The UK’s Best Winter Outdoor Ice Rinks


Ice Skating Couple

It’s not surprising that couples enjoy ice skating. Hand-holding is a necessity, and the stately procession around the rink is gently intimate. Outdoor ice rinks have the added aesthetic pleasures of Christmas decorations, pretty twinkling lights and backdrops containing some of Britain’s most iconic settings. Here are just a few examples of what the UK has to offer.

The Eden Project

Though normally known for its rainforest simulations, the Eden Project also does a fine impersonation of a winter wonderland. Its innovative ice rink has a glacial theme and is accessed by lantern-filled tunnels with overhanging trees. Afterwards, couples can try their hand at making edible Christmas decorations and cards.

Where: Eden Project, Bodelva, Cornwall PL24 2SG

When: 18th October 2014 to 22nd February 2015

Brighton’s Green Rink

The Prince Regent’s seaside pleasure palace – better known as the Brighton Pavilion – provides a surreal backdrop to the city’s renowned outdoor ice rink. Atmospheric lighting, a rink-side bar and restaurant, and a friendly crowd further enrich the experience. In keeping with Brighton’s environmentally friendly ethos, the 800m2 rink is powered with green energy.

Where: Royal Pavilion, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 1EE

When: 8th November 2014 to 18th January 2015

Cardiff Winter Wonderland 

Cardiff’s sombre but grand civic buildings form the backdrop for the city’s annual Winter Wonderland event. The outdoor ice rink is surrounded by attractions ranging from a vintage carousel and helter skelter, to a rink-side cafe offering all manner of winter treats.

Where: Cardiff Winter Wonderland, City Hall Lawn, Cardiff, CF10 3ND

When: 13th November 2014 to 4th January 2015

The Ice Factor

Billed as the largest outdoor ice rink in the north of England, York’s Ice Factor is now in its 10th year. The rink has a Christmas tree at its centre, and is surrounded by log cabins and an illuminated forest. Refreshments are provided in a heated alpine-style chalet, which serves everything from Glühwein to gingerbread men.

Where: York Designer Outlet, St. Nicholas Avenue, Fulford, York

When: 22nd November 2014 to 4th January 2015

Manchester Ice Rink

Manchester’s only outdoor ice rink is situated among the shining glass towers of the city’s dining and retail quarter in Hardman Square. The rink’s two on-site bars are complimented by a big screen showing Christmas films and music. There’s also a tepee featuring performances by orchestras and carol singers to get you in the festive mood.

Where: Spinningfields, Hardman Boulevard, Off Deansgate, Manchester

When: 8th November 2014 to 5th January 2015

Winchester Ice Rink

Winchester cathedral is one of the largest and most impressive in England. During the five weeks of the Christmas period, it becomes the backdrop for a quaint outdoor ice rink and accompanying Christmas market.

Where: 9 The Close, Winchester, Hampshire

When: 20th November 2014 to 4th January 2015


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