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Where to skate this Christmas?

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’Tis the season, and one of our favourite winter activities is now in full swing. The originally snowy sport from more than 3000 years ago of ice skating, which originated in Finland, is growing increasingly popular each year at Christmas time, and the number of ice rinks popping up all over the capital reflects that. With Christmas trees and spectacular lights creating magical backdrops, you do not want to skip the rinks this year. A trip just for the views alone is a must. London’s ice rinks do get very busy and booking in advance is recommended, so you’d better be quick and get your skates on (ho ho ho) if you don’t want to miss out!

Here are some of the best rinks that you’ll find in London and close by:

Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park

Winter Wonderland 01

Winter Wonderland’s ice rink is the biggest outdoor rink in the UK. It surrounds the Victorian bandstand and is illuminated with more than 100,000 lights.

Useful Information:

– Each ice skating session will last 50 minutes.
– Arrive 20 minutes before your booked session.
– All children of 12 years and under will need a ticket and must be accompanied by a person of 16 or over.
– There is no charge for skate hire, though you may bring your own skates.
– A cloakroom is available – £1 per item.
– We have a professional photographer who can take a souvenir photo for you.
– Ice rink spectator areas are free to access.

Opening times:

20th November 2015 (5pm) – 3rd January 2016
10am – 10pm
Closed Christmas Day

Tickets prices Off Peak/Peak:

Adult/teen: £10.50/£14.50
Child: £8.50/£9.50
Family: £34.00/£38.00
Concessions: £9.50/£13.50
Ice Guide: £35.00


Somerset House

Somerset House 01

Skate in the stunning Somerset House courtyard during the day, then after dark the rink hosts some of the best international clubs and festivals at exclusive Club Nights. This season, for the first time, Somerset House have partnered with EFG London to present a special one-off Jazz Skate.

Afterwards, treat yourself to a cocktail, indulgent Welsh Rarebit or hot chocolate from the Skate Lounge or Fortnum’s Lodge.
Skate Extras include Champagne & Chocolate Truffles, Wine & Fondue for Two, or Champagne & Smoked Salmon Blini, all served in Fortnum’s Lodge on-site.

There is a Skate School and Polar Cub Club for young children.

The West Wing will be transformed into The Christmas Arcade, a pop-up version of the classic Fortnum & Mason Piccadilly store, open daily until 3rd January. Get festive at Tuesday Treats when skaters and spectators can enjoy seasonal food, drink and music plus late-night shopping experiences in the arcade.

Opening times:

18th November 2015 – 10th January 2016
Session times vary between 8:45am and 11:30pm. See website for details.

Ticket prices:
From £7.50. See website for details.


Natural History Museum

NHM 01

This year skate with the beautiful backdrop of Alfred Waterhouse’s Natural History Museum buildings, fairy-lit trees and a majestic Christmas tree in the middle of the rink. The main area is 1,000 metres square, joining a smaller rink for children. 2015 celebrates its eleventh year, and will provide the usual festive fun: a Café Bar overlooking the ice with live music on Thursdays and a fairground carousel. See the website for wheelchair-user sessions, and note that the rink is occasionally closed for private functions. It is also closed on Christmas Day.

Opening times:

29th October 2015 – 3rd January 2016
Session/opening times vary between 9:00am and 11:00pm. See website for details.

Ticket prices:

Adult: from £12.65
Child (12 and under): from £8.80
Family: £39.60
Student: £9.00 including a drink
Parent and toddler: £11.00 including a drink


Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court 01

Take to the ice in glorious Tudor surroundings in front of King Henry VIII’s magnificent palace, on the banks of the river Thames. In the evening see the stunning palace lit up after dark while you skate under the evening stars.

This year, Hampton Court Palace is 500 years old, and you can also explore the regal apartments.

There is an Ice Bar & Café for your post-skate warm up, serving a selection of winter drinks and festive snacks.

Opening times:

20th November 2015 – 3rd January 2016
Session times and peak hours vary. See website for details.

Ticket prices:

From Monday 21st December to Sunday 3rd January all sessions will be charged at peak rate.

Off peak –

Adult £11.50
Concession £ 9.50
Student and over 60’s with ID
Child / Youth 8yrs to 16 years £9.00
Child 3yrs to 7 yrs £8.00*
*Please note.This ticket is only available with a full price adult skating ticket
Family £36.00

Peak –

Adult £13.00
Concession £10.50
Child / youth £9.50
Child £8.50*
*Please note.This ticket is only available with a full price adult skating ticket
Family £38.00



JW3 01

With its 200 metre square rink, JW3 brings ice skating back this holiday season for the third year running. Don’t miss “Chanuka on Ice” on December 12th, if you’re looking for a slightly different experience! There will be a Silent Disco on ice with two of London’s finest DJs.

There is also the Zest Cafe to warm up in, open to both skaters and non-skaters.

Useful information:

– Children must be aged 2 or over to go on the ice
– All children under the age of 9 must be accompanied on the ice by an adult
– All children aged 10 – 12 must be accompanied by an adult, although the adult need not be skating
– Maximum of 5 children per adult
– Skate hire is included in the ticket price
– Special skates and toboggans are available for toddlers when contacting the venue in advance
– Each staking session is 50 minutes long
– Rink is open in the mornings of Christmas Day and New Year’s Day

Opening times:

6th December 2015 – 10th January 2016
Session times vary. See website for details.

Ticket prices:

Adult: £10.00
Child (up to 15 years): £6.00
Family (4 tickets, including up to 2 adults): £32.00
Family 7th-11th Dec: £27.00



Westfield 01

If indoors is more your thing, head over to Westfield and join the 160 capacity rink. Have fun with family entertainment, themed sessions, live performances and DJs. Sessions last 45 minutes, with 30 minutes on the ice. There are “Bumper Sessions” available at off peak times for those who require a longer ice fix!

Minimum skating age is 4 years old. Children aged 4-7 must be accompanied on the ice by adult. Maximum of 5 children per adult. Children aged 8-12 are allowed to skate on their own as long as a parent or guardian is observing them from the viewing areas while they skate.

For £5.00 per session there are fun skate penguins and seals available for children. It is advisable to book these in advance

Wheelchair skaters are most welcome and must be accompanied by an adult assistant skater. Maximum of 5 wheelchair users on the ice at one time. Please mention when booking.

Opening hours:

19th November 2015 – 3rd January 2015
Session and peak/off peak times vary. See website for details.

Ticket prices Off Peak/Peak:

Adult: £10.00/£12.00
Child (aged 4-12): £8.00/£10.00
Concessions/Students: £9.00/£11.00
Family (4 tickets, including up to 2 adults): £32.00/£38.50


Photo credits:

Hampton Court – Joanna Woodley
JW3 – Blake Ezra Photography Ltd.
Somerset House – Life After Print Ltd.

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