Is there anything more Christmassy than ice skating in the open air? Okay, apart from catching Mummy kissing Santa Claus. Or reindeer sledding in Lapland. Or singing O Holy Night under a Victorian lamp post. You could dress as your great aunt, down a bottle of Port and hurl unwoke slurs at the television. BUT, other than all that, there really couldn’t be anything more Christmassy than ice skating in the open air.

And because we’re here to make your winter as Christmassy as possible, here are some of our favourite skating rinks, booking now and back for another Christmas season!

Natural History Museum (For The Last Time!)

It’s a classic, but not for much longer. While you shouldn’t really reveal your favourite skating rink when in earshot of the others, I’m going to whisper that the Natural History Museum has to be my favourite London skating rink. But this is its final outing.

Once the ice has melted this spring the rink will be transformed into a biologically diverse green space...

Once the ice has melted this spring the rink will be transformed into a biologically diverse green space called the Urban Nature Project, telling the story of life on earth.

Until then, though, enjoy the 30ft Christmas tree centre piece and, equally importantly, the Café Bar with its winter warmers, from snacks to hot toddies and, of course, Prosecco!

Open Friday 22nd October until Sunday 16th January 2022

Where: Cromwell Road, Kensington, SW7 5BD
Website: www.nhm.ac.uk

Somerset House

Somerset House has been putting on winter skating for over two decades now and remains the most popular outdoor rink of the season and probably the most ‘London’ place you can skate. Well, unless you include the actual river Thames, which last froze properly in 1814 when it hosted its last ‘frost fair’.

 

You'll be able to enjoy a glass or a cocktail in the Skate Lounge by Moët & Chandon...

Either way, the rink is back in the Edmond J. Safra Fountain courtyard and this year they’ve teamed up with Moët & Chandon. The Champagne house is responsible for the attractive decorations in the courtyard and, of course, you’ll be able to enjoy a glass or a cocktail in the Skate Lounge by Moët & Chandon.

Also look forward to DJs on the rink-side decks at Skate Lates with UNIQLO and, for the ultimate post-skating experiment, gourmet dining at Chalet Barragiste with Jimmy Garcia.

Opens Wednesday 17th November until Sunday 16th January 2022

Where: Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA
Website: www.somersethouse.org.uk

Winter Wonderland

It’s not officially Christmas until you’ve been to Winter Wonderland. The sprawling Christmas fair is always thronging with fun-seekers enjoying their time on the myriad fairground rides, in the bier haus or shopping for trinkets in the market.

A top-tip, from one Winter Wonderland aficionado to another, is to cut out everything else and head straight to the large outdoor skating rink...

But a top-tip, from one Winter Wonderland aficionado to another, is to cut out everything else and head straight to the large outdoor skating rink.

Surely one of London’s largest rinks, it’s built around a Victorian bandstand and, in the evening, below a canopy of fairy-lights, it’s the perfect way to start your inevitable trip to Winter Wonderland.

Opens Friday 19th November until Monday 3rd January 2022

Where: Hyde Park
Website: www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com

Hampton Court Palace

Don’t lose your head (or any peripheral body parts, I’m always terrified for my poor fingers) at Hampton Court Palace this winter as the ice rink returns for another year.

Wouldn't you rather be in leafy South West London than the city on a crisp autumnal evening?

It’s usually the sister rink to the one at the Tower Of London, but this year the Tower’s preparing for a new launch in 2022 and the area is otherwise occupied. Which is fine, because Wouldn’t you rather be in leafy South West London than the city on a crisp autumnal evening?

Choir boys optional.

Opens Saturday 13th November until Sunday 9th January 2022

Where: Hampton Court Palace, Surrey, KT8 9AU, United Kingdom
Website: www.hrp.org.uk

Skylight

Every summer our readers go completely wild for a rooftop pool, so how about a rooftop skating rink? Well you’ll be glad to know that your rooftop fix is catered for at Skylight at Wapping’s Tobacco Dock.

Small but perfectly formed, the rink is a firm Handbook favourit, and it’s only part of the offering at Tobacco Dock this autumn.

Small but perfectly formed, the rink is a firm Handbook favourite...

The heated igloos are back again, there’s live DJs and festive street food from Mac n Cheese to bratwurst are on the menu.

All set to a panoramic view of East London. You’d better get your skates on!

Opens Friday 5th November

Where: Tobacco Dock, Pennington Street entrance, St Katharine’s and Wapping, E1W 2SF
Website: www.skylightlondon.com

The Queen’s House, Royal Museums Greenwich

Let’s all go skating down at the Queen’s House! No, not Buckingham Palace but the exquisite mansion opposite the Royal Naval College in Greenwich.

The Royal Museums Greenwich rink is set in a UNESCO World Heritage Site, surrounded by famed architecture and stunning views.

Let's all go skating down at the Queen's House! No, not Buckingham Palace...

You might consider a cultural afternoon spent glimpsing the college, the park and the Cutty Sark, followed by a romantic skate and a broken collar bone beneath the twinkling lights of this Georgian masterpiece.

Opens Saturday 13th November until Sunday 9th January 2022

Where: Romney Road, Greenwich, SE10 9NF
Website: www.rmg.co.uk


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