Natural History Museum Ice Rink

Things to do, Ice skating
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(74user reviews)
0 Love It
Save it
 (© Peter Kindersley)
© Peter Kindersley
 (© Peter Kindersley)
© Peter Kindersley

An enchanting outdoor ice rink that's sure to charm visitors of all ages.

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 needed a gentler space to practice in. The rink is celebrating its twelfth year in 2016, 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. See the website for wheelchair-user sessions, and note the rink is occasionally closed for private functions. It is also closed on Christmas Day.

Find more places to go ice skating in London


Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:48
  • 4 star:19
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:1
1 person listening
Emily M

Looking for somewhere for an unforgettable date night or simply somewhere different to go with your friends in December? Then look no further. I come here every year around Christmas time because it's simply so divine and really gets you in the holiday spirit. It has become a bit more crowded over the years, probably due to it being so popular and also due to organisers wishing to make a little more money. There's some great pubs and restaurants close by so you can really make a night of it. 

Jane G.

I really hate ice skating, but I had tickets this year to the Natural History Museum, so I thought why not! I'd forgotten after years of avoiding it, how much I hate it. The minute you get there the magic of the lights and crispy air hits you and it's hard to not be excited and in the holiday mood. After spending one of the longest 30 minutes of my life, death gripped to the edge, wondering when the helicopter would arrive to rescue me...I was finished.

The venue is stunning, especially at night. Don't take much with you because it costs £2 to store your bag. They didn't have my skate size, but they must run small because I wear a 6.5 and I had a 7 on. The line was long, there wasn't a lot of space to get changed. The ice was awfully wet the night I went so the £5 for the penguin was not too much, but even they didn't help me!! 😂

Telmo M

So nice to spend there one evening!!! Quiet busy at the moment but worthy!! There is also a restaurant and bar where you can share your drinks with friends after skating!! Nice Christmas atmosphere!!! Must go in December in London!!!

Jo Gowans

Nothing will get you feeling festive faster than donning a pair of ice skates outside the National History Museum. The rink itself is overlooked by the monumental Romanesque exterior of the museum, surrounded by twinkling fairy lights and with an impressive Christmas tree erected at its centre. The soundtrack was crowd pleasing and the ice not as overcrowded as other London rinks we've tried. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit; our only disappointment was that the bar had sold out of mulled wine!  


My sister and I came here on a Wednesday night, the weekend after it opened, still only the 2nd of November. I didn't expect there to be too many people as it was mid week and still fairly early into the Xmas season. I was wrong.

There were loads of people!

After queuing for a short amount of time and waiting for the ice to be cleaned, we had lift off. Anyone who knows me and my skating abilities, knows I have none! My sister and I just waddled around the side of the rink until we got to the 'baby' section haha. This was just a smaller area of ice where I could practice a little more.

We eventually managed to get a penguin assist each and so was then able to effortlessly (sort of!) glide around the main rink again with its help.

We had a fantastic time! The atmosphere was amazing and so Christmassy!!! There was huge, beautifully decorated tree in the middle if the main rink and the speakers were blasting out a variety of different tunes.

It was such a good evening. They also had a photo booth, without the booth, at one of the rink, where you stood and got your picture taken by an automatic camera, with the rink and tree in the background. You could then print these off for free!!!

There was also a couple of sheds where you could buy gifts or some wintery snacks. Or if you wanted, you could head up to the restaurant area and grab something to eat/drink whilst looking over the ice.

Overall, a magical experience and would love to attend again over the festive period!

Thanks Time Out!

Lise M

It's this time of the year again! Christmas markets and ice rinks are popping up all around London. Last week, I had à wonderful time at the Natural History Museum ice rink. In my opinion, it's the most beautiful one in London. The atmosphere is magical, warm and convivial. A geant Christmas tree decorated with sparkling snowflackes and golden baubles sits in the middle the rink also surrouding by small lights. The size is quite impressive and you even have a small one for children and for beginners. In a discret corner, you can also find a camera to immortalise your skating virtuosity and come back home with a nice souvenir. After your session, you can enjoy hot drinks and sweet treats in the café overlooking the rink. I would definitely recommend this attraction as it's part of London's Christmas spirit. But I would advise to arrive quite early - about 45mins/1hour - before your skating session. The queue for skate collection and cloackroom can be very long and it would be ashamed to see your session shorten.

Sam B

Magic and sparkles all around in this beautiful spot. It's sponsored by Swarovski, and the tree in the middle of the rink is laden with crystal snowflakes and shiny baubles. In one corner of the rink, there's a photo opportunity, where you skate up and get your picture taken with the beautiful tree in the background. Cute touch. 

The bar overlooking the rink has some lovely warm cocktails to drink alongside platters (the meat platter is highly recommended) and you can watch skaters before you head down yourself. 

If you want to feel the festive spirit, here's your place. 

Chlo Fo

This is a really magical place to skate at Christmas, while there are several ice rinks across the city I think this one is up there in terms of having a pretty amazing setting being right next to the imposing museum. The rink is also a good size and I was pleased to see that the rink is well maintained (ie. not churned up). It's really pretty having the Swarovski Christmas tree in the middle of the rink and there's a photo area in the corner of the rink that allows you to get some fun action shots with your mates.

I was pleased I had my own skates as the queues for skate hire and collection were crazy long (although I did have to wait for the cloakroom for my shoes, so same problem really!) and there's also the wet-sock issue of walking around waiting for your shoes back. I do think it's rather pricey given that you have to pay extra for the cloakroom and penguin hire (I luckily wasn't paying!), although it's pretty standard for all these seasonal ice rinks and it's a lovely place to visit for a special occasion with friends.

Mei M

The ice rink at the Natural History Museum is truly wonderful. Set in the heart of South Kensington, just moments away from the tube station, it is very easy to reach and the setting is really beautiful! 

You'll be able to skate with the stunning museum behind you, surrounded by Christmas Lights and a lovely Christmas Tree by Swarowski - you must take a selfie on one of the golden baubles ;)

For those who are not real experts, you can get one of the cute penguins that will help you skate around like a pro. The rink itself is not really big and tends to be quite crowded, and the queues when you go out to get your shoes back are quite long, but other than that it is super! 

Luisa G

I went to the ice rink last week, and had a really lovely time with my mum! Here are my pros and cons:


We got to ice skate!

There were those kids penguins that you can hold on to if you can't ice skate (ie my mum(

Skate hire was free

The Christmas tree and fairly lights were really beautiful and I got some lovely photos


There wasn't enough space to sit and put on/take off your ice skates, meaning you had to do it quite far from the desk, meaning you got very wet socks for the journey home.

There weren't enough ice marshalls when you needed help - also, they skated too fast so you couldn't touch them

The queue for ice skates was insane

Cloakroom is meant to be £2 per item, and £5 to hire the penguin things to hold!

Overall, I had a really lovely time ice skating, and I would definitely do it again

Leah P

Highly recommend not missing out on this one. Beautiful backdrop, fairy lights, music and a Christmas tree so a great place to go with friends, family or a date. The only downside was the long queue to get your skates despite arriving 15minutes before we didn't get onto the rink until 10minutes past the hour.

Sara A

I visited the ice rink at the beginning of November whilst still being very much in denial that Christmas is on its way so I fully expected to be all Grinch about the whole event. And yes there is a giant Christmas tree in the middle of the rink so there's no getting away from the Christmas vibe, but it's so tastefully decorated along with the backdrop of the beautiful museum and fairy lights twinkling, that you really can't help but embrace all its enchanting Christmassy-ness.

The rink is fairly small in size but they were careful not to overfill it with too many people. Of course there was the usual mix the nervous beginners clinging on to the sides and the speedy show offs dashing in and out of everyone but there was plenty of space to accommodate everyone. I overheard some people complaining about the quality of the ice but given that this was my first time skating in about 8 years I couldn't really judge. I did notice some autumn leaves had got trapped underneath the ice and whilst I'm sure this was purely accidental, I really felt that this added something to the magical atmosphere.

There was music being played but it was neither loud nor upbeat enough to make circling around and around more entertaining. Although I did appreciate that it wasn't Christmas songs, I think that might have been a step too far!

The bar overlooking the ice rink is decorated really nicely with a sort of alpine vibe and has some comfy armchairs to slouch in after a hard hour skating. I was disappointed that they had run out of mulled wine (it must have been good) but I tried their winter Pimms instead and loved it. I do think the food was a bit pricey, in the end I opted for a kids meal because I couldn't justify £10 on what I was sure would be quite a basic café-style dinner.

Overall I would highly recommend booking a session here if only just to remind you that winter (and Christmas) can be fun too!

Annette B

Ice skating at the picturesque Natural History Museum is the one thing you must do this winter to kick off the festive season. The Natural History Museum hosts as a beautiful backdrop, adorned with 86,000 LED fairy lights which are lighting up the trees and a 35 ft Christmas tree which have been decked out with over 1,000 precision cut Swarovski crystals, Making it the very inch of the wondrous winter wonderland.

This is the first time I have skated at the Natural History Museum and it was so much fun. It was such a magical experience. Each session lasts about 50mins and if you aren't an expert at skating, you have the help of penguins to help glide you around the rink .

There is also a chance to have photos done at the Swarovski Crystal booth where you can capture the moment perfectly if you don’t fancy to reach out for your phone and take a selfie on the ice. This experience is free, which is excellent, just be ready for the queue at the end to collect your photo.

Lastly, there is also a cafe/bar where you can grab a hot drink/mulled wine to warm your cobbles up after your time on the ice.

The staff are friendly and knowledgeable. Book your tickets early to join in the festive fun.

Livvi AT

By far the most charming ice rink in London during the festive season, skating at the Natural History Museum  is truly magical, and a sure-fire why to get you in the Christmas spirit. 

The location is stunning; the majestic NHM lit up beautifully as a backdrop, twinkly lights adorning trees and a big old Christmas tree right in the centre. The session wasn't too packed, which meant there was lots of room to spin out your pirouettes or cling onto the side for your dear life. There is also a cafe bar which looks over the rink so you can check out the competition with a warming mulled wine. 

There is also the fab addition of a Swarovksi photo booth on the ice, which means you can capture the moment without risking selfie induced accidents. These are then free to print off and take home, and while the queue is quite large, all the staff are really efficient and friendly.

Without a doubt, this ice rink is always super popular so make sure you book your tickets soon to get your festive fix.


The ice rink at the Natural History Museum is one of the first rinks to open this winter and it is truly stunning. Besides the gorgeous cathedralesque Hintze Hall setting, there’s a 30ft Swarovski Christmas tree in the middle, peppered in glitter, fairy lights and supersized baubles! It has a real magical feel that can only make you happy!

Sessions are 50 minutes long and ticket prices differ depending on when you want to skate (all including skate hire). Peak prices are between noon and 9pm on weekend days (£17.05 for adults) and the cheapest sessions are at 2pm on weekdays (£12.65 for adults).

It’s such a lovely activity to kick off the festive season, however, if you don’t fancy skating, the Café Bar and balcony has afternoon tea, hot food, snacks, drinks and great view of the ice

Lucy Loo

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.

Stephanie C

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 


Up until now I have been in denial about the fact the Christmas is fast approaching, but just seeing the rink has changed everything. The NHM itself is a stunning building and it's the perfect backdrop for the ice rink.

I have not been ice skating for at least 15 years and therefore it took me a while to get back into it (luckily it is like riding a bike), but once I had overcome my insecurity it's been amazing!

At first I was a bit worried as they were a lot of people queuing, but the rink is big enough and you can really enjoy yourself. 

Fairy lights and a huge Christmas tree add to the experience and I'd recommend to book an evening session to enjoy it in full. It's best to arrive in plenty of time - there will be a queue.


I don't usually get in the christmas spirit until December, but it was such a treat to enjoy the beautiful skating rink at NHM last night that I was fully captivated by the stunning Swarovski decorated tree in the centre of the rink, and more than happy to embrace it! It is beautiful, twinkly, very large while not forcing the spirit of christmas too down our throats this early in the season.

The rink itself is a great size - there isn't too much congestion (despite it being popular and busy) so accidents aren't too regular. There is also a smaller rink off the the corner where those who don't have as much confidence in their skating abilities can gain some confidence before going out into the main area. There are also several "penguin assistants" which you can push along and hold onto if you want a bit of extra support. 

They play music over the sound system as you're going round which was actually a bit too quiet, and there is also a photo area where you can pose, have you photo automatically taken and then printed FOR FREE at the end which is really cool and a lovely keep sake from the hour of skating you get!

It's a really lovely thing to do if you feel like getting in the festive spirit, and the cafe/bar/restaurant upstairs is a great place to head if you just want to watch, or fancy grabbing a hot chocolate before or after to warm your cockles!

B Cul

Absolutely beautiful rink right next to the museum which means a great backdrop for photos. The large Christmas tree in the centre is a nice touch too. After you skate make sure you head up to the bar for a delicious mulled wine or winter pimms!

Tip: Arrive at least 30 minutes before your session as there's normally a line up to hire boots and get ready to go on the ice.


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

The Man on the Street

Wow, skating at The Natural History Museum.

What's not to like ?

Nothing !

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

Brilliant !

Kirsty S

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!

Warwick W

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.

reah b

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. 

Staff Writer

This has to be the most picturesque ice rink in London. You skate around a massive Christmas tree, with lit up trees around the side in the foot of the natural history museum. Bit of a queue to get in, so make sure you arrive early. 

Nadia T

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!

Hannah W

Beautiful Venue. Can get busy though although obviously can't do much about that

Eve D

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.

Ray D

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.

Tracy B

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 :-)

Staff Writer

No denying this is a spectular venue for an ice rink, in the shadow of one of the most beautiful buildings in London. However, when I visited on a Saturday last year it was simply too overcrowded. The chance to actually "skate" was limited as you spent the entire time navigating the masses. Not to mention the ice was covered in an inch layer of water. Spare a thought for any poor soul who fell over and spent the rest of the day soaked through. Sort out the ice surface and don't be greedy on the ticket sales at weekends and this would be best ice skating experience in London.

Kemi O

 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! 


I cant believe I won 2 tickets to the ice skating at natural history museum for opening 'Halloween night'! We wore some Halloween costumes and enjoyed it so much. the scenery was beautiful and really got me into the Christmas spirit - an essential Christmas visit for tourists and locals alike. also the mulled wine and hot chocolate in the bar was to die for! thanks again


It was an amazing experience! I have never ice skated before and i loved it. The atmosphere was great and me and my friend had a great time!

Nicola Harris

I was so surprised to hear I had won two tickets to the opening night of the Natural History Museum ice rink and what a great night it was. We had lots of fun and a great way to get into the wintery Christmasy spirit. I am already planning my next skating visit. Fab location- magical rink..would definitely recommend!


Great place to go ice skating. Plenty of space on the ice and an amazing backdrop of the Natural History Museum lit up.

Kulli Cheema

I was lucky enough to win two tickets from Timeout for the opening night of the Natural History Museum ice-skating rink. I arrived promptly at 6.50pm and was politely greeted by staff who asked for my name, once they found my name on the guest list I was shown where to collect my skates. Once on the ice me and my dear friend had a lovely time. I am not the best skater in the world so there were a few giggles on my part, but an enjoyable experience nonetheless. The experience really got me excited for Christmas as the ice-skating rink is located directly outside the beautiful Natural History Museum. I had a fantastic time and really appreciate the opportunity from Timeout. I will for sure keep an eye on the Timeout website and twitter account for other exciting opportunities in and around London. Merry Christmas Timeout :) x


I won the tickets from Time Out and absolutely loved it. Me and my friend enjoyed every second of it! Will be coming back.


My first time skating and I didn't stack it once. Am I some sort of ice skating prodigy? Probably. Lots of fun, only gripe however, too many people on the ice, meaning lots of swerving to avoid crashing into people. Like Piccadilly Circus but slippery.


As a Canadian, I was so excited to go skating across the pond and on an opening night, how special! It was a great experience, lovely environment and just a great stress reliever! Highly recommend it :)

John Nelmes

Very good, but a bit expensive, in my opinion. ie it in with a visit to the museum and its well worth the cost though!


does anybody know if you go on in session groups? I wanted to go saturday but maybe if the rink is to crowded i can wait till any other day

Sam J

Beautiful setting and magic atmosphere on the rink at nhm. Really gets you in the mood for Christmas. Great for family and couples :)

Show More