Ice skating in London
Glide with the greatest of ease around the capital's outdoor ice rinks this winter
Wed Oct 15 2014
Whether you dance on ice like Christopher Dean or simply scramble around like Bambi, the capital's outdoor ice rinks are some of the most magical locations you'll see all season. With fairy lights and Christmas trees set to the backdrop of London's stunning institutions, a trip to an ice rink is a must-do for the views alone. Keep an eye on this page for the latest London ice rink info for winter 2014.
Get your skates on: London's outdoor ice rinks
This institution of winter outings relocated to Exchange Square last year (after 27 years of being in the middle of Broadgate shopping centre), and liked their new home so much they've stuck with it for 2014. The outdoor rink will be complemented by a pop-up bar, The Tasting Rooms, which will serve cocktails, craft beer and winter warmers, with an outdoor terrace from which to admire the icy action.
Canary Wharf’s soaring towers give this outdoor ice rink an imposing backdrop, and some exciting extras help it to keep up with its extravagant surroundings. An iced path allows skaters to dash off from the main rink and glide below sparkling trees around the square's 'Big Blue' sculpture, which was designed by Ron Arad. The team behind Camden restaurant Q Grill will be serving up the sustenance at Q on Ice, with barbecue food, wintry cocktails, craft beer and hot chocolate on the menu.
The open-air Eyeskate rink is situated in Jubilee Gardens, in the shadow of the London Eye. You don't need to book a flight on the Eye in order to skate but various packages are on offer for those who wish to do so. Sessions last 45 minutes. Under-8s must be accompanied on the ice by an adult. Booking recommended.
Henry VIII's sixteenth-century pad makes a mighty picturesque backdrop for this 900-metre-square outdoor rink, especially when lit up after dark. Those who aren't too confident on skates can hire an ice guide, and younger visitors can book skate lessons in advance. Any unsteady nerves can be soothed with a mulled wine from the Ice Bar and Café, so there's no reason not to wrap up warm and take a turn on the ice in this regal back yard. Find more places to go ice skating in London
Hyde Park gets glammed up once again with its sparkly, annual Christmassy additions. The central London park will be kitted out with rides and attractions, including a Giant Observation Wheel and two circuses – 'Christmas Circus' and 'Cirque Berserk' – from the family-friendly Zippos Circus. Plus Winter Wonderland's ice rink, which is the biggest outdoor rink in the UK, surrounds the Victorian bandstand and is illuminated with more than 100,000 lights.
Vauxhall's getting its own festive playground this year as its Pleasure Gardens gain a 600-square-metre outdoor ice rink, a craft market, a cabin bar, food stalls, street performers and a sparkly Christmas tree maze (ticketed separately). Ice skating sessions last 45 minutes and ticket prices include skate hire. Those who don't like to leave the house unless food is involved will be pleased to hear that the Vauxhall Skate Brunch will be served from an on-site routemaster bus every weekend between 10am and 1pm. Booking recommended.
Wembley Stadium's iconic arch will look a whole lot prettier as it glitters away above this new 600-square-metre outdoor ice rink that neighbours the London Designer Outlet Centre. A German Christmas market will also pop up for the festive season, and every skater gets a voucher for a free hot chocolate after their session.
West Hampstead's Jewish arts, culture and community centre gains a 70-capacity ice rink in its piazza for winter, with hot chocolate, mulled wine and seasonal food available to warm up with either side of your 50-minute session. A special event will take place on Dec 20 – Chanukah on Ice – at which visitors will celebrate the Jewish festival of lights with candles, cocktails, live music and DJs.
The truly beautiful backdrop of Alfred Waterhouse's Natural History Museum buildings, a row of trees just dripping in fairy lights and a majestic Christmas tree in the middle of the ice all help to make this London's most enchanting ice-rink. The main area is 1,000 metres square, and adjoins a smaller rink for children needing a gentler space to practice in. The rink is celebrating its tenth year in 2014, and will provide the usual festive fun on its perimeter: a Café Bar overlooking the ice with live music on Thursdays and a pretty fairground carousel.
The grand eighteenth-century courtyard at Somerset House is a truly stunning location for a session on the ice this winter, and no matter how impressive your skating skills a trip to this 900-metre-square outdoor rink will look the very picture of festive fun in the photos. The Fortnum's Lodge will offer champagne, afternoon tea and even private dining; Club Nights will feature; and Glad Tidings Tuesdays offer a seriously merry evening of traditional Christmas entertainment and treats.
An outdoor ice rink will be providing festive fun (and a few tumbles) in Watford this winter. Tickets include skate hire, with skating aids and double-bladed 'bob skate' available to help keep little ones upright. Booking is highly recommended and group discounts are available.
The atrium of the Shepherd's Bush shopping mecca will be transformed into a very festive place to slide around in again for 2014, with the return of their 160-capacity indoor ice rink. Family entertainment, themed sessions, DJs and live performances will keep skaters distracted from their instability, and younger visitors can hire penguin- and seal-shaped stabilisers (£5) to keep them upright. Sessions are an hour long with 40 minutes on the ice, but off peak bumper sessions are available if you think your feet can take longer.
Victoria Park is host to this 600-square-metre outdoor rink, which is covered to protect it from inclement weather so you can book safe in the knowledge that you'll only get damp if you fall over. Sessions include skate hire and allow you 45 minutes on the ice, and spectators can be wowed by your slippery skills (or point and laugh) for free. Lockers are available (£2), and wobbly little ones can borrow a penguin skating aid (£5). Local residents can skate for a discounted rate of £5. Booking recommended.
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