Skate at Somerset House

Things to do, Ice skating
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(17user reviews)
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 (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

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

The grand 18th-century courtyard that is home to Somerset House ice rink provides a stunning location for a skating session this winter – and no matter how unimpressive your skills a trip to this 900-square-metre outdoor rink will look the very definition of festive fun on Instagram. There are lots of tempting extras too: the Fortnum's Lodge will offer champagne, afternoon tea and even private dining; Club Nights will feature DJs from Rough Trade Records, Green Man Festival and a “sober morning rave” from Morning Gloryville. The Fortnum’s Lodge menu features winter classics like Welsh rarebit and smoked salmon blinis, or a sharing fondue for two, plus champagne, mulled wine and cocktails. The Christmas Arcade will bring posh shopping from Fortnum & Mason, and guests can admire the skaters with drink in hand at the Botanical Bar, both of which can be accessed without a ticket.

Find more places to go ice skating in London


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Average User Rating

4.6 / 5

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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.


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.

Amanda F

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! 

Tara P

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!

Telmo M

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

Bonnie W

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.

Lizzie W

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.

Livvi AT

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,

Janet Martin

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

Alexandra Waite

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.