London's best skateparks
The best skateparks in London are where you'll spend time perfecting your handplants – or just hanging with friends.
Kimber Skatepark, Kimber Road, SW18 4NY (Mon-Fri: 3pm-6pm, weekends and schools holidays: 12pm-6pm)
A skatepark and BMX track next to Wandsworth's river Wandle (which you can learn all about in the Museum of Docklands' latest exhibition, Secret Rivers), Kimber Skatepark is a street plaza concrete skatepark with metal frame ramps, and is well-suited to families with a café and skateshop on-site (you can hire skateboards, scooters and bikes there). You can also book in for lessons for kids aged 5 and up at weekends or during the summer hols.
Alexandra Palace Skatepark
Alexandra Palace Way, London N22 7AY (Open daily: 9am-5pm)
The skatepark at Ally Pally is located next to the ice rink and is a concrete space for skaters and bladers featuring a couple of flatbanks, quarter pipes, a grindbox and more to practice on. The on-site café at the ice rink will take care of any rumbling tummies.
Credit: Clem Onojeghuo
Southbank Skate Space
337-338 Belvedere Rd, Lambeth, SE1 8XT (Open 24 hours a day, daily)
History meets culture at the Southbank's skate space, located in the Undercroft beneath Queen Elizabeth Hall. It dates back to the late 1960s (skateboarders first started using it in 1973) and features ledges, banks and stairs. A favourite with everyone from street artists to skateboarders, it's currently undergoing a restoration to increase the size of the space and add a learning zone for youngsters. Watch this space (or go skate in it).
Credit: Jonny Swales
House of Vans
Arches, 228-232 Station Approach Rd, SE1 8SW (Tues: 6pm-9pm, Wed: 10am-9pm, Thurs: 10am-3pm, Fri: 4pm-10pm, Sat: 10am-8pm, Sun: 12pm-6pm)
Just around the corner from the Southbank you'll find House of Vans' indoor skate space with a concrete bowl and mini ramp (the venue is also an art gallery, incubator space, live music venue, cinema and café/bar). Kids aged 5 and up who are keen to learn how to kick-push or advanced skaters looking to nail that next challenge can book in for an hour-long lesson at weekend Skate Skool (book in advance as it sells out quickly). BMX training is also available.
Credit: Lukas Bato
Clapham Common Skate Park
10 Rookery Rd, SW4 9DD (Open 24 hours a day, daily)
An open-plan concrete skatepark with a wide variety of obstacles at different heights to challenge even experienced skaters (banks, quarter-pipes, a 3-foot mini ramp, bowled corner, angled rails and ledges), there's also a tarmac section with ledges and flat rails. While the kids will enjoy watching experienced skateboarders in action here, they can also start to fine-tune their skills: Zebra Skate offers kids' skateboarding and rollerblading lessons and camps here (they also have lessons at the Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens).
Credit: Iain Borden
Crystal Palace Skatepark
Crystal Palace Park, SE20 8DT (Open 24 hours a day, daily)
A newly rebuilt 1,100m skatepark located on the site of the UK's first major national skateboarding competition in 1977 and next to the famous skateboarding half-pipe of the 1980s, Crystal Palace Skatepark is split neatly into areas for advanced and newbie skateboarders, and features a massive tile-and-coping cloverleaf pool that's 8.5 feet at its deepest. Beginners can make the most of the space in the area with small ramps and slopes.
Extreme Barking Skatepark
Mayesbrook Park, Lodge Avenue, Dagenham, RM8 2JR (Tues-Fri: 12pm-10pm, Sat-Sun: 10am-12pm)
London's largest indoor skatepark (it's 900m2) is suitable for kids aged five through to advanced skateboarders and features a beginners area with low slopes, a micro ramp and small obstacles, a street zone with ledges, flatbars, eurogaps, hips, rails and A-frames and a 6-foot beachwood bowl. If you prefer to land on softer surfaces, no problem: there's a trampoline park on-site.
Credit: Dylan Nolte
Cantelowes Concrete Bowl and Skatepark
212 Camden Rd, NW1 9HG (Open daily: 10am-9pm)
Cantelowes is a concrete skateboarding bowl for rollerbladers, skateboarders and BMX riders, as well as a street course with mini ramps for beginners. Bonus: the Three Amigos skate shop is nearby to kit you out.
Credit: Ilias Papaounidis
Bay 66 Acklam Road, North Kensington, W10 5YU (Mon-Sun: 12pm-6pm)
This West London skatepark under the Westway is beautifully maintained and hosts everything from half-term skate camps to 'Old Man Nites'. It suits all abilities thanks to a combination of street and wooden ramps and a large bowl – plus, there's a skate shop attached.