In winter each year the courtyards and grounds of some of Britain's most beautiful palaces, castles and iconic landmarks are laid with glimmering ice rinks and decked with fairylights and Christmas trees. It makes for a stunning backdrop to an unforgettable ice-skating experience, whatever your ability on the ice! Here are some of our favourite places to ice skate in the UK this winter...
In the Tower of London's moat
Get your skates on at one of Britain’s most famous landmarks, the Tower of London. Skate beneath the ramparts, towers and battlements of this spectacular Norman fortress, home of the crown jewels, historic arms and armour and nearly 1,000 years of blood-chilling British history. The mulled wine will soon warm you up again.
In a grand London courtyard
Surely one of the most beautiful ice-skating backdrops, Somerset House is the neoclassical arts venue, also home to the Courtauld Gallery, located between the River Thames and the Strand in the centre of London. The ice rink is in the impressive courtyard presided over by a giant Christmas tree. Stop for spiced mulled wine or a hot chocolate in the rink-side Skate Lounge.
In front of the Natural History Museum
As if London's Natural History Museum isn't stunning enough, every November through to January, as if by magic an ice rink appears in its forecourt! The Christmas tree at its centre makes a fantastic focal point to practise your pirouettes around, too!
In the Eden Project's bio dome
Warm up in Eden’s mighty greenhouses before chilling out on the ice at Cornwall’s Eden Project. Eden’s ice rink has a glacier theme and is part of their ‘Time of Gifts’ celebrations which include lantern parades, live music and storytelling.
In the capital of Wales
Cardiff’s winter ice rink is the centrepiece of the Welsh city's Christmas celebrations. And if you’re not keen on the skating you can always take refuge in the heated spectators’ terrace, ride on the Ferris Wheel and fill up on mulled wine from the ice café bar.
Below Edinburgh Castle
Skate on one of Europe’s biggest open-air ice rinks below Edinburgh’s ancient castle and take in the city's unique skyline lit up for Christmas. You can also enjoy a whole host of wintry activities including festive music, theatre and seasonal food and drink.
At Hampton Court Palace
You won’t find many ice rinks in a more romantic location than Hampton Court Palace. Skate beneath the stars outside Henry VIII’s favourite royal palace, by the River Thames on the outskirts of London.