Dressed up skaters at Canary Wharf Ice Rink Dressed up skaters at Canary Wharf Ice Rink

Ice skating in London: the best outdoor ice rinks

The season for chilly adventures is upon us, so wrap up warm, put your skates on and take to the ice at our favourite ice-rinks across town...

Ice-skating at Christmas and into the new year is all about getting in the festive spirit. Enjoy the twinkling lights and wintry sights of some of London’s most iconic landmarks as they whizz past you on your icy endeavour, before hitting the après-skate for a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie.



Glide on down to the South Bank where as well as the medley of merry market stalls and festive cafes lining the river, you can take to the London Eye’s, Eyeskate – a carpet of ice underneath the twinkling lights of the famous wheel. Open until 5 January 2016 www.londoneye.com/frostival 

Related: Best Christmas events in London for children

Somerset House
Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum Mason © James BryantSkate at Somerset House with Fortnum Mason © James Bryant

On the other side of the river, sophisticated skaters with a taste for fine après-skate as well as light night revellers, should make their way to the fountain court of Somerset House where one of the city’s most beautiful rinks awaits. On various Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights, DJs take to the decks for skating and beats, while the Fortnum & Mason Lodge serves some mighty fine festive tipples and temptations, including mulled cider, fondue and cocktails. Open until 10 January 2016 somersethouse.org.uk

Canary Wharf

Canary-Wharf-Ice-RinkCanary Wharf Ice Rink

If you find yourself over in the Wharf on business, or fancy your chances on one of the largest ice rinks in London, then Canary Wharf’s ice rink in Canada Square Park is worth a visit. Meander your way along London’s only glittering skate trail of fairy-lit trees, before tucking into a charcuterie sharing board and a craft beer or two at the Tasting Room bar and kitchen. Open until 27 February 2016 icerinkcanarywharf.com 

The Tower of London

Yeoman Serjeant Pete McGowran at the TowerYeoman Serjeant Pete McGowran at the Tower

Staying east side, the Tower of London ice rink, in what was once the tower’s moat, is another all day skating option, but comes alive after dark when the tower is lit up. Open until 3 January 2016 toweroflondonicerink.com

Related: The wellness guide to London this winter

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton-Court-Palace-Ice-Rink-Launch-4Hampton Court Ice Rink, opening night

West London lovers can also revel in the icy action at Hampton Court Palace near Richmond. On the banks of the river Thames and with Henry VIII’s grand Tudor palace as your backdrop, which is lit up after dark, this is a pretty spectacular place to glide away a few hours. There are lessons for 5-16 year olds and a delicious rink side café for the perfect mid-skate pit stop, serving up warming pies, soups and pots from The Pie Man, not to mention champagne, ales and boozy hot chocolate.  Open until 3 January 2016 hamptoncourticerink.com

National History Museum

Natural-History-Museum-Ice-rink-Natural History Museum Ice Rink

If you have the little ones in tow, the Swarovski Ice Rink at the Natural History Museum in South Kensington is not only a magical destination complete with trees draped in thousands of lights, but also runs its very own Penguin skate club, with Saturday morning lessons for budding skaters aged four to eight. There is also a parent and toddler weekday offer (for children aged up to four), or for a more grown up affair, why not book yourself in for the Cream tea skate or better still the Champagne skate package. Open until 3 January nhm.ac.uk 

Related: London’s winter warmers: the best festive drinking haunts

Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park

Winter WonderlandWinter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland is one of London’s main festive attractions, so skating here is only part of the merriment. Located around Hyde Park’s Victorian bandstand, the ice rink is bedecked with thousands of lights and the surrounding sights and sounds, including the soundtrack of ubiquitous Christmas classics, are sure to get even the most Scrooge-like skaters into the festive spirit. If not, a glass of mulled wine at the revolving Carousel Bar should do the trick. Open until 3 January hydeparkwinterwonderland.com

1 EyeSkate
2 Somerset House
3 Canary Wharf Ice Rink
4 Tower of London
5 Hampton Court Palace
6 The Natural History Museum
7 Winter Wonderland