To paraphrase Dorothy: 'There is no place like London.' I hope I can convince you of that here. Also check out my blog at damselwithadulcimer.wordpress.com and my theatre reviews at www.playstosee.com
Published October 31st 2012
Skating in the Outdoors and Under the Stars in London
Skate (the sign used at Somerset House)
Over the years the number of open air ice rinks in London has grown. You can now take your pick from Somerset House, Winter Wonderland, The London Eye, Canary Wharf, the Broadgate Centre, the Natural History Museum and the Tower of London. Whilst Westfield Stratford's ice rink will be out in the open, Westfield London (Shepherd's Bush) will be under cover for those who aren't hardy enough to skate in the outdoors. So if you enjoy skating or are a complete novice, why not visit one of these ice ranks for a little bit of fun over the Festive Season? I'm sure skating will put roses in your cheeks.
Ice Skating (Picture Courtesy of nhm.ac.uk)
Somerset House is open between 16 November and 6 January 2013. Children under the age of eight can learn how to skate at the Penguin Club and anybody older can take Skate Lessons. Tom's Skate Lounge is for relaxing over food and drink and the Christmas Arcade will take place in Somerset House's West Wing for a range of jewellery, chocolates and goods by British designers.
Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park also boasts its own ice rink. The hire of skates is free, entry is ticketed and Ice Guides are available for looking after groups of skaters. Winter Wonderland opens on 26 November and closes on 6 January 2013.
Flexi Eye Skate will take place in the shadow of the London Eye and will be open between 17 November and 6 January next year. Skating times are available in 45 minute slots and admission prices include the cost of ice skates.
Over at Canary Wharf you could rub shoulders with bankers on skates between 3 November and 13 January 2012. Sessions will last for 60 minutes and double bladed skates and skate aids will also be available.
Remaining in the City of London area, Broadgate boasts London's original ice rink. It also remains open for a longer period than any of the others. The rink will be opening for business on 16 November and will remain in situ until 24 February 2013. They will be open seven days a week, except for public holidays, and it won't be necessary to pre-book: just turn up and skate.
Broadgate Ice Rink (Picture Courtesy of Broadgate.co.uk)
The Natural History Museum will be opening their ice rink on 2 November and it will remain open until 6 January next year. I can't promise that you will be able to skate with a dinosaur, but you will be able to arrange parties there for your children, including food, drink and birthday cakes.
Natural History Museum (Picture Courtesy of nhm.ac.uk)
If you feel like steeping yourself in history and reminiscing about the old days (admittedly a few hundred years ago) when the Thames used to freeze and Londoners could skate on its surface, the place for you will be at the Tower of London. This will not be an actual rink, but the moat will be frozen, Ice Guides will be available for those who are as wobbly as Bambi, and you will be able to refresh yourself at the Ice Bar & Café. Wheelchair users will also be welcome on the ice. Be sure not to miss this skating experience as it will only be open between 17 December and New Year's Day, with the exception of Christmas Day.
Tower of London Ice Rink (Picture Courtesy of toweroflondonicerink.com)
Westfield Stratford will be running master classes, themed sessions and DJ Nights on Friday nights, to help you wind down for the weekend. If you're too young for these sessions, you could take advantage of Santa's presence and visit him in his Grotto. The rink will remain open between 22 November and 6 January 2013.
Westfield London's ice rink will be under cover in the Atrium. They will run the same sessions as their East London counterpart, with the addition of silent discos on Thursday evenings and will be open between the same dates as Stratford. Santa will be sending his identical twin to the Grotto in this branch to keep the children happy to the west of London.
Further information on all venues can be found on their respective websites.
Colourful Snow Flakes (Picture Courtesy of broadgate.co.uk)