The best ice skating rinks in London
The Natural History Museum is home to London’s most enchanting ice rink, thanks to the beautiful backdrop of Alfred Waterhouse's buildings, a row of trees dripping in fairy lights and a majestic Christmas tree in the middle of the ice. It's become a London Christmas classic. This year, the rink will provide the usual festive fun on its perimeter, if watching from the sidelines is more your vibe.
Get your skates on. Somerset House's grand 18th-century courtyard is the stunning setting for an ice rink again this winter. No matter how unimpressive your skating skills a trip to this 900-square-metre outdoor rink will be the very definition of festive fun. And if it's anything like last year, there'll be loads of tempting extras too: from champagne, mulled wine and winter dining, to live music, dj's and club night collaborations.
Fancy whizzing around one of London’s most famous landmarks? Located in the dry moat, the Tower of London ice rink offers a grand historical setting for seasonal skating sessions, along with views of London's ancient fortress and the river Thames. There will be food and drink on the sidelines for tired skaters as well as those who just prefer to watch the fun.
Winter Wonderland's ice rink, the biggest outdoor rink in the UK, surrounds the Victorian bandstand and is illuminated with more than 100,000 lights. There's no minimum age for skaters, but under-12s must be accompanied by someone 16 or over and the smallest skates for hire are children's size 9 (adult skates go up to size 13).
Skate around Henry VIII's sixteenth-century pad this festive season. Hampton Court Palace makes a mighty picturesque backdrop for this outdoor rink, especially when lit up after dark. The rink, which is right in front of the Tudor pile and by the side of the Thames, is an impressive 1,040 square metres. With sessions for beginners and experts, as well as food and drink pop-ups, this wintery attraction is ideal for skaters of all ages and skills. Wrap up warm and take a turn on the ice in this regal back yard.
Ally Pally's lofty and indoor skating arena is open year-round for general skating sessions, figure skating classes, ice hockey training, children's sessions, parties and even weekend ice discos. Come Christmas time, though, things get seriously festive and 'The Palace' becomes a major destination for Christmas fun, frolics and languid loops around the ice.
The kids parties are a big hit at this modern, well-maintained and comparatively warm ice rink. Other plus points are the fact that it’s never too busy, and the ice rink is a good size. Skating lessons are also offered.
Queens Skate Dine Bowl has been around since the 1930s, and now boasts a fancy new look with a slick ice-skating rink, state-of-the-art bowling lanes and west London’s only outpost of the cult-status burger joint MEATliquor. There are also two cafés, and a fun retro games arcade. Plus, it's one of the only places in London where you can also do curling and go-karting on ice.
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Streatham has long been a home of ice and all the fun that comes with it. The rink was first opened here in 1931, where it stood for 80 years before getting a much needed renovation in 2013. Now it is Olympic sized (that's 60x30m) with almost 1,000 seats surrounding it. Both pros and novices of all ages can use the rink, with classes in skating and ice hockey also vailable.