinks in South of England

Winchester Cathedral

21 November 2019 - January 5 2020

The covered ice rink is the heart of Winchester Cathedral's Christmas market, which is open until 22 December. Visit at lunchtime for a special lunch and skate special offer.

Ice Skate Bournemouth

14 November 2019 - 5 January 2020

Visit this gorgeous outdoor rink in Bournemouth's Lower Gardens. Season tickets are available for people who'd like to make multiple trips throughout the season, and push along sleds are available to rent so even tiny tots can enjoy some fun on the ice. After your skate enjoy a drink at Moguls Alpine Bar.

Portsmouth Ice Rink

23 November 2019 - 5 January 2020

Portsmouth's Guildhall Square turns into a winter wonderland for the season. There's plenty to do in the area after your skate, with the New Theatre Royal and Portsmouth Music Experience all close by. The rink has been revamped for the 2019 season and now includes a canopy for added protection against the elements and SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) sessions will mean everyone can take part.

The Royal Pavilion, Brighton
Many pop-up ice rinks across the country provide refreshments such as mulled wine, hot chocolate and churros. Pictured: mulled wine at Liverpool's ice rink

Ice rinks in South West England

Bath on Ice 

15 November 2019 – 5 January 2020

One of England’s UNESCO World Heritage Cities, Bath has something extra to tempt visitors this Christmas; a magnificent outdoor ice rink, which has been enlarged in recent years.

Set in central Bath in Royal Victoria Park, nearby the stunning backdrop of the Georgian Royal Crescent and within walking distance of the city’s Christmas markets, Bath on Ice is a truly magical experience. 

Eden Project

12 October 2019 – 23 February 2020

The Eden Project is better known for its tropical biomes but in winter it also becomes Cornwall's only indoor ice rink. The long season (October to February) means there's plenty of time to enjoy this ice rink for all abilities. It's also wheelchair friendly, and Eden Project members receive a discount on the skating prices.

Icescape at the Tropicana

25 October 2019 – 5 January 2020

The UK's largest under cover ice rink is a popular festive destination for Weston-super-Mare residents and visitors. As well as enjoying everything the rink has to offer children and pop in and visit Father Christmas in his grotto or mascot Pippen the Penguin, and adults can enjoy a drink from the Lodge Bar.

Ice rinks in the Midlands

Ice Skate Birmingham

7 November 2019 – 12 January 2020

Situated in Centenary Square, close to the Frankfurt Christmas Market. The ice rink has a roof so don't let the British weather put you off.. After taking their turn on the ice, Winter Skate visitors can warm their fingers and toes in the Ice Café, which will serve everything from indulgent hot chocolate to spiced mulled wine. Wheelchair friendly.

Nottingham Winter Wonderland

15 November 2019 – 31 December 2019

The 1160 square metres in Nottingham's Market Square is the largest ice rink in the East Midlands. Get value for money by buying a flexi-ticket, which gives off-peak skaters an extra hour at no extra cost. Other attractions at Nottingham's Winter Wonderland include the Ice Bar, where you can enjoy a schnapps and vodka in real ice glasses while admiring the ice sculptures, or enjoy a Czech beer in the ski lodge themed Sur La Piste bar, or enjoy the panoramic views offered by glass chalet Altitude Bar. For the non-drinkers and kids there is still plenty to enjoy, including a toboggan slide, helter skelter and Christmas market.

Drayton's Magical Christmas

16 November 2019 – 31 December 2019

Drayton Manor theme park features a 15-acre zoo, Castle of Dreams immersive Santa's grotto, daily parades, festive film showings and much more, including the family-friendly Slide and Glide rink. If the thought of a theme park puts you off don't worry, during the Christmas season the thrill rides are closed but the family rides and Thomas Land, the Thomas the Tank Engine themed section of the park, remain open. The Slide and Glide is included in the entry to the park, although the Father Christmas visit is extra.

Ice rinks in North of England 

The Ice Factor, York 

16 November 2019 – 5 January 2020

Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland, the award-winning event, returns to York Designer Outlet this winter, along with the north of England’s largest outdoor ice rink, The Ice Factor, plus a funfair and Santa's grotto. 

Along with a giant Christmas tree it also has its Alpine-themed café, this year with a heated outdoor terrace. Following a spin across the rink, visitors can enjoy vintage fair rides, a magical Grotto and live entertainment.

Liverpool Christmas Ice Festival

13 November 2019 – 5 January 2020

Boasting not just an undercover ice rink, Liverpool Ice Festival also features the UK's largest ice slide, a children's rollercoaster, Christmas market, and multiple German style bars, so there's plenty to see and do during this exciting day out.

Skate Manchester
Skate Manchester

Ice Village, Manchester

22 November 2019 – 5 January 2020

Ice Village returns to Cathedral Gardens Manchester with stunning displays of ice sculptures and Manchester's first ice bar, the Ice Tiki Bar. Attractions include the fantasy-themed interactive family adventure Ice Cavern, Santa's grotto and a large covered ice rink.

Ice rinks in Wales

Cardiff Winter Wonderland

8 November 2019 – 5 January 2020

Perfect for cold, drizzly days, the Cardiff ice rink is completely undercover and is still open in all weathers, although the fun fair and refreshments are all out in the elements.

Caernarfon Winter Wonderland

21 November 2019 – 5 January 2020 

Christmas 2019 sees Carnarfon hosting its first ever Winter Wonderland, which will be held at Y Maes for six weeks as part of a regeneration project organised by Hwb Caernarfon. This will give the area a tourist boost during a time of year that's usually quiet and sees a lot of residents of North Wales having to travel further afield for festive events. The event will include an ice rink, Santa's Grotto, food market and choir performances.

There's no website yet as this is such a new project but check the Hwb Caernarfon Facebook page for updates.

Swansea Waterfront Winterland

15 November 2019 – 5 January 2020 

The covered Admiral Ice Rink at Swansea's Waterfront Winterland means you can get your skates on whatever the weather. If you're a nervous skater you can even opt for a relaxed session with reduced capacity on the ice, plus lower sound levels and lower lighting to make for a more chilled out experience, plus it's wheelchair friendly with companions skating for free and able to choose between skates or ice grips for their shoes.

Ice rinks in Scotland

Aberdeen Christmas Village

21 November 2019 – 31 December 2019

Aberdeen Inspired's Aberdeen Christmas Village return to Marischal College this year with its open air ice rink, fairground rides, Santa's grotto, market and plenty of festive food and drink options.

Paisley First Winterfest

24 November 2019 – 30 December 2019 

Paisley town centre gets a magical makeover featuring a big wheel, carousels, Santa's Funhouse and much more, including an open air ice rink. Once you've been on the ice and the grandchildren have ridden the flying Dumbos pop into the Nutella House for refreshments.

M&D's on Ice

23 November 2019 – 5 January 2020

Scotland's theme park features a large, open air ice rink from November until January, featuring a Bavarian bar and Christmas market. There's also a Family Christmas Experience in December featuring festive stories and a ride on M&D's Christmas land train.

Ice rinks in Northern Ireland

Dundonald International Ice Bowl

Open all year, Christmas events in December

The Ice Bowl in Belfast features a wide range of activities, from bowling to indoor play areas for children. It's also home to Northern Ireland's only Olympic size ice rink and during December children can add a meet and greet with Father Christmas himself with one of Dundonald International Ice Bowl's festive events, including Breakfast with Santa, Supper with Santa and of course Skate with Santa,  where the whole family can skate along to festive tunes and Santa will be there skating along with you. Dates vary.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.