London’s collection of pop-up ice rinks grows by the year, and this year we’re graced with Clapham’s first ever ice rink, London’s first rooftop ice rink and even the chance to try your hand at curling. Who’d have thunk it? Here’s the best of the best…
Lead image: Winterville Ice Rink, Clapham
This post is sponsored by Emma Murphy, Ice Skating Instructor
1 Skate at Somerset House
15 November-14 January
The popular Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum and Mason will be back again from 15 November. Visit this neo-classical building decorated in Christmas lights and wreaths with an impressive 40ft Christmas tree. New for 2017 are Skate Lates, a specially curated programme of music nights throughout the season. There’s also Fortnum’s Lodge, where you can indulge in a number of Skate Extras, including mulled wine and mince pies or champagne and chocolate fondue, a rink-side Skate Lounge and Fortnum’s Christmas Arcade, where you can pick out some extra special Christmas treats. Tickets from £7.50. Open from 8.45am-11.30pm for one-hour skate sessions (earliest and latest session available on selected dates only).
The Strand WC2R 1LA; somersethouse.org.uk
2 Tower of London Ice Rink
17 November-2 January
Skating at the Tower of London gives you more than a pretty backdrop, the rink is actually inside the 1,000-year-old castle walls – it’s the rink your Instagram feed needs! This year there are new early morning sessions, which are ideal for little skaters and families, and come evening the twinkling lights add to that festive vibe. The rink is a bit bigger this year, and skating sessions are 45 minutes, after which you can enjoy the Ice Rink Café & Bar with a winter menu delivered by The Pie Man of Chelsea Green and drinks including mulled wine, Duppy Share Rum punches, champagne, prosecco, wines and craft beers. A series of special events is yet to be announced… adults £14.50, 13-15 year olds £12.50, kids 3-12 £10.50.
Tower of London, Tower Hill EC3N 4AB; toweroflondonicerink.co.uk
3 Ice Skating at the Natural History Museum
Until Sunday 7 January
The Natural History Museum Ice Rink is one of London’s most popular. Opening to skaters on Thursday 26 October, the rink will remaining open throughout the festive period, right up until 7 January, with a sparkling 30ft Christmas tree and luxurious hot chocolate by Hotel Chocolat. You can also sit above it all and watch the skaters from the warmth of the Café Bar and open-air balcony, fully stocked with hearty treats, hot chocolate and mulled wine. There’s also the Penguin Skate Club, running lessons for children aged four to eight, and a number of sessions for wheelchair skate sessions throughout the season. Adults £12.65, kids £8.80 for kids. Generally open 11am-9pm (times vary). Closed 25 December.
Cromwell Road, South Kensington SW7 5BD; nhmskating.com
4 Winterville Ice Rink, Clapham
23 November-1 January
Winterville, London’s alternative festive experience, returns to Clapham after a year off with top-notch eats from Street Feast, Christmas classics in Backyard Cinema’s Winter Night Garden, UV-powered Plonk Golf, Twisted Wheels Roller Disco, Wasted Chic Christmas Market AND Clapham’s first-ever ice rink! Exciting times for those who don’t fancy the trudge to central London. Opening on 23 November, the all-weather, outdoor rink is 600 square metres and constructed from real ice. There’s also a neighbouring cafe serving up winter warmers for those who’d prefer to observe than skate. Open Mon-Fri, 12pm-10pm and Sat-Sun, 11am-10pm. Adults £14, kids aged 5-12 £9.50, students/under 16s £12.
Windmill Drive, Clapham SW4 9DE; winterville.co.uk
5 Ice Rink Canary Wharf
4 November–24 February 2018
Ice Rink Canary Wharf, London’s only covered seasonal ice rink, returns to Canada Square Park with its popular skate path and, new this year, a dedicated children’s rink. Illuminated by the glow of over a thousand Edison light bulbs and a show-stopping Christmas tree, it’s certainly one for romantic types. The skate path breaks off from the main rink to take you on a serene journey beneath an enchanting canopy of twinkling trees in the park. The rink is fully covered by a magnificent clear roof to keep the inevitable rain off, and skating lessons, plus sample sessions of ice hockey, curling tournaments and ice go-karting, are also available. The Grandstand Secret Garden bar, with great views of the rink, is a great spot for pre or post-skate drinks. Prices from £9.95 for early bird sessions to £16.95 for peak sessions (children £10.95 during peak sessions). Open seven days a week excluding Christmas Day.
Canada Square Park, Canary Wharf E14 5AB; icerinkcanarywharf.co.uk
6 Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland
17 November-1 January
Winter Wonderland boasts London’s largest open air ice rink stretching over 1,600 square metres under a canopy of sparkling lights. The rink is set around Hyde Park’s iconic Victorian bandstand, from where live music, played throughout the day and night, will drift as you spin your mate/date/mum around the ice. You can also enjoy a hot chocolate or festive drink from the spectator’s platform. The 50-minute skate sessions run on the hour every hour from 10am-9pm and there are penguin skate aids for the little ones. From £9.50 for adults and £7.50 for kids (off peak). Winter Wonderland 2017 also boasts a Magical Ice Kingdom, Cinderella on Ice show, Zippo’s Christmas Circus and the new Bar Hütte, a new ‘Alpine Après Ski’ experience with karaoke and cocktails.
Hyde Park W2 2UH; hydeparkwinterwonderland.com
7 Skylight’s Rooftop Ice Rink
From 2 November
Skylight, launching at Tobacco Dock in Wapping on Thursday 2 November, has themed its winter season around an urban après skate bar. Intrigued? As well as seasonal drinks, fondue and street food, the East London neon-lit winter playground unveils London’s first rooftop ice rink. DJs and ice hockey shooting will up the ante on the atmosphere front, and indoor and outdoor heated areas, as well as great views of the city, are going to make this one hard to beat. Skylight will offer signature wintry tipples such as mulled wine and mulled cider, as well as wines, spirits, and ciders and beers including Coors Light, Blue Moon, Wolf Rock and Rekorderlig. Open Thurs-Fri, 5pm–11pm and Sat-Sunday, 12pm-11pm (closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day). Skate sessions are £10 for 45 minutes (tickets sold onsite only).
Pennington Street Car Park, Wapping E1W 2SF; skylightlondon.com
8 Greenwich Winter Time Festival Ice Rink
The new Greenwich Winter Time Festival is a whole new Christmas experience for Londoners. Each three-hour session begins with an ice show performed by world-class freestylers, and then the canopied ice rink, set in the historic courtyards of the Old Royal Naval Colleger, is all yours for a 30-minute skate session. Your skate will be accompanied by beautiful music specially composed by students from the world-famous Trinity Laban College. Greenwich Winter Time Festival also features entertainment for all ages on the Mirror Stage, the opportunity to visit Father Christmas, roaming performers, artisan food stalls, and a modern market full of cool, independent brands. Standard tickets start at £15 and skating is an additional £10.
Old Royal Naval College, Park Row, Greenwich SE10 9LS; greenwichwintertime.com
9 Ruxley Manor Garden Centre Ice Rink
26 October-4 January
For those who spend all week hefting into town on a train from south east London and would rather not do it at the weekend, thank you very much, there’s Ruxley Manor Garden Centre in Sidcup. Enjoy 45-minute skate sessions on the fully covered 567 square meter outdoor ice rink, located in the rather lovely Plant Department, from £5.99 for adults and £4.99 for kids (toddlers £2.99) off peak. There are also Little Penguin sessions, the chance to skate with a Minion and family disco nights. Ruxley Manor Garden Centre, which will also have a grotto, Christmas market and reindeer, is open Mon-Sat 9am-5.30pm and Sun 10am-4pm.
Maidstone Road, Sidcup DA14 5BQ; ruxley-manor.co.uk
10 JW3 Ice Rink
3 December-7 January
The JW3 Ice Rink is one of your dinkier numbers, with a skating area of 200 square metres, but the special events, glimmering lights, music and electric atmosphere make it a great one to visit regardless. There are penguin stabilisers and seated banana toboggans for wobbly little ones, as well as hot chocolate, mulled wine, pizzas, doughnuts and kosher treats at the Zest café. The 50-minute sessions start from £13 for adults and £8 for children. Open till 7 January. The rink is also available for private hire.
Finchley Road NW3 6ET; jw3.org.uk
Learn to skate
Stepping onto a sheet of ice in bladed boots can be pretty daunting if you haven’t done it before. Likewise, if you have a date to impress, busting out the Bolero moves à la Torvill & Dean is going to earn you some serious brownie points. Emma Murphy, who has both coached and competed internationally, teaches all ages and levels at Queens ice rink in west London and Alexandra Palace ice rink in north London. Emma has a fun, energetic approach and she has even coached celebrities for ITV’s popular ice show, Dancing on Ice. You can take lessons as an individual or a group and even book a birthday party or hen do package. Gift vouchers are also available if you’re looking for a fun Christmas present idea.
For prices and further details, call Emma on 07708 503 295 or email Emma_Murphy_1@hotmail.com
This post is sponsored by Emma Murphy, Ice Skating Instructor