Winter is on its way, but the good news is that winter in Britain brings with it many highlights. Most notably, the many ice skating rinks which pop up all over the country. Regardless of skating ability, visitors keen to get out on the ice will find plenty of options. Here are just five of the best rinks across the UK:
Spinningfields Ice Rink, Manchester
Manchester’s popular ice skating rink in Hardman Square is back this year. Slap-bang in the heart of the Spinningfields complex, the rink is a mere stone’s throw from many Manchester hotels, restaurants and shops. This is the perfect place to stop for a break during a day out sightseeing or Christmas shopping. Afterwards you can have a rest on the Chesterfield sofas in The Moose Bar, this year’s new pop up Canadian-style log cabin, and compare techniques over a mulled wine or hot chocolate.
Glasgow On Ice, Glasgow
From 26 November to 3 December the regal George Square, in the heart of Glasgow, is transformed into a festive ice-skating rink. There are skating opportunities for all levels, including Silver Skate sessions for over 60s (which include tea and mince pies), and Penguin sessions for parents with small children. As well as the ice skating rink there are funfair rides, a rink-side café and regular outdoor movie screenings showing popular festive films.
Skate at Somerset House, London
London has many great ice skating rinks, yet the most stunning is surely the one held every year in Somerset House. Sponsored by Tiffany & Co, this beautifully decked-out skate rink plays host to a whole range of different events. As well as various skate sessions for different ages and levels, there are story-telling events for children, and Saturday afternoons play host to live ice-dance displays. After taking to the ice, visitors can relax with a mulled wine or cup of tea in the Skate Lounge, browse bespoke confectionary in The Tiffany Shop or even stop in for a full dinner at Tom’s Kitchen.
Winchester Cathedral Ice Rink, Hampshire
From November 26 people can go skating beneath the gothic exterior of Winchester Cathedral. The inner close of the Cathedral will be turned into a festive haven, with an outdoor ice skating rink and a traditional German-style Christmas market, selling gifts, decorations and food. The Cathedral is right in the centre of town, conveniently close to hotels and public transport. Visitors can perfect their skating skills on the ice before warming up with some mulled wine and bratwurst from the market stalls.
Eden Project Ice Rink, Cornwall
The world’s biggest greenhouse becomes a winter wonderland from 31 October, with an ice skating rink installed beside its massive biomes. With its outdoor rink surrounded by lush greenery and light displays, the Eden Project is a magical place to skate. There are time slots for parents and toddlers; Chilly Penguin sessions for 6-12 year olds, with games and races; Superskate sessions for experienced skaters who want to pick up some speed; and skating lessons for those who want to hone their skills on the ice.
Image: Somerset House by Pedro Figueiredo