The ice rink where the Dancing on Ice stars train, Alexandra Palace Ice Rink is an ideal place for a festive skate - not least because it's indoors so you don't have to rely on the weather to ensure a skating session. The biggest (it has a total capacity of 1,250) and best permanent ice rink in London, the grand indoor rink is open all year round and offers a range of other activities, such as ice hockey and figure skating classes (so you can emulate your idols from The Mighty Ducks or, erm, Blades of Glory). There's a soft play area too - ideal for parents and toddlers and open daily for two to five-years-olds - while spectators can make themselves comfortable in the 740-seat stadium or have a drink in the rinkside Phoenix bar. Refurbished in 2010, the ice rink has benefitted from a recent £2 million facelift and, from 14th to 21st December, is transformed into a story book spectacular when 'Cinderella On Ice' is performed by a cast of Ally Pally ice rink and skating club members.
London Ice Skating
The biggest permanent ice rink in London puts on some special events at Christmas.
Alexandra Palace Way, London, N22 7AY
Tube: Bounds Green Station
Skate yourself dizzy against the spectacular backdrop of Somerset House.
Somerset House, Strand, Covent Garden, London, WC2R 1LA
Tube: Temple Station
Dates: 17th November 2016 to 15th January 2017
The grand 18th-century courtyard of Somerset House makes for a spectacular backdrop for one of the most popular ice rinks in town. Skating around under the 40-foot Christmas tree with a hot toddy to keep out seasonal chills is one of London's most appealing winter rituals - and a superb way to ease yourself into the festive spirit. If your youngsters need guidance there's the Penguin Club for under 8s. But if you're looking for something altogether more grown up, the Club Nights offer the atmosphere of open-air clubbing, on and off the ice, to a soundtrack curated by prominent DJs. This season's line-up includes Ministry of Sound, Toddla T, Ibiza Rocks and Austrian festival Snowbombing. Get your Christmas shopping done while you're there at The Christmas Arcade, a pop-up version of Fortnum & Mason's occupying 15 rooms in the West Wing of Somerset House filled with hampers, tea caddies, stocking fillers, gifts and games. Now in its 15th year, Skate at Somerset House truly is "one of the great sights of a London winter... a wonderful place to be" (The Times).
The giant West London shopping mall gets a festive addition in the form of an ice rink.
Westfield London - Shepherd's Bush, Ariel Way, Shepherd's Bush, London, W12 7DS
Dates: 24th November 2016 to 8th January 2017
Westfield London is once again home to a 30x15 metre ice rink in its airy atrium bringing a welcome dose of Christmas cheer to Christmas shoppers at the city's largest indoor shopping mall. With capacity for 150 skaters and timed entry, the rink is well run with marshalls on hand to keep an eye on beginners. There are themed sessions including weekday morning for children (who can use a penguin or seal for support), DJ evenings, and 'date' and 'Christmas jumper' nights so there's sure to be something to suit everyone. Pre-booking your tickets online is highly recommended - not only to avoid queuing but also to ensure you get to skate, and to get the discounted rate. Along with the skating rink, Westfield also has a Christmas Grotto and the whole shopping centre is decked out in Christmas lights and decorations.
Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland is home to the biggest outdoor ice rink in the UK.
Hyde Park, Rangers Lodge, Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH
Tube: Knightsbridge Station
Dates: 20th November - 03rd January 2016
Don your skates and glide around the glittering ice rink that is set within Hyde Park Winter Wonderland around the Victorian bandstand and illuminated with over 100,000 lights. It claims to be the UK's largest outdoor rink and at 1,600 metre squared it might well be. Live music plays as skaters take to the ice for a spin and those in the giant Observation Wheel next to it get a bird's eye view of the skaters below. Both are part of the annual Hyde Park event which takes place throughout late November and December bringing fairground rides, a giant wheel, Zippos Circus, a Christmas market, food and drink stalls, Santa's grotto and, of course, the ice rink to this corner of Hyde Park for the holidays.
Head to Hampton Court Palace for a festive skate with an unbeatable view.
Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey, London, KT8 9AU
Tube: Richmond Station
Dates: 25th November 2016 to 8th January 2017
The striking Tudor facade of Hampton Court Palace provides a majestic backdrop to this popular open air ice rink. Located on the west front of Henry VIII's historic home, the ice rink - measuring more than 1,000 metres square - affords sweeping views of its breathtaking architecture and is easily accessible by train from central London. Sessions last an hour and weary skaters, axel-ed out, can recharge at the adjacent cafe, serving up a scrummy selection of hot refreshments (think mulled wine and mince pies), or have a go on the old-fashioned carousel. The palace itself is adorned with festive decorations at this time of year and it's worth leaving extra time to take a look inside or explore the maze. It's enchanting stuff that will undoubtedly leave you with that warm festive glow.
Tower Of London, Tower Hill, City, London, EC3N 4AB
Tube: Tower Hill Station
Dates: 16th November 2016 to 3rd January 2017
Nestled in the rounded hollow of the dry moat, the Tower of London's ice rink area forms a wonderfully festive scene. An ideal winter activity for children, couples and friends alike, visitors can carve their route across the ice while taking in one of the most historical buildings in London. Beside the Ice Rink is the Eis Haus Ice Bar, kept at a chilly -5°C, where everything you see - even the glass for your drink - is made of ice. Alternatively, head to the Après Bar for warming winter food and drink. Want to capture the moment? Check out the Ice Cable Car Photo Booth. While you're here it's worth paying a little extra and exploring the murky history of the Tower of London too.
IN THIS ARTICLE
Alexandra Palace Ice Rink
Skate At Somerset House
Westfield London Ice Rink
Winter Wonderland Open Air Ice Rink
Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink
Tower Of London Ice Rink
Christmas in London 2015
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