Getting into the Holiday Spirit at Somerset House

 

Ice Skating at Somerset House

After a long and hot summer followed by a balmy autumn, winter has finally arrived! There’s a chill in the air and the season of ice rinks and Christmas markets are upon us. Last weekend I decided to venture out to The City to visit the ice rink at Somerset House for the first time. It’s located right next to Temple underground station, which is a scant 15 minutes from my flat.

Somerset House is a massive historic building with a lovely courtyard at the centre and every November it transforms into a veritable winter wonderland, and boy does it look pretty. The whole courtyard is illuminated in pink and purple lights, and anchoring everything it all is a big bushy Christmas tree decorated with Fortnum & Mason hampers.

Oh Christmas Tree!

Love the ornaments :)

Speaking of Fortnum & Mason, this year they’re hosting a fabulous Christmas Arcade at Somerset House, right next to the rink. I spent quite a bit of time wandering down the halls and peeking my head into room and room of lovely Fortnum & Mason gifts and Christmas decorations. Everything was wonderfully organised into different ‘departments’, such as ‘Gifts for her’, ‘Gifts for him’, ‘Hampers’, and ‘Chocolates and Truffles’.

Christmas Arcade

Fortnum & Mason Christmas Arcade

The Ice Rink at Somerset House is open until 11 January, so you’ve got plenty of time to stop on by for a skate! Even if you’re not an ice skater, it’s worth popping in to have a look. It’s free to come in and check out (you’ll have to climb some stairs), and outside you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the city from the River Thames.

 

Happy holidays everyone!

Where to Ice Skate in London

 

Now that autumn is in full swing and the festive season is fast approaching, ice rinks are starting to pop up all around London. As someone who mainly grew up in California, I’m definitely not an expert skater but find that it’s a great way to celebrate the season and spend a chilly afternoon with friends and family.

My first attempt at ice skating in 10 years.

My first attempt at ice skating in 10 years.

If you’re looking to ice skate this autumn and winter, here are the top rinks around the city:

1. Natural History Museum Ice Rink (website)

Photo Credit: www.nhm.ac.uk

One of the prettiest in the city, the Victorian splendor of the Natural History Museum serves as a magical backdrop to this 1,000 square meter ice rink. The rink is at its most picture perfect in the evening when the sky is streaked with subtle shades of pink and decorative lights twinkle in the bare trees surrounding the museum. Advanced booking on weekends and evenings is highly recommended.

Dates: 30 October  – 04 January 10

Prices (per 40-minute session):  Adults: £12.65-£15.40, Family of Four: £36.90-£42.90, Kiddies 9 and Under: £8.80-£10.45,

Location: Natural History Museum (closest station is South Kensington)

2. Canary Wharf Ice Rink (website)

Canary Wharf residents would probably prefer that their local ice rink remained a secret. It’s as close as London gets to a true city rink a la the rink at Rockefeller Ice Rink in New York. The massive 1100 square metre rink boasts London’s only ice pathway through trees. This is where I go to get my skate on, so if you see me there, say hi!

Dates: 01 November – 28 February

Prices (per hour): Adults: £14.50, Kiddies Aged: 4-12: £9.50, Family of 4: £39.50

Location: Canary Wharf (closest station is Canary Wharf)

3. Somerset House Ice Rink with Fortnum and Mason (website)

Somerset House

This is the grandaddy of all London ice rinks. Each year, the enormous courtyard at Somerset House in Central London is covered in ice and it seems that everybody who’s anybody stops by to skate for a few hours. The cool thing about this ice rink is that you can enjoy champagne and chocolate with your trip. On Tuesdays they also play traditional Christmas music and serve yuletide treats.

Dates: 11 November – 11 January

Prices: Adults: £12.25 – £14.55, Kiddies Aged 12 and Under: £8.80, Students: £10.05

Location: Somerset House (closest stations are Temple and Covent Garden)

4. Ice Rink at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland (website)

Winter Wonderland

For those that have never been, Winter Wonderland is a traditional German Christmas Market, carnival, and circus all rolled into one. The ice rink here is set around a Victorian bandstand and is decorated with a canopy consisting of over 100,000 lights, making it one of the more romantic rinks in the city (take note, fellas).

Dates: 21 November – 04 January

Prices: 14.50/Peak Adult, 10.50/Off-Peak Adult, 9.50/Peak 12 and under, 8.50/Off-Peak 12 and under, 13.50/Peak Concessions, 9.50/Off-Peak Concessions, 38.00/Peak Family of 4, 34.00/Off-Peak Family of 4

Location: Hyde Park (closest stations are Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge, Lancaster Gate, and Marble Arch)

5. Eyeskate at the London Eye (website)

This is the closest rink to Southbank, which hosts what is arguably the best German-style Christmas Market in the city. It also happens to be the most affordable, though skate sessions are 45-minutes as opposed to 1-hour. This rink lacks the atmosphere of the other rinks but will do in a pinch.

Dates: 15 November – 04 January

Prices: Adults: £12.50, Kiddies Aged 4-15: £9.50, Family of 4: 39.50 — Discounts available is purchased online

Location: London Eye (closest station is Waterloo)

6. Winterville at Victoria Park

A new winter attraction in East London, Winterville with boast a 600 square metre rink and locals can skate here for a bargain. Located in beautiful Victoria Park, this rink is a great addition to the list.

Dates: 02 December – 31 December

Prices: Adults: £12, Teens Aged 13-15: £10.50, Kiddos: £8.50, Locals: £5

Locations: Victoria Park (closest stations are Mile End, Bethnal Green, Bow Road, and Bow Church)