An ice rink is for life, not just for Christmas. And while London's festive ice skating spots are all well and good, what if you fancy going ice skating at another time of year? These permanent, indoor ice rinks are open year-round — you can even go ice skating in London in the height of summer, and it's an excellent way to cool down.
Ice skating at Alexandra Palace
Is there no end to Alexandra Palace's talents? As well as offering stunning views, an excellent events programme, history and a boating lake, it also has its own permanent ice rink, open 364 days a year, where Olympians train and Dancing on Ice participants rehearse.
As well as general sessions, visitors can sign up for ice skating courses (including school holiday lessons for kids), while ice discos take place semi-regularly during the winter months, and cheesy club night Club de Fromage sometimes hosts Fromage on Ice sessions.
Ice hockey team the Haringey Huskies play out of Alexandra Palace — keep an eye on the schedule for upcoming matches (winter only), although be warned, we know a little about the sport, and it's not one for the faint-hearted. Around once a month, the Haringey Juniors Ice Hockey head coach offers beginners sessions for any kids who want to have a go.
If you don't fancy taking to the ice (hey, the Bambi look doesn't work for everyone), kick back in the Ice Cafe next to the rink while your family and friends take their own lives in their hands enjoy themselves (cafe temporarily closed for refurb in July 2023, but returning soon).
Alexandra Palace Ice Rink, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY.
Queens Ice Skating Rink, central London
Queens Ice and Bowl has been open since our parents' childhoods, as we're regularly reminded, and underwent a huge refurbishment in 2016. Situated in Queensway, it's the most central of the indoor London ice rinks, and we've spent many a happy hour bouncing from ice skating to bowling to eating and back again on a wet afternoon. There's also a bar, but save that for after you've been on the ice.
Public ice skating sessions take place every day — and it's cheaper on Mondays and Tuesdays (except school and bank holidays). Ice skating lessons — both group and private sessions — are available to people of all ages and abilities, from kids taking their first twirls on the ice, to adults wanting to try out some Dancing on Ice moves.
They like to have a bit of fun at Queens too. In the past, they've offered ice karting (go karting on ice — harder than it sounds), though that's not currently available. You can, however, try out the Olympic sport of curling (age 18+), and they often have DJs providing a soundtrack on Friday and Saturday nights.
Note that the whole venue is 18+ after 8pm every night.
Queens, 17 Queensway, W2 4QP
Ice skating at the new Lee Valley Ice Centre, Leyton
In June 2023, after being closed for a few years, the brand new Lee Valley Ice Centre opened, home to TWO Olympic-sized ice skating rinks where you can take part in public skating sessions and ice discos, with polar bear skate aids available for little ones who are still trying to find their balance. Improve your skills with group sessions as part of British Ice Skating’s Learn to Skate programme, or book one-to-one tutoring sessions.
Lee Valley Ice Centre, Lea Bridge Road, E10 7QL.
Ice skating at Streatham Ice Centre
There's been an ice rink in Streatham since 1931, but the current Streatham Ice Centre opened in 2014, and is Olympic-sized, making it the perfect place for any budding Torvill/Dean types to get their twirl on.
Regular 60-minute public skating sessions are available on a daily basis (weekends and school holidays tend to get booked up in advance, so plan ahead), and the venue also hosts an ice dance club and a figure skating club for anyone who wants to take their chilly adventures a bit further.
Streatham's ice hockey team plays out of this venue (check team website for upcoming fixtures — winter only), so there's seating for 900 spectators.
Ice skating at Sobell Leisure Centre, Islington (currently closed)
The good news: Sobell Leisure Centre in Islington is home to its own ice rink, complete with music and visual effects.
The bad news: at time of writing (summer 2023), the ice rink is still closed as a result of very bad flooding in August 2022, resulting in all of the infrastructure being ripped out.
Even worse news: There are plans to redevelop the leisure centre, and those plans don't include an ice rink. The council is recommending that the ice rink isn't rebuilt, as it was already running at a financial loss. We'll keep you updated.
Sobell Leisure Centre, Hornsey Road, N7 7NY.