What’s rock-hard, cold and shiny…?
No, it’s not that massive diamond ring I’m hoping for in my stocking this year, it’s actually the surface upon which my butt will be spending most of the evening next weekend – the ice rink at Somerset House’s Skate event in London.
We are of the firm opinion that if you’re going to do something, do it properly – and in style. So despite the multiple bruisings that I have no doubt will occur, ice-skating at this iconic London venue is a must-do event at this time of year and man do they put on a damn good show!
So, in the festive spirit of all things iconic, unforgettable and icy, let us whisk you away for a moment to enjoy the sights of some of the world’s best ice rinks… Enjoy!
1. Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Canada
Snow-capped Canadian Rockies, the massive Victoria Glacier and an ice-castle designed by the chefs at The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise… this is some seriously scenic skating. If you thought Lake Louise was gorgeous in the summer, it’s totally drop-dead divine in the winter. If you happen to be in Canada any time soon, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is too beautiful to miss.
2. Somerset House, London
Somerset House needs no introduction, but for those that don’t get the hype, here’s the pitch: during the day, skate in the courtyard of a neoclassical London institution, taking in the stunning architecture and history. At night, you can pull some serious shapes to the likes of the world-famous Ministry of Sound DJs… oh, did I mention Fortnum & Mason are hosting a Lodge where you can indulge in Cream Tea 0r go the Aprés-Ski style with champagne and/or cocktails? Yep, that’s right.
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3. Le Grand Palais des Glaces, Paris
Another iconic site but this time across the channel, in the city of Paris. You can skate underneath the stars and hopefully not crash into anyone as you marvel at the beautiful glass. It’s open until 2am and has a ‘crazy atmosphere’. Think nightclub, on ice, in a world famous glass palace – très chic.
4. Red Square, Moscow
How many people do you reckon are re-enacting Swan Lake on ice? The ice rink on Moscow’s Red Square has just opened this week, and is open until this spring. With a live orchestra, colourful domes of St Basil’s Cathedral and the glorious lights framing the Kremlin, this is one ice rink you won’t ever forget. My thoughts are with the chap that has to deal with that electricity bill… eek!
5. Lac de Joux, Switzerland
Elegantly natural… You know those times when you just really fancy popping over to Switzerland and ice-skating on the largest expanse of naturally frozen water in the Jura Region? Hello.
6. Vienna Ice Dream, Vienna, Austria
Vienna Ice Dream, or if your Austrian is up to scratch Wiener Eistraum. Situated in front of Vienna’s city hall (or Rathausen), this rink extraordinaire hosts a series of looping ice tracks off of the main rink, circling you around the trees and back into the fun! You can skate up to one of the rink-side booths and grab yourself a typical Austrian glühwein, which tastes totally wunderbar. (Sorry – I’ll stop now).
7. Curry Village Ice Rink, Yosemite National Park, USA
Curry Village… my immediate thoughts of course gravitate around crispy samosas and warm dahl, but no. More like s’mores man! People have been ice-skating here since the 1930s and quite right too – tucked beneath the shadow of Half Dome and Glacier Point you can cosy-on-up around the outdoor fire ring with a hot choc. Absolute heaven.
8. Ice Hockey Rink in Leh Ladakh, India
A spot of skating in the Indian Himalayas anyone? Not so much an ice rink but more of an ice pond, Leh’s rink is primarily used by the local ice-hockey aficionados. It also sits just below Spituk, which is an 1000 year old Buddhist monastery. Very cool.
9. Rideau Canal Skateway, Ottowa, Canada
The Rideau Canal Skateway has a surface area the equivalent of 90 Olympic sized ice rinks and is the world’s longest naturally frozen skating rink – reaching 7.8km long (4.8 miles). Again, this is another UNESCO World Heritage site and is a pretty impressive thing to behold! I like to imagine that the commuters of Ottowa are using it to their full advantage!
10. Hotel del Coronado, San Diego, USA
That’s right – ice skating by the Pacific Ocean… in California! Who would have thought? No need for seasonal scarves and Christmas woollies at a balmy average temperature of 16ºC. I’ll be the one lying on the ice, casually cooling off with a mojito in hand.
11. Dubai Ice Rink, UAE
When you think if Dubai you might think of glamorous hotels, piercing hot sun and glorious beaches – and you would be right! But add an ice rink into the mix, throw in the region’s premiere shopping mall, and you get this little beauty. I quite like the idea of going for a spin on an Olympic-sized ice rink and then popping off to do my Christmas shopping… race you to Chanel!
12. Frozen Mills of Kinderdijk, the Netherlands
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site to add to our list, Kinderdijk is a small Dutch town just 15 km East of Rotterdam and is well worth a visit. Kinderdijk is home to 19 authentic windmills, dating back to the 1500s. You can get your skates on and go for a meander with the locals up and down the frozen canals. Perfecte.
13. The Rockefeller Centre, New York
Last but definitely not least…
Home to NYC’s most famous Christmas tree, the Rink at The Rockefeller Centre is nestled neatly under the towering sky scrapers of New York. The Rink itself is relatively small compared to some of the other nominees on this list, (it being a maximum capacity of 150 persons). That being said, we all know good things come in small packages and this giant of the international ice rink scene (if there is such a thing) is without a doubt one of the coolest places to skate in New York City.
This list was created for you by Lucy Turner, Flash Pack Travel Expert