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Best Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks in Britain

Posted on October 01, 2015 by David

It’s that magical time of year again! Get in the festive spirit and don those earmuffs, unearth those gloves and put on a pair of ice skates as we take a look at what we reckon are the UK's best outdoor ice skating rinks.

Natural History Museum – London

Photo supplied by Natural History Museum

What better way to combine the festive period and a bit of culture. The pop-up temporary ice rink outside the famous Natural History Museum is a truly magical winter experience that you won’t forget anytime soon.

With 80,000 twinkling fairy lights and a 40 foot high Christmas tree above you, if you weren’t in the festive mood before you certainly will be now. On top of this there’s an awesome interactive Christmas chalet where you can take part in activities to win prizes or Lindt chocolate treats.

Plus, when you’ve had enough of the ice, the museum provides an equally magical and fascinating experience of its own.

Winchester Ice Rink

Photo supplied by Winchester Cathedral

Embrace the festive period by experiencing ice skating under the stars in Winchester. Nestled near Winchester’s beautiful Cathedral the ice rink has the perfect backdrop.

It may not be a huge bustling city, but if you’re looking to escape the busy urban crowds and visit a glorious part of the country that really gets you in the Christmas mood, this is the one.

When you’ve worn out your skating legs, why not immerse yourself in the Christmas market stalls that surround this ice rink and wind their way past the famous Cathedral. Plus, if you bring your little one along they can skate with a ‘penguin buddy’ ice friend to make the experience even more enjoyable.

Somerset House – London

Photo supplied by At Somerset House

Probably one of the more well-known ice rinks out of the lot, however it just wouldn’t be fair not including it. Known as the ‘Godfather’ of ice rinks, it certainly lives up to its name and easily holds a flag up to its New York counterpart.

In the day it’s a sedate experience, enjoying skating within the splendour of Somerset House, brushing up your skills at ‘Skate School’, or visiting some of the pop up festive refreshment facilities on site. By night it has a completely different atmosphere about it. With club nights, cocktails, and music festivals being hosted on site, there’s plenty for the night owl to get involved in.

Tower of London

Photo supplied by Tower of London Ice Rink

I know...I know..., this is the third London ice rink to be mentioned, but it’s well worth it. There aren't many more stunning and imposing backgrounds than the Tower of London! It may not necessarily be the first place you think of when the idea of Yuletide festivities pops into your head, but it certainly makes for an experience to remember.

The 1,000 year old moat is converted into your icey play area, where instead of a ‘halt who goes there?!” you’re greeted by fairy lights and music.

York Winter Wonderland

Photo supplied by Facebook

Firstly, it’s worth mentioning that this ice rink was ranked in the “Top 10 Christmas Ice Rink” by The Sun, The Guardian and The Times. With good reason too.

The setting is truly magical, the rink itself is surrounded by an illuminated forest, log cabins and a giant lit up Christmas tree. Even better, once you’ve finished on the ice, or you’ve had enough of falling over, the heated rinkside alpine-themed chalet is ready to welcome you. Replete with cosy furs and blankets, you can choose from an extensive range of German ales or hot chocolate.

If you’re after a traditional festive experience York is definitely the place for you.

Cribbs Causeway Winter Wonderland

Photo supplied by mallcribbs

What it lacks in quintessential British charm, it makes up for with its location and decorations. Located right outside the huge Cribbs Causeway shopping mall, it’s a perfect stop off for anyone doing some last minute Christmas shopping. Plus, if the other half doesn’t fancy venturing into the mall you can always leave them in the heart of Winter Wonderland with their skates on.

With 1,000 square metres of ice, a huge ice castle, and a Winter Wonderland theme running both outside and inside the shopping centre, it certainly transforms it perfectly. Just make sure you don’t miss out on Santa’s Grotto or the Christmas train that toots its way through the mall.

So that's our round up of the absolute best outdoor skating rinks in the UK this year. But there are plenty more top-notch places to get your skates on - check out our complete guide to outdoor skating rinks in the UK.

Ready to take to the ice this Winter?

If you'd like to experience these lovely skating experiences first-hand, we have a selection of breaks within easy reach of these wonderful rinks.

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