Ice skating in London

Glide gracefully, or otherwise, around the capital's fine and frosty selection of ice rinks
Skate at Somerset House, ice rink
© Life After Print Ltd.
By Time Out London Things To Do and Ellie Walker-Arnott |
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You can glide around London all year round, but from the very first note of the very first Christmas song, the city's halls get well and truly decked out with winter wonder and pop-up rinks appear outside iconic landmarks, like Somerset HouseHampton Court Palace and the Natural History Museum.

Christmas celebrations aren’t ever truly complete until you’ve laughed at your mates falling over, so here’s a round-up of London’s best ice rinks to enjoy some merry antics this year. If you can’t wait until winter (or you want to get some practice in) some of the city’s rinks are open all year round too. Whether you’re a total pro, a little bit wobbly or have hold onto the rink for dear life, it’s time to get your skates on.  

Once you’re done spinning across the ice, check out the Christmas lights twinkling on every street and head to the capital’s Christmas markets mulled wine and mince pies.

RECOMMENDED: Christmas in London

The best ice skating rinks in London

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Natural History Museum Ice Rink 2016
Things to do, Ice skating

Natural History Museum Ice Rink

icon-location-pin Natural History Museum, Brompton
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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. 

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Skate at Somerset House, ice rink
Things to do, Ice skating

Skate at Somerset House

icon-location-pin Somerset House, Temple
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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.

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Things to do, Ice skating

Tower of London Ice Rink

icon-location-pin Tower of London, Tower Hill
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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. 

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Canary Wharf Ice Rink 2018
Photograph: Paul Tanner
Things to do, Ice skating

Canary Wharf Ice Rink

icon-location-pin Canary Wharf Ice Rink, Canary Wharf
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The ice rink at Canary Wharf is back once again, filling the business district with frosty fun. The 1,200sqm rink is open for three magical months of ice skaring beneath the twinkling lights. Open seven days a week, it's the perfect place to enjoy one of London's most loved winter traditions. The Grandstand Bar returns for this year, but is joined by some new features, including a huge LED screen where skaters can upload photos to a rolling Instagram feed. Finally, a chance to shine and get your 15 seconds of fame. 

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Winter Wonderland ice rink 2014
Things to do, Markets and fairs

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

icon-location-pin Hyde Park, Kensington
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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).

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Things to do, Ice skating

Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink

icon-location-pin Hampton Court Palace, London
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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.

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Things to do, Festivals

Winterville

icon-location-pin Clapham Common, Clapham
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Festive playground Winterville is back in Clapham Common and features more dancing, eating, laughing, drinking and skating than you can shake a snow globe at. It features Street Feast, Backyard Cinema, Plonk Golf, the Solo Craft Fair Christmas Market, Spiegeltent, Roller Disco and – drum roll please – an Ice Rink.

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Alexandra Palace Fireworks
Things to do, Ice skating

Alexandra Palace Ice Rink

icon-location-pin Muswell Hill

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.

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Things to do, Ice skating

Skyline Skating

icon-location-pin John Lewis, Oxford Street
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Escape the heaving hordes of Christmas cash-splashers on Oxford Street and clamber up to the roof of John Lewis. The space is festooned with lights as well as a (fairly small) rooftop ice rink. Thanks to a collab with Sipsmith, there’s also a hot gin hideaway, weekly cocktail masterclasses and nooks for cosying up with warming food from Kerb alumnus MyPie. Make ours a potato pot pie and a hot G&T.

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LV_Sept2011_0254.jpg
Sport and fitness

Lee Valley Ice Centre

icon-location-pin Lea Bridge

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.

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Tobacco Dock. The Dock. Winter Skylight
© Steve Dunlop
Things to do, pop-ups

Winter at Skylight Rooftop

icon-location-pin Skylight London , Wapping
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Take your pirouettes to new heights on Skylight’s rooftop ice rink. Find the frozen stretch sat alongside a cluster of cosy igloos and huts where you can knock back mugs of mulled wine feast on roasted chestnuts or lashings of melted cheese. 

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Bars and pubs

Queens Skate Dine Bowl

icon-location-pin Bayswater

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.

Venue says London’s only ice rink to guarantee a snowy Christmas arrives at QUEENS Skate Dine Bowl with on-ice sing-a-long sessions ❄️🎳🍷

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Streatham Ice Arena 2015
Attractions

Streatham Ice Arena

icon-location-pin Streatham

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.

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