London is a magical place during the winter, and there’s no greater fun to be had than strapping on a pair of ice skates and visiting one of the city’s outdoor rinks. London has an embarrassment of options for skaters, including many located in and around picturesque historic sites. For those who enjoy a view while they’re are skating, here are a few places you should seriously consider.
Somerset House is one of the most beautiful venues in London. Situated on the north side of the Thames, this neoclassical work of architecture has been a favourite location for London skaters for years – and it’s easy to see why. A beautiful rink and dramatic location are complemented by an upbeat soundtrack and a range of fun activities – from skating classes for the inexperienced to rink-side cocktail bars for the insouciant. It’s sure-fire fun with family, friends and even work colleagues. Best of all, Somerset House is located a few minutes’ walk from Strand Palace Hotel.
The ice rink at Somerset House is open every day until January 11, from 8.45am until 10.15pm – or occasionally 11.30pm. A full-priced ticket costs £16.05 while a child’s ticket costs just £8.80.
Natural History Museum
Another skating rink with a stunning location is the one set in the gardens of the Natural History Museum. Not only is the main ice rink cover more than 11,000-square-feet, every inch of which is magically lit by more than 75,000 fairy lights, but there is also a junior rink for young skaters. Londoners and visitors can also enjoy the traditional fairground carousel and the rink-side Café Bar, which serves hot drinks, beer and wine, and puts on regular live music and entertainment.
The rink at the Natural History Museum is open every day until January 4, from approximately 9am to 9pm. An adult ticket costs £12.65, a child’s ticket is £8.80, and a family ticket is £36.90.
With the London Eye looming high above, Eyeskate provides a pretty, family-friendly ice-skating option in the heart of the city. Though lacking the history of locations like Somerset House and the Natural History Museum, Eyeskate offers a great view of London’s contemporary South Bank and the chance to combine your skating experience with a spin on the famous illuminated Eye.
Eyeskate is open until January 5. While prices change throughout season, adults can expect to pay around £12.50, children £9.50, and families (that’s two children and two adults) £39.60.
BONUS RECOMMENDATION: HAMPTON COURT PALACE. Fancy skating a little further from the city centre? Head out to Henry VIII’s old haunt for memorable al fresco skating until January 4.
Strand Palace Hotel is not just a great hotel near Somerset House, but is also within easy reach of the Natural History Museum and Eyeskate – making it the perfect choice for a festive break.
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