Can there be any more quintessential winter activity than skating in the open air? Yes, probably, you could go reindeer sledding in Lapland for instance, but otherwise there really isn’t any more quintessential winter activity than skating in the open air. Which is great because we have the perfect selection of open air rinks for you.
The Natural History Museum is the natural place to start any guide to London’s outdoor skating rinks. Whizz round and round under the gaze of this, one of London’s most majestic buildings, and afterwards grab a warming drink at the Café Bar.
Opens on Thursday 25th October
Where: Cromwell Road, Kensington, SW7 5BD
Somerset House, the home of the London skating rink (unless you include the actual Thames, which used to freeze most winters), is open again in the Edmond J. Safra Fountain courtyard. And it’s not just the enormous skating rink you have to look forward to, enjoy the Fortnum’s Lodge pop-up as well this winter.
Opens on Wednesday 14th November
Where: Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA
The crown jewel of the Tower of London at this time of year is the ice rink. Set by the tower walls, this probably is the most dramatic view from any rink the world over, with views toward the river as well as the one of the nation’s most historic building to your left. Then ahead. Then your right. Coz skating in circles.
Opens on Friday 23rd November
Where: The Tower Of London, London, EC3N 4AB, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Tower Hill (0.2 miles)
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Winter Wonderland is one of the most nightmarish places to go come this time of year. But bear with the grimness, the crowds and the jostling tourists and just go for the ice rink. Yes, you run the risk of having your little finger sliced off, but it’s actually the least crowded part of Winter Wonderland and is genuinely impressive and enjoyable.
Opens on Thursday 22nd November
Where: Hyde Park
Don’t lose your head (or any peripheral body parts) at Hampton Court Palace this winter as the ice rink returns for another year. Stunning location: tick, great rink: tick. What’s there not to like?
Opens on Friday 23rd November
Where: Hampton Court Palace, Surrey, KT8 9AU, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Hampton Court (0.2 miles)
Where else can you buy a new set of face-flannels and indulge in a spot of rooftop iceskating? (Hint, the answer is definitely nowhere!). Their rooftop winter hideaway, complete with huts, cocktails and, you guessed it, skating. The rink is small in comparison to the likes of Hampton Court and Somerset House, but to be fair it IS on a rooftop in Oxford Street. While you’re there, enjoy some gin thanks to some splendid Sipsmith sips.
Where: 300 Oxford Street, Marylebone, W1C 1DX
Head out east to Wapping’s Tobacco Dock for more rooftop skating. Another tiddler, but comes with activities and hot toddies at Skylight. The venue is currently in its ‘autumnal’ phase (think hay bales, harvest festival etc), but come the start of November Skylight will transform into a wintery wonderland atop a multi-storey in the East End.
Opens at the start of November
Where: Tobacco Dock, Pennington Street entrance, St Katharine's and Wapping, E1W 2SF