Just imagine how good you’ll look sliding and gliding with the best of them on one of London’s festively fabulous ice skating rinks!
Okay, so if you aren’t a Torvill or Dean, then gliding might be an exaggeration. Nevertheless, London’s finest ice skating rinks are beginning to set up shop, so you can cautiously inch your way alongside the handrails with the best of them! Don’t worry, we can’t pull off a triple Salchow either (maybe next year), so you’ll be in fine company. Anyway, ice skating is more about getting into the festive spirit, and sipping on some hot chocolate whilst you wait for your soggy bottom to dry. Get your skates on ASAP, as these are the nine best ice skating rinks in 2017!
1. Natural History Museum (26th October – 7th January)
They’re lean, they’re keen, they’re the first ones on the scene! The Natural History Museum opened their outdoor rink this week, and to be fair, it is one of the most enchanting in London. For starters, there’s a photo-worthy Christmas tree slap bang in the middle of the ice, and it’s fully decorated too. Hotel Chocolat are providing the hot chocolate, and you can also pick up cream teas and prosecco – winning!
Cromwell Road, Kensington, SW7 5BD. Nearest station: South Kensington. Open most days from 11am – 9pm, adult tickets start from £12.65 and can be booked here.
2. Skate at Somerset House (15th November – 14th January)
Another of London’s most iconic ice skating venues returns for 2017, and they’ve got a couple of new tricks. The biggest one is Skate Lates, which are evening sessions that feature specially curated music playlists, from 90s hip hop to R&B. Messrs Fortnum & Mason are once again running the rinkside show, offering champagne and chocolate fondue at the Skate Lodge, and twinkly goodness at the Christmas Arcade.
Strand, WC2R 1LA. Nearest station: Temple. Open from 8:45am – 22:15 most days, tickets start from £7.50 and can be purchased here.
3. Tower Of London (17th November – 2nd January)
Beefeaters on ice! Beefeaters on ice! If that hasn’t reeled you in already, then just look at the spectacular backdrop for another reason to drop by. The rink is offering early sessions on weekends, which are perfect if you’re looking to beat the rush. Don’t scare off the ravens though, unless you want the kingdom to fall!
St Katharine’s & Wapping, EC3N 4AB. Nearest station: Tower Hill. Open from 11am – 9pm on weekdays, and from 9am on weekends. Adult tickets start are £14.50, and can be booked here.
4. Canary Wharf (4th November – 24th February)
Hey, bankers love Christmas too, alright? Apparently they love it more than most, because Canary Wharf’s rink will be sticking around for a staggering sixteen weeks! That’s almost a third of a year! To be fair, they’ve got a good thing going on at Canada Square Park, with London’s only skate path making a welcome addition to the main rink. You can steal away for a quiet skate under the trees, which just sounds perfect for a romantic date. 😉 Meanwhile, eating, drinking, and shopping are happening on the sidelines of the rink, so you can get back all those calories you burned by sliding around, and maybe a nice scarf too.
Canada Square Park, Canary Wharf, E14 5AB. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. Open from 9:45am – 9:45pm Monday to Thursday, with Fridays and weekends differing slightly. Adult tickets start from £9.95, and can be booked here.
5. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland (17th November – 1st January)
Proving once and for all that Winter Wonderland does nothing by halves, Hyde Park are setting up the largest open air ice rink in the UK for another year. Skate around the Victorian bandstand under a canopy of lights, and you may even get serenaded. The rest of Winter Wonderland is pretty magical too, offering a Christmas market, fairground rides, and karaoke hüttes. Is there any word more fun to say than hütte…?
You’ll find the Winter Wonderland rink in Hyde Park, W2 2UH. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner. Open from 10am – 9pm, adult tickets start from £9.50 and can be purchased here.
6. Hampton Court Palace (24th November – 7th January)
This year, the rink is bigger and the stakes are higher. Ok, so that last part isn’t true, but we thought we’d hype it up a little. Not that this rink really needs it, as the sixteenth-century palace makes for a stunning backdrop, particularly when night rolls around. Food is coming from The Pie Man, and the bar will have mulled wine and Duppy Share Rum punches, so you’ll be able to feast like a royal!
Hampton Court Palace is in East Molesey, KT8 9AU. Nearest station: Hampton Court (National Rail). Open 11am – 9pm most weekdays, and from 9am on weekends. Adult tickets start from £14, book them here.
7. Winterville (23rd November – 1st January)
The hipster cousin of Winter Wonderland is on the move this year, setting up shop in the magical land of Clapham Common. As with the Hyde Park version, the ice skating is just one of Winterville‘s many attractions, but at 600 square metres, there’s enough space for everyone. Other attractions include Backyard Cinema, Plonk Golf, and a Spiegeltent, all of which pair very nicely with a session of skating!
Clapham Common, Windmill Drive, SW4 9DE. Nearest station: Clapham Common/Clapham South. Open from 12pm – 10pm on weekdays, and from 11am on weekends. Get tickets for £10 here.
8. Greenwich Winter Time Festival (1st – 31st December)
The big news on the winter festival front is that London is getting a brand-spanking new one for 2017. Greenwich Winter Time Festival is setting up shop in Greenwich (unsurprisingly), and will use the Old Royal Naval College as its backdrop. Again, ice skating is just one of the attractions, but they’ve got some interesting additions to the experience. Entrance to the festival is in three sessions, and at the beginning of each one, professional figure skaters will put on a performance. There’s also specially composed music to be played whilst you’re skating, which is a nice touch.
Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, Greenwich, SE10 9NN. Nearest station: Cutty Sark. The festival runs in three three hour sessions (morning, afternoon, and evening) between 10:30am and 10pm. Adult tickets to the festival are £15, and adult ice skating tickets are £10 – get them both here.
9. Skylight Rooftop Rink (2nd November – 6th January)
There’s a rooftop rink hitting East London in 2017, and it looks like a doozy. Ice skating with beautiful views over the city is always going to be a winner, but there’s much more besides. Skylight are also promising fondue, seasonal cocktails, and mulled wine – sign us up!
Skylight will be at Tobacco Dock, Wapping Lane, St Katharine’s & Wapping, E1W 2SF. Nearest station: Shadwell. Open Thursday and Friday 5pm – 11pm, and 12pm – 11pm Saturday and Sunday. Entrance is free.
Speaking of winter rooftop delights, there’s a cracker coming to Oxford Street – expect gin, cheese, and all the fun of the fair!
Featured image: [Flickr/Sheep”R”Us]