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Skating on one of London’s Christmas ice rinks is a seasonal rite of passage and a jolly n-’ice’ activity too. In the Winter months, London is abuzz with bright Christmas lights and ice skating nights and 2021 is no different with several ice rinks setting the skies ablaze (not literally as the ice would probably melt).
From annual favourites like the Natural History Museum (alas back for it’s final year) and Somerset House in the heart of the city to Europe’s only real rooftop rink in Wapping, here is our lowdown on the best Christmas ice skating rinks in London in 2021:
Christmas ice skating rinks in London
(Ice) Skate at Somerset House – from 17 November 2021
A neo-classical Christmas! Sponsored in 2021 by Moet & Chandon champagne no less, this is always a classy affair in a historic setting. We’ve been to the skating rink at Somerset House most years not only because the courtyard setting is picture perfect (hello Instagram), but the outer buildings in and around the main square are transformed into one of the best Christmas markets in London. You’ll find yuletide hampers, traditional decorations and all manner of festive gifts available to buy – so if you don’t ice-skate, Skate at Somerset House is still very much worth a visit this winter.
Hotel Chocolat will also be on hand to help with hospitality and potential presents and the (Christmas) star of the Skate show at Somerset House is the 40 foot Christmas tree, rivalling the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree in terms of its serene setting. Specially created decorated decorations by Moet & Chandon will also be on display (we’re hoping they are made from full bottles of champagne – cheers!).
Skate at Somerset House runs from 17 November 2021 to 16 January 2022, with adult skating prices starting from £11 and children from £8.50 (booking fees also apply).
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Ice skating at the Natural History Museum – from 22 October 2021
South Kensington’s sublime seasonal set-up makes this the most iconic ice skating rink in London and it is also the first to open this winter. Sadly after 16 years of ice-skating, 2021 will be the last year of the Natural History Museum ice skating rink – they will be transforming their garden area into an urban wildlife park, as part of a future campaign to encourage Londoners to help nature on their doorstep… so get your skates on now!
Incredibly beautiful and creating their very own Winter Wonderland along Cromwell Road, the annual ice skating rink at the Natural History Museum is a magical site – even if you don’t like ice-skating, we’d recommend you go just to get a glimpse of all the festive fun from Exhibition Road.
The Natural History Museum ice skating prices in 2021 start from £12.65 per adult and £8.80 for children with family passes also available. This South Kensington ice-skating rink runs until 16 January 2022 (open every day except Christmas Day) and booking in advance is advised.
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Hyde Park Winter Wonderland ice skating – from 19 November 2021
Hop on over to Hyde Park (or should that be ‘toe loop’ on over) for the return of Winter Wonderland in 2021, London’s biggest Christmas event and returning after a year off due to the recent Covid-19 pandemic. Attracting visitors from far and wide, this is THE Christmas event in London – although note this year there are some admission fees in place to access the Winter Wonderland if you aren’t pre booking activities or food and drink.
Built around Hyde Park’s famous Victorian bandstand, this is the UK’s largest outdoor ice-rink and is open from 10am to 10pm daily. Unusually, they also do BYOS (bring your own skates) but definitely not BYOB (bring your own booze) – bag searches are in place at all the main entrances.
Different from most other Christmas ice skating rinks in London in 2021, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland operate a tiered pricing structure with high prices at busier times – so adult skating prices at Winter Wonderland are £10.50 off peak and £14.50 peak (based on a 50 minute session) and £7.50 off peak for children and £9.50 (their off peak family passes are also very competitively priced at £30 per family). Ice skating at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland runs from 19 November 2021 to 3 January 2022.
Canary Wharf ice skating rink at Canada Square Park – from October 23 2021
Ice skating has come to Canada Square Park in Canary Wharf this Christmas 2021. The usual hustle and bustle of bankers (not rhyming slang) and city workers gives over to a fun family fair of ice-skating, hot toddies and twinkling Christmas lights. Given the location, you also have a huge choice of family friendly restaurants (or bars) to unwind in after skating including popular restaurant chains Wahaca and Five Guys Burgers right next to the rink. In 2021 there is also a really nice themed alpine style pop up bar with Czech beer, cosy fireside tables and blankets for all.
We are huge fans of Canary Wharf as there are so many activities to do here all year round including the Crossrail Botanical Gardens and some incredible outdoor art and activations – read our Canary Wharf things to do guide here >
Ice skating sessions at Canary Wharf in 2021 last 50 minutes with prices starting from £17.95 per adults and £11.95 for children – a family saver pass for 2 adults and 2 children is £49.50.
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Christmas ice skating at Skylight Tobacco Dock – from November 5, 2021
Europe’s only real rooftop skating rink (try saying that after several egg nogs) returns to Wapping for the first time since 2019, promising a ‘Canalside Christmas’. In 2021, Tobacco Dock is being taken over with Christmas activities and expanding above and beyond just the rooftop setting.
As well as a skating rink (offering views of the historic boats at Tobacco Dock as well as the city skyline), there will be Christmas igloos to eat and drink in plus an Apres Ski lodge for alpine antics, a Cocktail Cinema experience (presumably not just watching the 1988 Tom Cruise movie of the same name on loop) and the Secret Speakeasy.
Ice skating is £15 per person for 45 minutes and can only be booked on the day of your visit – an igloo advance reservation is also highly recommended. Click here to book your igloo >
Make a day of it and take a wander through Wapping – read our dedicated Wapping area guide here >
Queen’s House Ice Skating Rink in Greenwich – from 18 November, 2021
Set against the backdrop of Royal Greenwich Museum’s Queen’s House, this is a ‘royally’ good affair (sorry) and one of London’s most scenic skating rinks in 2021. The magical open-air Greenwich skating rink opens up from 18 November 2021 with prices starting from £15 per adult and £8.50 per child.
As well as the historic naval setting, you’ll be skating with views of London’s skyline and Canary Wharf sparkling in the background. Feeling cold after skating? The Greenwich Christmas skating rink at Queen’s House also has a Benugo cafe bar next to the rink serving up hot and cold drinks (treat yourself to a mulled wine or hot choc after those ice skating spins – you deserve it!).
Greenwich ice skating rink is open every day this Christmas 2021 except Christmas Day from Thursday 18 November 2021 until Sunday 9 January 2022.
Note in 2021, the following locations and attractions that have previously had ice skating rinks do not this year or have been cancelled indefinitely.
- Tower of London
- Clapham Common Winterville
- Camden Market (there was talk of an ice skating rink but when we visited in November 2021 nothing has appeared yet).
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