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Winter Ice Skating in Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland

Traditional outdoor winter ice skating has soared in popularity in recent years, both amongst children and families, those just wanting to have a go on the ice and, of course, the serious skaters. Each year, special outdoor rinks are installed in various locations throughout Scotland to indulge one’s skating passion.

Winterfest Edinburgh

Winterfest in Edinburgh

Like England and Wales, some excellent outdoor skating venues can be found in Scotland, with two of the largest rinks in Glasgow and Edinburgh. They only exist for a few months each year, and can be a magical experience, especially on a dark winter evening. Here’s the lowdown on where to find them and what you can expect.

Christmas Carousel in Edinburgh

Christmas Carousel in Edinburgh

Glasgow on Ice

Glasgow Christmas Lights

Glasgow Christmas Lights

The outdoor ice rink in the Scottish city of Glasgow can be found in the centre of George Square and is part of the Glasgow on ice programme.

Easily accessible via public services, the outdoor rink is flanked by a large Christmas tree with sparkling Christmas lights, all providing a very festive atmosphere. The ice skating rink  is open each year from mid-November until early January, and it’s open daily from 10am-10pm, with ice skating sessions lasting for an hour. There’s even a twice-weekly special session for parents and toddlers.

In addition, Winterfest has a number of other events and attractions running simultaneous to ice skating, which is ideal for those who haven’t yet caught the skating bug. If you head to the nearby Big Stage, there are live events, such as theatre, bands and carol singing, plus lots of places to relax and enjoy a bite to eat or a warming drink.

Winter Wonderland

Edinburgh christmas

Edinburgh christmas

In  Edinburgh, you’ll not only find a haven for outdoor skating enthusiasts, but also one of Europe’s largest outdoor ice rinks, The Winter Wonderland Ice Rink. in East Princes Street Garden in Edinburgh, this winter ice rink opens in late November each year and runs until early January. The rink offers a thoroughly picturesque location to enjoy outdoor ice skating as it is set amidst the gardens and some of Edinburgh’s iconic buildings in the background. Ice skates can be hired or, if you bring your own.

The ice rink is not the only special attraction at this time of year, as there are various other seasonal specials to enjoy. One of these is the unusual sounding Bungydome, which is a large dome in which you can jump up and down, spin around and upside down. It’s perfect for letting off steam, or warming yourself from the cold, wintery weather.

Nearby, you’ll find traditional seasonal favourites too, such as the Christmas carousel, a helter skelter, and children’s funfair rides.

If its skating in Scotland you’re after, Glasgow on Ice and Edinburgh’s  Winter Wonderland are the venues for you!

Written by Rachel Newcombe for


Saturday 2nd of January 2010

Sorry not to have included details of the children's skating sessions, Sheila. If you click through to both the links in the piece, you should be able to find details.

Sheila Kennedy

Saturday 2nd of January 2010

I would really like to know when the children's skating sessions are. I wonder why you didn't think to include hem in your piece?

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