We may not possess the ability to fly (yet) but gliding, hand in hand with loved ones on a bed of snow-white ice comes pretty close…
Remember those initial, terrifying steps as you walked (or for most, clutched the sides for dear life) onto a rink for the first time? Not so much Torvill and Dean, more Bambi on skates, layered up in thick winter woollies, two pairs of mittens, possibly helmets, kneepads and gum shields – ready to break your fall at any given moment. Hopefully we’ve all broken the ice since then (not literally), but even if you haven’t, now is the perfect time to get in some practise.
With outdoor ice rinks fast becoming a global, and rather magical phenomenon, we’ve picked out our ultimate top 5 destinations to get you inspired…
WOLLMAN RINK, NYC
When it comes to ice skating in NYC, it’s safe to say the city has tourists and residents completely spoiled for choice – but there’s one place in particular that encapsulates the magic of the New York skyline like no other: Central Park’s Wollman Rink. Imagine a crisp, winter night, a clear sky lit up by twinkling stars and there you have what is possibly the most romantic spot imaginable – it was after all the reconciling meeting ground for Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack in Serendipity (if you haven’t seen the film, this is your cue to buy the dvd now and start believing in love at first sight). All we need now is a ticket to the Big Apple and our very own Prince Charming…
RIDEAU CANAL SKATEWAY, OTTAWA
Presenting the world’s largest skating rink: Rideau Canal Skateway – a 7.8 kilometre trail of (heavily tested) frozen ice that equals in size to 90 Olympic rinks. Not only can you skate, walk or even sledge your way through the heart of Canada’s capital city, but there’s even an outdoor art gallery set up on the ice for all those who fancy a little cultural pause from all the energetic excitement. Oh and no trip would be complete (or so rumour has it) without sampling the local delicacy of a deep-fried ‘Beaver Tail’ – a.k.a a delicious doughnut style pastry… We’re sold!
EIFFEL TOWER, PARIS
Yes it’s true – you can actually skate within the very heart of one of the world’s most incredible (and romantic) monuments. Situated 188 feet above the ground, visitors will find themselves quite literally skating in the sky, making for breathtaking views over the city of love and fashion. Cue an amazing outfit then; we’re thinking faux-fur, ladylike gloves, a Frenchified beret (yes cliché, mais pourquoi pas?) and altogether, channelling Parisian insouciance while practising our figure of eights… Parfait.
PRINCES STREET GARDENS, EDINBURGH
Walk the alleys and cobbles of Edinburgh and you already feel like you’re tracing the steps of Hogwarts’ finest – but add to that a picturesque ice rink against an enchanting skyline and the sense of magic really does seem to take its hold. Set within the city’s Winter Wonderland, visitors can not only skate to their heart’s content but also get their festive thrills on the Big Edinburgh Wheel, riding the rollercoasters and carousels within the fairground and even take a trip on the Santa Express. Someone pass us a wand and quick so we can zap ourselves there now!
SOMERSET HOUSE, LONDON
Our list wouldn’t be complete without London’s very own offering at Somerset House. Home to our beloved Fashion Week twice a year, the courtyard transforms into an icy haven come winter, allowing visitors to skate within the confines of the beautiful 18th century backdrop. This year sees the opening of the Christmas Arcade, which means you can squeeze in a spot of Christmas shopping pre or post skate, and make sure you check out the hot pudding counter too located in the East Wing, it’s the perfect excuse for some sweet tooth satisfaction. And if all that wasn’t enough – the rink turns into a club once the sun goes down!