Pop-up ice rinks are one of the most magical things about Winter in London. We are torn between Somerset House and the Natural History Museum for our favourite but make sure you book your Christmas treat now. Here's where to skate:
The Big Ones in Town
Natural History Museum
25 October–6 January. 10am–10pm. Tickets: from £12.65 adults, £8.80 kids. 50 min sessions.
It is a sparkly joy to skate here at night surrounded by thousands of twinkling fairy lights. Whizz around their stunning Christmas tree. Junior Rink for younger skaters with Penguin Skate Aids. Parents and Toddler skate sessions weekdays with free hot choc from the Cafe Bar, 11am. Penguin Skate Club, ages 4–8. Saturday morning, varying times. 30 mins. Wheelchair Skate Sessions available. Super Vintage Carousel.
Combine with a trip to the museum itself. The Wildlife Photographer of the Year show draws the crowds but we reckon Life in the Dark is the unsung gem. Immerse older children in the magic of Darwin with The Wider Earth in the new theatre space. SOOO much going on!
photo credit Dave M. Benett/Getty Images for Somerset House Trust and Fortnum & Mason
14 November–13 January. 10am–10.15pm. (8.45–9.45am; 10.30–11.30pm selected dates.) Tickets from £8.50.
Somerset House wins the prize of most stylish rink having once again paired with Fortnums. Glide next to their vast 40ft hamper-clad Christmas tree before going for a festive shop-up in their heavenly Fortnum's Christmas Arcade. Skate School Courses or single lessons for ages 8+, weekends Nov/Dec/Jan. Polar Cub Club Skating lessons for U8s, 30 mins, £9 per lesson. Training Rink with Polar Bear Skate Aids. Alpine-themed Fortnum's Lodge and Skate Lounge. Skate Lates (grown-ups only)/ club nights.
Don't miss the brilliant Good Grief, Charlie Brown! exhibition, not least for it's brilliant shop.
Tower of London
23 November–6 January. Daily 11am–9pm. Tickets: £14.50 adults, £10.50 kids, families £42.
The Tower has its advocates in the a&u office for the best rink in town. Whizz around the ice in the dry moat next to the iconic Tower. Cafe & Bar, Penguin Skate Aids.
Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park
22 November–6 January. 10am–10pm. Skating £14.50 adults/teens. £9.50 kids, £38 family. 50 mins.
Love it or loathe it, the monster that is Winter Wonderland has become an annual fixture in Hyde Park and the UK's biggest open air skating rink is at its heart.
15 November–23 December, Tues-Fri 3–10pm, Sat & Sun 11am–10pm. Children must be aged 5+. Tickets £8 adults, £6.50 children. Penguin skate aids available (£5 each) for kids on a first-come, first-served basis.
The festive town returns once again to Clapham Common. Outdoor Ice Rink and Roller Disco. Fairground Rides, the Backyard Cinema, Bus King Theatre puppet show, Plonk Golf, Big Fish Little Fish Family Raves. Loving the sound of kids' Mexican Wrestling show!
Hampton Court Palace
Photo credit SWNS Hampton Court
23 November–6 January. 11am–10pm. Tickets: £14.50 adults, £10.50 kids, £42 family.
We are heading for a wintery day out next weekend to try out the rink with some mini a&u skaters so will report back. We think it looks magical. Cafe & Bar and Penguin Skate Aids.
The Royal Pavilion, Brighton
3 November–13 January. 10am–10.15pm. Tickets: from £10 adults, £7 kids.
Skate next to this stunning royal pleasure palace. 60min sessions. Penguin Skate Aids; Beginners' Area and Club Rinkidinks (11.15am–12.15pm daily) where U5s skate for free with paying adult. Rinkside Bar & Kitchen.
2 November–16 February. 10am–10pm (times may vary). Tickets from £16.95 adults, £10.95 kids, £46.50 family.
Zoom along the skate path beneath a canopy of twinkling trees. Dedicated Children's Skating Area and Skate Aids plus Rink-Side Bar.