There’s something about winter sports that is just so moreish – maybe it’s the fresh-faced ruddy glow that leaves you feeling surprisingly healthy, or perhaps it’s the gluhwein and warming drinks that so often accompany them. While skiing is out of the question, over the last couple of years there has been a rise in the number of ice rinks cropping up around town, many taking up residence in the grounds of some of the city’s most iconic buildings. Take a turn around one of the best ice rinks in London, where budding skaters can play out their Torvill and Dean dreams.
Set in the 18th century courtyard of one of London’s most beautiful buildings, Somerset House is the most sought after of all the ice rinks in London. This year they have teamed up with Fortnum and Mason to host an extra special skate season – you can kick off your skates and treat yourself to a cream tea and some hot cocoa at Fortnum’s Lodge. After dark there’s music from hot DJs and some specially crafted cocktails.
From 11 November 2014 – 11 January 2015. Nearest Tube: Temple, Covent Garden, Charing Cross and Embankment.
National History Museum
Set in the grounds of Alfred Waterhouse’s neo-Gothic ‘cathedral of nature’, the ice rink resides among glittering lights, a huge Christmas tree and a festive atmosphere. Once you’ve hauled the kids out from underneath the T-Rex and onto the ice you can watch them pootle about from the safety of the small bar serving mulled wine and hot chocolate.
From 30 October 2014 until 4 January 2015. Nearest Tube: South Kensington.
Ally Pally, as it’s affectionately known, offers an ice rink set right under the arches of this iconic Victorian pleasure palace. One of the few year-round ice rinks in London, Alexandra Palace is used for ice hockey training, Ice Nation discos, as well as amateur gliding. Ally Pally is also the home of some great live music, and this Christmas you’ll be able to book tickets to see the Snow Queen on Ice.
Daily. Nearest Tube: Wood Green.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Visiting Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland ice rink will immediately get you into a festive mood. One of the best ice rinks in London, the skating takes place around a striking Victorian bandstand, adorned with over 100,000 lights. But skating is only a small part of Winter Wonderland – it’s also a cornucopia of ice bars, beer halls, fairground rides, Christmas stalls, circus shows and even a Magical Ice Kingdom.
From 21 November 2014 to 4 January 2015. Nearest Tube: Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner, Green Park, Victoria and Knightsbridge.
Broadgate Ice Rink
There’s more to London’s Square Mile than grand high-rise buildings and suited and booted city workers. At Exchange Square, in the heart of the City, bankers and fund managers can work out their frustrations by pirouetting around the circular rink. After a few turns on the ice, retreat to the warmth and comfort of one of the surrounding restaurants.
From 17 November 2014 to 26 February 2015. Nearest Tube: Liverpool Street.
London Eye Skate
The London Eye Skate (geddit?) gleams seductively underneath the strangely beautiful Ferris wheel that dominates the Thames. Not far from the brutalist architecture of the South Bank, and across the water from the illuminated Houses of Parliament, Eye Skate is one of the best ice rinks in London for scenic river views.
From 14 November to 4 January 2015. Nearest Tube: Waterloo.
Worn out from several sessions on the ice – or, for those who are shakier on their skates, feeling a bit bruised? That’s your cue to kick back and relax at the Montague on the Garden’s new Ski Lodge. Immerse yourself in the snowy, chalet-inspired décor, complemented by suitably wintery (and very tasty) seasonal cocktails. And for those with a real yen for all things winter wonderland, Montague on the Gardens is also hosting a giveaway for a three-night ski weekend in Geneva! To enter, simply visit our Ski Lodge and snap a selfie on our ski lift before 28th January, 2015 – soon enough, you could well be soaking up first-hand Alpine views.
Header image © Viktor Čáp/iStock/Thinkstock