Wrap up warm, get your skates on and clamber onto the ice at one of London’s outdoor skating rinks this year.
The Canary Wharf ice rink is already open and doesn’t close until 16 February. It claims to be bigger than both Somerset House and the Natural History Museum (though we haven’t personally got our measuring tapes out) with a skate path that leads underneath trees and a bar onsite. Opening times: Mon-Fri 10.30am-11pm, Sat 10am-11pm, Sun and bank holidays 10am-10pm, opening half an hour earlier on weekdays during school holidays. Adults £13.50, children £9, concessions £11, family £37.50.
Natural History Museum
The rink is open 31 October-5 January in the grounds of the stately NHM, South Kensington, with a cafe bar and carousel. Opening times vary depending on how festive the season – the longest opening hours are on 21, 27 and 28 December, 9am-10pm, or you can skate until midnight on New Year’s Eve. Prices are: adults £13.50 / £11.50, children £9 / £8, students Mondays and Tuesdays until 3 December £8.50 with free drink, family £38 / £31.
This year the Broadgate rink is in a new location on Exchange Square, two minutes from Liverpool Street, open 4 November-27 February. Its bar is keeping up with the latest foodie trends, selling BBQ grub and craft beer. Open 10am-10pm daily, prices are adults £12.50, children £8.50, concessions £10, family £33.50.
This is a bit different. The courtyard at this Chelsea restaurant has been turned into an ice rink, open 11 November-5 January between 1-9pm. There’s a cocktail bar and fondue in the courtyard, or if you fancy something more substantial you are at a restaurant. Tickets £10.
Somerset House is the daddy of London’s ice rinks – and consequently the busiest, we advise advance booking. It’s open 14 November-5 January with a bar, club nights and shopping (including a champagne and chocolate bar). Session start times are from 10am to 9.15pm with late skates on selected nights, tickets are at least £7.50 plus booking fee.
Tower of London
Skate at the Tower from 16 November-5 January. It’s a quite spectacular sight after dark, perhaps just pop into the bar for a mulled wine and enjoy the view. Session start times are between 10am and 9pm, ticket prices: adults £13.50 / £11.50, children £9.50 / £9, concessions £12.50 / £11, family £38 / £36.
Westfield Shepherd’s Bush
If you like the idea of festive skating but don’t want to chance the festive weather, head to Westfield‘s indoor rink open 21 November-5 January. Check out family days, DJ evenings, date and ‘Christmas jumper’ nights. Opening times Mon-Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-6pm, prices adults £11.50 / £7, children £6.50 / £5, student £8 / £6.50, family £32.50 / £28.50 all plus booking fee.
The Hyde Park winter fair is open 22 November-5 January with the rink built around the Victorian bandstand. Session times are between 10am and 9pm, and you’re best to prebook for this popular venue. Prices: adults £14.50 / £10.50, children £9.50 / £8.50, concession £13.50 / £9.50, family £38 / £34.
Glide around under the London Eye from 27 November-5 January. The website says prices depend on when you visit, and are currently adult from £10.50, children from £7.50, family from £20.50, though you can get a 10% discount if you book online. Other amenities: you’re on the South Bank.
Hampton Court Palace
Glide around in front of the Tudor palace from 30 November-12 January. Tickets adult £13 / £11.50, children £9.50 / £9, concession £10.50 / £9.50, family £38 / £36.
JW3 On Ice
The piazza in front of the Jewish Cultural Centre becomes an ice rink 8 December-12 January. Grab a hot chocolate or mulled wine in the Zest cafe. Various times and prices up to £10.