England might be known for its cold and rainy weather. But it’s not exactly known for snow, ice or winter sports.
Surprisingly though, London can be a great city to go ice skating, as there is a huge range of ice rinks found across the capital.
Some of these ice rinks, like those found at Alexandra Palace or Lee Valley, are permanent and can be visited all year round. You can strap on the skates and cool down on the ice during London’s fleeting summer months, or you can enjoy evening disco skating sessions that continue long into the night.
Other ice skating rinks are seasonal. During winter, and particularly over the festive Christmas period, many more will pop up across London. Many of these are found in iconic locations, with classic attractions such as the Natural History Museum or the Tower of London hosting the city’s most famous ice rinks. You can visit the city’s best landmarks, and then go ice skating too.
If you want to go ice skating in London, then look no further than our detailed guide!
Alexandra Palace is one of London’s oldest and most well-known recreation centres. The historic, heritage-listed building dates back to the 1860s when it was built in the Victorian era.
While Alexandra Palace might be better known for hosting music concerts and sports tournaments, it’s also home to one of the best ice rinks in London.
The ice rink is indoors and is open all through the year, making this a great place to go skating. As well as free skating sessions, through the week you can also join skating lessons or even try your hand at ice hockey.
The ice rink at Alexandra Palace even hosts late night club sessions, where you can skate and dance on the ice in the evenings.
Lee Valley Ice Centre
Another great ice rink to visit in London is the Lee Valley Ice Centre, which is also a permanent rink that’s open all through the year.
The Lee Valley is a bit of a journey from the centre of London, found in the northern suburbs of the city, but the ice rink and its facilities are some of the best in the capital, making it well worth the journey.
The rink has sessions every day of the week, while on weekends there are even late night disco parties which are held on the ice.
If you like figure skating or ice hockey, then Lee Valley is the home of several teams, and you can watch training sessions or even live hockey matches at the venue.
Queens Skate Dine Bowl
If you’re looking for somewhere a bit closer to central London to hit the ice, then in Bayswater right next to Hyde Park and Kensington Palace, you can find Queens Skate Dine Bowl.
This permanent ice rink is not only a great place to go skating any time of the year, but it’s also a large entertainment complex too.
After an intense ice skating session, then, if you still have the energy, you can even go bowling. If you don’t have the energy, you can refuel at the restaurant or relax at the bar with a few drinks.
Queens Skate Dine Bowl is also a place to try unique ice sports, other than skating. The venue holds curling events and you can also learn how to play this somewhat unusual sport, while thrill-seekers can even race ice karts around the rink.
Streatham Ice and Leisure Centre
Serious skaters won’t want to miss out on a trip to Streatham Ice and Leisure Centre, because this is a mega, Olympic-standard ice rink.
In the south of London, the ice rink is a bit of a journey from the city centre, but being the largest in the capital it makes for a fantastic place to skate.
There’s been an ice rink here for decades, but in the last few years, the centre was completely refurbished. Consequently, its facilities are almost brand new and of excellent quality.
Being the only Olympic-sized venue in the capital, Streatham is a hotbed for ice hockey and figure skating, and it’s a great place to learn how to skate or to take your skills to the next level, with excellent coaching opportunities on offer.
The local ice hockey team, the Streatham RedHawks, are one of England’s oldest teams, and you can catch packed matches on the weekends or on selected evenings at the venue.
The Natural History Museum
One of London’s most beloved temporary ice rinks pops up in the winter outside the Natural History Museum.
The ice rink isn’t just for Christmas, as it’s open for skating as early as the end of October and doesn’t close until the end of January.
The Natural History Museum is one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious museums, and it’s a fantastic place to explore when you are in the capital.
After browsing through the famous dinosaur skeletons and exhibits in the museum and learning all about the natural world, then strap on your skates and skate across the ice with the dramatic building behind you.
The museum is free to enter, but of course, it does cost money to hire the skates and to enjoy the ice rink. Wrap up warm, because the rink is open air, but you can warm up again on the sides with a steaming hot coffee or perhaps even some mulled wine.
From November through to January, head over to Canary Wharf for one of the best ice rinks in London.
Canary Wharf is one of the capital’s most important financial districts and business centres, and its modern skyscrapers and flashy high rises on the river are a great sight to see by themselves.
The district is bustling at the best of times but even more so come winter when Londoners flock to Canary Wharf to jump on the ice.
The ice rink is one of the city’s largest temporary skating venues. At Christmas time, it’s ablaze with colours and decorations that complement the dazzling lights of the surrounding skyscrapers.
The rink is found in Canada Square Park, and you couldn’t ask for a better location. After skating across the ice, you can enjoy drinks at the popular bar found by the side of the rink, which is open late into the evening.
The ice rink is semi-covered by a high glass roof, making this one of the best places to skate in winter if you don’t want to brave the full force of the elements while the weather in England is at its most unpredictable.
The Tower of London
Built on the orders of William the Conqueror after the Norman conquest of England in 1066, the Tower of London is one of the city’s most historic sights.
The iconic castle is one of London’s most visited attractions, and when you are in the capital, it’s a must see. You can explore the high walls and towers, see where and how the kings and queens of the medieval era lived, and even see the majestic Crown Jewels.
In the winter, the Tower of London also becomes home to a fantastic ice skating rink, which generally opens at the end of November and closes just after the New Year.
It’s not open for as long as many of London’s other iconic, temporary skating rinks, so get in fast while you have the chance to visit.
This has to be one of the most striking locations for an ice rink. Here, you can skate in the shadow of the Tower of London, with beautiful views of the castle.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
From November to January, Hyde Park in London is transformed into the country’s biggest and best Winter Wonderland.
The enormous Christmas event sees the park decked out with elaborate decorations and Christmas trees, while you’ll be able to shop at the Christmas markets and drink mulled wine late into the night.
There are festive-themed restaurants, Bavarian-style bars, and live shows and fairground rides, but one of the highlights is, of course, the huge ice skating rink.
The outdoor rink is the largest temporary rink found in London over the Christmas period. But despite its size, you’ll soon see how quickly the ice fills with skaters.
It’s busy, but it’s festive, and Winter Wonderland is one of the funniest rinks to skate at over Christmas, as you dance across the ice to classic Christmas tunes before overindulging in too much food and drink afterwards.
Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace is the lavish estate that’s best known for being one of King Henry VIII’s royal residences during the Tudor era.
The beautiful mansion dates back several hundred years, and it’s no longer used by the royal family, but offers visitors a chance to step back in time to see how the monarchy used to live.
You can explore stately rooms, walk through the extensive gardens and tackle the famous outdoor maze. In winter, you can also experience the festive delights of the ice skating rink.
The ice rink is open from the end of November and into the first week of January, and few other skating arenas have such a dramatic backdrop as this.
The rink is right in front of the palace itself, and while you’re skating across the ice you’ll have the best view of Hampton Court, as you listen to festive music and enjoy the wonderful sights around you.
Somerset House is one of Central London’s most distinctive buildings. It’s found on the Strand, by the River Thames and dates back to the Tudor era.
Somerset House has a spectacular neoclassical design, with huge pillars and elaborate statues found on the outside. The large open square that the different wings of the house are built around also makes for the perfect location for one of London’s best seasonal ice skating rinks.
The ice skating rink is set up from the middle of November through to the middle of January, and it’s one of the most spectacular places to skate in London.
You’ll be surrounded by the classical architecture of Somerset House, which over Christmas is lit up and decorated vibrantly in festive colours.
As well as a skating rink, over Christmas Somerset House is also home to an array of fantastic food and drink stalls, selling all sorts of festive treats that you can enjoy when you’ve finished ice skating.
Skylight is one of London’s best rooftop bars, and it offers sweeping views over the Thames and the city from Tobacco Dock.
While many of London’s rooftop venues are best enjoyed in the summer months when the sun is shining and the evenings are warm and long, Skylight is a little bit different.
The rooftop bar is just as popular in the winter as it is in the summer, because Skylight becomes the site of a great ice skating rink over Christmas.
You can hit the ice and indulge in festive cocktails and food, while Skylight also hosts plenty of unique events and parties to complement the Christmas cheer.
Clapham Common is transformed into Christmas heaven at the end of the year, as the famous public space becomes home to the ever-popular Winterville event.
This is one of London’s busiest winter fairs, and you’ll find a huge array of delicious food stands and more than enough bars to keep you coming back every week that Winterville is open.
As well as the food and drink, Winterville has a great ice skating rink and a roller skating rink.
Winterville is more alternative than other winter fairs in London, and you’ll find that there are DJ sets and music being played while you skate late into the night, making this one of the best places for adults to hit the skating rink over Christmas.
As London experts, we know a thing or two about the best ice skating rinks in London, whether you’re looking for a festive treat or want to skate all year round. While you’re in town, check out Premium Tours’ superb range of London tours, where you’ll learn lots more about where to have fun in the capital.