Skate through the holidays: the world's best seasonal ice rinks

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This winter, the world is your ice rink!  Here are a few of our favourite spots around the world (among many, many options) to get your skates on and glide into the holiday season.

Central Park, New York City

Recreate your favourite silver screen moments at the Wollman and Lasker rinks in New York City's Central Park, open daily (and most evenings) all winter long.

Skate hire and lessons available. Prices and opening hours: Wollman Rink, Lasker Rink.

Other places to ice-skate in New York City:

Slip on your skates at the Rockerfeller Center or at The Pond at Bryant Park (it's free!).

Tower of London, London

Skate back in time on the moat at this  World-Heritage listed London landmark. This fascinating site of historic skulduggery is open to skaters daily until January; skate hire and lessons available. Opening hours and prices.

Other places to ice-skate in London:

Carve up the ice at the Natural History Museum, Somerset House, the Canary Wharf Ice Rink, or at Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland.

Ice SkatingNight skating at Somerset House, London, by oatsy40. Creative Commons Attribution license.

Strasbourg Christmas Markets, France

Don your skates and glide by the fairy lights at the oldest Christmas markets in France. The markets, which have been running for over 400 years, surround Strasbourg's Gothic Cathédrale Notre Dame. Skate with this marvel of European architecture as a backdrop, then explore the culinary delights of the markets – where better to satisfy an après-skate appetite?

The ice rink is open daily, and most evenings. Further information.

Other places to ice-skate in France:

Carve it up with the Parisians. Skate for free in front of the beautiful neo-Renaissance Hôtel de Ville, or the startling Tour Montparnasse in Paris. (Skate hire available.)

Potsdamer Platz, Berlin

Immerse yourself in the neon-lit Winterwelt (winter world) in Potsdamer Platz for hours of festive fun. Take in the illuminated splendour of the Brandenburg Gate while busting moves on the ice-rink or go for the inner-city ride of your life on the snow-covered mobile toboggan run. There's even a ski carousel for the junior fun-seekers. And, of course, plenty of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine, from the surrounding Christmas markets, to keep you warm.

Other places to ice-skate in Germany:

Hit the ice outside Frankfurt's Opera House, where an outdoor ice rink circles a beautifully illuminated fountain, and pretty stalls offer treats at the annual Frankfurt Christmas Market.

Grouse Mountain, Vancouver

Get your skates on like an Olympian in Vancouver. Take the aerial tram to the top of Grouse Mountain for the best view of the city and surrounds, strap on your skates and hit the 8000 sq ft mountaintop Ice Skating Pond, or take a sleigh ride through the forest.

If you're travelling with junior skaters, take them along to meet reindeer at Santa's workshop. Opening hours and prices.

Other places to ice-skate in Canada:

Far away from the Olympics crowds, the Bonsecours Basin Skating Rink in the Old Port, Montréal is a popular spot to dance on ice – each night has a different music theme, including rock, retro and classical.  Opening hours and music schedule.

Ice skating tips:

  • Go with the flow – most rink skaters travel counterclockwise; travelling against the tide will end in tears
  • Try to fall sideways – there's more padding, and less risk of serious injury
  • If you do fall, tuck your fingers in so they aren't exposed to passing skates

Got a favourite holiday skating spot or a tip to share? Tell us about it!

Article originally published December 2009, updated December 2012.