Now autumn is in full swing, we’re now on a steady countdown to Christmas. With the nights getting darker and colder, a visit to a festive ice rink could be just what you need to lift the spirits.
From the end of October until early January, a host of outdoor ice rinks are popping up in the capital. You can ice skate against some iconic London backdrops, such as Somerset House, the Natural History Museum and the Tower of London. Alternatively, there are more unusual venues, like Skylight London in Wapping, which gives you stunning city views from the ice.
Most rinks are open daily including Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, but are closed on Christmas Day.
Here’s a guide to London ice rinks – both outdoor and permanent – open this winter season.
- 19 October – 12 January 2020 : Natural History Museum Ice Rink
A 1,000 square metre rink in the gardens of the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. Open 10am-9pm. Session times last 1 hour. Adults from £12.65, Children 12 and under from £8.80. Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 5BD. Nearest station: South Kensington. To book, visit the Natural History Museum website.
- 31 October – 25 January 2020 : Skylight London
Skate on London’s rooftops with views of the City of London’s skyscrapers. Features alfresco and covered bars, igloos, and street food. Open Thu-Sun only. Free entry to Skylight. Skating tickets: £12 (45 minutes inc skate hire). Skylight, Tobacco Quay, Pennington Street entrance, Wapping, E1CW 2SF. Nearest station: Shadwell or Wapping. For booking, visit the Skylight London website.
- 13 November – 12 January 2020 : Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason
One of the original pop-up ice rinks located in the historic courtyard of Somerset House. As well as general skating, they also host club nights on ice and skate lessons. Session times last 1 hour and are from 10am until 10.30pm (later for club nights and New Year’s Eve). Tickets: Adults start from £11, Children (12yr and under) from £8.50. Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA. Nearest station: Temple. To book, visit the Somerset House website.
- 16 November – 5 January 2020 : Tower Of London Ice Rink
Skate on a rink in the moat of the Tower of London. After a skate, visit the ice rink café bar serving hot snacks and drinks. (16 Nov-18 Dec) Weekdays 11am-9pm, Weekends 10am-9pm. (19 Dec-5 Jan) 10am-9pm all week. Tickets: Adults/teens from £15, Children under 12: £10.50. Tower Of London (off Lower Thames Street or Tower Hill), EC3N 4AB. Nearest station: Tower Hill. To book, visit the Tower Of London Ice Rink website. Read the rest of this entry
Coming to London this weekend is a brand new festival which brings contemporary and classic culture together. A host of museums and heritage spaces around the capital will be hosting an innovative new ‘Lates’ spectacular – the Emerge Festival.
The inaugural 2019 festival will see London experience a hybrid of arts and nightlife during the Friday 27 – Saturday 28 September weekend. Some of the UK’s rising new talent will be performing at some iconic venues. Artists include Jungle (DJ set), Ady Suleiman, Bryony Gordon, Lost Lectures, The Vagina Museum and young people’s laureate Theresa Lola.
The Emerge Festival will feature a wide range of events, including live music, DJ sets, talks, workshops, performances, poetry, live art installations, theatre and immersive experiences. There will even be a pop-up gin bar on the roof of the Wellington Arch.
Highlights of the new festival include rising soul stars Ady Suleiman and Poppy Ajudha at The Horniman Museum; author and journalist Bryony Gordon celebrating body positivism and mental health awareness at Dulwich Picture Gallery; UK rapper Flohio curating an evening of entertainment at the stunning 17th century Banqueting House; and a special Lost Lectures collaboration with the Natural History Museum. Also at the NHM will be the collective Jungle, who will be DJing underneath Hope the Whale and Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon installation in the striking Hintze Hall.
To immerse yourself in the Emerge Festival experience, all you need is one ticket to give you access to dozens of events at over 40 venues. Participating spaces include the Design Museum, The Old Operating Theatre, The Jewish Museum, Tower Bridge, The Monument, The London Canal Museum, and many more.
- Emerge Festival runs from 27-28 September 2019. Tickets: For 18–30s, NHS workers and benefits recipients – Day £15, Weekend £30. For over 30s – Day £25, Weekend £40. Concs available. For tickets, visit the Emerge Festival website or search Emerge on the DICE app.
For a guide to what else is on in London this September, click here.
Open air ice rinks have been rising in popularity over the past 10 years. In December, I can’t think of many activities more festive than going ice-skating with friends, family or a date, before warming up afterwards with a hot chocolate or mulled wine. While there’s a handful of permanent ice rinks open all year round, from late November until early January, a host of iconic venues host pop-up ice rinks. Here’s a guide to some of the rinks open this season. Although walks up may be possible, I recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment, especially at weekends and Christmas holidays. (NB: Most ice rinks will be closed on Christmas Day and early closing on Christmas Eve).
For the updated 2014 guide, click here.
- Natural History Museum Ice Rink
A 950 square metre rink in the gardens of the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. Open from 2 November until 6 January 2013. Mon-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Fri 10am-11pm, Sat 9am-11pm, Sun 9am-10pm. Adults £11.50/£13.50, Children 12 and under £8/£9. Nearest tube: South Kensington (Circle, District and Piccadilly line). To book, visit the Natural History Museum website.
- Skate at Somerset House
One of the original pop-up ice rinks located in the courtyard of Somerset House. As well as general skating, they also host club nights on ice and skate lessons. Open from 16 November until 6 January 2013. Session times last an hour and are bookable from 10am until 9.15pm (later for club nights and New Year’s Eve). Adults £12.50/£15.00, Children £7.50. Nearest tube: Temple (Circle and District line). To book, visit the Somerset House website.
A newer addition to the open air ice rinks is the raised rink in the park shadowed by the London Eye. Open from 17th November until 6 January 2013. Open daily from 10am until 9pm. Session times last 45 minutes . Adults £10.50 (£9.45 online), Children £7.50 (£6.75 online). Nearest tube: Waterloo (Overland, Jubilee or Bakerloo line) or Embankment (Circle, District or Northern Line). To book, visit the Eyeskate website.
- Ice Rink Canary Wharf
In the middle of the soaring skyscrapers on Canary Wharf and surrounded by shops is another pop-up rink. Open from 3rd November until 13 January 2013. Session times last 1 hour. First session times vary from 9.45am/10.45am ending at 11pm most nights. Adults £12.50, Children £8.50. Nearest tube Canary Wharf (Jubilee line). To book, visit the Ice Rink Canary Wharf website.
- Tower Of London Ice Rink
Skate in the moat of one of the most iconic and historic buildings in the capital. Open from 17th November until 6th January 2013. Session times last 1 hour. First sessions start at 10am, last session starts at 9pm. Adults £11/£13, Children £8.50/£9. Nearest tube Tower Hill (Circle or District Line). To book, visit the Tower of London Ice Rink website.
- Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink
Skate in front of King Henry VIII’s favourite London residence. Session times last 1 hour. Open from 1st December until 13th January 2013. First sessions start at 10am, last session starts at 9pm. Adults £11/£12.50, Children £8.50/£9. Nearest train Hampton Court (overland from Waterloo). To book, visit the Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink website.
- Ice Age 4 Ice Rink @ Winter Wonderland
A pop-up ice rink at the annual Winter Wonderland in the south east corner of Hyde Park. Session times last 1 hour. Open from 23rd November until 6th January 2013. First sessions start at 10am, last session starts at 9pm. Adults £10.50/£13.50, Children £8.50/£9.50. Nearest tube: Hyde Park Corner (Piccadilly Line). To book, visit the Winter Wonderland website. For a sneak peek, check out MOAMG blog posting on Winter Wonderland.
- Broadgate Ice
Temporary ice rink at Broadgate Circle in the City of London where you can actually turn up and skate without a need to book. Open from 9 November until 24th February 2013. Weekday sessions 12.15-9pm, weekends 9.30am-9pm. Adults £9, Children £7, Skate Hire £2. Nearest tube: Liverpool Street. For more information, visit Broadgate’s website.
For more fun things to do around London this January and February, read my blog post Guide to what’s on in London in January and February 2013.