Natural History Museum Ice Rink
Time Out says
An enchanting outdoor ice rink that's sure to charm visitors of all ages.
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 with an indoor Café Bar and viewing balcony overlooking the ice and picturesque lights that are open to all. See the website for wheelchair-user sessions. Booking is recommended.
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Users say (102)
Average User Rating
4.4 / 5
- 5 star:57
- 4 star:33
- 3 star:9
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:2
Utterly disgusting! More like a swimming pool than an ice skating rink! Full of swamp like water, making it impossible to ice skate, only Wade through the water! Bring a wetsuit or go elsewhere. The box office staff are rude and arrogant too. No customer care skills Avoid!!!!!
Ice skating at the Natural History Museum was an incredible experience for me... sure, I didn't have much to compare it to considering this was my second ever attempt at ice skating but wow... if you haven't been, you need to go.
Obviously the backdrop is incredible - walking up to the rink and seeing the museum towering behind it is something you won't forget. When we got there it was pretty packed but the line moved swiftly - I recommend getting there a bit earlier before you want to start to make sure you have time to get your skates on and put your coat and bags away.
Due to my newbie status, and love of not being injured, I grabbed one of those children's skating aids aka. the penguin which I was hoping would help me get out on the ice rather than clinging to the railing. That decision turned out to be a wise one as I actually got to skate around a few times. As an aside, it would be good to have a larger sized penguin to help adults who are a little bit inexperienced on the ice.
After our hour on the ice we all went in at the same time to get our bags which took a little bit of time of course. If you don't mind leaving the ice a bit earlier, it may be worth it just to dash in there and grab your stuff before the crowd.
Overall, this was such a great experience and one that will stick with me forever!
This was my first time at the Natural History Museum Ice Rink, and whilst I'm not the most talented ice skater I really enjoyed *attempting* to skate around this rink. The fee for the cloak room was excessive at £2 per item, I thought anyway. The backdrop is stunning and all the trees were lit up as well which made for a truly festive experience. The rink was big enough that we weren't constantly running into people, and an overall great experience!
Wonderful at night, the Natural History museum ice rink won’t be an exception to the rule; Ice-skating in London is expensive!
I would even say extremely expensive, or even, take a loan to take your family there.
£16 for one hour of ice-skating at peak time sounds already expensive right? Well you should know that this is actually 40/45 minutes slot only. 45 if you are lucky enough to have beaten the queue on arrival for your ice skates and the cloakroom.
Despite the price, we can’t deny that the place is beautiful, down the loveliest museum of London (according to me) and with all the Christmas lights in the trees.
If I add to choose one ice rink to spend my money in London, I would most than likely go for this one.
This was the 2nd year that I went to Ice skating at Natural History Museum, and I can appreciate its beauty and that it had become something that everyone needs to do at least once when you live in London. but in comparison to last year, I was a bit disappointed. The price of the check-in and even the help penguins have gone up and it just felt like the Ryanair of ice rinks, where you had to pay extra for every little thing.
I love the feel of the place and even the look and feel of the bar above if cosy and nice but for £7 a hot chocolate, it is just a bit too much for me.
What are you waiting for? Get your skates on and head for some, eh, skating! In a beautiful setting with the backdrop of the towering museum, a spin on this rink is a sure fire way to get into the Christmas spirit pronto. The massive tree in the middle makes it pretty festive and good to grab hold off when you’re heading for the ice.
The whole thing is memorable and magical...make sure you head upstairs after for some mulled wine to people watch everyone else becoming bambi on ice.
One star missing for the lack of xmas music and mini bottleneck occurring at every lap for putting a selfie camera in a corner of the rink?
What more can you say about London’s best ice skating spot?
Skate on real ice (not one of those chopping boards you get in other locations!) around the most stunning tree while surrounded by beautiful lights - all behind the grand Natural History Museum.
It’s worth getting in a little late (and leaving the session a little early) to miss the queues of people swapping skates for shoes - particularly at the end when the ‘queue’ becomes more like ordering a drink at a busy bar on a Friday night. They’re also missing a trick by not playing Christmas music when you skate (I don’t mind listening to the chart music instead, but hearing Will Smith’s ‘Summertime’ was just inappropriate given the circumstances).
A stunning skate rink and as much a London Christmas tradition as mince pies, Christmas lights and mulled wine (all of which you can find in the upstairs bar).
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, especially at the beautifully decorated ice skating rink at the Natural History Museum.
When you step out of the tunnel from the tube, you are transported to a winter wonderland - an ice skating rink sits proudly in front of the museum, with a Christmas tree stunningly decorated in the middle and trees decked with fairly lights twinkling. It was the first time I was happy the dark evenings draw in early so I could really take it all in.
The rink was a good size, and I even worked up the courage to let go of the sides. A nice touch was the 'selfie machine' - push the button, get into position and say cheese! The only downside was that you then have to pay £10 for the photo. Not ideal. There were also photographers swooshing round the rink with the photos apparently going up on Facebook, but sadly we didn't get one of these taken.
However, it is great fun here and I would highly recommend getting your skates on and heading down for some festive fun.
I do not take to the ice like a duck takes to water but this is a lovely activity to get you into the festive spirit. The rink is fairly small so they’re isn’t much room for the racers and the edges are normally occupied by the novices but the 50 minute time allocation is just right. The staff are pretty sufficient but I’d get there a little early to join the queue to make the most of your time. The only bad thing I would say is that at £16 each, it’s not exactly a cheap date and the cloak room also costs £2 which irritated me slightly but otherwise layer up and embrace the Christmassy spirit.
Bambi on ice has nothing on me, so when I decided to face my fears at the Natural History Museum's ice rink I did not have high hopes. I envisaged a bustling rink where I was sure to be knocked over, but in fact I was not entirely correct. Generally there seemed to be a good balance to the number of people on the ice, and I managed to last the whole session without a tumble.
However, I do think there is room for improvement.
Firstly, as a very nervous skater I found it hard to get up confidence to move away from the bar very much as every time I did I had to quickly catch my balance to stop myself tumbling into groups who decided it would be a good idea to stop in the path of other skaters so that they could take pictures - please, please ban phones and cameras from the ice! It's an accident waiting to happen! Not that being by the railing made much difference, as here I instead had to contend with people on the little viewing platform thrusting cameras and phones over the railing to take pictures too, also knocking me off balance.
Secondly, if you're looking for a purse-friendly family day out, this is not it. The ticket prices for what amounts to around 45 minutes at the most on the ice are pretty eyewatering. Not to mention all the added fees - £2 per item to store bags (which conveniently aren't allowed on the ice) and £5 per penguin for children needing a skating aid.
Overall, not a totally horrific experience, but definite room for improvement.
This is only my second London ice skating experience but I have to say I think this is possibly the most picturesque setting you could possibly imagine!! All the beautiful lights, the backdrop of the beautiful Natural History Museum and of course the iconic Christmas Tree plonked right in the middle of the rink just makes you feel all gooey inside. Although I imagine it also strikes fear into the heart of many, I may have overheard a few very angry people that were not impressed with their partners 'romantic surprise' as they clung to the wall for dear life.
The rink is kind of on the small size itself and given there seemed to be a very large number of people in the session it meant the pace was much slower than the rink I was at last year. Having said that it was nice to not be fearfully overlooking my shoulder every five minutes for speed demons.
There is of course a cafe for refreshing beverages after your session. A glass of mulled wine will cost you £6.50 (a little steep in my opinion) and a hot dog and chips £8. The view on the balcony though is really nice and a great place for a post skate cuddle as you watch the next lot of fearful couples limp around the edge of the rink.
Word to the wise, get there EARLY as possible for your session as the queues are LONG and the staff do both people coming off and on the ice so it is very slow going. To the point that I decided not to use the bag check for £2 because it would have taken half the session to find someone to take my bag which is less than ideal.
Set in front of the Natural History Museum at South Ken, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful location for this Christmas ice-rink. the Victorian museum building in the background is perfectly lit giving the whole scene an oldy-worldy feel like you’ve been transported a hundred years back.
During peak time a skating session costs £16 which includes skate rental. It’s then £2 per item to use the cloakroom (which you have to do unless someone can just hold all your stuff), so although it’s not a cheap hour it’s a great experience. Each skating session is 50 minutes- everyone gets on and off the ice at the same time making it super organised.
There’s also a little practice rink on the side if you want to build up some confidence before tackling the main one.
I love the bar that over-looks the rink- it’s the perfect spot to rest your feet and enjoy a much-deserved drink if you’ve been on the ice, or if you just want to watch others giving it a go instead.
The big Christmas tree in the middle of the rink, museum in the background, the kids’ plastic penguins, make the whole scene totally Instagrammable too.
Whether you’re skating or not, it’s certainly worth a visit.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Natural History Museum Ice Rink. It is an early adventure into the world’s most wonderful time of year. Christmas has definitely come early. I feel it comes earlier than ever which is scary.
It always means another year coming to an end and a new one ready to awaken.
When you get to the museum, your surrounded with such beautiful, tiny fairy lights which are decorated around the trees.
It’s somewhat magical to see the ice rink, the Christmas lights, the Christmas tree and the museum in the background as a whole.
It’s a perfect combination to have an evening or a day of pure laughter and excitement on ice outdoors.
I always get very excited when it comes for Christmas each year, so when I visited the NHM ice rink for the first time I was extremely happy and quite terrified at the same time.
I haven’t skated on ice for a couple of years.
It is special to be on that ice rink, skating smoothly with the person you love.
Seeing all the intricate lights and the magnificent centre piece, which is the Christmas tree, is marvellous.
My only worry was falling and I didn’t fall. It almost happened, but I tried not to think about it.
There were a couple of people that fell quite drastically and staff are always ready to assist and help anyone on the ice.
I started off skating on the sides of the ice rink and then I gradually started to skate around the rink in circles.
It’s definitely a Christmas classic for all ages to enjoy every year.
It’s so nice to see so many people around the rink, enjoying the 50 minutes of skating on ice.
I would highly recommend getting there at least 30 minutes earlier than your scheduled time slot, it will get rather busy with queues and getting your boots on.
I had bags on the day and unfortunately I couldn’t really carry around a heavy bag on the rink, that would look really silly.
I had to pay £2 for each bag, which is quite unfair. Tickets are already expensive, so be aware what you bring on the day.
The experience being on the ice is unforgettable, but I probably wouldn’t go again.
It was lovely for a one time experience, but I personally wouldn’t pay £12 for just 50 minutes.
All in all it’s fun, it’s super and it’s Christmas.
Don’t forget the indoor café bar which is a treat for all visitors and you’ll get to see the pictures that were taken of you on the ice.
I did enjoy the view from the balcony, it’s a great view to take photographs.
The carousel adds another boost of fun for the children and adults. Why not. I would love to go on it. Maybe next time.
Enjoy every second of the NHM ice rink.
The Christmas tree in the centre of the rink, with the natural history museum as a back drop really sets the tone for Christmas cheer. The brightly lit carousel turns as cheesy 90's music plays in the back ground. The staff happily practice their skating whilst guarding the penguins (the ice skating equivalent of arm bands). Men, women and children alike, cling to the balustrade as they very ungraciously step out on to the ice desperately hoping they don't perform a bambi reenactment. After a few cautious strides we slowly peel away from the edge getting the hang of gliding across the ice. Obviously the over confident (me) eventually attempted a very slow game of IT (or tag as you may no it, this is no place for sticky glue). The 50minutes on the ice was great and plenty amount of time to stay warm and not get too cold. The rink isn't particularly big, and with a lot of people taking care and slow skating is the best option. At £16/£17 for off peak and on peak adult prices it is a fairly expensive treat but a lot of fun. One tip is I would get there early as the queues to get boots and return them are quite long. There aren't many staff and a lot of people all arriving and departing at the same time.
This was my first experience of outdoor ice-skating and what a magical setting it was. I haven't been skating in over 20 years and I struggled my way around the rink but I was glad to see I wasn't the only one as there were skaters of all abilities. I think it is just a great experience to have fun and enjoy the festive season in lovely surroundings more than the act of skating but I should definitely try to practice more often so as not to grab everyone else every time I'm about to fall over!
The system of people putting on skates on one side and taking them off on the other side seems to work well but on exit the room is very busy with a longer wait as everyone is there at the same time, luckily we left the rink 5 minutes before so got our shoes back fairly quickly, still had wet feet from the wet floor though!
After our session we ventured up to the café for a hot chocolate and to check out the next group of skaters from the balcony. I was such a lovely café, lit up just like the trees surrounding it and I'm surprised it was so empty considering the amount of people watching the skating outside.
What an experience! I loved skating at The Natural History Museum rink as it is suitable for all ages and skills. Such beautiful scenery with the amazing museum behind and a central Christmas tree in the middle of the rink. There are strings of fairy lights surrounding you as you skate and you can even have a pit stop at a photo booth on the side of the rink. A few nibbles are outside the rink however best to stick to the Hotel Chocolat van which offers indulgent drinks and chocolate goodies. All round a great night skating in London under the lights.
Before I start this review, I'd like to point out that I am currently trying to manage a sore knee and I can't even skate on solid ground, let alone slippery ice. However, the Natural History Museum Ice Rink was an amazing experience! I love the Natural History Museum as it is, but put a starry-lit ice-rink, with a twinkling tree and it's magic! We stayed there for the entire hour and I used my wife as a penguin to balance myself on the skates, but what a sight! I loved watching people glide passed on ice, being happy and festive. I know a lot of people who are a bit unsure about their ice-skating abilities, but after last night, I would recommend everyone to just get amongst it. You don't have to know what you're doing, just enjoy it!
Went last night for a slightly early festive outing and had a lovely time! The lights are beautiful and the general surroundings are lovely. Was quite busy, but not crazy. They've got a fun new photobooth thing so you can have a photo on the ice (which is hilarious), quite expensive to actually buy though. The bar upstairs is also fun to watch the carnage of the next session!
I have no balance whatsoever and therefore I can't ice-skate. My main focus on arriving at the rink, was to grab a stabilising penguin and perhaps manage a tiny movement on the ice. A bargain at £5! What a difference a penguin made. Penguin firmly in both hands, I could then start to admire the beauty of my surroundings: trees encircled by myriads of white lights above and below; a statuesque Christmas tree around which we (even I) skated and of course, the awe-inspiring Natural History Museum to the side. It looks like something out of a Walt Disney fairy tale. It's a wonderful way to spend fifty minutes but there are some downsides. It's not cheap for the average person - £16 per adult. Storage is another £2 and if, like me, you must have a penguin, that is another £5. I saw a number of bad falls. One woman was making sure she could move her wrist after her fall. A French boy fell so hard, not only did I hear that terrible thump, I was sure he had cracked his skull. Fortunately, I don't think he had. Others were tumbling around me. Oh, and the boots were uncomfortable to say the least. That is why there are only four stars as my rating. Take at least two pairs of socks to wear and a third pair to change into afterwards as your feet will get wet when collecting your own footwear. Mainly very good and a lot of fun.
Ok so it's only 5th November.... and everyone is celebrating Bonfire night.... but that's no excuse not to get into the Christmas spirit early!
I had a magical evening with my little sister at NHM Ice Rink this week. It's so Christmassy, with twinkling fairy lights and the big Christmas tree in the middle. It really is enchanting and guaranteed to get even the biggest grinch into the Christmas spirit.
If youre not in a Christmassy mood paying a visit to hear will certainly get you in the mood! The twinkling lights, the tree, the setting....... All good.
You get 50 minutes on the ice and its £12.95 for an adult and if you need a skating aid (a startled looking penguin) these cost £5 plus if you need to store a bag thats a further £2. Pretty steep if you need all of the above! nevertheless its good fun and the atmosphere is amazing.
You can pose for a photo but the queue to get a free copy was humungous and theres no reference number so im guessing the queue was massive as people had to flick through so many to find theyre own mugs :D if you badly want your picture can I advise you hurry along to the photo booth after your session.
Oh and bring gloves and thick socks :D
Magical,mystical and damn right fun! The rink itself is so beautiful!! The swarvoski adorned Christmas tree in the middle is the masterpiece of it all! There are lively tunes and even Christmas vibes to be found whilst skating your life away!
Its well kept and you find yourself in another world where fairy lights and beautifully decorated trees come to life. They have a cosy seating area upstairs where I can imagine a lot of mulled wine and mince pies are guzzled! The best rink I've seen in years! Highly recommend
Wow, skating at The Natural History Museum.
What's not to like ?
This is an unmissable experience.
50 minutes on the ice skating ( or staggering ) to pretty cheesy but totally appropriate tunes is just a treat.
I am now feeling festive and its only November 2nd
Ticks all the boxes!
Firstly, as an ice rink, the quality is excellent, I went on a busy night and the boots, ice and size were excellent. The service was lovely, and nice to see no sneaky charges such as skate or locker hire.
Next you learn that the rink is non for profit, and all the proceeds go to running the museum- so why not two tourist attractions in one go?
On the sidelines you have market style cabins serving up mulled, hot chocolate and food, and even a fun Christmas souvenir shop.
Whilst you skate you are treated pop songs as you whiz around the beautifully crafted Christmas tree and under a marquee of fairy lights, it really adds occasion to the experience.
It was definitely the best rink I've been on!
With the fairy lights on the trees, the gigantic colourful Christmas tree, and the Natural history museum lit-up in the background, this venue does really make the most magical and beautiful backdrop. I have been to a few outdoor ice-skating rinks in London and this has to be by far my favourite! My friend and I had an amazing night ice-skating around the Christmas tree and sampling some of the delicious mulled wine they were serving! There’s even a chance to have your picture taken on the ice, which you can then go and purchase. I would definitely recommend a visit over the Winter period, it will certainly put you in the mood for Christmas!
The clement weather is playing havoc with the ice, which for the novice skater, means you'll be clinging on to the edge as it makes for much more difficult skating!
Despite the rink having significant surface water it didn't dampen the fun.
A few tips
- Bring some cash for stashing your valuables - £2 per item.
- Don't fall over - you'll get soaked as my wife found out.
- Get there early - Especially if you've got kids, it takes a while to get the uncomfortable boots on and park your buggy etc.
- We arrived about 20 minutes before our session and that wasn't long enough. which meant we ate in to our 50 minute time slot.
- If your children are novices, they provide penguins for balance - They only have a limited number, so get to the front of the queue - Also, they cost £5 but definitely worthwhile.
- Get a slot when it's dark outside, it's so much more picturesque.
- Food is really reasonable up in the bar - About £6-8 for a main. The Proscecco isn't. £32 a pop! Ouch.
Write a review...Whilst the location is lovely, the amount of people allowed on the ice rink at one given time is just far too many!
Also, the ice rink was literally a swimming pool with no suitable means of removing the water between sessions. Not what you'd expect for £15 for 50 minutes.
The penguins definitely help if you havent skated before, or well. The time slot access is good cause i dont think i could cope with loads of people on the ice!
The trees with fairy-lights transform the place into a magical venue when the sun sets. I went with my sister and we both had a great time once I overcame my fear of ice skating. The staff were friendly and unlike other reviewers I found there was plenty of room on the ice rink to skate or hold onto the side if you were a little scared like me! (I did go on a weekday evening so maybe avoid the weekend if it gets crowded.) A fun activity for the family but also a really romantic idea for a date.
I'm sure if you like ice skating then this is probably really fun, but I find the idea of sliding around on the coldest hardest slippiest thing in the world in an enclosed space full of sharp blades to a soundtrack of modern pop anthems a little bit distressing. plus you can only go round in a circle, and look I know that isn't limited to just this ice skating rink but it'd be good if someone came up with one where you could go round different things eg through different zones, maybe some history themed stuff, that would be good. Anyway, it probably just wasn't for me. Also I got blisters off the shoes.
This is a magical setting with all the fairy lights, the Xmas tree and the Natural History museum lit-up in the background. It's much better priced (especially for a family) compared to Somerset House and the cafe is beautiful. Really cosy with lots of comfortable chairs and snuggle sofas and more fairy lights, where you can enjoy mulled wine afterwards :-) on the down side, it felt like the whole of London was on the rink too and you couldn't properly skate...I would still recommend it though as it's simply stunning :-)
This was an amazing night! The setting is beautiful and there was a lovely atmosphere. The staff were extremely accommodating. My friends and I had an amazing time! I would definitely recommend this for anyone!