Whether you glide gracefully around an ice rink or have to hang onto 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 by iconic landmarks or rinks with Alpine-themed bars and Christmas Markets, we pick out the best Christmas ice skating rinks outside of London.
Once you've picked your favourite ice rink, it's time to get your skates on!
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, 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.
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.
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, Cornwall
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.
If you live far or near, a day out at the Eden Project never disappoints.
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 Skating at the Ice Village, Manchester
Glide into festivities with a unique Christmas skating experience in a frozen metropolis in Manchester. Much like the other rinks mentioned, The Ice Village offers more than just a great skating experience. It has something for everyone, so even the non-skaters go home with beaming smiles - just remember to wrap up!
Whether you're marvelling at the grand ice sculptures, visiting Santa in his Grotto, or indulging in festive goodies at the market stalls, the Christmas spirit will be through the roof.
Along with the fun activities, there are even live ice sculpting shows and talented performers on stage, so you can kick back with a hot drink and enjoy the show.
Getting there: From Manchester Picadilly train station, it's approximately a 17-minute walk, or you can jump on the number 219 bus towards Shudehill and get off at Printworks. The bus takes about 12 minutes.
Looking for more Christmas activities to entertain the whole family? Check out our blog post about magical family Christmas Breaks in the UK.
Written by Julia