London’s Best Outdoor Ice Rinks


Vauxhall skating rink

Winter-time activities generally involve eating, drinking or a combination of the two. One of the few exceptions is ice skating, which evokes a rosy-cheeked wholesomeness – even in the midst of a bustling metropolis.

London’s outdoor ice rinks have some of the city’s finest buildings as backdrops, and are stunningly decorated to boot. It’s no secret that they make ideal Christmas-time dates, so make sure to buy tickets in advance.

Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens

London’s newest rink can be found in the history-rich Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, which were once favoured by the likes of Samuel Pepys and the Prince of Wales. The modern 600m2 rink is surrounded by a host of diversions, including a Christmas tree maze, craft market, bar, food stalls and live entertainment.

Where: Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, Kennington Lane, London SE11 5HY, UK

When: 21st November 2014 to 4th January 2015

Somerset House

The outdoor rink in the courtyard of 18th-century Somerset House is reminiscent of something out of a period drama. Couples have more 900m2 of ice to play around on, so there’s plenty of space for intimate and comedic moments alike. When the one-hour skating session is over, further temptations include champagne and truffles in Fortnum’s Lodge, and a 15-room Christmas shopping arcade.

Where: Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA

When: 11th November 2014 to 11th January 2015

Natural History Museum

With the trees lit up by fairy lights, the whirling fairground carousel, and the grand Museum buildings in the background, the rink at the Natural History Museum is almost painfully picturesque. The rink has a huge Christmas tree as its centrepiece, and useful hand-holds surrounding it. When your legs (and other body parts) get tired, there’s a comfy cafe overlooking the ice to enjoy a hot chocolate in.

Where: Natural History Museum, Cromwell Rd, London SW7 5BD

When: 3th October 2014 to 4th January 2015

Hampton Court Palace

Originally built in the 16th Century, Hampton Court Palace was one of King Henry VIII’s many homes. Its red brick Tudor frontage now provides a formidable backdrop to a 900m2 ice rink, which is particularly impressive when lit up after dark. The adjacent cafe and bar offer everything from mulled wine to frothy hot chocolate.

Where: Hampton Court Palace East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9AU

When: 21st November 2014 to 4th January 2015

Canada Square Park

The gleaming towers of Canary Wharf surround this modern-feeling ice rink. Skaters can follow an iced path below prettily decorated trees and around Ron Arad’s iconic ‘Big Blue’ sculpture. Nourishment is provided by the people responsible for the Q Grill in Camden. Expect fine craft beers, winter-inspired cocktails and sizzling barbecue food.

Where: Canada Square Park, London. E14 5AX

When: 1st November 2014 to 28th February 2015

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