LONDON'S BEST ICE SKATING RINKS
Ice skating is a perfect all-weather activity; if it’s too hot, go skating and cool down. If it’s too cold to visit the playground, embrace the cooler weather and go skating.
The whole family - even your sometimes surly teen - can enjoy an ice skating session; there are lots of laughs to be had as various family members loll around and (eventually) fall down on the ice.
A word to the wise- stay away from the very centre of the ice – that’s where the serious/fast skaters tend to mingle. Instead, make sure everyone has their gloves and be prepared to cling on to the sides of the rink for dear life.
The good thing about ice skating is that it doesn’t take an age to get the hang of it – before long you’ll be Torvill and Dean (showing our age) and joining the elite crew near the centre of the rink.
Keep reading for our favourite places to take the kids ice skating in London:
Probably our favourite place to go skating in London, Ally Pally, as it’s affectionately known, is one of London’s most famous rinks and is set in a beautiful location, offering stunning views over the city. As well as general family-friendly skating sessions, Ally Pally offers one-on-one and group skating lessons (from world-class professional skaters) as well as private hire and ice skating birthday parties.
Queens is open every day of the year and offers general skating private lessons, classes for kids (age 5 and over), ice hockey, go karting, curling and dancing on the ice. Take things to the next level with curling, human curling. You ride a huge rubber doughnut and propel yourself across the ice aiming for a bullseye 20m away. Older kids will love it.
Even the under 5s can enjoy a skate session on this international sized ice rink. Choose from skate courses, public skating sessions and lessons for all abilities from toddlers to adults. Skate aids are available for the very young but check before you book as they’re not on offer every day so the kids aren’t overwhelmed with too many people on the ice. At the weekend, there are ice jive/disco sessions on offer.
Streatham Ice and Leisure Centre is London’s only Olympic-sized indoor ice rink with and offers one on one or group lessons, dancing and figure skating clubs, skate-themed birthday party hire, hockey and more.
Younger children can use the penguin skating aids on the to help them find feel more stable on their feet. Book them in advance as they sell out quickly, especially during term time. As the arena is run by Better Extreme, prices are some of the cheapest for ice skating in London.
Prices and sessions vary according to day of the week and in term time.
Also run by Better, so reasonably priced, the last Saturday of every month is Sobell Leisure Centre Saturday Night Skate for kids 11 to 15, from 7.00pm – 9.30pm, and costs only £3.00 for a fun night out at the rink. They also offer private hire and skate lessons.
The rink at the Natural History Museum is open from October to January each year. Whether you’re an expert or a novice, a glider or a slider, outdoor ice skating in the open air is a wonderfully exhilarating experience.
As the winter evenings draw in, the Museum’s east lawn is transformed into a magical setting with thousands of fairy lights adorning the nearby trees, a fairground carousel, gift shop and café bar where you can relax and enjoy the views above one of London’s loveliest ice rinks.
Another stunning location, skating at Somerset House is open from October to January and concessions have been made to help families feel welcome. Children from as young as 3 (or shoe size UK kids 7/EU25) are welcome on the ice if they’re with a responsible adult.
If you or the kids haven’t skated before, take advantage of Skate School - courses or single lessons available for anyone aged 8 and over of any skating ability taught by instructors accredited by the National Ice Skating Association (NISA). Skate School is only open on weekends throughout November and December.
Another picturesque location (open Autumn/Winter only), enjoy an outdoor skate with the historic royal palace – where Henry VIII once lived – as your backdrop. At dusk, the palace lights up for some gorgeous outdoor skating at night.
Enjoy more seasonal skating around one of London’s most famous landmarks. The dry moat is transformed into an ice rink for some serious festive fun. If your kids are older, let them enjoy the ice while you enjoy one of the many pop-up food and drink stalls rink side. Keep your eyes peeled for a Yeoman Warder on the ice.
Notable Mentions (even though they only open from around November to January – check opening dates/times before heading down)