Whether you glide gracefully round an ice rink, or struggle to let go of the sides, Christmas ice skating is a fun activity for the whole family. At this time of year rinks appear all over the UK, ready to kick start the festive cheer. From ice rinks with iconic landmarks as a backdrop, to rinks with Alpine themed bars and Christmas Markets, we pick out the best Christmas ice skating rinks outside of London.
Edinburgh’s Elliptical Christmas Ice Rink
Pull on your skating boots and glide all the way around the elliptical ice rink at the beautifully illuminated St Andrews Square in Edinburgh. This uniquely shaped ice rink circles the towering Melville Monument and a pop-up winter bar, the Rekorderlig Cider Lodge. Loop round the lit-up square before warming yourselves up with a hot apple cider or hot chocolate!
The rink is part of ‘Edinburgh’s Christmas’, a spectacular six-week season of festive entertainment in the heart of the city. Expect plenty of fun including a Christmas tree maze, interactive musical shows for families and magical carousels.
Edinburgh is a fantastic city to visit, whatever the season, but at Christmas, it’s particularly special. A highlight is the city’s Christmas Markets and why not check out one of the secret bars of Edinburgh while you’re there too?
Price: £9 - £12.50 adult, £5 - £8 concessions, family tickets from £20.
When: 16th November – 5th January
Getting there: Getting out of your shoes and into your skates couldn’t be easier from Edinburgh Waverly Station. The ice rink at St. Andrews Square is located a 5-minute walk from the station.
The Ice Factor at Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland in York
The largest outdoor ice rink in the North of England, the Ice Factor is a must visit at Christmas time. The rink has a 30ft high sparkling Christmas tree at its centre and so the magical setting is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit.
If you’re not skating, sit back and enjoy a Christmassy hot drink in the alpine-themed café, Papa Hütte. It has windows the entire length of the ice rink, so you can keep an eye on little ones and take pictures, whilst staying nice and warm.
There are also vintage funfair rides, live weekend entertainment and even Christmas shopping at York Designer Outlet. You’ll find something for the whole family at the Ice Factor this Christmas.
Price: £10.95 adult, £9.95 children & concessions, family tickets start from £28.50.
When: 17th November – 6th January
Getting there: From York train station, you can hop on the number 7 Park & Ride bus towards Fulford and get off at the Designer Outlet Park and Ride. The bus takes approximately 20 minutes and the rink is a further 5-minute walk.
Cardiff’s Admiral Ice Rink at Winter Wonderland
The Admiral Ice Rink is part of Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland and offers amazing views of City Hall and the night sky. Plus, a clear span roof allows you to enjoy the views without having to worry about the weather.
After skating, why not check out Sur La Piste bar? Here you’ll find the cosiness of a traditional ski-lodge with the Aprés ski vibe of the French Alps. Enjoy a mulled wine and order something off the seasonal menu, like German bratwurst sausages and sweet crêpes. If you’re hanging around the Wonderland, make sure you visit the fun fair for exhilarating rides and loads of games.
Price: £8.50 - £11 adults, £7 - £9 children & concessions, family tickets from £27.
When: 15th November – 6th January
Getting there: From Cardiff Central Station, you can walk to Winter Wonderland in around 15 minutes. There are also direct buses if you prefer.
Christmas Ice Skating at the Eden Project
The domes of Cornwall’s iconic eco-attraction, the Eden Project, make a spectacular setting for some Christmassy ice skating! A tree-lined tunnel leads you to the main dome, which is filled with lanterns and twinkling lights. When you enter, you’ll find a glittering glacier themed ice rink, including penguins and snowmen to help youngsters glide across the ice.
Stay warm by popping into one of the cafés dotted around the grounds, serving seasonal food and hot drinks. There are plenty of options for even the pickiest eaters in the family.
As well as ice skating, you can meet Father Christmas and his merry band of elves. Enter Santa’s cosy tent for a sneak peek at the elves’ bunkbeds and pigeonholes full of children’s letters. If you’re at the Eden Project after dark, check out the all-new night-time experience with awe-inspiring light installations, live music and spectacular projections.
See what else you could get up to when you visit the Eden Project with our Day out at the Eden Project blog post.
Price: £7 adult, £6 child, £24 family (any combination of four people).
When: 13th October – 24th February
Getting there: From St Austell Station, you take the 101 bus from Stand E to Eden Container Hotel. From there, the First Bus 101 will drop you off at the Eden Project in under 15 minutes.
Christmas Ice Skating at Winchester Cathedral
Winchester’s Christmas Ice Rink is right by a large German-style Christmas market, so it really does have all the makings of an excellent yule-tide experience; skating, mulled wine and strudels.
New for 2018 is a huge Christmas tree in the centre of the Ice rink, guaranteed to fill everyone with festive cheer. The rink even has a roof, so you can skate whatever the weather. Visit in the evening to experience an exhilarating skate under the stars, where the clear roof and open-air sides offers a wonderfully picturesque backdrop of the lit-up Cathedral.
An incredible location, one of the best Christmas markets in Europe, artisan food and regular performances by local choirs, makes the Christmas ice rink at Winchester Cathedral one of the best in the UK.
Price: £11 adults, £10 concession, £6.95 - £8.95 children, £37.50 family.
When: 17th November – 2nd January
Getting there: Winchester Cathedral is a pleasant 12-minute walk from Winchester train station, alternatively buses and taxis are available from outside Winchester train station.
Looking for more Christmas activities to entertain the whole family? Check out our blog post about magical family Christmas Breaks in the UK.