The process of opening an ice rink can be a slippery slope.
It always starts out well enough – you put some ice on the ground, surround it with a barrier, open a bar next door and invite lots of people to buy a ticket to slide around on it. Easy money. But then, before you know it, suddenly people are beginning to feel all festive – happily drinking mulled wine and skating alfresco in thick winter coats, scarves & gloves, while soaking up the crisp night air with their closest friends and loved ones.
Which, on reflection, doesn’t actually sound too bad.
The Natural History Museum
The NHM rink is opening for its 16th and final year, before the gardens are transformed into a five-acre haven for urban wildlife – making this your last chance to enjoy its magnificent museum backdrop, accompanied as usual, by a rinkside cafe and bar to fulfil all your hot beverage needs.
Details: 22nd October – 16th January 2022, 11am-10pm | The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, SW7 5BD | £12.65
It’s the ultimate ice rink, with beautiful surroundings, DJ nights and a 40ft Christmas tree. Skate Lates offer ice-capades that go on into the wee hours, soundtracked by the likes of Jaguar, Foundation FM and Soho Radio, and new for this year is the pop-up Moët & Chandon bar, serving Champagne & cocktails; and an alpine lodge restaurant by pop-up king Jimmy Garcia.
Details: 17th November – 16th January 2022 | Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA | £11-£15
The largest rink for outdoor ice skating in London, built around a Victorian bandstand centrepiece and illuminated by thousands of lights. Plus, it’s right next to the other attractions at Winter Wonderland, which this year include an ice slide; ice sculpting workshops and a Viking tent filled with mulled wine and open fires. READ MORE
Details: 19th November – 3rd January, daily from 10am-10pm | Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, W2 2UH | £10.50, plus entry ticket costs £5-7.50
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 curling.
Details: All year round, 10am-11pm/12am Fri & Sat | 17 Queensway, Bayswater, W2 4QP | £7 Mon & Tues (pre-book), £11.95-13, + £2.75 skate hire
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: 13th November – 9th January, 10am-8.45pm | Hampton Court Palace, East Moseley, KT8 9AU | £16-19
The Queen’s House
Just to be clear, ‘the Queen’s House’ doesn’t actually mean Buckingham Palace. It’s a grand, former royal mansion in Greenwich whose ice rink is returning for the third time. Somehow, it’s the only open-air rink in South London, and it’s set amidst UNESCO World Heritage buildings and stunning views of the city.
Details: 18th November – 9th January, 11am-8pm | The Queen’s House, Romney Road, SE10 9NF | £15-18
Another of the 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 a pantomime version of The Nutcracker on ice.
Details: Open all year, some December dates closed – check ahead | Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, London, N22 7AY | £9-9.50
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 Eve, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
Details: 5th December – 2nd January | 341-351 Finchley Road, NW3 6ET | £17
Skylight Tobacco Dock
Skylight have let things slide…
…because they’ve added a real ice rooftop rink to their covetable spot atop a Wapping carpark (with unobstructed views of London’s finest stretches of skyline). And they’re throwing in cocktails, festive street food, igloos, shuffleboard, and DJs just to top it all off. READ MORE
Details: From 5th November | Penning Street Car Park, Wapping Lane, E1W 2SF | Entry free, £15 for 45 mins skating, only bookable on the day
Canary Wharf Ice Rink
Canary Wharf’s ice rink is back this year, and it’s covered – which is partly for your benefit, given the delightfully mercurial nature of the British weather, and partly for the benefit of everyone in the surrounding offices, by shielding them from the inevitable FOMO. As always, there’s a heated rinkside bar, too, with mulled wine, spiced plum hot cider and Bailey’s hot chocolates on the menu.
Details: 23rd October – 26th February 2022 | Canada Square Park, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5AB | £17.95
Last Updated: 27th October 2021