We love London in the winter. If skating's your thing, you're in the right place, as we've rounded up the best Christmas 2018 ice skating rinks in London. Looking for other festive things to do? Take a look at our Christmas in London page.
John Lewis Oxford Street rooftop ice rink 2018
A rooftop ice rink is coming to John Lewis on Oxford Street for the first time, in an attempt at recreating the frost fairs that graced the frozen Thames in the 17th century. Expect a bit more luxury here — think winter cabins for hire, a gin-heavy bar and warming pies available to buy.
John Lewis Oxford Street, 20 October 2018-6 January 2019
Natural History Museum ice rink 2018
This South Kensington ice rink is always the first to open for the season, in time for October half term. Skate around the 30ft Christmas tree in the courtyard of the museum, surrounded by fairylit trees. Not a skater? No problem — the cafe bar and balcony, run by Benugo, offers a view over the ice rink while you sup on a hot chocolate or mulled wine.
Natural History Museum, 25 October 2018-9 January 2019
Canary Wharf ice rink 2018
The large ice rink is back in Canada Square Park, in the shadow of the skyscrapers. The skate path through this trees hasn't returned this year, but the path running alongside the rink still looks fantastic. We're promised exciting new activities including winter sports this year — keep an eye on the website for details. It' a long-running rink, opening in the autumn and running right through until February half term.
Ice Rink Canary Wharf, 2 November 2018-16 February 2019
Somerset House ice rink 2018
The courtyard at Somerset House will be frozen over once again for the Fortnum & Mason ice rink, centred around a 40ft tall Christmas tree. Look out for the special club nights including appearances from nightclub Total Refreshment Centre, plus skate school, and Alpine-themed Fortnum's Lodge. New for 2018 are collaborations with the Charlie Brown and Peanuts exhibition, and an 'artistic commission' from artist and ice skater Ruth Proctor.
The Christmas Arcade returns too, for a chance to stock up on Fortnum's goodies before the big day, as well as the Skate Lounge — a bar and cafe overlooking the ice rink (we highly recommend the gingerbread, if last year is anything to go by). Take a look at the 2017 rink:
Somerset House, 14 November 2018-13 January 2019.
Winterville 2018 ice rink
Popping up in Clapham Common, Winterville is home to an ice rink alongside its fun fair and street food stalls. It's made from real ice and is open Tuesday-Friday evenings, and all day Saturday and Sunday. Be warned, there's an extra charge of £2 for the use of a locker while you skate.
Winterville, 15 November 2018-23 December 2018
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland ice rink 2018
The ice rink at Winter Wonderland is normally set around the bandstand, with a fairy light canopy, and acoustic musicians serenading the skaters on evening sessions. For atmosphere alone, it's one of our faves, and it also claims to be the largest open air ice rink in the UK (it does get busy). Of course, you have to battle through the madness of Winter Wonderland to get there, which loses it a few points.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, 22 November 2018-6 January 2019
Skylight at Tobacco Dock 2018
It was only a matter of time before ice rinks on London rooftops became prevalent. The chosen rooftop is Tobacco Dock; skylight is a free entry winter venue (charge for ice skating) with food, drink, and that all-important ice rink. Full details for this year are yet to be announced, although fondue and ice hockey are mentioned — keep an eye on the Skylight website.
Skylight, November 2018 to January 2019
Tower of London ice rink 2018
Take to the ice in the moat of the Tower of London, with a cafe in an adjoining marquee, and snowflakes projected onto the castle walls.
Tower of London — 23 November 2018-6 January 2019
Hampton Court Palace ice rink 2018
The Tudor backdrop of Hampton Court Palace makes a fantastic setting for taking to the ice. Once you've glided and twirled to your heart's content, warm up with mulled wine, other hot, cold and alcoholic drinks as well as festive snacks at the Ice Rink Cafe & Bar.
Hampton Court Palace — 23 November 2018-6 January 2019
Elephant & Castle ice rink 2018
Sure, you could ice skate, but why would you when the alternative is bumper cars on ice? The rink, at Castle Square, also hosts festive film screenings and themed skate nights.
Elephant & Castle, 29 November 2018-6 January 2019
Ice skating at Walthamstow Winter Wonderland 2018 -CANCELLED
***NOTE: THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED***
Walthamstow Winter Wonderland is a new Christmas festival for 2018. Among its fairground, stalls and Santa's Grotto, we're promised an ice rink. The CGI images show it as an indoor rink, so keep it in mind for bad weather days — and with a capacity of 95 people, you're going to want to book in advance.
Walthamstow Winter Wonderland — 1-28 December 2018
Note: prices may vary by peak/off peak sessions, and many get booked up in advance, so plan ahead. See individual venue websites for price and booking information.