Is there anything more festive than wrapping yourself in winter warmers, grabbing some friends and heading to one of London’s many open-air ice rinks? Whether you’re the next Torvill and Dean, or more like Bambi on ice, there’s no denying that there’s something very magical about gliding (or shuffling) along in the crisp winter air. If you’re in the capital for a skate this season, here are our favourite rinks.
South Building, Strand, WC2R 1LA
18 November – 10 January
Set in arguably one of London’s most impressive locations, Skate at Somerset House gets top marks for aesthetic value; but we’d expect nothing less from a rink in partnership with Fortnum and Mason! Set in the spectacular Somerset House courtyard, guests can glide across the 900-square metre rink under the glow of the House right through to midnight. The fun then continues with some top-notch après-skate either at Fortnum’s Lodge or the Skate Lounge, which serve everything from tipsy hot chocolates to mulled cider. Still finding your ice-legs? Take advantage of the Skate School and Polar Cub Club and you’ll be skimming along in no time!
Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road, SW7 5BD
29 October – 3 January
If Christmas to you is all about sparkle, the Swarovski Ice Rink at the Natural History Museum should have the glitz you’re hoping for. Set against the majestic backdrop of the museum itself and framed by fairy light-coated trees, this makes for a seriously magical spot to get your skates on. The main 1,000-square metre rink adjoins a smaller rink for those in need of some practising space, and the Café Bar makes for a perfect refuel spot with hot beverages and snacks.
London Eye, Jubilee Gardens, South Bank, SE1 7PB
14 November – 3 January
If you’re looking for a central skate spot then you don’t get much more central than this! Situated at the foot of the London Eye, this annual addition to the South Bank returns this year bigger than ever before. Guests can purchase combined packages to experience both the wheel and rink together, or can just choose to skate beneath the watchful Eye.
Canary Wharf Ice Rink
Montgomery Street, E14 5AB
31 October – 27 February
Canary Wharf may be populated with suits and briefcases for the majority of the year, but come Christmas, London’s business district becomes a hot spot for festive activities. Nestled within the high-rise buildings, this glistening ice rink features London’s only ‘skate path’ which visitors can glide down under a trail of twinkly trees. Need a post-skate warm up? The neighbouring Tasting Room offers artisan tasting and sharing menus galore – think charcuterie, cheese fondues and winter cocktails!
Hyde Park, W2 2UH
20 November – 3 January
Set in debatably the most Christmassy corner of the capital, the Winter Wonderland ice rink claims to be the biggest (and most magical) in London. Wrapped around Hyde Park’s beautiful Victorian bandstand and illuminated by more than 100,000 lights, it’s enough to put anyone in a festive mood. Plus, if you need to refuel after the ice, the park has no shortage of bars and eateries for all your beverage and bratwurst needs!
Are you planning to go ice skating this year? If you have any other favourite London rinks let us know in the comments!