London’s Best Ice Rinks Ranked

Night View of Somerset House ice rink in Strand, London

Going ice skating at Christmas-time in London is more than just a fun day out for the whole family, though that it certainly is. Rather, it is an institution of the season – a borderline compulsory experience if you are visiting London in these cold but exciting months. However, London is a big place and just going to any old rink is just a waste when you consider that there are some really fantastic options in the city. The best are those merging a bit of culture with the activity itself, like to the backdrop of the Natural History Museum or Somerset House. So, here are the top four rinks ranked to ensure that you get the best possible experience. 

4. Tower of London 

tower of london

The Tower of London is a remarkable backdrop to an evening of sliding, gliding and making ice-skating memories that will keep you fuelled until next year’s season comes around again. You see mind-blowing views of the Tower from the rink and feel as if you are right in the middle of London-life and holiday cheer. It is incredibly central, perched on St Katherine’s Dock, and the views are about as London as they come. How many people can say they have skated around a fortress, with the River Thames trickling alongside them? Certainly, only those who have enjoyed this rink before! 

Though the Tower of London was once a prison in olden times, the atmosphere is certainly of a more jolly disposition when it comes to the festive season, with smells of mulled wine and heavenly hot chocolates. You can book a range of packages, some including a little bottle of prosecco to start things off with a jolly good fizz. 

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3. Somerset House

Somerset House

Somerset House is an NB stop if you are looking to explore all that is culturally and historically enriching in London, and it is situated conveniently close to Piccadilly West End hotels London. This large Neoclassical building on the Strand is brimful of stories and histories, which now hosts exhibitions and acts as a pivotal space for the contemporary art scene. Does it get any better? Yes, it does. When they throw an ice rink into the mix. 

The Somerset House Ice Rink is one of London’s finest, primarily because of its position. The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court is transformed into a winter wonderland, and this year is a particularly special event because it marks 20 years of ice skating at Somerset House, so they will be going all out (which they have already been doing for the last two decades). This is perfect for everyone – those who can zoom around the centre-piece Christmas-tree at lightning speed, those wanting ice skating lessons and funky late-night DJs sessions called the Skate Lates. So, decide on the kind of atmosphere you are hoping for and if this ticks your boxes, you have got yourself a fun and immensely classy time ahead of you.

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2. The Natural History Museum 

natural history museum london

Think seemingly endless Christmas lights, a spectacular tree, and the backdrop of the Waterhouse building from the Natural History Museum, and you will have thought up a pretty accurate picture of what it is like to get involved with their ice rink. The experience is worth perusing the West End packages on offer ASAP so you can spend your morning gliding around this South Kensington gem and be home in time for Indian high tea at your hotel. 

There is everything you could want from an ice-skating experience, from picturesque-selfie moments in front of snow-dusted trees to a warm, spicy mug of mulled wine or a devilishly sweet hot chocolate to warm you to the bone. There is also a viewing platform, which can be helpful if you are interested in being a part of the atmosphere but really don’t want to actually put yourself on the ice. There are joint adult and toddler tickets on the weekends if you are looking to make a family outing of it, too. 

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1. Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland is not just the best London ice rink, but just the best overall London Christmas experience to revel in. Between the Christmas stalls selling roast nuts and the perfect Christmas gifts for everyone in the family, rollercoasters and live performances, you would be hard-pressed to attend and not feel that slightly manic level of childish, Christmas-Eve excitement. To top it all off, there is a mesmerizingly beautiful and downright Instagrammable ice rink that you can get involved with. 

It takes place around Hyde Park’s iconic bandstand under either the (hopefully) dry-sky during the day, and a canopy of fairy lights when the sun goes down. The different time-slots are suitable for different experience levels, meaning you are not going to find yourself whizzed off your feet by a should-be-professional skater, nor will you fear crashing into someone who resembles Bambi on ice. Live music is performed from the bandstand, making it a really unique, vibey and festive experience for the whole family. 

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There you have it – a simple but comprehensive breakdown of which ice-skating rinks you need to be b-lining for this Winter, depending on the kind of atmosphere you are after – and also the view you want from the ice. It is important to remember that ice skating is not just an activity for those who know what they are doing – it is a fun, relaxed experience for everyone to enjoy at varying standards and there is no pressure to do anything but have fun, even if you spend the whole time clinging to the walls! Just give it a go – it is a seasonal sensation! In fact, you will probably find yourself so enamoured by the whole experience that you will be needing to book into Piccadilly London West End hotel spa for some muscle-wind-down treatments and massages.