Skate at Somerset House

Things to do, Ice skating
5 out of 5 stars
(26user reviews)
 (Life After Print Ltd.)
Life After Print Ltd.
 (© Somerset House)
© Somerset House
 (Life After Print Ltd.)
Life After Print Ltd.
 (© Somerset House)
© Somerset House
 (Life After Print Ltd.)
Life After Print Ltd.
 (© Ben Pruchnie)
© Ben Pruchnie
 (Life After Print Ltd.)
Life After Print Ltd.
Skate at Somerset House (Life After Print Limited)
Life After Print Limited

Time Out says

A glorious backdrop and special events help make a trip to this outdoor rink one of the capital's most festive outings.

Now in its twentieth year, the arrival of the ice rink in Somerset House's grand eighteenth-century courtyard is something of a festive institution. The 900-square-metre outdoor rink returns to the spot from November 13 to January 12, and is a great way to spend the day no matter how impressive your skating skills are. Plus, once you've enjoyed your time on the ice, there are plenty of tempting extra to sink your teeth into (literally) too: the Fortnum's Lodge offers winter classics like raclette, cheese fondue, smoked salmon and mince pies alongside champagne and mulled wine; and Skate Lates will feature top-notch DJs and music nights. 

The Christmas Arcade will bring posh shopping from Fortnum & Mason. Tickets are available from mid-September. 

Find more places to go ice skating in London



Users say (26)

5 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

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  • 4 star:11
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When you're going round and round and round an ice skating rink for an hour you want your surroundings to be pretty special and this place really delivers. Somerset House is the most beautiful backdrop with a huge Christmas tree at one end of the rink. It absolutely nails atmosphere and that warm Christmas feeling. Finish off with a mulled wine or a hot chocolate whilst debriefing on how many times you fell over. Perfect.


This is one of my favourite ice rinks in london. The stunning back drop of Somerset house and the giant Christmas tree sparkle in the winter nights. The skate lates are great if you prefer to skate along to a Dj pumping out popular tunes and less kids on the ice.


If you're a nervous skater like me this is quite an anxiety-filled experience because they definitely allow too many people on the rink at once. I also felt that, compared to last time I visited two years ago, there were a lot less staff on the ice helping people which only exacerbated my anxiety.  That said, if (unlike me), you're a competent skater or if you're not planning to skate at all it's probably quite enjoyable - they run a slick operation in terms of getting your skates and the Bailey's bar at the rink serve a lot of nice drink options.


Personally, it doesn't feel like Christmas until you've been ice skating here! Been twice before and looking forward to going again this Christmas too! It's got the biggest and most beautiful Christmas tree, and all the lights on the buildings behind give it that magical picture perfect feel! With great music and sessions on daily throughout the Christmas period make sure you don't miss out! 


Visited in December 2016 and it doesn't get much more festive than this. The surroundings are beautiful and really do make for a unique skating experience. Loved the Fortnum and Mason shops to walk around and purchase a few christmas presents in also! If you like skating, this is a must!


The best Christmas experience you could have in London. I have skated here two years in a row, and the second time was just as magical as the first. The setting is beautiful with Somerset House lit up around you, and the big Christmas tree. My only gripe is how many people are packed onto the ice at peak times leading up to Christmas, but as long as you're not here to practice your skating and just here to soak up the atmosphere, you will love it. 

This is the second time I have been ice skating at Somerset House. It is a beautiful setting inside and the layout is well thought out. As an Australian living in London I was so excited to disocver that this ice rink is feautred in one of the opening scenes of Love Actually!  It was only after ice skating at the rink in my first cold Christmas that I realised it was feautred in the movie. I have since been ice skating at other rinks in London and have found that they have a larger rink size and the skates are easier to put on at other rinks I have found as well, however I still enjoy having a glide around at this spot.


If you're looking for the epitome of Christmas then Skate at Somerset house is the place to go. I am personally not a fan of ice skating so was super lame and watched my friends have a whale of a time as they glided their way around the ice rink. However this is the beauty of this place as your friends, family and children can zoom around the rink while you kick back with a glass of mulled wine under the gigantic Fortnum and Mason Christmas tree. But if you do wish to skate it looks super fun and is in such a gorgeous setting that I'm sure you would have the best time. They play Christmas music and there's merryment everywhere you look so ultimately this makes a very special trip. 


For years I've been trying to drag someone ice skating with me - it seems everyone is born with the innate fear of their fingers being sliced off despite no one ever experiencing it. ANYWAY, I finally convinced my boyfriend to come along - since Somerset House is such a beautiful location it was an offer he couldn't refuse. 

If you're looking for the Instagram-worthy ice skating location in London, this is the one. It's in a beautiful part of London (very, very central and 2 minutes walk from the river) set among the grounds of an idyllic looking, national treasure - it really doesn't get any better. 

Along with every great experience, I had a couple of little gripes. Firstly we had the last skate spot of the day (9:15 pm) on a Sunday and despite this, it was still so busy that a lot of the time it was impossible to actually skate due to congestion and crowd bulking. I do think they oversell it and let too many people on the ice at once which kind of cramps the experience a little. 

And secondly the cloakroom isn't included in the price and you're not allowed to skate with a bag on (which I was happy to do) so you're forced to use it. The service is only a pound, so it's not that bad; however, we were lucky to even have that on us since we've just landed from Barcelona earlier that day and only had euros. But my point is that I can't imagine I'd have been happy to go traipsing back out the venue to find a cash machine etc. just to pay the £1 for the cloakroom that was compulsory to use.

ALSO if you're bitterly single don't go as it will pretty much be all couples and you. 

I've never really enjoyed ice-skating before because I was always so terrible but this all changed when I went skating at Somerset House. The staff were super friendly and helpful and were working hard to get everyone round the rink successfully. Turns out its all about confidence so after a few goes round, me and my friends got really into it and enjoyed the absolutely bangers they well blasting out. You get a solid hour on the ice, which if anything is a little too long, but definitely means you can go from complete beginner to intermediate during your time slot. If you're looking for something to get you in the Christmas spirit, this is it! 


I didn't go Ice Skating, but I did enjoy the "apres skate" element of this festive Somerset House extravaganza by visiting Fortnum's Lodge for fondue, mulled wine and a few G&T's. There doesn't seem to be an option to pre-book this place which is irritating but luckily a friend was able to get there early and save us a table.

The fondue which is £28 is delicious, but certainly not enough for 4 people, even with the addition of pigs in blankets and the basket of bread and pickles (and random few leaves of lettuce which actually worked nicely - cheese and lettuce is what we should all be doing when it comes to "salad season")

The mulled wine is lovely and served in copper moscow mule mugs, though I didn't love the cloves floating in mine and ruining my sips. I did however like the bowl of in shell nuts on the table to make it a very christmassy table!

Service in here is lovely and it's a great festive spot... whether it works this side of Christmas is another matter but then again, melted cheese should be a thing the whole year round.

Skating at Somerset House was on my bucket list for years and when I eventually got to go it was everything I imagined it would be and more. I love ice skating and the whole set up was so magical. I really enjoyed the fact that they didn't overcrowd the rink and we were given plenty of time on the ice. Tickets book up so quickly so you need to be on it if you want to go before Christmas.

Its very beautiful, pretty small i would say but really lovely and nice to go with a partner, on a date or with your friends! :) loved it! 


Regardless of your feelings on ice skating, Skate at Somerset House is a special Christmas experience. The Fortnum & Mason Christmas Arcade is beautiful and a much quieter and more pleasant shopping experience than the flagship store. The restaurant offerings are expensive, but deliver steaming hot fondue and yummy mulled wine in a warming, festive atmosphere. The ice skating itself is very well-organised, with lots of spots to view those on the rink. Younger skaters can practice with the little polar bear skate-aids (if only this was available for adults!). I left the rink early as I realised just how much a loathe ice skating, and it was still a five star experience - which says something!

Very nice experience to come here and feel the wonderful atmosphere with the others enjoying the ice rink with lights everywhere. Is a must go


My favourite London Christmas tradition is going skating at Somerset House! The courtyard makes for the perfect spot for a skating rink, surrounded by gorgeous architecture and one of the most stunning Christmas trees the city has to offer. Your ticket gets you an hour of skating and skate rentals and there's a convenient bag check nearby too. For the last two years, Fortnum and Mason have sponsored the rink and set up a wonderful Christmas market to explore before or after your skating session. Be sure to book well in advance for this event so as not to be disappointed.


I love Somerset house and more importantly I love ice skating there!

This is the first year I've been but getting your skates and getting on to the ice is so easy compared with the other pop up ice rinks - efficient. You also get a whole hour on the ice rather than the 30-45 min slots you often see which make it feel a bit rushed. A tad pricey at £16 each but worth it :)
Beautiful atmosphere with an amazing tree - if you don't like ice skating I'd definitely recommend coming here around December to see the tree, soak up the atmosphere and get a hot chocolate in the fortnum and mason lodge.
For the past few years they have had the pop up Fortnum and mason Christmas rooms nearby which is great for a browse in a less busy environment.
I came away feeling so Christmassy and it was definitely a special evening to remember.
My only negative is that you have to pay £1 to use the cloakroom and you can't take bags on the ice!
moderatorStaff Writer

Great way to get into the Christmas spirit - for the less initiated in the art of remaining upright on ice, be prepared for the snake winding reverse speeding teenagers terrorising the ice. All good and hopefully harmless fun.


I never thought going in an anti-clockwise fashion for an hour would be fun. This changed my perception of that. The staff were very friendly and courteous for getting our skates, and I also felt like the skates would not fall apart right away (new-ish). There were videos showing basic skating techniques (getting on/off the ice, moving, stopping) which mades my husband feel a bit more secure :)

To be fair there were quite a few number of people on the ice, but there was enough room to move around. That being said, there was also plenty of space on the side of the rink to just hang out and chat (or gather courage). The surroundings were fantastic, plenty of nice things to look at -- but of course paying attention to where you are going!

The bathrooms are pretty large and bright, which I was a bit worried about as I made my way down the stairs. The bar was your standard apres-ice skating bar in central London. Mulled wine was about £4.50 a cup... bit pricey but its nice to watch other ice skaters gliding (or falling) as you smugly sip your beverage. 

Fortnum & Mason have a lodge for proper food if you worked up a bit more of an appetite, as well as some adorable (and tasty looking) gifts for the holidays 

If you can snag a slot-- would highly recommend. Beautiful setup and wonderful ice conditions. 


Such a beautiful romantic setting at night. It's not too packed and very well organised. There are I've marshalls to help if you fall or take your pics or teach you to skate. The music os good. They currently have a pop up fortnum and mason shop and also a cool lodge apres ski bar. Even if you don't skate, just watching others in this setting is magical.


Forget Advent Calendars and the John Lewis Christmas advert; the opening of Skating at Somerset House is the pivotal signifier that Christmas is on its way and incidentally, is the perfect way to get into the festive spirit. 

Firstly, the surroundings are beautiful. The majestic house is lit up dramatically and the twinkling lights on the huge Christmas tree create the perfect atmosphere. If you are confident on skates or  a more 'never-let-go-of-the-side-type', ice skating is huge fun and the staff are friendly, professional and attentive; if you fall, they will be there to help pick you up before you can curse. There is a kid's section for those experiencing skating for the first time or for those middle aged Bambis.

With fun music and a Fortnum and Mason snack lodge, complete with warming mulled wine, Skate at Somerset House is Christmas epitomised, and at £12 for an hour, super reasonable! Top Tip: book early for 2016 when tickets go on sale beginning of next November to ensure you get a night slot where the lights look gorgeous! 


The ice rink at Somerset House is an absolute London institution, but I'm here to rave about the Fortnum and Mason chalet bar that you can go to when you're done picking your arse off the ice (i.e. after 10 minutes for me). This is set to return in 2015 and mark my words, the white hot chocolate with vanilla marshmallows is the greatest. Just look at that copper mug,

How brilliant to have the ice rink at Somerset House. What a beautiful picture of it. My daughter and I were talking about going ice skating. We live in Brighton and have the ice rink at the Pavilion. I said what about going to London and we were trying to think of a skating rink there, when I remembered that one year you showed Somerset House ice rink on Seeing A New Year show. We can't wait to come up to London to take a turn on the ice in such beautiful surroundings. We are Londoners so it will be a trip down memory lane for us as a family. See you soon

Having not been skating for years a friend and I decided to tick this one off the bucket list. Although I was probably one of the worst ones there I had an amazing time. The setting was beautiful, the staff were incredibly friendly and the smell of mulled wine was an incentive to make it round the rink. Everyone seemed to be having a fantastic time, even the spectators.

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