Where To Go Ice Skating In London This Winter
Temporary ice rinks pop up in London starting somewhere around November and are open until late January. Some of the capital’s most beautiful landmarks – The Natural History Museum, the Tower of London and Somerset House – add an ice rink to their long list of fun things to do over winter, making this winter activity even more delightful.
If you struggle to squeeze in a gym session during the week (I know, a hard task), let alone schedule a workout during the weekend when one is meant to have a break, worry not as ice skating is probably one of the most fun ways to get your muscles working. Stretching your body out over the weekend at some of the capital’s most iconic ice rinks has never been easier.
I’ve compiled a list of locations, opening times and prices so you can organise a couple of fun hours moving your body and enjoying a delicious hot drink afterwards. Please note that this list of venues is arranged by date and that some of these require booking in advance, so don’t leave things for the last minute.
Without further ado, let’s check the best ice skating venues across the British capital: From stunning historic locations to modern surroundings, here are London’s best outdoor ice-skating rinks.
Nestled in front of the iconic South Kensington museum, the spectacular rink is surrounded by thousands of fairy lights and features a glittering Christmas tree. Café Bar serves up hot chocolate, cream teas, prosecco and cake, with a viewing platform providing a glimpse of all the sparkling action below.
Make sure you check the interior of the Natural History Museum (designed by Alfred Waterhouse in 1883) and some of the exhibitions. On the other hand, this museum is one of many around South Kensington. The V&A, Science Museum and (a bit further away) the Design Museum are all worth a visit after your ice skating activity. The best part? They are all free.
When: 19 October to 12 January
Where: London WC2R 1LA (Google)
Nearest Tube: South Kensington
Price: From £12.65
Skylight Rooftop is located on top of the Tobacco Dock complex. Built in 1811, Docklands’ massive brick Tobacco Dock was used, as the name suggests, primarily for storing imported tobacco. But the surviving structure is just two-fifths of the original Tobacco Dock complex: it really was huge. In 1990, the structure was converted into a shopping centre and many different events take place in it.
Skylight London, the rooftop bar known for its summer croquet, is hosting an ice rink with views, which makes it extra special. Heated après skate bars illumined with glimmering lights, will be serving up a delicious array of warming wintery cocktails, beers and ciders.
When: 31 October to 25 January
Where: Tobacco Dock, Pennington St entrance, E1W 2SF (Google)
Nearest Tube: Tower Hill
Price: From £12
Somerset House’s winter ice rink turns 20 this year — and it’s celebrating by staying open all night. Skate at Somerset House will be open to keen skaters for 24 hours, tying in with the venue’s major winter exhibition 24/7. Skate Lates also return on selected evenings, with live DJs spinning the decks until late into the evening.
As with the Natural History Museum, Somerset House, offers an entire cultural program of its own. Don’t miss its current exhibition and – my favourite – the Nelson staircase. Set in a rotunda, the flowing staircase connects the basement with the Navy Board Rooms. Thought it was constructed in the late eighteen century, it had to be rebuilt in the 50’s as it had suffered terrible bomb damage in 1940.
When: 13 November to 12 January
Where: London WC2R 1LA (Google)
Nearest Tube: Temple
Price: From £11
Perched on top of an unassuming building in front of Waterloo Station, Bar Elba went through a festive makeover to offer you this petite rink new to the 2019 list of places to ice skate. The Napoleon-themed rooftop venue has a winter makeover with mulled wine, hot cocktails and blankets to cosy up under. Burger experts Dip & Flip serve up a festive twist on menu favourites.
The main reasons to come here are the views and food – the ice rink is quite small in fairness. However, if you appreciate London’s skyline and the Christmas classics, you won’t really mind the fact that it’s a minuscule rink.
When: 13 November
Where: Rooftop Mercury House, 109-117 Waterloo Rd, SE1 8UL (Google)
Nearest Tube: Waterloo
Price: Free in November
Camden Market’s magical makeover sees the North Yard transformed into an illuminated North Pole. The real-ice rink is new for this year, illuminated by fairy lights and antique chandeliers. Expect an enchanting encounter with Santa and skate under the sparkle of antique chandeliers on North London’s longest ice rink at 25 metres!
When: 15 November to 9 January
Where: North Yard, Camden Lock Pl, NW1 8AF (Google)
Nearest Tube: Camden Town
Price: From £6
The Tower of London has had many uses throughout history: a royal palace, a prison and even a zoo, to name a few of them. In 1536, Anne Boleyn was executed on the grounds, and many others after her. In fact, the last person to be executed here was in 1941: Josef Jakobs, a German spy. With so much drama going on, ice skating comes as the easiest of experiences one can enjoy in this precise (and very bloody) location.
Take in the dramatic surroundings as you glide in the dry moat of the 1,000-year-old Tower of London. In the evenings the Tower walls are bathed in light, adding to the drama. For history with a modern twist, there’s no better location.
When: 16 November to 5 January
Where: Tower Hill, St Katharine’s & Wapping, EC3N 4AB (Google)
Nearest Tube: Tower Hill
Price: From £15
Like every year, Hyde Park’s annual tribute to festive fun opens to delight young and old, locals and visitors worldwide. The popular festival includes over 200 Bavarian style chalets for unique gifts, treats and decorations, an observation wheel (the tallest in the world) and an ice rink. Admission to Winter Wonderland is free but for access to the other festive activities, attractions and themed bars you’ll need to book tickets.
This is perhaps London’s most popular ice rink and there are crowds at all times. A couple of insider’s tips: meet your friends outside of Hyde Park as there’s normally no reception inside, book everything you want to do in advance and if you’re coming with children, assume you’ll empty your pockets.
When: 21 November to 5 January
Where: London W2 2AR (Google)
Nearest Tube: Marble Arch / Hyde Park Corner
Price: From £9.50
Hampton Court Palace is normally a day out plan: you can come by a scenic boat ride from Westminster, spend the day visiting the palace and end up with the winter activities on the grounds of it.
This open-air ice rink offers you the chance to glide across the ice under a star-covered sky while surrounded by spectacular views of the historic Tudor palace. With sessions for beginners and experts, as well as food and drink pop-ups, this wintery attraction is ideal for skaters of all ages and skills. To best enjoy the views, it’s most convenient to visit the palace first and then skate soaking up all that historical information.
When: 22 November to 5 January
Where: Molesey, East Molesey KT8 9AU (Google)
Nearest Train Station: Hampton Court
Price: From £15
Covent Garden is opening a festive ice rink in collaboration with jewellery brand Tiffany & Co. The New York-inspired rink takes over the East Piazza of Covent Garden from the end of November, centring around a 4ft-tall bottle of Tiffany & Co. perfume inside a snow globe. Skaters enter via a Central Park-inspired bridge, arriving in an area covered in snow and oversized jewellery boxes in Tiffany’s iconic blue shade.
What’s nice about it is that it will be a scented experience. This means that while you glamorously glide over the ice, you’ll also be able to smell the pleasant fragrance of Tiffany & Co.
When: 29 November to 26 December
Where: The Market Bldg, Brentford WC2E 8RF (Google)
Nearest Train Station: Covent Garden
Price: Free but tickets must be booked
The Queen’s House, the little jewel of Greenwich, is one of the last royal structures of the area. Though Greenwich has long been associated with monarchy, long gone are those days were kings and queens wandered around. However, the atmosphere is still regal.
For the first time, at least in recent years, Greenwich gets an open-air ice rink. The Queen’s House is the royal backdrop for your ice skating, with views of the Old Royal Naval College and towards Canary Wharf.
When: 29 November to 12 January
Where: Romney Rd, SE10 9NF (Google)
Nearest Train Station: Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich DLR Station
Price: From £16
I hope you enjoyed this list and are able to visit some of these wonderful Christmas ice rinks across London. If you liked this list, don’t miss our Top 7 Christmas Markets in London.
Stay tuned for more Christmas plans, shows and activities in London.