Want to go ice skating in London this winter? We've rounded up the best pop-up winter ice skating rinks in London for Christmas 2023 — and we're raring to get our skates on! See you on the ice?
Canary Wharf ice rink: Christmas 2023
Ice Rink Canary Wharf makes its grand return, and as always, is the first to open for the season. By our calculations, it's London's longest ice skating season, running for 18 weeks from October through until February, closing only on Christmas Day. Cleverly, its season covers both the October and February half term holidays, and as with all of these rinks, sessions after Christmas tend to be quieter.
The rink offers London skaters a chance to take to the ice in the shadow of Canary Wharf's skyscrapers. Though not as traditionally pretty as some of London's rinks, it has a certain metropolitan vibe, surrounded by glass and metal rather than trees and grass. Crucially, it has a roof — strung with fairy lights, naturally — so there's no chance of rain stopping play.
New for this season are his year’s themed skating sessions, including a Halloween special, and 80s, 90s and Soul Classics nights. Manual wheelchair users can use the ice rink during all sessions, with dedicated wheelchair sessions planned throughout the season, too. The minimum age for all skaters is four.
More of a spectator? The Grandstand Bar alongside the rink transforms into an après-skate alpine retreat, giving you a view of the action without the risk of ice-induced bruising.
Ice Rink Canary Wharf, 21 October 2023-24 February 2024. Tickets on sale from 25 September.
Underbelly's Skate West End at Hanover Square
New for Christmas 2023 is Skate West End, an oval-shaped rink opening in Hanover Square, Mayfair, to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity. A percentage of the money from every ticket sold goes to the charity, with a target donation of at least £55,000 throughout the season.
Not much of a skater? There's a bar in the centre of the rink for spectators.
Underbelly's Skate West End at Hanover Square, 4 November 2023-1 January 2024. Tickets available from 25 October.
Glide ice rink at Battersea Power Station
The Battersea Power Station development hosts a riverside ice rink for the second year, once again sponsored by fragrance house Jo Malone. Glide sits with the iconic power station building on one side, and the River Thames on the other, and consists of three interconnected ice rinks, all centered around a 30ft-tall Christmas tree. Fairground rides pitch up near the ice, and the new development has lashings of restaurants, cafes and shops for skaters to make use of — or you can stay rinkside for your pre- or post-skate refreshments, as the Glass House bar returns too.
Glide at Battersea Power Station, 10 November 2023-7 January 2024.
Ice rink at Westfield London, Shepherd's Bush
For the second consecutive year, an open-air ice rink opens at Westfield London (that's the one in Shepherd's Bush, not Stratford). The real-ice, open-air rink is wheelchair accessible.
Food, drink and the like is available in abundance at the cafes and restaurants of Westfield.
Ice rink at Winter Village, Westfield London, 10 November 2023-7 January 2024.
Rooftop ice rink at Skylight Tobacco Dock 2023
As part of its Christmas events programme, rooftop bar Skylight at Tobacco Dock in Wapping once again hosts what claims to be Europe's only rooftop ice rink, with views towards the central London skyline.
The rink is surrounded by an igloo village and glowing Christmas trees, and one level down, there's a mountain retreat-themed apres ski bar serving mulled wine, festive cocktails and a new raclette menu. Family-friendly ice skating sessions are offered on Sunday afternoons.
Rooftop ice rink at Skylight Tobacco Dock, from 10 November 2023.
Skate at Somerset House ice rink: Christmas 2023
We don't like to play favourites, but we do have a soft spot for the Skate at Somerset House ice rink. Somerset House has a new headline partner for the rink this year, Switzerland Tourism, so we can expect a thoroughly Swiss vibe to the festivities.
The rink is located in the Fountain Court, and we're crossing our fingers that the picturesque 40ft Christmas tree returns. In typical Somerset House style, things are kept lively with Skate Lates in association with rosé wine Rock Angel (please drink and skate responsibly!) on selected evenings. Think a curated line-up of DJs and collectives manning the rink-side deck to provide the soundtrack as you skate late into the evening.
Brush up your skills with Skate School, by National Ice Skate Association instructors, and get youngsters used to the ice with special Kids Club sessions for 6-10 year olds. Wheelchairs users can use the rink during any sessions, with dedicated wheelchair skate sessions, as well as Chilled Out sessions for anyone who benefits from a quieter and calmer environment on selected dates.
New for 2023 is the Shelter Boutique, a pop-up located near the rink (15 November-23 December) where you can buy for pre-loved vintage, designer and high-street clothing.
It wouldn't be Skate at Somerset House without an appearance by chef Jimmy Garcia. Once again, he commandeers the West Wing for a pop-up chalet-themed restaurant, Chalet Suisse, keeping that Swiss flavour going with various Alps-inspired dishes.
Skate at Somerset House, 15 November 2023-14 January 2024. Tickets available from 29 September.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland ice rink: Christmas 2023
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is back for Christmas 2023, including the ice rink set around the Victorian bandstand — apparently the UK's largest open-air ice rink. If you can block out the fairground madness going on around you, the rink itself is rather charming, with fairy lights strung in a canopy overhead, and occasional acoustic performances by live musicians in the bandstand as you skate.
Wheelchairs are allowed on this ice rink (motors must be off on electric chairs), with ramps onto and off of the rink.
The rink is officially known as 'Lidl On Ice', due to the budget supermarket sponsoring it again this year. That comes with a couple of perks — alongside the ice rink, Lidl serves up a pre- or post-skate snack of pigs in blankets with a festive sauce of your choice, for £3, with proceeds going to Lidl’s charity partner Neighbourly. Additionally, if you download the Lidl Plus app before you get there, you get access to the heated undercover viewing platform, with a vantage point over the ice rink.
As with last season, you'll need to prebook your entry into the Winter Wonderland site — prices vary depending what time you visit, though some off-peak sessions offer free entry. However, if you spend more than £25 prebooking attractions (including the ice rink) in the same transaction, your entry automatically becomes free. To confuse things even more, ice rink prices also vary depending when you visit, starting at £11.50 adult/£8.50 child — so you'll need to add a couple of rides or a show to reach that free entry.
Hampton Court Palace ice rink: Christmas 2023
The Tudor backdrop of Hampton Court Palace makes an enchanting setting for taking to the ice. Once you've glided and twirled to your heart's content, warm up with mulled wine or hot chocolate as well as festive snacks at the Ice Rink Cafe & Bar.
Our top tip: Book a slot to coincide with the sun setting. If you time it right (as we did — completely accidentally — last year) you can enjoy the sun setting over the river, and the moon rising over the palace building, all within your skating session. Magic.
Hampton Court Palace ice rink, 17 November 2023-7 January 2024.
The Queen's House Greenwich ice rink
How does ice skating at a stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site sound? That's what's on offer right outside the Queen's House Greenwich for seven weeks this winter.
Practise your twirls on an open-air rink in front of the former royal residence, with views over Greenwich Park and beyond. The rink is accessible to wheelchair (manual and electric) users during all sessions, though you'll need to contact the bookings team directly for tickets.
Hot drinks and seasonal snacks are available alongside the rink, and there's a special programme of events on the first Saturday (25 November) including face painting and live choir performances.
The Queen's House ice rink, 23 November 2023-7 January 2024.
JW3 Ice Rink 2023
Jewish community centre JW3 in Finchley once again has a 200m2 outdoor ice rink, complete with twinkling lights and music. It's the only ice rink in London that opens on Christmas Day, and has penguin stabilisers and banana toboggans for little ones who might be a bit wobbly on the ice (available to pre-book). There's a kosher cafe on-site, for pre- or post-skate drinks and snacks too.
JW3 Ice Rink, 10 December 2023-7 January 2024.
Kingdom of Winter ice rink at ExCeL London: Christmas 2023
What's this we spy in our pre-Christmas stocking? A whole new ice rink for Christmas 2023? Not only that, but a while new Christmas festival. Kingdom of Winter makes its debut at ExCeL this December, incorporating various festive shenanigans including fairground rides, an ice circus and trail, market stalls, food and drink options, and an ice rink.
Good news is that it's all under cover, so the weather shouldn't trouble you. Note that it's a similar set-up to Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, so you need a ticket to enter the site (prices vary for peak/off-peak) and then ice skating is ticketed separately, starting at £7 for a child.
Note that the ice rink isn't suitable for under-4s. Beyond that, we don't know much about it yet, what with it being all brand new. Watch this space...
Kingdom of Winter, 8 December 2023-7 January 2024. Heads up: If you want to make a whole, family-friendly, weatherproof day of it, the Disney100 exhibition — a completely separate event — is also running at ExCeL during this period. Seriously, the building is MASSIVE.
Ice at Kensington Palace rink: Christmas 2023
NOTE: THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED AND IS NO LONGER HAPPENING IN 2023.
Another new venue for this festive season is Ice at Kensington Palace, a combination of festive food, ice skating, VIP experiences, games, attractions, shopping and more. It's home to what is apparently the UK's largest ever ice rink, covered and spanning 2800sqm, or the full length of a football pitch.
The action all centres around a festive tree centrepiece, with Cecconi's by Soho House providing the VIP facility on the first floor of the skate exchange, overlooking the rink. Fortnum & Mason is the official retail partner, selling hampers, festive food and gifts. There will be a focus on sustainability across the whole event, which uses state of the art generators to keep things powered.
London's lost festive ice rinks
Looking for other ice rinks you've visited in the past? Some have gone for good. Natural History Museum's ice rink had its final airing in 2021 — the space it occupied for a couple of months each year is being transformed into an urban wildlife garden.