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As the air starts to get a little chillier and Christmas edges that bit nearer, London’s ice rinks are getting ready to lay down some of the cold stuff. With the Natural History Museum gearing up for its annual opening tonight, V&E takes a look at the best rinks that the capital has to offer for groups, from year-round indoor ice to outdoor festive staples for those feeling a little braver.
Natural History Museum 2 November-6 January.
Embrace the winter chill nice and early at the Natural History Museum’s outdoor ice rink, which is open now. Switch between skating and propping up the café bar and balcony with a hot chocolate or mulled wine.
Ice Rink Canary Wharf 3 November – 13 January.
Skate beneath the soaring Canada Square towers and experience London’s very first ‘skate path’, a glittering trail under trees lit by fairy lights. There’s also a pop-up restaurant by Boisdale and a series of events including a ‘Bollywood Night’ and ‘Sinatra on Ice’.
Broadgate 16 November-24 February.
The venue has announced its return as London’s original ice rink. The rink is also available for private hire – ideal for office outings or anyone too embarrassed by their skating skills to deal with an audience.
Somerset House 16 November-6 January.
Situated in the venue’s 18th-century courtyard, the ice rink at Somerset House creates a stunning backdrop. Look out for the
venue’s Skate Club Night line-up, with highlights including Sunday Best Presents Bestival with Rob Da Bank and the Vintage Festival.
The Tower of London 17 November-6 January.
Located in the moat of the impressive historic building, ‘Ice at the Tower’ is set against the fortress’ battlements. With its illuminated backdrop after dark, this makes a great spot for evening skating.
Eyeskate 17 November-6 January.
Located beneath the EDF Energy London Eye in the Jubilee Gardens on South Bank, groups at Eyeskate can combine skating with a trip on the London Eye to really soak up the Christmas sights around the capital.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland 23 November-6 December.
Set around the Victorian bandstand in Hyde Park and illuminated with over 100,000 lights, Winter Wonderland’s ice rink is the largest in the UK. Check out the Christmas market while you’re there.
Hampton Court Palace 1 December-13 January.
Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, the impressive courtyard of Hampton Court Palace will be transformed into an ice rink for six weeks of skating this season for ‘Ice at the Palace’.
Alexandra Palace Open year-round.
The people’s palace’s ice rink might be open throughout the year, but make the most of the festive season by booking a Christmas skating slot. It’s worth it just for the venue’s views of the capital alone.
Ministry Of Sound Select dates throughout December.
This year, the superclub will be hosting late-night Christmas parties, with a cool New York Rockefeller-theme. There’s set to be an indoor ice rink and cabaret with trapeze artists.
Westfield 24 November-6 January.
This year, Westfield London will be hosting its indoor ice rink within the Shepherd’s Bush shopping centre, while Westfield Stratford City is doing things outdoors, with a view over the Olympic Park.
This article was first published online in November 2012.