Top 10 Ice Skating Places: London on Ice in Winter
Welcome to our guide, where we bring you up close and personal with London’s enchanting, icy winter offerings. If you’ve ever wondered about the magic of ice skating in the heart of the city known for its double-decker buses, iconic red phone booths, and quintessential British charm, then strap on your skates, you’re in for a treat.
- Best Places for Ice Skating in London
- Guide to Ice Skating in London
Best Places for Ice Skating in London
Ice skating is not just a sport or a recreational activity; it’s an emotion, a journey back into history, a dance on the canvas of ice, and an unforgettable experience in itself. And where better to embark on this journey than in the winter wonderland that is London?
The city has a rich and vibrant history of ice skating, stretching back to the frost fairs of the River Thames in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Fast forward to the 21st century, and you’ll find that London has transformed into a glittering icy paradise during the winter season, offering an abundance of indoor and outdoor ice skating venues that cater to beginners, pros, and even those just looking for a magical winter date night under the twinkling city lights.
The twinkling fairy lights, the crisp chill in the air, the laughter and cheer, the aroma of hot chocolate wafting through the air, and the enchanting atmosphere all contribute to an irresistible and quintessentially London experience.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
As winter descends upon London, the city’s famous Hyde Park transforms into a dazzling Winter Wonderland. At the heart of this annual winter festival is the stunning ice rink, one of the largest in the UK.
Circled by over a hundred thousand twinkling lights and with festive music filling the air, the ambiance is nothing short of magical.
Located centrally and well-connected by public transport, this wonderland is easy to reach. Skate around the Victorian bandstand, take in the festive atmosphere, or simply enjoy watching others from the sidelines with a hot chocolate in hand.
The rink is open from morning till late evening, offering an array of unforgettable experiences – from sparkling sunrise skates to mesmerizing twilight twirls.
Special events like ice sculpting workshops, Christmas markets, and live shows keep the festive spirit high, offering more than just ice skating. It’s a complete winter festival experience that combines sport, recreation, and entertainment into one joyful package.
But remember, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland usually runs from November to the start of January, so plan your visit accordingly!
Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink
From a winter wonderland, we move on to a venue of royal grandeur: the Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink. Imagine gliding on the ice in the very gardens where Kings and Queens once walked; it’s an experience that brings history alive.
Accessible via a short train ride from London Waterloo, the Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink offers an exquisite backdrop of the red-brick Tudor front of King Henry VIII’s opulent palace. The grandeur and the regal aura of the palace add a touch of unique charm to your ice skating experience.
From November to January, the area in front of the palace is transformed into a sprawling ice rink. This rink not only serves as a fantastic winter sport venue, but also gives you the opportunity to soak up the historical ambiance of one of the most iconic landmarks in the UK.
The venue offers skating lessons for beginners and those wanting to brush up their skills. In the evening, the palace is illuminated, creating a breathtakingly beautiful scene that only adds to the magical experience of ice skating.
Somerset House Ice Rink
Let’s journey next to the courtyard of one of London’s most distinguished buildings, Somerset House. Nestled on the banks of the River Thames, Somerset House hosts one of the most beautiful ice rinks in the city.
Underneath a dark velvet sky scattered with stars, the ice rink here comes alive with skaters from November through to January.
Situated in the heart of London, Somerset House is easily accessible via various modes of public transport.
The 18th-century neoclassical building offers an incredibly picturesque backdrop, making every spin and glide on the ice feel straight out of a fairy tale.
One unique feature is Skate Lates, an evening program where emerging and established DJs play their tracks while you skate under the night sky. And if you’re new to ice skating, don’t fret!
The rink offers Skate School sessions to help you find your ice legs. A stopover at the rink-side Fortnum’s Lodge for a mug of steaming hot chocolate or a plate of mouth-watering raclette completes the Somerset House ice skating experience.
Queen’s House Ice Rink
Our next stop is in Greenwich. Queen’s House Ice Rink presents a remarkable opportunity to skate in the royal backyard of this UNESCO World Heritage site. The rink, set against the striking backdrop of the Queen’s House, serves up beautiful views of Greenwich Park and the River Thames.
Located a short walk from the Cutty Sark DLR station, this location is steeped in history, offering a skating experience that is both fun and culturally enriching.
There’s no other place in London where you can skate while enjoying the view of a maritime museum, a royal park, and a classic example of Palladian architecture!
From November to January, the ice rink becomes the centrepiece of the area, welcoming skaters of all ages and skill levels. Post-skating, you can take a stroll around the National Maritime Museum or climb up the hill in Greenwich Park for a panoramic view of the city.
Canary Wharf Ice Rink
Let’s visit the business district of Canary Wharf, which houses one of the most modern and stylish ice rinks in the city. Located amidst the skyscrapers, the Canary Wharf Ice Rink is like an oasis of festive joy in the heart of a bustling metropolis.
Easily accessible by tube, the Canary Wharf ice rink is more than just a place for skating. It’s an immersive winter experience, thanks to its beautifully illuminated paths that guide you through trees festooned with fairy lights.
Running from November until February, it provides a longer window of opportunity for those late to the winter party. The venue also features a separate rink for children and skating aids for beginners.
After a session on the ice, you can relax and refuel at the rink-side bar, offering a range of winter-warming snacks and drinks.
With the city’s lights twinkling above, the Canary Wharf Ice Rink offers a truly urban ice skating experience.
Battersea Power Station Ice Rink
Embodying the regeneration of one of London’s most iconic landmarks, this ice rink infuses the charm of the historic power station with a new spirit of winter fun.
Situated by the River Thames and easily reachable from Battersea Park station, this venue is a stunning backdrop for your ice skating adventures. With the power station’s towering chimneys and distinctive architecture, you’re in for an unforgettable experience.
The rink is typically operational from November to January, echoing the city’s festive cheer. The beautifully lit surroundings and spacious ice rink make it an excellent choice for family outings or a romantic evening glide under the stars.
The Natural History Museum Ice Rink
Embarking on our icy tour around London, no route would be complete without a visit to the ice rink at the Natural History Museum. It’s not just an ice rink; it’s a winter tradition that holds a special place in the heart of Londoners and visitors alike.
Strategically positioned in South Kensington, the rink is easily reachable by tube and bus. Once there, you’re greeted by a truly stunning sight: a huge, twinkling Christmas tree in the centre of the ice, flanked by the imposing, yet charming, facade of the museum.
Operating from late October until the beginning of January, the ice rink caters to everyone. Whether you’re a seasoned skater or a nervous newbie, it provides an idyllic setting to enjoy this quintessential winter activity. And if you’re not so confident on the ice, don’t worry – there are friendly Penguin Skate Aids to keep you steady!
After soaking in the joys of ice skating, you can warm up with a hot drink or a snack in the café overlooking the ice rink, allowing you to enjoy the spectacular view even off the ice.
Lee Valley Ice Centre
Next up on our icy adventure is the Lee Valley Ice Centre located in the scenic surroundings of Leyton Marshes. As a world-class facility, it caters to the casual ice skater as well as serving as a training ground for the next ice hockey champ or figure skating star.
Easily accessible, it’s just a bus ride away from Walthamstow Central tube station. Open throughout the year, it’s perfect for those who wish to enjoy skating outside the festive season.
The centre offers a wide range of facilities including a spacious ice rink, skating aids for beginners, and ice skating classes for different skill levels. It’s also home to several ice hockey teams, figure skating clubs, and hosts ice dance sessions, making it a buzzing hub for all things ice sports.
Streatham Ice Rink
Streatham Ice Rink in South London venue, having served the local community for several decades, holds the title of being one of the oldest ice rinks in the city.
Conveniently located near Streatham Station, this rink is accessible and offers a spacious venue for ice skating. The ice rink is open all year round.
This community-centric venue focuses on training and development, with various classes and programs available for those wanting to learn or improve their ice skating skills. It’s also home to the local ice hockey team, the Streatham Redhawks, so if you’re a fan of the sport, this is the place to be!
From disco skate nights to figure skating lessons, Streatham Ice Rink is dedicated to creating an inviting atmosphere that fosters a love for ice skating.
Alexandra Palace Ice Rink
We can’t end our exploration without a nod to the beautiful Alexandra Palace Ice Rink, located in North London. Known fondly as “Ally Pally”, this palace-turned-entertainment-venue offers an ice skating experience like no other.
A short bus ride from Wood Green tube station, the venue is nestled atop a hill, offering stunning panoramic views of the London skyline. The ice rink here is a year-round facility, ensuring that you can satisfy your ice skating cravings no matter the season.
Whether you want to enjoy a casual skating session, take up ice hockey, or learn figure skating, Alexandra Palace Ice Rink is up to the task. It’s also the only rink in London to host “Ice Discos” on Saturday nights, where you can skate to the latest hits under disco lights – a must-try experience!
Guide to Ice Skating in London
Whether you’re a local or a tourist, novice or pro, London offers a variety of ice skating rinks that cater to every taste. From grand palaces to modern business districts, each location provides a unique ambiance, making every ice skating experience a special one.
Understanding Ice Skating Seasons in London
Ice Skating in London is largely a seasonal affair. While some rinks like Lee Valley Ice Centre, Streatham Ice Rink, and Alexandra Palace Ice Rink operate year-round, most pop-up rinks are set up for the winter season, typically from November to January. So, plan your visit according to the ice rink of your choice.
Choosing the Right Ice Rink
Choosing the right ice rink depends on what you’re looking for in your ice skating experience. If it’s festive cheer and joy you seek, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, Natural History Museum Ice Rink, or Somerset House Ice Rink can be the perfect venues.
For a taste of history and royalty, consider the Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink or the Queen’s House Ice Rink.
For those who prefer an urban setting, the Canary Wharf Ice Rink provides a perfect blend of city vibes and winter festivities.
And if you’re looking for a place where you can skate to your heart’s content throughout the year, the Lee Valley Ice Centre, Streatham Ice Rink, or Alexandra Palace Ice Rink would be your best bet.
Skating for Beginners
If you’re new to ice skating, don’t fret! Most ice rinks in London provide skating aids for beginners, along with dedicated training sessions.
From Penguin Skate Aids at the Natural History Museum Ice Rink to professional ice skating lessons at Streatham Ice Rink, London ensures everyone can enjoy the thrill of ice skating.
Booking Your Ice Skating Experience
- Most ice rinks in London require advance booking, especially during the festive season.
- Tickets can usually be purchased online via the venue’s official website. Prices typically vary based on time slots and peak periods.
- Don’t forget to check the availability of add-ons like skating aids or lessons if needed.
- Remember to dress warmly, and in layers, as you’ll heat up when you start moving around the rink.
- If you don’t own a pair of ice skates, fear not! Every venue offers skate rentals as part of the ticket price.
Like any other activity, ice skating has its own etiquette. Keep moving on the ice, be mindful of other skaters, avoid sudden stops and turns, and most importantly, always enjoy yourself and respect the ice.
Ice skating in London is truly an enchanting experience, bringing together the magic of winter, the charm of history, the allure of modernity, and the joy of sport.
The city is dotted with a myriad of ice rinks that cater to every taste and skill level, making it a must-visit destination for all skating enthusiasts.