Slide, spin and glide your way into the 2023 festive season in style, as you take to one of the many ice rinks popping up around the country this Winter. In our latest blog we highlight the best rinks in London and across the rest of the UK. So, wherever you are, you will have the chance to take part in this enchanting festive tradition.
The locations of these ice rinks are truly inspiring. This winter, you can skate underneath the turrets and towers of a medieval castle, in front of an oriental pleasure place and an art deco power station. And that’s just the start.
Your one-stop destination for festive fun this year, Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is a place where winter dreams come true and Christmas wishes are granted. A fairground and Christmas market are just the start. Zippo’s Christmas Circus is a live show for families. Ice sculpting workshops will allow you to unleash your inner artist. The Magical Ice Kingdom is an immersive exploration of a mythical frozen world. But there’s nothing more real than a meeting with the man himself in Santaland. At the centre of this wonderland is the UK’s largest open air ice rink, under a canopy of twinkly lights and around the iconic Victorian bandstand.
Gliding around the 30ft Christmas tree at Battersea Power Station promises a totally one of a kind seasonal experience. Live entertainment specialists KALAB are bringing a selection of local independent solo acts, bands and DJs. They will offer a mix of acoustic, pop, and house as your skating soundtrack. See unrivalled views of the Thames as you skate against the backdrop of this stunning art deco former power station turned retail and dining destination. After your session you can continue to soak up the 360 views as you warm up in pop-up bar The Glass House.
Step inside a quintessential Christmas Card scene as you bundle up to skate under the stars in the grounds of Henry VIII’s historic home. This Tudor palace in Richmond upon Thames dates back to 1514 and offers a truly unique backdrop for a session on the ice. Why not tie it in with a tour of the palace, where you can see Anne Boleyn’s Book of Hours, and explore the Magic Gardens and maze before heading onto the rink. Afterwards you can warm up in the cafe bar with a mulled wine or hot chocolate to soak up every moment of this enchanting experience.
Set in the heart of Greenwich’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, Queen’s House Ice Rink is surrounded by iconic architecture. With views of Greenwich Park to the south and the glittering lights of Canary Wharf to the north, the backdrop to your seasonal skate is some of the best views in London. Queen’s House itself is well worth a visit. Another Royal residence, it is the first Classical building in the UK and houses an internationally renowned art collection. Even rookie skaters can’t fail to feel graceful cutting across the ice in this inspiring setting.
Be transported to the Swiss regions while skating in the heart of London. This year official sponsor Switzerland Tourism is setting the scene for Skate at Somerset House. Skate School sessions run by National Ice Skate Association instructors mean that beginners will be twirling on the ice in no time. Kids’ Club sessions and Chill Out sessions create a friendly environment for young and less experienced skaters. More confident skaters can try out their best dance moves on blades when DJs take to the rink-side decks. If all that exertion leaves you hungry, you can head to Chalet Suisse by Jimmy Garcia for an Alpine dining experience.
Skate season starts in October at Canary Wharf, where the seasonal ice rink pops up in October. Set amid the towering skyscrapers of this metropolitan business district, there will be Halloween events before it becomes a winter wonderland. There are various other themed nights planned including ‘80s, ‘90s and soul music events. Elsewhere, the Off Piste bar offers a perfect spot to warm up. The rink is under cover so you don’t need to anticipate the weather as the disco ball at the centre of it spins rain or shine. At least for 18 weeks of the year, the most festive among you can pretend it’s Christmas every day.
The ice rink at Skylight Tobacco Dock is small but offers mighty views of the city skyline. This rooftop bar comes to life in winter, with heated igloos and huts for private parties. Visitors will receive a skating token for a session on Europe’s only rooftop ice rink where you can glide and twirl your way into the festive season. Heated après skate bars are illuminated with twinkling lights. And there’s an extensive menu of warming wintry cocktails, beers and ciders as well as the essential mulled wine. There’s also a seasonal food menu – perfect once you’ve worked up an appetite.
Part of a Winter Village popping up in Westfield, Shepherd’s Bush, for 2023, a towering 65ft Christmas tree provides the centrepiece to a magical skating experience. There are times allocated for parents and toddlers and even the option to hire out the whole rink for a private party. Hot drinks and sweet treats aplenty are available in the Winter Village. Surrounding restaurants and attractions are getting in on the action too. By showing your ice skating ticket you can get discounted entry to everything from bouldering, escape rooms and minigolf, to food and drink at many of the trendy neighbouring eateries.
Aimed at under nines, Manchester’s Winter Wonderland at the BEC Arena is a child’s Christmas dream come true. A fun-filled session on the ice will summon your Christmas spirit. There are plenty of penguins and polar bear skate aids available to keep little ones steady on their feet. Under threes go free and a ticket will gain you unlimited rides on the funfair including dodgems and a rollercoaster. There are also inflatables and a circus meaning hours of guaranteed fun and entertainment. Cheeky elves will be on hand to welcome you and there’s lots of food and drink on offer.
With the backdrop of the Royal Pavilion Pleasure Palace, a session on this Brighton ice rink with its rinkside bar and kitchen is a fantastical experience like no other. The oriental palace, built as the playground of King George IV, will set your imagination alight as you glide around the ice. At night it is beautifully lit in greens and blues but the rink itself is completely green – the only one in the country powered entirely by renewables. Located within Brighton’s bustling North Laine district, packed with independent shops, this is the perfect way to round off a day of Christmas shopping.
Set amid Bath’s 57-acre Royal Victoria Park, this ice rink is bathed in the light of twinkling bulbs, creating an enchanting setting for a winter skate. Wrap up warm and spin and glide to your heart’s content in these stunning surroundings. With wintry music and the cosy Mogul’s Alpine Bar serving seasonal drinks and festive food, you can soak up the atmosphere all night long. Located next to the ice rink you can enjoy a round of Glow Golf on an adventure course decked out with its very own fairy light installations.
The spirit of Christmasses past is brought to life in the grand historical setting of Warwick Castle. With twinkling trees, dazzling decorations and festive flourishes the castle offers an unrivalled seasonal experience. At its heart is the ice rink, sitting beneath the castle’s imposing turrets and towers. As dusk arrives your surroundings are lit up with larger than life illuminations inviting you to wander the beautiful gardens as projections that light up the sky. Where else would you find Santa than in the castle’s state dining room, where he and Mrs Claus will be hosting magical storytime sessions.
Whatever the weather, it’s always a picturesque winter scene in the Derby’s Cathedral Quarter ice rink, covered to protect you from the elements. Your spin around the glittering ice will feature a festive soundtrack to really get you in the spirit of the season. On party nights there will be a live DJ from Smooth Radio. For those feeling a bit wobbly on the ice, there will be free sit-on and standing skate aids. Warm up with a steaming mug of hot chocolate or mulled wine and soak in the festive atmosphere in the city’s historic Cathedral Quarter.
A festive playground with an ice rink at its centre offers seasonal family fun in the heart of historic Windsor. The main rink is fully covered, so you can whizz around the ice whatever the weather, and each week there will be specific sessions including Tiny Tuesdays and All Access Wednesdays. Festive food and drink is available from the on site Bar and Grill, and surrounding Christmas market stalls for a well-earned treat after your skate. The seasonal attraction also features a fairground with dodgems, bungees, waltzer, Santa’s Sleigh roller coaster and much more. Besides, Windsor’s main shopping centre and castle is all within walking distance.
As if a visit to this botanical oasis wasn’t enchanting enough, during the Winter season you can also lace up your skates and take to the on site pop up ice rink. Even the littlest children can enjoy the rink with non skating ice play sessions where lots of toys are provided on various mornings throughout the season. Children over 18 months are welcome to skate and aids can be provided. The Ice Rink cafe provides the mandatory hot chocolate to reacclimatise you to your tropical surroundings. Afterwards you can immerse yourself in nature in the Eden Projects various biomes, gardens and play areas.