Skates on! 33 best ice rinks across the Muddy counties
We're heading into the season of slip-sliding, wall-grabbing, and pirouetting. Skate queen or just here for the mulled wine, check out these festive ice rinks across the Muddy counties and beyond.
Open Air Ice Rink, Gloucester, 24 Nov – 3 Jan
This popular ice rink returns to Orchard Square in Gloucester Quays for 2021 promising to put some proper festive cheer into the heart of the city. There’s a great alfresco bar with twinkly fairy lights for that all important hot choc after your skate (or stronger!) and it’s set against the backdrop of the historic docks, tickets will be on sale very soon so keep your eyes peeled and your skates primed.
Bath on Ice, Royal Victoria Park, Bath, Fri 12 Nov – Mon 3 Jan
A thousand square metres of smooth ice in the lush surroundings of Bath’s Royal Victoria Park in the centre of the city. Nosh on wood-fired pizzas, gourmet hot dogs, loaded fries and churros, washed down with hot choc and mulled wine in the Moguls Alpine Bar. Play a game of a glow-in-the-dark golf by fairylight at Glow Golf next door.
Ice Trak, Silverstone Circuit, Northants, 25 Nov – 3 Jan
Silverstone Circuit‘s spectacular Lap of Lights event returns this year with an illuminated Ice Trak (we’re talking 400,000 individual fire lights and 440 laser beams powerful enough to hit the moon – wowzer!) in the iconic pit lane along with an alpine lodge style food hub for an après-skate warm-up.
Skate Bournemouth, Lower Gardens, Bournemouth, Dorset, Thurs 18 Nov – Mon 3 Jan
Skate amongst the trees of the Lower Gardens, alongside the giant walk-through the Bournemouth Wonderland Tree, other festive illuminations and a Christmas market. Mulled wine, cocktails and marshmallow-topped hot choc in the Alpine-themed covered bar, with cosy seating and VIP booths, will keep you going.
Coventry Glides, Coventry Cathedral Ruins, 26 Nov – 9 Jan
Coventry is the UK city of culture for 2021, so where better to plonk an ice rink than within the historic cathedral ruins? Slots sold like hot mince pies last year so book tickets pronto if you fancy channelling your inner Torvil and Dean.
Windsor On Ice, Alexandra Gardens Windsor, 20 Nov – 2 Jan
Windsor On Ice is back for the winter and whether you’re Olympic standard or a ‘cling on’ (guilt), it’s great for a family day out, or a fun slippy-slidey Christmas party. This year they’ll be putting up the big screen for super-cool pop-up cinema, plus fun fair, food and bar. Sessions are for 45 mins. See you in A&E, I mean on the ice.
Royal Pavilion Ice Rink, Brighton, 30 Oct – 9 Jan
Stunning, twinkly, romantic, child-friendly…and powered entirely by green energy! Brighton’s Royal Pavilion Ice Rink is open now until after Christmas so you can get your festive feels in the shadow of the magnificent palace.
Winter Wonderland, Hills Meadow Reading, 13 Nov – 3 Jan
It’s back! After a mini break, Reading’s Winter Wonderland will be popping up in Hills Meadow Car Park. Expect more festive fun than a Mariah Carey video. There’s an ice rink, fun fair, Aprés bar, Santa’s grotto, German sausage and lots and lots of mulled wine. It’s free to enter, but you can buy tickets now for Santa’s Grotto, Ice Skating and an unlimited ride pass.
Winter Ice Rink, The Eden Project, Cornwall, until Feb
Cornwall’s only ice rink sets up every winter at The Eden Project, and for for this season, will be open every day except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and a week in November (14 – 22 Nov). Sessions are 40 minutes, with cute penguin skate-aids available for the little ones (£4) – and dedicated under 12 skates on Sunday mornings. From £6, boot hire included, weekly lessons also possible plus, it has an all-weather roof, so you can skate rain or shine. (Don’t forget you need Eden entrance too, or a locals pass).
Calverley Grounds, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, Fri 19 Nov – Mon 2 Jan
It always heralds in the start of the festive season – when Calverley Grounds in Tunbridge Wells is once again transformed into a beautiful winter wonderland. There’s Father Christmas on-site to visit, Themed DJ Nights, Wreath Making Classes, Bavarian Curling and even Skate with festive characters including Cinders and those Snow Sisters!
Bluewater Ice Rink, Bluewater Shopping Centre, Greenhithe, Kent, 18 Nov – 2 Jan
Located outside The Village, this outdoor rink will sit under a clear roof, making it the perfect activity come rain or shine this festive season. There’ll be quiet sessions, as well as parent and toddler sessions for budding skaters. Penguin and seal skating aids will be available for little ones plus bob skates to help guests stay steady on the ice. What’s more, party nights are back by popular demand this year – let the teens show off their skills to classic party anthems.
Christmas Ice Rink, Cheltenham, 18 Nov – 2 Jan
An ice-skating wonderland is coming to the heart of Regency Cheltenham – whoop! The pop up rink will be located in Imperial Gardens, against the pretty backdrop of the Queen’s Hotel. It will also have an all-weather roof and 20 funky penguin skate aids available to hire (£5). Each skate session lasts 45 minutes with family tickets available for £32.
Winter Glow, Malvern, Worcs, 12 Nov – 9 Jan
Whizz around on one of the region’s largest covered real ice rinks. Take a break from the light trail and big wheel and glide around on a 45 minute skate session. Visit on certain dates (see website for details) for live music, a DJ and family friendly Ice Princess Parties. Once you’re done stagger into the Ice Café for a warming lunch or cup of steaming hot chocolate.
The North Pole Festival, Parkers Piece, Cambridge, 19 Nov – 3 Jan
The North Pole Festival’s ice rink returns to Cambs this year with its clear roof to protect us from the English weather as we skate (hurray!). Younger kids can join the fun with the help of Penguin skate aids, plus there’s an ice slide, fairground rides, a new ice bar serving festive cocktails and German grill dishing out bratwursts and burgers.
Digbeth Ice Rink, Birmingham, until Jan
Pull on your skates for an hour of gliding along the ice (or clinging onto the sides trying not to fall over) in Birmingham. There’ll be Christmas tunes blasting and once you’ve finished there’s cocktails and street food available (maybe don’t reach for the cocktails beforehand…)
Warwick Castle, Warwickshire, 27 Nov – 3 Jan
Skating around with gorgeous Warwick Castle lit up behind you? Dreamy. There’ll be Christmas hits playing, aids if you aren’t too hot on your skates (hands up!) and more importantly mulled wine and snack stalls.
Winter Wonderland, Northernhay Gardens, Exeter, 17 Nov – 2 Jan
Ooh, exciting! A real, yes real, covered ice rink, 30x14m wide, is popping up in central Exeter this winter, run by Rowlands the funfair peeps. Part of the city’s Winter Wonderland, here you can warm your cockles at a German-themed beer, pat some live reindeer and take the kids to see the Big Red Man in his grotto. Booking is essential, and tickets are flying out quicker than Donner and Blitzen, so get in quick!
Lightning Fibre Ice Rink, Eastbourne, 1 Dec – 5 Jan
For the first time in ten years, Eastbourne will be hosting an ice rink in the town centre – with skaters able to enjoy 60 mins of skating every day (except December 25th). The fully covered rink will be situated at the Enterprise Centre, so you can catch up on shopping after you’ve done your spins on the ice.
Portsmouth on Ice, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, Hants, 27 Nov – 9 Jan
Locals turn out in force for this pop-up ice rink outside The Guildhall – from littlies on push-along penguins to panto stars, the Mayor and Santa! Look out too for show-stopping turns from the team’s talented skate marshalls. There’s family and season tickets to book now, as well as quieter SEND sessions.
Real Ice Skating, Whilton Locks Garden Village, Northants, until Jan
Earl Spencer (Diana’s little brother) has been known to visit the ice-rink at Whilton Locks with some of his brood and, rumour has it, his triple axel is something to behold. Whilst you’re here you can also tuck in to a festive, Frozen themed afternoon tea and visit Santa’s Grotto. Fancy giving it a whirl? Book early as this one is super popular.
Steyne Gardens, Worthing, West Sussex, Sat 13 Nov – Sun 27 Feb
We love that this one is on well beyond Christmas for a prolonged bit of winter fun! Situated in Steyne Gardens, all ages over four years are welcome to skate whatever your level of ability. Warm up in the coffee shop afterwards, too.
Christmas Village, Tarka Tennis Centre, Barnstaple, North Devon, 19 Nov – Sun 2 Jan
In a first for North Devon, here’s a pop-up ice rink (Real. Covered. Tick-tick) with an option on midweek Toddler Sessions and for an extra fiver, a post-rink Coffee and Churros sesh to warm your frozen fingers. If you’ve got kids in tow, you can also book in to see Santa and explore their North Pole trail, where littlies can make reindeer food and snap a festive souvenir selfie.
Yarmouth on Ice, The Square, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, 11 – 22 Dec
Brand new for 2021, the inaugural Yarmouth’s ice rink will open on Saturday 11 Dec in the town’s festive marquee in pier square. Expect music, lights, a snow machine and festive food and drink, all under the twinkly lights. Look out too for Mother and Father Christmas in their secret weekend hideaway and carols in the square with the Salvation Army.
Marsh Farm, South Woodham Ferrers, Essex, 13 Nov – 30 Jan
Hit the ice at Marsh Farm, which opens alongside a Christmas fun fair and train ride for the kids. The Father Christmas Experience (avec skates) starts from £35, or skating sessions can be bagged for £8.99.
Garon Park, Southend, Essex, 10-24 Dec
New this year and set to be a cracker (not literally, obvs…), this pop-up ice rink also promises fairground rides, street food, bars, a giant wheel, and a Christmas market. Is it December yet?
Chiltern View Ice Rink, Stoke Mandeville, Bucks, 25 Nov – 10 Jan
Fancy performing your triple axel (or, erm, flailing around on the ice) to disco beats? Every Friday at this brand new pop-up, covered rink at Chiltern View Nursery is disco night with a resident DJ from 6pm. There are also live music events on select dates and, for the kids, free skate aids. Tickets are from £7.50 for kids, £10 for adults – and if you fancy joining in with your feet firmly on dry ground spectator tickets are from £7.50.
Leicester Ice Rink, 2 Nov – 3 Jan 2022
Perfect your pirouette over in Leicester’s indoor pop-up ice rink from 2 Dec- 3 Jan ’22. The theme this year is ‘Festive Adventure’ so you’ll be able to enjoy everything from a Christmas disco to a Selfie Station plus crêpes, waffles, German sausages and glühwein! Special preview offer is £5 from 2-3 Dec.
CHRISTMAS IN THE CITY
Natural History Museum, London, until 16 Jan
If you’re in the big smoke, the ice rink at the Natural History Museum is already open for Christmassy business — and it’s the final ever one! After sixteen years of ice, the Natural History Museum will be converting its garden into a haven for wildlife instead from next year. Noble stuff. Better book fast while you can!
Skylight Ice Rink, London, 5 Nov – 16 Jan
Ice skating on the ground is so basic — we’re all about that rooftop skating, baby! And it’ll have to be this one, because Skylight’s ice rink is the only rooftop rink in Europe. Throw in some heated après-skate bars, cosy igloos, and plenty of (post-skate!) cocktails, and you’ve got a winner of an evening. Ice skating can only be booked on the day.
Somerset House, London, 17 Nov – 16 Jan
There are ice rinks without swanky Moet & Chandon partnerships, and then there are ice rinks with. Head along to some festive fun at the neoclassical Somerset House, this year featuring plenty of bubbles along with the ice.
Winter Wonderland Ice Rink, Hyde Park, 19 Nov – 3 Jan
Get your skate on at the UK’s largest outdoor ice rink, built around the iconic Victorian bandstand and open until 10pm daily — did someone say romantic evening skate? All welcome, including wheelchairs. From £10.50 for an adult and £7.50 for a child.
Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink, East Molesey, Surrey, 13 Nov – 9 Jan
Frolic in Henry VIII’s front yard in this large outdoor rink. Frankly, a bit of historic splendour is what’s been missing in our previous skate trips! There are plenty of festive refreshments also available. Pre-booking essential.
Alexandra Palace, London, year-round
A mainstay for icy fun, the rink at Alexandra Palace caters for all abilities, from toddling toddlers to acrobatic athletes. Things get especially fun at Christmas, with mulled wine and mince pies aplenty. You can even book into a Christmas “Club de Fromage” disco, and dance and skate the night away to cheesy festive tunes. Are you in or are you in?