Get your skates on this winter and take a twirl around the ice at one of London’s fantastic festive outdoor rinks. From historic buildings to contemporary style, there is something for everyone (as well as plenty of festive food and drink to give extra warmth and relaxation!)
This is a tradition that is part of London life ever since the world’s first artificial ice rink (known as the Glaciarium) was opened in Chelsea back in 1876. It has become an essential part of London life for tourists and locals alike. There is definitely nothing quite like it. Twinkling lights dot surrounding trees and buildings, creating a fairy tale appearance. As dusk falls, the rinks take on a starry, magical atmosphere – especially if you are skating around the edge of the Tower of London!
So, whether you’re coming to stay at one of the luxuries Best western hotels London or any other budget hotel, where can you go this winter? Here are five of the best outdoor winter rinks.
- Somerset House – this is always one of the greatest spectacles in London. Set in a beautiful courtyard surrounded on three sides by the majestic historic mansion, this is a real experience. You can skate amid thousands of twinkling lights and Christmas trees, and even enjoy a champagne break or afternoon tea in style. Alternatively take in a club night with music played by DJ’s from Rough Trade Records.
- National History Museum, Kensington. This great gothic building is one of the most popular places in London and over the festive period is dominated by a magnificent 1,000 sq metre ice rink complete with a beautifully decorated Christmas tree in the centre. There is even a smaller rink for little ones to practise skating in peace.
- Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. This has become definitely a major attraction in more ways than one. Take in some skating on the massive outdoor rink, enjoy festive fun at the fairground or see London from a very different viewpoint on top of the gigantic Ferris Wheel. Then there are entertaining performances at Zippo’s circus, a visit to Santa Claus for the little ones, and plenty of Christmas shopping in the market. Hungry and thirsty? No problem – try some Christmas snacks, food and drink at one of the many food trucks scattered around the site.
- Tower of London. From the door of some of the budget hotels in north London, head out for an incredibly iconic building full of tales of despairing prisoners, Tudor Queens, executions, legends and mysteries; it is surrounded by an extensive dry moat that becomes a wonderful skating arena. There are certainly few other places where you can skate around the perimeter of such a historic building. You may even find some Yeoman of the Guard enjoying a skate too! Afterwards the Apres Bar provides lots of warming food and drink, or you can try the Eis Haus Ice Bar where drinks are served in ice kept at a very chilly minus five degrees Centigrade!
- Luminocity at Canary Wharf. Definitely a very different style of ice rink. Extremely contemporary, this is surrounded by high rise office buildings. An added touch is the stunning Luminocity art installation which involves 8 km of LED lights set under the ice. Throughout each hour long session, over 16 million different colours illuminate each step taken on the ice!
So, pick a well-located hotel, like elegant Best western palm hotel to position yourself in easy distance to almost everywhere you need to go.