Where to go ice skating in London
Winter is upon us and many people will be looking forward to a season of staying indoors. Watching TV on the sofa, playing board games or brushing up on your card games skills with your close friends on a winter night in, may appeal to some, but there is a whole other world of winter outdoors activity to enjoy, if you are like me.
Across the country, the weeks leading up to Christmas see ice skating rinks being opened or built. Ice skating is a great activity for staying warm while mastering the balancing skills on ice. The professional skaters of ITV’s Dancing on Ice have recently been revealed, with speculations in media about who the celebrities may be.
The article offers a guide to where to ice skate in London this year.
Pop-up ice rinks across London
Just like previous years, across London there will be plenty of ice rinks popping up, making it a great destination for locals and tourists alike. Many of the rinks will be located at popular tourist attractions, ensuring you can combine sightseeing, shopping and eating with some ice skating.
There are the usual ice rinks at Somerset House, Natural History Museum, Hampton Court Palace and at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. The ice rink at Winter Wonderland is reputed to be the largest open-air rink in the UK.
Other locations include the Tower of London, where you might end up skating with the famous Beefeaters.
For the first time, there is also a rooftop ice rink in the middle of the popular shopping and tourist area of Oxford Street, at John Lewis.
South of the river, at Clapham Common, there is an ice rink with food stalls and a fun fair, promising something fun for everyone.
In east London, Canary Wharf is again boasting a huge ice rink set in the midst of sky scrapers, restaurants and bars. If you miss out on the fun during the end of the year, this ice rink is open until middle of February.
Permanent ice rinks in London
Located between Bayswater and Notting Hill tube stations, Queens Ice and Bowl is open all year and it’s easy to forget you are in central London when you enter.
Alexandra Palace may be better known for its extensive exhibition programme, amazing history and the boating lake, but there is also an ice rink open to the public. This ice rink is open all year and is also host for several ice hockey clubs, should you get really hooked.
Streatham Ice Centre opened four years ago, and is one of the biggest rinks, meeting Olympic size requirements. If you are planning to skate more than a few times, they are offering monthly memberships which gives you free skate hire.
The Lee Valley Ice Centre, in Leyton, is offering public skating sessions, disco sessions every Saturday, skate aids and birthday parties.
The Sobell Centre in Islington boasts an indoor ice rink as well as e.g. gym, trampoline park, squash courts, and soft play areas making it a great location for the whole family.
Preparing for a skating session
For a successful skating session, you should book well in advance to ensure you don’t get turned away. Bring some friends along, too.
Warm layers and gloves and a hat are a good idea, especially if you fall on the ice. A spare pair of trousers for afterwards could be wise. Be warned that some rinks, especially those indoors, have a layer of water at the top of the ice. If you are a beginner, many venues have skating aids for hire, or you can book an instructor led session.