Top 10 Best outdoor ice skating rinks – Ice Skating is a great seasonal activity, especially for couples and families. One of the oldest and most popular recreational activities, outdoor skating gives you a chance to have some fun in the crisp winter air. Here is our Top 10 of the best outdoor ice skating rinks in the world specially chosen for their spectacular backdrops and magical atmospheres. Don’t worry about making a fool out of yourself – most outdoor ice skating rinks welcome everyone from beginners to experts!
1. Somerset House, London
Skate in the heart of London in this prestigious skating venue. This 18th century neoclassical home turned popular music/art venue offers an impressive backdrop and is illuminated at night by a 40ft Tiffany Christmas tree.
- Ice Rink opens from November 2011 – January 2012
- For more information about ice skating at Somerset House
2. Rockefeller Center, New York
Photo: Bob Jagendorf
The Rockefeller Center is a world-famous and iconic skating venue featured in many classic movies. Skate New York style underneath towering skyscrapers, hundreds of twinkling lights and a gigantic Christmas tree.
- Ice Rink opens from 8th October 2011 – April 2012
- For more information on ice skating at the Rockefeller Center
3. Hampton Court, Greater London
Hampton Court Palace is a beautiful and historical tourist attraction and this time of year it’s also home to a romantic outdoor ice skating rink. Skate right outside Henry VIII’s favourite royal hangout and take advantage of the spiced mulled wine on offer.
- Ice Rink opens from 26th November 2011 – 8th January 2012
- For more information on ice skating at Hampton Court Palace
4. Yosemite National Park, USA
Skate in the shadows of the mighty Half Dome and El Capitan in one of the most beautiful national parks in the world. Ice skating has been a winter tradition in Yosemite since the 1930s and the park offers one of the most beautiful outdoor ice skating rink backgrounds in the world.
- Ice skating rink is open from mid-November 2011 until early March 2012
- For more information on ice skating in Yosemite National Park
5. Berlin, Germany
Berlin‘s important public square Potsdamer Platz is turned into a winter wonderland this time of year. Visitors can choose from a 40m long ice rink, an Alpine ski hut, a 70m ski slope and a wide range of competitions to enter. Another highlight is having the chance to slide down a long slope on a huge rubber tyre.
- Opens from early 29th October 2011 to 1st January 2012
- For more information on ice skating in Winter Welt Berlin
6. Eiffel Tower, Paris
Enjoy the beautiful views of Paris while skating on this unique small but perfectly formed ice rink. The ice skating rink is located on the first floor observation deck of the famous French landmark – lodged between two of the tower’s massive steel legs. Up to 80 skaters at a time can enjoy this unusual skating experience but vertigo sufferers might want to give this one a miss!
- Opens from December 2011 to February 2012
- For more information on skating at the Eiffel Tower
7. Vienna, Austria
Photo: Olivier Bruchez
This large outdoor ice rink is located right underneath the beautiful illuminated Rathaus (town hall). Make sure you also take advantage of the nearby stalls offering hot drinks and snacks. A great choice if you like your skating venue to be picturesque and atmospheric.
- Opens from end of January 2011 to early March 2012
- For more information on ice skating in Vienna
8. Helsinki, Finland
Photo: Andy Crowe
Helsinki offers skaters real snow and very cold temperatures. Ice skating is taken pretty seriously in Finland and the outdoor ice rink in the capital’s main square is spacious and can have a lively atmosphere.
- The ice rink is open from November 2011 to mid March 2012
- For more information on ice skating in Helsinki
9. Toronto, Canada
Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto is a popular public gathering place located in front of the City Hall. During the winter here you can also skate on a super-sized rink. Also check out the pretty light display in the evening.
- The ice rink is open from end November 2011 to mid March 2012
- For more information on skating in Toronto
10. Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark
Tivoli Gardens is a world famous attraction in the centre of this stylish Danish city. A picturesque ice rink located on a pretty lake opens here for the seasonal holidays. Illuminated trees and fantastic scenery makes for an incredible skating experience.
- Open from November 2011 to December 2012
- For more information on ice skating on Tivoli Gardens