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The best Christmas Ice Skating Rinks

Thursday 30 November 2023

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Whether you glide gracefully around an ice rink or hang onto the sides, Christmas ice skating is a fun activity for the whole family to get into the festive spirit. At this time of year, ice rinks appear all over the UK, ready to kickstart the merriment. From ice rinks near iconic landmarks or rinks with Alpine-themed bars and Christmas Markets, CrossCountry has picked out the best Christmas ice skating rinks to enjoy around the UK.

Ice Factor at Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland, York

The largest outdoor ice rink in the North of England, the Ice Factor is a must-visit at Christmas time, located at Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland . The York ice skating rink has a thirty-foot 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, you can sit back and enjoy a Christmassy hot drink in the alpine-themed café, The Chalet. It has a terrace overlooking 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 station, you can jump on a bus towards Fulford which will take you to within a 5-minute walk of Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland. 

Two couples take to the ice holding hands as they skate on an ice rink in warm winter clothing.

Ice Skating at Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland, Cardiff

Based outside Cardiff Castle, the ice rink at Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland  offers a huge undercover space for you and the family to whizz around. Adorned with festive fairy lights and floating Christmas trees, the ice rink is Cardiff Winter Wonderland’s star attraction. And if you fancy an adventure, there’s a 150m outdoor ice walk through the castle grounds with a gorgeous view of one of our favourite castles in the UK. The perfect excuse for some hand-holding!

After skating, why not check out Sur La Piste bar?  Located at the City Hall Lawns, 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 fifteen minutes. There are also direct buses if you prefer.

Christmas Ice Skating at the Eden Project, St Austell

Since opening, the Eden Project  has been one of Cornwall’s top attractions, and the unique setting makes it the perfect place 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.

As well as ice skating, you can meet Father Christmas and his merry band of elves. Enter Santa's cosy log cabin for a sneak peek at all the magical Christmas preparations. If you or a loved one would benefit from a quieter environment with fewer people, relaxed sessions designed for those with autism or sensory and communication needs are also available. 

 If you're at the Eden Project after dark, check out the all-new night-time immersive experience with awe-inspiring light installations, live music, and spectacular projections.

Getting there: Travelling to the Eden Project by train is easy with CrossCountry; simply hop on board your local service to St Austell station where you can find connecting bus services.

Crowd of people skate around the ice rink at Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland, with fairy lights on the canopy.

Manchester Ice Rink, Manchester

Glide into the festivities with Manchester’s illuminated ice-skating experience . Located in the popular Freight Island, the ice rink is dotted with sparkling Christmas trees and rows of twinkling lights, the perfect environment for some seasonal fun with family and friends. The rink is suitable for both confident skaters and beginners, with seal supports to hold onto if you’re feeling wobbly! 

As well as the skating rink, Freight Island boasts a bunch of great Christmas activities. From the Twilight Trail, which will see you embark on an immersive sound and light adventure, to the Father Christmas Experience, where lucky children can spend half an hour with Santa and come away with a gift! 

Getting there: From Manchester Piccadilly station, Freight Island is just a two minute walk away.

If you’re planning to get your skates on this Christmas, don’t forget to book an Advance ticket via our website or the CrossCountry app. If you need more information, you can contact us here.

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