Winter ice rinks in Britain’s most unexpected places

Wednesday 09 October 2019

The courtyards and grounds of some of Britain's most beautiful palaces and iconic landmarks are adorned with glimmering ice rinks in the run up to Christmas, giving you the chance to enjoy some of the country’s most recognisable spots in a uniquely festive way.

In the Tower of London's moat

Skating at the Tower of London Ice Rink

You can enjoy ice skating at one of Britain’s most famous landmarks, the Tower of London, and glide along the ice beneath the ramparts, towers and battlements of this spectacular Norman fortress. Home to the crown jewels, historic arms and armour as well as nearly 1,000 years of British history, the Tower comes alive with the scent of mulled wine and shouts of festive cheer as Christmas nears. Running from 16 November to 5 January, this year you can enjoy an even bigger ice rink, along with a brand new ‘Prosecco and Skate’ package, a great way to add even more sparkle to a trip to the Tower.

In a grand London courtyard

From 13 November to 12 January, join the celebrations at Somerset House ice rink, which turns 20 this year! Run in collaboration with Fortnum & Mason for the past six years, the neoclassical arts venue is one of the most beautiful ice-skating backdrops in Britain. With events ranging from ice skating lessons and Polar Bear kids’ club to big nights out at Skate Lates, winter at Somerset House has experiences for all ages. Presided over by a giant Christmas tree, you can take to the ice in the building’s impressive central courtyard and enjoy music, festive shopping, and high-quality food and drink. A selection of gourmet dishes is also available in Fortnum’s Lodge, a cosy alpine themed eatery serving indulgent drinks and snacks including champagne and chocolate fondue for two, mulled wine and sharing mince pie, cheese fondue and baked camembert brioche.

In front of the Natural History Museum

From 19 October to 12 January, the courtyard of the Natural History Museum transforms into a glistening ice rink straight from a fairy tale. A favourite festive activity in London, circle the Christmas tree in the centre of the rink or admire the scene and the building’s mesmerising Romanesque architecture from the viewing balcony, or while sipping warming mulled wine and hot chocolate along with festive cakes and savoury dishes at the café bar.

In the Eden Project's bio dome

Warm up in one of the Eden Project’s mighty greenhouses before chilling out on the ice this winter, at Cornwall’s only indoor ice rink, which is open from 12 October to 23 February. Housed in one of the Eden Project’s wondrous biomes, this uniquely located ice rink is part of the wider Winter Festival happening at the Eden Project. With additional dates throughout November and December 2019, the festival will host special after-dark events, as well as the chance to meet Father Christmas and his elves!

At Hampton Court Palace

Skating at the Hampton Court Palace ice rink

Set in romantic Hampton Court Palace from 22 November to 5 January, this ice rink gives you the chance to skate beneath the stars outside Henry VIII’s favourite royal palace, situated by the River Thames on the outskirts of London. Want to ramp up the romance even further? Enjoy some bubbles under the night sky with the ‘Prosecco and Skate’ package.

In Britain’s North Pole

Visiting Cambridge between 16 November and 5 January? Get in the festive spirit at The North Pole, the city’s answer to ‘Winter Wonderland’. With an Alpine Cabin bar, serving craft ales, gin, hot chocolate and traditional German sausages, the ice rink also boasts a transparent roof, so you can have fun skating whatever the weather.

At Liverpool’s Ice Festival

Located on Liverpool’s Waterfront, the Ice Festival lets you experience one of the city’s most historic areas, with dramatic festive views over Pier Head. As well as a fantastic ice rink, from 13 November to 5 January Liverpool’s Waterfront transforms into a bustling festive hub of twinkling lights, market stalls, traditional German bars, funfair rides, and a 30-metre long ice slide. At 6 metres above the park, this is the largest ice slide in the UK allowing for great views of the city.

Beside a Royal Pavilion

Brighton Pavilion Ice Rink. Credit: Brighton Pictures

One of the most romantic times of year in Brighton, winter is when the famous Brighton Pavilion comes to life with twinkling lights, laughing friends and children pushing penguins across the ice. Dripping with fairy lights and with a rink-side bar and kitchen for seasonal foodie treats, from 2 November to 19 January this magical backdrop makes for an extra-special festive day out in the south coast of England.

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