Chic skate: The UK's best outdoor ice rinks

If you're going to get cold feet this Christmas, you might as well do it in style.

Whether you're hoping to tap into a bit of culture and music or you're simply going for the après-skate food and drink, we've rounded up the best open-air seasonal skating spots around the UK to keep your feet busy this winter...

The Ice Factor at Winter Wonderland, Yorkshire

york

With a giant Christmas tree at the centre and an illuminated forest surrounding it, head to York to take a spin on north England largest ice rink. Prefer to stay seated? Stay warm on the viewing platform or log cabins, or grab a drink in an alpine-themed chalet - blankets provided. 

21 November to 3 January; York Designer Outlet, St. Nicholas Avenue, Fulford, York, YO19 4TA

Alexandra Gardens, Windsor

Now in its sixth year, a visit to the covered main rink and outside skating track at Windsor's Alexandra Gardens may also mean a chance to have a photo taken with Santa. If skating isn't your thing, watch the littles ones from the viewing area or pay a visit to the ice bar serving hot drinks (including mulled wine and cider), cakes and pastries, candy floss, German beer and sausages and, of course, mince pies. 

28 November to 3 January; Alexandra Gardens, Barry Avenue, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 3HY

Somerset House, London

somerset house

A club night on ice, you say? Count us in, especially if it's taking place in the fountain court of the stunning Somerset House. The rink will host exclusive Club Nights this year featuring international DJs as well as a Jazz Night in partnership with the EFG London Jazz Festival. If you need to brush up on your skills, get a lesson from the Skate School - or simply sit on the sidelines with a cocktail, wine & fondue for two or a special extra package involving champagne & chocolate truffles or smoked salmon blinis.

18 November to 10 January; Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA

Ski Slope & Ice Rink, Bracknell

Head to a Winter Wonderland family skate or participate in a Snow Cannon party (which if it's anything like it sounds can only be fun) or leave it to the pros and book tickets for this year's pantomime, Cinderella on Ice, with performances from Wednesday 9th through to Sunday 13th December.

Open year round; John Nike Leisuresport Complex, John Nike Way, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 8TN

National History Museum, London

national history museum

The cultural option may also be the most magical one this winter thanks to the Swarovski ice rink, set with the backdrop of Hintze Hall at the National History Museum and surrounded by fairy lights and frost-covered trees. Treat yourself to mulled wine and toasted marshmallows at the new café bar and balcony, or opt for a special cream tea or champagne skate offer.

29 October to 3 January; The Natural History Museum Cromwell Road London SW7 5BD

Tower of London Ice Rink

Skate under the stars with one of the most impressive historical backdrops at a Tower of London evening session, or head to the ice rink simply for the menu at the ice bar and café - we're already dreaming of the macaroni cheese pot and boozy hot chocolate...

20 November to 3 January; Tower of London, London EC3N 4AB

Hampton Court Palace, Richmond

hampton court palace

If you need to learn to skate, what better place to do it than in front of King Henry VIII’s palace, on the banks of the Thames? This year the Hampton Court Palace ice rink, which turns 500, is offering a six week "Learn to Skate" course. Already a pro? Strap on a pair of skates and see the Tudor palace lit up after dark. 

20 November to 3 January; Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU

Ice Rink at Castle Park, Colchester

New for 2015, glide (or stumble) around Colchester's ice rink in the iconic Castle Park then check out the fairground, winter choir and market at the new Winter Wonderland. Rumour has it Santa may have even set up his grotto on the ice...

27 November to 3 January; Colchester Winter Wonderland & Ice Rink, Unit 6 Edwards Park, Grange Way, Colchester CO2 8FZ

Broadgate Ice Rink, London

broadgate

The longest running ice rink in London is also the best option for foodies, with Broadgate Circle set to transform into a winter terrace thanks to the tempting restaurants that surround it. Wrap up in a sheepskin rug by an outdoor heater after your jaunt around the ice at one of the circle's eleven restaurants, including Shoryu Ramen, Yauatcha City or Jose Pizarro, all of which are offerings hot toddies and winter dishes. Post-skate Spanish tapas and rioja feast, anyone?

16 November to 25 February; Broadgate Ice Rink, Exchange Square, London EC2A 2BQ

Skating at the Centre for Life, Newcastle

If you're looking for family-friendly festive fun, head to Newcastle's Centre for Life ice rink which offers an optional educational twist - take the troup to the Science Centre after your skate to take a turn on a 4D Motion Ride, plot a journey through the stars at the planetarium or watch a live show in the Science Theatre. 

14 November to 21 February; Centre for Life, Times Square, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4EP 

Canary Wharf Ice Rink, London

canary wharf

You may think the tall towers of Canary Wharf are the last place to get you in the festive spirit, but with Christmas tunes blasting, fairy lights surrounding, wintery cocktails and craft beer flowing, the ice rink at Canada Square Park, which features a skate path along a lit trail, is pure holiday magic.

31 October to 27 February; Canada Square Park, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AB

By Alison Millington