For full-on festive frivolity there is nothing more magical than a glittering evening on ice and it just so happens London has some beautiful rinks. Here we round-up the best spots for ice skating in London
By Helen Brown
Ice skating in London
Hampton Court Palace
The historic home of Henry VIII has once again set up shop as one of the most scenic skate experiences this festive season. The ice rink at Hampton Court Palace epitomises the glitz and glamour of London at Christmas-time, but the fun doesn’t stop on the ice. There are 500 years of history to discover inside the palace, and a rare Elizabethan treasure in new exhibition, The Lost Dress of Elizabeth I, and a the Festive Fayre promises a fantastic day out for foodies with a mouth-watering range of artisan food stalls, cookery demos and masterclasses.
22 November – 5 January; hamptoncourtpalaceicerink.co.uk
SKATE at Somerset House
The stately surrounds of Somerset House have once again been transformed into the ultimate winter destination for stylish skating, contemporary music, festive shopping and gourmet food and drink. Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason celebrates its 20th anniversary with London’s first 24-hour skating event, the Museum of Architecture’s Gingerbread City, and the signature 40ft Christmas tree. Cosy up post-skate with a Baileys Chocolate Reindeer Cocktail in the treat lounge and indulge in a spot of rink-side festive shopping at the Fortnum’s Christmas Arcade.
13 November – 12 January; somersethouse.org.uk
The Natural History Museum
Glide around beneath the twinkling lights of an impressive 30ft Christmas tree and marvel at one of London’s most breathtaking buildings. The Natural History Museum provides a dramatic skate setting, especially when lit up at night. If you don’t fancy the ice yourself, watch the action from the warmth of The Cafe Bar and open-air balcony where hearty treats and boozy drinks are served daily.
19 October – 12 January; nhm.ac.uk
The Tower of London
Historic backdrops seem to be a running theme for creating wonderfully wintery settings and looking up at this ancient fortress it’s easy to see why. The Tower of London is back with its festive ice rink, nestled in the dry moat of this archaic landmark. This year, finish off your exhilarating stretch on the ice with a visit to the Ice Rink Cafe Bar where there is a scrumptious selection of sweets and treats from golden Cornish pasties and hot pies to indulgent drinks and a fully loaded hot chocolate. 15 November – 5 January; toweroflondonicerink.co.uk
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Hyde Park’s gigantic tribute to festive frivolity is back with a spectacular array of long-time favourite and new wintery attractions. With the UK’s largest ice rink at its centre, Winter Wonderland’s extraordinary gathering of stalls, markets, food stands and bars will sit alongside a newly-themed Magic Ice Kingdom, the Winter Wonderland Comedy Club and Zippos Christmas Circus. Paddington on Ice will make its UK debut, combining cutting edge choreography and toe-tapping music in a 45-minute show that is perfect for the whole family.
21 November – 5 January; hydeparkwinterwonderland.com
Skylight will be transporting guests to a wintery wonderland high above the pavements of Tobacco Dock with cosy igloos and Europe’s only real-ice rooftop rink. Mulled wine and a delicious array of winter cocktails will be served from Skylight’s many après skate bars, while Greek street food vendors, YIRO, will be joining the culinary team this year to warm skaters with kofta and grilled halloumi. Don’t miss the changing programme of cutting edge DJs, seasonal events and parties including New Year’s Eve and a Burns Night Ceilidh.
31 October – 25 January; tobaccodocklondon.com/skylight
Iconic jeweller Tiffany & Co. is hosting an interactive winter wonderland experience centred around its signature Eau de Parfum, which will be diffused into the air throughout each day. The Covent Garden pop-up will be decked out in sparkling snow and will include a festive ice rink so visitors can break up Christmas shopping with a glide on the ice.
28 November-26 December, East Piazza, WC2E 8RF; Tickets available via eventbrite.co.uk
Alexandra Palace sits atop a hill with a phenomenal view of the London skyline. The majestic Victorian building also boasts a fantastic year-round indoor ice rink, with special disco-skating sessions as well as festive events throughout December, like Pinocchio on Ice which is happening 13-16 December.
Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY; alexandrapalace.com
For more festive fun, check out our round-up of where to see London’s prettiest Christmas lights.