The Best London Ice Rinks 2018
Last Updated: 29th November 2018
Ice rinks are a bit like giant sheets of frozen water.
Scratch that, they are exactly like giant sheets of frozen water, except that on ‘ice rinks’, you can carelessly frolic the night away in thick winter coats, scarves, gloves, beanies and ear muffs, before retiring for a glass of mulled wine. Here are the best spots for ice skating in London…
The Natural History Museum
It’s one of the classic London ice rinks for a reason – now in its 13th year, the NHM rink with its magnificent museum backdrop will, as usual, be accompanied by a rinkside cafe and bar to fulfil all your hot beverage needs. It will also, unlike usual, have a 30ft Christmas tree slap bang in the middle of it…
Details: Until 20th January | The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, SW7 5BD | £12.65
It’s the ultimate ice rink, with beautiful surroundings, DJ nights and a pop-up Fortnum & Mason with tea caddies, hampers and stocking fillers. Pop into the F&M Lodge, and you’ll find cocktails, fondue for two and welsh rarebit. And this year, they’re repeating Skate Lates for ice-capades that go on into the wee hours.
Details: Until 13th January | Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA | £11-£15
If you’re after something less traditional and a little more Rockefeller, head to Canary Wharf’s rink, nestled between soaring skyscrapers that look all the more impressive and imposing if you’ve fallen over on the ice. And they’ve installed LED lights installed underneath the ice, which will create 16 million different colours (apparently a thing) under the ice as you skate, as well as a heated viewing deck to host the Bambis of your group.
Details: Until 16th February | Canada Square Park, E14 5AB | £9.95
The largest rink for outdoor ice skating in London, built around a Victorian bandstand centrepiece which will host live music to speed you on your way. The ice is illuminated by more than 100,000 lights – but then, frankly, anything less would be an embarrassment to London’s most twinkly festive pop-up.
Details: Until 6th January, daily from 10am-10pm | Hyde Park, W2 2UH | From £14.50
Elephant & Castle
The fact that Elephant & Castle’s ice rink comes with DJs, film screenings and street food is already reason enough to go. So you probably don’t even need to hear that they are also running dodgems. On ice.
Details: Daily until 6th January 2019 | Castle Square, Elephant Road, SE17 1AY | £6
Tower of London
The Tower of London ice rink’s impressively nestled within the moat, so you can skate as the Tudor royals might have done, only without the unnerving risk of breaking through the ice.
Details: Daily until 6th January (not Christmas Day) | Tower of London, EC3N 4AB | From £14.50
Winterville in Clapham Common
Along with the funfair rides, crazy golf, roller disco and street food, Winterville’s 600 square meter surface is open six days a week – and it’s made from real ice.
Details: Tues-Sun until 22nd December | Clapham Common, SW4 9DE | £14
Queens Skate, Dine, Bowl
Arguably the venue’s biggest draw, it’s one of just a few places for ice skating in London that’s open year round. It’s a huge space – almost the size of two football pitches – overlooked by a bright, festoon-lit ceiling, and a buzzy rink-side bar/restaurant running its whole length. Here you can get your skates on for an hour or two, or follow the professionals with classes in skating, hockey and er, curling.
Details: All year round | 17 Queensway, Bayswater, W2 4QP | £12
If Henry VIII hadn’t been so mercilessly riddled with gout, no doubt he would’ve enjoyed a spin on the ice rink now perched outside his majestic abode. The mandatory mulled wine and mince pies can be found at the nearby cafe, alongside other delights of the palace grounds, including a cracking maze.
Details: Until January 6th | Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, KT8 9AU | £14.50
JW3’s piazza is transformed every year to become home to their ice rink, which is surrounded with warming seasonal food, mulled wine and hot choco. It’s also open on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Details: 2nd December – 6th January | 341-351 Finchley Road, NW3 6ET | £13
Walthamstow Winter Wonderland
No need to worry about the reindeer, because Walthamstow’s first Christmas pop up will have its very own covered ice rink, alongside street food, a bar from the Discount Suit Company team, and a stage with live acts and DJs.
Details: 1st-28th December | 198A High Street, E17 7JH | £8-10
One of the other few London ice rinks open all year round (it’s where the Dancing On Ice stars train), Ally Pally steps it up a notch around the festive season, and this year it’s hosting ice discos every Saturday.
Details: Until January 6th | Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, London, N22 7AY | From £9.50
Rooftops are really the last places you want to find yourself on thin ice.
So it’s a good job that the ice rink appearing on the John Lewis rooftop isn’t actually real ice. instead it’s made up of an ingenious snowy-looking plastic that you can slide over in specially designed skates, before settling down for a hot gin cocktail or two… READ MORE
Details: Until 6th January | Book a skating session (£8) or gin masterclass (£25) in advance, right HERE.
Skylight have let things slide…
…because they’ve added Europe’s only real rooftop ice rink to their covetable spot on a Wapping carpark rooftop (with unobstructed views of London’s finest stretches of skyline) this winter. And they’re throwing in cocktails, street food, igloos, slap shot hockey, and DJs just to top it all off.
Details: Until 27th January | Penning Street Car Park, Wapping Lane, E1W 2SF | Entry free, £12 for skating
In the market for a little more festive fun? Check out London’s best winter rooftop pop ups