Looking for a new hobby? Here’s why ice skating is the best thing ever

Catch me at the 2022 Winter Olympics

Last November, I was invited to go ice skating at the Edinburgh Christmas market with a group of friends. Expecting it to be nothing more than a nice Christmassy activity where we would skate for maybe 15 minutes and then get some boozy hot chocolate from the on-site bar, I made my way down to St Andrew's Square, put on a pair of blunt rental skates and stumbled onto the ice.

Little did I know, I would actually end up having the time of my life.

After almost three hours of flying round the rink (minus stacking it more than a handful of times), I felt like the new Tonya Harding, with a butt and legs of steel. I couldn't remember the last time I had had that much fun – and whilst doing exercise, of all things.

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As cheesy as it sounds, I felt like I had discovered some hidden gem. How was it actually possible that I, a person who counts walking 15 minutes to uni as daily exercise, could be enjoying myself this much, even after three hours?

If you're anything like me, hobbies don't play much of a role in your life, unless you count editing Instagram photos or sleeping. But I felt like skating was something I could really begin to enjoy as a regular activity. So after a quick google of other rinks in Edinburgh, I came across the Murrayfield Ice Rink, and have been taking weekly figure skating lessons ever since.

What on earth is Murrayfield?

Located only a mere 30 minute bus ride from central Edinburgh is the Murrayfield Ice Rink. Just take the number 31 bus from Princes Street, and you'll find yourself pretty much right outside the building.

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That retro aesthetic tho

They offer open skate sessions every day of the week, with a student deal on Wednesdays where you can have two hours on the ice at only £5. An absolute bargain if you ask me, considering that the Christmas market rink was £6.40 per hour. Don't judge me for spending 20 quid on skating that one time – it was worth it, alright?

And what's so good about this place?

The rink is quite large and well lit, and on less busy days you get lots of space to practice. They also offer a hiring service where you can grab some skates if you don't have your own for less than £2. And probably most importantly, there's a cafe!

Built in the late 1930s, and with decor that reminds me of an 80s romcom, the building itself has a lot of character. Walking down the main corridor to the skate hire desk feels like you're on the set of Stranger Things or something. It's honestly pretty cool.

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Dim the lights and I'd expect a Demogorgon to jump out at any second ngl

Why should I give skating a go?

What makes skating at Murrayfield so good is the fact that they offer lessons on a Sunday morning, where everyone from beginner to semi-pro can come along and be taught by professionals for an hour. I've really enjoyed these sessions because they are easy to follow and the coaches are patient and friendly.

You basically show up on a Sunday at 12pm, rent your skates, and then get assigned to a group depending on your skill or ice skating history. It's super straightforward and no-stress. If you manage to move up a group, they also give you an official "UK Learn To Skate" certificate, which is a cool flex.

Ice skating, from what I've discovered, is also a really fun form of exercise. You hardly feel like you're working out until you get off the ice and your legs are burning. Remarkably, you burn between 300-600 calories per hour, depending on height and weight of course.

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Cuttin' shapes

Not only that, it's also pretty sociable and a good excuse to get out of halls or take a break from uni. Going with a group of friends is always a laugh because you can make fun of each other if someone (me) falls on their face.

Skating could also be a really good way to break the ice on a first date. Get it, break the ice? I was going to finish off with another great ice pun but it just slipped my mind…