Skates on! Local ice rinks in Devon and beyond
We're heading into the season of slip-sliding and wall-grabbing, so whether you're a skate queen or just here for the mulled wine, here's where to channel your inner Torvill and Dean.
Winter Wonderland, Northernhay Gardens, Exeter, 17 Nov – 2 January 2022, 11am – 10pm (except Christmas Day only)
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!
Christmas Village, Tarka Tennis Centre, Barnstaple, North Devon, Fri 19 Nov – Sun 2 Jan, 10am – 9pm (except Christmas Day)
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.
Plymouth Pavilions Ice Rink, Millbay Road, Plymouth, open daily except Christmas Day
The south-west’s only permanent ice venue is housed in Plymouth’s huge concert venue, with a spacious rink and a host of of family-friendly sessions, including Ice Disco, Family Fun and Chilly Tots. If your little ‘un is still finding their feet, for a fiver you can hire a polar-themed little helper, including seals, penguins and polar bears. And should your skates be a bit rusty, the bears are fine for anyone over 1.4m. (Not judging, just saying.)
JUST OVER THE BORDER
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.
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.
Winter Ice Rink, The Eden Project, Cornwall, until Feb
Cornwall’s only ice rink sets up every winter at The Eden Project, and 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).
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, Richmond, 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?