The world's best Christmas ice rinks

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In the depths of winter, nothing beats a few laps around a picturesque ice rink, whether you're a Bambi-legged beginner or an expert harbouring ambitions for Dancing on Ice. The good news is that the following ice rinks are so spectacular, if you do end up falling flat on your face, your fellow skaters will be too wowed by the beautiful setting to notice:

  • The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden ice rink, Washington DC

    The National Gallery of Art is one of Washington DC's most spectacular buildings, and the seasonal ice rink, which opens from November until March, is equally impressive. Enthusiastic ice skaters can sign up for lessons with members of the US figure skating team and there is a state-of-the-art sound system.

  • Spinningfields ice rink, Manchester

    Spinningfields is Manchester's only city centre ice rink, and the perfect place for budding Jayne Torvills. There are two bars next to the ice rink - although personally we'd suggest alcohol and ice skates don't mix - and various themed events, like Skate and Date. In the run up to Christmas, visitors are even able to take a spin on the ice with Santa himself.

  • Hotel Taschenbergpalais Kempinski ice rink, Dresden

    This ice rink opened on 23 November and will be in place until 2 February. It's one of Europe's most beautiful skating spots, located within the inner courtyard of the historic Hotel Taschenbergpalais Kempinski and just a few metres from the Semper Opera House. After a spin on the ice, stop off at the rink-side hut for a crêpe and a glass of mulled wine.

  • Westfield London ice rink

    There's something for everyone at this enormous indoor rink, which, until 5 January, can be found in the shopping centre's rather Christmassy atrium. Mondays and Tuesdays are Christmas jumper nights, Wednesdays are date nights and Thursdays and Fridays are disco nights. It's one of London's busiest ice rinks, so it's worth reserving tickets online.

  • Bath on Ice

    Bath on Ice is an annual winter festival which takes place from 22 November to 5 January, and this year, the pièce de résistance is the ice rink, which is located just a short distance from the Royal Crescent and the town's main shopping streets. There will be a café serving roast chestnuts and mince pieces, and the ice rink remains open until 9pm every evening.

  • Rideau canal, Ottawa

    Ice rinks are all well and good, but for something completely different, head to the Rideau Canal which becomes Canada's coolest commute during winter months. From late December until February (weather permitting) a five-mile stretch is opened to skaters, who can hop on and off at various exit and entry points along the route. Thousands of skaters use the canal to get to and from work every day, and the cosy huts dotted along the banks of the frozen river are the perfect place to try out some traditional Canadian cuisine, such as beaver tails, which are slabs of dough topped with chocolate.

  • Magical Maastricht Vrijthof ice rink, Maastricht

    This Dutch ice rink covers 800 square metres and is located in one of the city's oldest squares. It's the highlight of a huge winter wonderland which also includes a Ferris wheel and a Christmas market.

  • Rockefeller ice rink, New York

    No Christmas trip to New York would be complete without a few laps of the iconic ice rink at the Rockefeller Centre. This year, visitors who purchase premium tickets get access to the ice rink's igloo, where they'll find "ice skate concierges," cookies and hot drinks, and visitors planning on popping the question as they glide around the ice can even purchase engagement packages.

  • Skate, Somerset House, London

    When the mercury drops, London's beautiful people head to this ice rink in the centre of London. This year's ice rink is sponsored by luxury handbag designer Coach - look out for the Coach Christmas tree in the centre of the rink - and there are regular club nights, which see some of the UK's top DJs take to the decks alongside the rink.

  • Eden Project ice rink, Cornwall

    Come winter, one of Eden Project's famous biomes is also the location of one of the UK's most festive ice rinks, where skaters can glide around the rink under the glow of twinkling fairy lights strung from the branches of surrounding trees. There are ice disco sessions on Friday nights and younger visitors can learn the ropes by signing up for one of the regular rookie sessions.

  • Skate, Tower of London

    The Tower of London's ice rink is located within the fortress' battlements and inside the moat. It remains open until 5 January and when darkness falls, the rink is beautifully illuminated. Groups of 15 people or more can request the services of an ice guide, who will escort skaters around the rink.

  • Grouse Mountain ice rink, British Columbia

    The Grouse Mountain rink must rank as the world's most breathtaking skating venue. The 743-square-metre natural rink is the only skating pond on the West Coast. It is located atop Grouse Mountain, high above the city of Vancouver. A reindeer pen and pond-side fire pit up the cosiness factor, and the views over the city are sensational.

  • Eyeskate at London Eye

    Eyeskate, the ice rink beneath the London Eye, runs from 27 November - 5 January. It's one of London's newest ice rinks - it celebrates its third birthday this year. Eyeskate forms part of the Frostival, the London Eye's winter festival, and visitors can also sign up for ice carving lessons or hop into one of the London Eye's winter-themed pods.

  • Hyde Park Winter Wonderland ice rink, London

    100,000 lights illuminate the ice rink at Hyde Park, which is constructed around a Victorian bandstand and is one of London's oldest ice rinks. Afterwards, visitors can look around Hyde Park's Christmas market or take a spin on the Ferris wheel.

  • Peninsula Hotel ice rink, Shanghai

    The Peninsula Hotel's ice rink is the only one to be found in Shanghai this Christmas. The 200-square-metre rink, which opened on 20 November, is in a prime location - right beside the hotel on Shanghai's Bund.

  • Hotel del Coronado ice rink, California

    This beachfront ice rink celebrates its ninth birthday this year, and can be found within the gardens of San Diego's Hotel del Coronado. Visitors can fly around the rink while taking in the views over the Pacific ocean, just metres from the golden sands of one of San Diego's best beaches.

  • Hôtel de Ville ice rink, Paris

    This is Paris' most popular ice rink, and with the backdrop of the city hall, it's not hard to see why. In addition to the main 1,365-square-metre rink, there's a smaller one for children, and trained instructors are on hand to offer skaters expert advice. Double axel anyone?

  • Mexico City ice rink

    Although the ice rink at Mexico City might not look particularly spectacular, it's worthy of inclusion simply because it's an ice rink. In Mexico City. The 3,080-square metre space is the brainchild of Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, who has also challenged the Guinness Book of Records to disprove his claim that it's the world's largest ice rink. They haven't. It cost £1 million to build and can be found in the city's main square.

  • The Venetian Las Vegas ice rink

    It's hardly surprising that the ice rink at Las Vegas' Venetian hotel is a little bit different to your average expanse of frozen water. In fact there's not actually any frozen water in sight, because this year, the hotel unveiled its first synthetic ice rink, which is made from polymer and requires no refrigeration.

  • Ice Factor, York Designer Outlet

    The ice rink at York Designer Outlet has recently been ranked as one of the UK's best by a string of travel publications. Why? To start with, it's the largest one in the North of England, and the Christmas tree in the centre is breathtaking. The fun doesn't stop once you step off the ice either, because the rink is surrounded by cool cafés and fragrant pine trees.

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