Dancing on ice: London’s best skating rinks to visit this winter


There’s nothing quite like London in the run-up to Christmas: the golden-hued shopping streets, twinkling department store windows, chorusing carol singers, and the sweet smell of mulled wine. November always brings with it a Yuletide-tinged buzz, but if you’re not feeling festive just yet, there’s one sure-fire way to get you in the holiday spirit: ice skating. 

While every corner of the capital prepares for Christmas, several famous locations are transforming into winter wonderlands featuring gleaming ice rinks. Where else but London would you get the chance to skate across the courtyard of a neoclassical 18th-century building? Or practise your toe loops under the lights of the city’s skyscrapers? So, pull on your cashmere jumper and zip up your parka, because it’s time to get your skates on. 

Ice Rink Canary Wharf


Surrounded by shining skyscrapers at every turn, Ice Rink Canary Wharf has made quite the name for itself over the past few years. For 2022, it returns for an extended winter season, with a larger skating arena which is bigger and better than ever before. In the heart of London’s financial district, the rink’s transparent roof, illuminated with thousands of twinkling fairy lights, protects the ice from London’s inclement climate so skaters can practise their moves, whatever the weather. Pop down to Canada Water Square on a Wednesday and you’ll be treated to live music and DJ sets, best enjoyed with a hot tipple or two from the Off Piste alpine rinkside bar. With a new menu offering light bites and seasonal cocktails, Off Piste also hosts quiz nights, making it the perfect place to host a festive gathering or catch up with friends this winter. 

When: Until 25 February 2023

Where: Canada Square Park, Canary Wharf, London E14

Book: icerinkcanarywharf.co.uk

Skate at Somerset House


Add a dash of festive sparkle to your skating experience at Somerset House, which has partnered with storied champagne house Moët & Chandon for the festive season. Twirl around the iced courtyard of this impressive 18th-century, neoclassical building which has been transformed into the ultimate winter playground in the heart of London. When you’re not practising your Axels, peruse the gift selection from Hotel Chocolat or sample gourmet dining at Chalet Suisse by Jimmy Garcia – both providing the perfect post-skate treat. Better yet, make a night of it by booking expert-led skating lessons and watching trailblazing DJs on rinkside decks. Finally, toast your skating efforts – whether they ended with a twirl or a tumble – with champagne and cocktails in the Skate Lounge by Moët & Chandon.

When: Until 15 January 2023

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

Book: somersethouse.org.uk

Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park


The UK’s largest outdoor ice rink returns to one of the capital’s most famous parks, ready to host thousands of eager skaters. At the centre of the rink, musicians will take to the charming Victorian bandstand to perform jolly tunes as you spin under a canopy of glistening lights. It’s particularly great for families, as little ones can enjoy a taste of dancing on ice alongside their parents thanks to the rink’s penguin aids. In keeping with the frozen theme, Winter Wonderland has also curated an array of other ice-themed attractions, including a new Magical Ice Kingdom and a 45m ice slide, to celebrate its 15th anniversary. For a chilled post-skate tipple, head to the new Bar Ice: a 1980s-inspired après ski venue where even the tables, chairs, and glasses are made of ice. Don’t worry, you’ll be offered a complimentary cocktail and an all-important thermal cloak to keep out the -10°C cold upon arrival. 

When: 18 November 2022 – 2 January 2023

Where: Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, London W2 2UH

Book: hydeparkwinterwonderland.com

The Ice Rink at Alexandra Palace


While ice skating is a year-round activity at Ally Pally, it feels particularly merry at Christmas time, giving family and friends an opportunity for a full-on festive day out. Book one of the Christmas Skate Sessions or Christmas Club de Fromage Discos and enjoy whizzing around the rink to your favourite Christmas tunes, followed by a mulled wine, Baileys hot chocolate, and mince pies in the East Court Café. Elsewhere, go back in time to 1920’s New York for a festive performance of Bugsy Malone in the beautiful Victorian Theatre or follow the trail of Christmas lights and carol singing to East Court’s Santa’s Grotto, where children can meet, receive a gift and have photos taken with the big man in red.

When: 28 November 2022 – 8 January 2023

Where: Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, London N22 7AY

Book: alexandrapalace.com

Read more: The best festive things to do in London

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