London offers a fine selection of xmas ice rinks every year. Whether you’re a skilled figure skater or a complete beginner, the atmosphere of the capital’s ice-rinks is enchanting. Here’s a round-up of my top 5 places to twirl around.
On the practical side: they all cost between £14 and £17 for an hour of skating. From what I remember, Somerset House was the most expensive at £17,50 and Hampton Court the cheapest at £14. All prices include a pair of ice skates. I booked my tickets online, though it’s quite easy to get them on the day at the box office (maybe apart from rush hours, that is, Saturday and Sunday during the day or Thursdays and Friday evenings)
You book for a specific time (if you buy the tickets at the box office, you can turn up any time you like). It’s well recommended to come about 20min before your session starts. During busy hours it may take a good 15min to queue for the skates (I’ve got my own, so I just make a bee line for the cloakroom ,which is usually another £1 or £2).
London is magical at Xmas and the ice-rinks are beautifully located among the capital’s most iconic buildings. From the Natural History Museum in South Kensington (not far from the Royal Albert Hall) to William the Conqueror’s Tower of London or Henry the VIII’s Hampton Court.
I prefer to skate in the evenings with the xmas lights on (London is fab by night!), or around 10 or 11 in the morning when it’s not that busy. I avoid 12 to 3pm slots at the weekends, also Thursdays and Fridays evenings can also get chock-a-block.
I’ll do a separate post on ‘what to wear’, as I’ve been trying all kinds of outfits over the last month. Everything from haute couture to day-to-day training, so stay tuned!
Click on each title if you want to visit the ice rink’s dedicated website
One of the most recognisable museums in London with Royal Albert Hall round the corner. A fantastic choice of restaurants and cafés are just a couple of minutes walk away by South Kensington tube Station, including the oldest Polish restaurant in London Daquise.
Together with the Natural History Museum it’s probably the most popular winter skating spot in London. It's located just off the Strand, with Covent Garden a short stroll away and the nearby Savoy hotel is great for afternoon tea.
Henry VIII’s pad. He’s mostly known for having 6 wives and beheading two of them – we don’t know anything about his ice-skating talent. Fairy-tale ice rink, it looks like something taken out of Disney World.
Everyone knows Hyde Park, arguably the most iconic London park. In December part of it gets turned into ‘Winter Wonderland’. The ice-skating is just one of the many attractions available on site, there’s also a Christmas market and a funfair (though you have to pay extra for that).
It was built after the Normans with William the Conqueror invaded Britain in 1066. And it’s still going strong. With an ice-rink. You can also enjoy a great London City panorama from here including the Shard, the tallest building of the capital.
It was pretty much impossible to do a non-blue photo on my rather old-school iPhone5 :)
A few ice-rinks are still open post-December so I might try another couple after I comeback home from my Xmas holiday in Warsaw.