Whether you’re a pro glider or more of a cling-to-the-handrails kind of skater, a trip to one of London’s outdoor ice rinks is guaranteed to get you feeling festive. From Skylight’s rooftop to positively regal places to skate, here are the ones to book this winter.
Best Outdoor Ice Rinks in London
Rooftop Ice Rink At Skylight
Come winter, Tobacco Dock’s Skylight transforms into a cosy winter hangout, complete with its very own rooftop ice rink – the only real-ice rooftop rink in Europe. Being located on a rooftop means spectacular city views as you skate, and heated après-skate bars serve up winter cocktails, steaming jugs of mulled wine and festive fare from street food traders. Plus, this year the offerings are bigger and better than ever with a brand new heated Igloo Village (open from 17 October until early spring 2024) complete with faux-fur rugs and thick blankets, with each seating ten with full table service delivering wintery cocktails, street food and Alpine inspired treats. Skating sessions are 45 minutes long and £15 per person, with safety penguins available for those who need a helping hand. Note that it’s first come, first served and you cannot pre-book tickets.
Details: From 10 November–31 December 2023 at Skylight Tobacco Dock (London E1W 2SF). skylightbars.com
Ice Rink Canary Wharf
Running for a whopping 18 weeks, London’s longest running seasonal ice rink returns this winter. Ice Rink Canary Wharf has the advantage of being covered, meaning you can visit regardless of the weather. Located in Canada Square, the rink is set beneath the glow of thousands of fairy lights and a giant mirror ball, with an Offpiste Bar for those who prefer to spectate than skate.
Details: 21 October 2023–24 February 2024 at Ice Rink Canary Wharf (Canada Square Park, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AB). icerinkcanarywharf.co.uk
Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink
If a striking setting is high on your list, head to Hampton Court Palace to skate with views of Henry VIII’s historic Tudor palace. Little ones in need of a helping hand can pre-book skate aid helpers, and there’s something for all the family at the Ice Rink Café & Bar, which serves food platters, mince pies, hot chocolate and mulled wine.
Details: 17 November 2023–7 January 2024 at Hampton Court Palace (Hampton Court Way, Molesey, East Molesey KT8 9AU). hamptoncourtpalaceicerink.co.uk
The Queen’s House Ice Rink
Head over to Greenwich to skate in Royal surroundings at the Queen’s House, with the annual rink returning for 2023/24. Skate amid the storied history of Greenwich, with glittering views of Canary Wharf to the north. There are relaxed sessions for any less confident skaters, plus special sessions for little ones.
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Details: 23 November 2023–7 January 2024 at Queen’s House (Romney Rd, London SE10 9NF). rmg.co.uk
Skate West End
Still mourning the loss of the gorgeous Natural History Museum’s ice rink? So are we. But West Londoners are getting a new rink this festive season, which we think almost makes up for the loss. Introducing Skate West End, a new rink coming to Hanover Square this winter. London’s first elliptical rink will be ringed by festive trees, with a bar dishing out winter warmers right in the middle. Plus, even if you’re a terrible ice skater, you’ll do good by taking to the ice here: a percentage of every ticket sold will be donated to Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity.
Details: 4 November 2023–1 January 2024 at Skate West End (Hanover Square, London W1). skatewestend.com
Skate at Somerset House
Each year, the neoclassical courtyard at Somerset House is transformed into a festive wonderland, complete with outdoor ice rink. It’s a staple on London’s winter scene, this year with Switzerland Tourism as a headline sponsor, with festive feasting by Jimmy Garcia at Chalet Suisse returning for a second year. New for 2023 is a series of Skate Lates with Rock Angel, featuring rink-side deck takeovers from a curated line-up of contemporary DJs, artists and collectives. Plus the Skate School is back for beginners, while Shelter Boutique and HSBC UK will be hosting a pop-up store of vintage garms.
Details: 15 November 2023–14 January 2024 at Somerset House (Strand, London WC2R 1LA). somersethouse.org.uk
Glide at Battersea Power Station
The team behind the Natural History Museum rink (which had its last year in 2021) will return to Battersea Power Station this winter with the second year of Glide, set against the backdrop of the iconic building with the River Thames just beside. Jo Malone is returning as the headline sponsor, and as you skate you can enjoy live music from local independent solo acts, bands and DJs offering a mix of acoustic, pop, R&B and house. Grab a warming drink from the on-site bar, or go all out and book an igloo for you and your friends, which have capacity for groups of four or eight people.
Details: 10 November 2023–7 January 2024 at Battersea Power Station (Nine Elms, London SW11 8EF). glidebatterseapowerstation.co.uk
Hyde Park’s Christmas extravaganza is home to a huge ice rink ripe for the skating, set under a canopy of twinkling lights and built around the Victorian bandstand. It’s open from 10am to 10pm daily, and welcomes all ages and abilities, with wheelchairs also allowed on the ice. Afterwards, soak up the unparalleled festive atmosphere of Winter Wonderland, which features a Bavarian village, funfair rides and numerous street food stalls.
Details: 17 November 2023–1 January 2024 at Winter Wonderland (Hyde Park, London). hydeparkwinterwonderland.com
Main image: Somerset House by David Jensen