The top ice skating rinks to get you gliding
Tis the season to get your skates on and glide gracefully, or perhaps not so, on the ice. Here’s our pick of the best ice skating rinks near you
Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink
Marvel at the iconic red-bricked Tudor palace as you twirl around on the ice at Hampton Court this Christmas. The ice rink opens on a yearly basis and overlooks the Thames, with festive music to get you in the mood. The skating season has already well and truly kicked off and is open right the way through to January. Adult tickets are £14.50 and a child ticket costs £12.50.
Clapham’s very own alternative winter wonderland, Winterville offers secret festive labyrinths, a fabulous Christmassy cinema and its very own ice rink. Visitors can enjoy whizzing around on the ice before discovering the street food selection at Street Feast, and there are often live music events plus buzzing bars aplenty in case you’re the sort who would prefer instead to perch on the side of the rink with a mulled wine. Adult tickets cost £10.80 adults and the child rate is £8.10.
Open throughout the year, the Guildford Spectrum is perhaps the less festive of the skating options, but it does have a mammoth indoor rink that suits talented skaters down to a tee. Visitors can glide along safe in the knowledge that they won’t bump into a small child struggling to push along a skating penguin, and have free rein to try out some tricks. Tickets cost £5.60.
Tower of London
Soak up the spectacular surrounds of one of London’s most iconic landmarks at the Tower of London. Situated right in the heart of the old moat, the location of the rink is perfect, with views over the Thames across to the embankment. The speakers blare appropriately festive music and there is a light show that projects art onto the walls of the tower, making it all the more impressive come night-time. Adult tickets cost £14.50 and child tickets are £12.50.
Another festive classic, Somerset House’s ice rink offers a 360 surround view of the spellbinding neoclassical building. Situated in its courtyard, the rink is surrounded by a mulled wine bar, so after a whizz around the ice, you can enjoy a warming drink. The rink’s location in the heart of London means that when you leave the ice, you are greeted by Waterloo Bridge where you can enjoy the views before walking across to visit the Southbank Centre markets if you’ve not had enough of a festive fill. Adults cost £11 and children cost £8.50.
Natural History Museum
Arguably one of the most scenic ice rinks out there, the Natural History Museum is an enchanting place to skate, thanks to the stunning backdrop of the museum and the surrounding museums dotted along Exhibition Road. At the heart of the rink sits a proud tree bedecked in lights, and surrounding the rink are plain trees covered in glittering fairy lights to add to the festive charm. Adult tickets cost £12.50 adults and children cost £8.80.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Romantically set around a Victorian bandstand, a skate around the Hyde Park ice rink is added to all the more with the addition of the green expanse of the Royal Park. What’s more, it’s close to all the festivities of Winter Wonderland, with its epic beer tents and famous live music stages that are packed with revellers from as early as November. Get your skates on and make the most of the ice while enjoying live music from the bandstand, or head to the spectator’s platform for a warming hot chocolate. Adults cost £9.50 adult and children cost £7.50.
Alexandra Palace Ice Rink
The spectacular Grade II listed Ally Pally is located on the northern edge of the capital and is known for its yearly firework spectacle, as a venue for great gigs, and come winter, as a Mecca for skaters. The entire space transforms with a large rink, and the dramatic interior is lit up in festive lights. For those keen to go all out at Christmas with a seasonal tipple or two, there are evening events, including Club de Fromage On Ice, where they’ll be playing all your favourite 90s hits. Adult tickets cost £9 and children £8. Club de Fromage costs £10.
Venture east to Tobacco Dock and you’ll find Skylight, a rooftop ice rink with a view of the spellbinding London skyline, taking in the Shard which will be illuminated in a bright green nearer Christmas time. The roof offers visitors the use of warming igloos where you can snuggle up with friends over a mulled wine, plus cosy huts. Visitors can enjoy a skate on the real ice rink, or try out some festive foodie delights from resident stand, Raclette Brothers. Entry is free, but ice skating needs to be pre-booked. Tickets to the rink are £12.
The John Lewis in Oxford Street will be undoubtedly brimming with bustling shoppers at street level this Christmas season. But if you’re seeking a break from the hustle and bustle, you can get in the lift and shoot up to the top floor where you’ll be guided towards a beautiful festive roof garden. Discerning skaters may be put off to know that the rink is actually plastic, but this is thoroughly compensated by the fact that you can warm yourself with a hot Sipsmith gin and tonic, and take in the unrivalled views of the city skyline. Tickets are £8.