Earmuffs, hats, scarves and gloves at the ready for a spot of fun on ice – celebrate winter in London with a festive spin on one of the many pop-up ice rinks in the capital.
Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park
Until 5 January, you can celebrate the holiday season at Winter Wonderland, with its festive shows, Christmas markets, cosy bars and restaurants, and large selection of carnival rides. One of the most popular Winter Wonderland attractions is the Lycamobile Ice Rink, which encircles a Victorian bandstand and twinkles under 10,000 lights. The rink is open from 10am to 10pm, though it is particularly breathtaking at night, and there are hour-long skating sessions available to book throughout the day. Winter Wonderland offers free admission, but the ice rink requires tickets, and it’s advised to purchase them ahead of time because spaces sell out very quickly.
Natural History Museum Ice Rink
The 1,000-square-metre ice rink at the Natural History Museum opens on Halloween and stays open until 5 January. As one of the biggest ice rinks in London, there are 50-minute skating sessions from 10am to 9pm on Sunday through Wednesday and 10am to 10pm on Thursday through Saturday. The beautiful attraction boasts 76,000 fairy lights and stalls to buy gifts and snacks. The balcony overlooking the rink is adjacent to the Cafe Bar, where you can order a hot chocolate and enjoy a panoramic view of the ice. Children will enjoy the fairground carousel and the junior rink for younger skaters.
The Tower of London Ice Rink
The ice rink at the legendary Tower of London is located in the moat, within the fortress battlements. The tower is one of the most famous and iconic spots in London, so it’s very popular, and when the sun goes down, a myriad of colourful lights illuminate the fortress walls. Open from 10am to 10pm, the rink offers daily sessions and professional ice guides to teach you the basics. When you’re not skating, visitors enjoy drinks and snacks at the Ice Bar & Cafe, which offers a seasonal menu to help skaters warm right up.
The London Eye’s ice rink is located in Jubilee Gardens, beneath the enormous observation wheel. It’s a great place to skate with young children, because the rink offers stabilising seats for little ones and a limited amount of seal skate aids to help children who are going out on the ice for the very first time. It isn’t required to book a ride on the London Eye in order to skate, but you can find several package deals during the winter season.
Skate at Somerset House
If you’re looking for a more glamorous and sophisticated skating rink, Skate at Somerset House offers access to luxury Skate Extras like champagne and chocolate, booths selling elegant gifts and traditional Christmas treats, and a special shopping experience on Glad Tidings Tuesdays throughout the season. After dark, the rink becomes an ice dance floor, complete with appearances from Europe and the UK’s most celebrated DJs. But it’s not all for the adults. The rink’s Penguin Club offers lessons for children who want to learn their way around the ice.