01 Dec Get Your Skates On
Whether you dance on ice like Christopher Dean or simply scramble around like Bambi, London’s outdoor ice rinks are some of the most magical locations you’ll see all season. With fairy lights and Christmas trees set to the backdrop of London’s stunning attractions, a trip to an ice rink is a must-do for the views alone.
Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink
Henry VIII’s sixteenth-century pad makes a mighty picturesque backdrop for this outdoor rink, especially when lit up after dark. Any unsteady nerves can be soothed with a mulled wine from the Ice Bar and Café, so there’s no reason not to wrap up warm and take a turn on the ice in this regal back yard.
In Hyde Park will be the capital’s seat of festive frivolity. Amid the mulled wine and Germanic handicrafts, the UK’s largest outdoor ice rink is wrapped around a handsome Victorian bandstand. There’s also live music day and night! Once you’re all done on the ice, take to a private table in the Bavarian Great Hall to recover over a frothy stein or two of Munich’s finest.
Canary Wharf Ice Rink
Canary Wharf’s soaring towers give this outdoor ice rink an imposing backdrop, and some exciting extras help it to keep up with its extravagant surroundings. An iced path allows skaters to dash off from the main rink and glide below sparkling trees around the square’s ‘Big Blue’ sculpture, which was designed by Ron Arad. The team behind Camden restaurant Q Grill will be serving up the sustenance at Q on Ice, with barbecue food, wintry cocktails, craft beer and hot chocolate on the menu.
Skate at Somerset House
The grand eighteenth-century courtyard at Somerset House is a truly stunning location for a session on the ice this winter, and no matter how impressive your skating skills a trip to this outdoor rink will look the very picture of festive fun in the photos. The Fortnum’s Lodge will offer champagne, afternoon tea and even private dining. Glad Tidings Tuesdays offer a seriously merry evening of traditional Christmas entertainment and treats.
Natural History Museum
A Victorian landmark in South Ken’s cultural quarter, the Natural History Museum has been hosting skaters for a decade. Built around a 40ft Christmas tree and underneath 80,000 fairy lights, the rink opens earlier than most on 30 October. Hire it exclusively and you can then take over the café bar with its bird’s eye view of the action.