Outdoor ice skating is a pre-Christmas London treat we should all indulge in, no matter what age we are. The ice-skating rink at Somerset House is opening this week - and you'll want to book fast to ensure you can snag a weekend or prime evening slot close to Christmas (they fill up very fast).
Skate at Somerset House is celebrating its 20th year this winter with special events as well as daily opportunities to show off your leaps, twirls and styled-out falls on the ice. Celebrations include London's first ever 24-hour skating event (7-8 December), which is being held in conjunction with the launch of Somerset House’s winter season and the opening of the major exhibition, 24/7.
The ice rink, with its backdrop of crisp Georgian architecture, has become a beloved staple of London's winter season. Here, you can glide in front of a 40ft Christmas tree laden with Fortnum & Mason's hampers, then head inside F&M’s on-site skate lodge, to warm up with a hot chocolate or steaming plate of Welsh rarebit.
Or, make yours a hard one at the Baileys Treat Bar - where drinks include a Baileys chocolate reindeer cocktail (there are marshmallow and whipped cream festooned hot chocolates and gingerbread biscuits for any younger family members in tow).
For the first time this year, the sugary turrets of the Museum of Architecture's much-loved Gingerbread City are going on show at Somerset House, offering skaters the chance to gaze in wonder at the mini city made entirely from gingerbread. Meanwhile, Skate Lates returns this season, bringing with it the chance to glide long after dark to a line-up of leading DJs including Nabihah Iqbal, RockersLDN and Eat Your Own Ears.
Little skaters can take their first steps onto the ice with lessons for all ages at the Polar Bear Club. Handily, the Polar Bear aid area is separate from the rest of the rink, so newbie, pint-sized skaters can get their confidence levels up before hurling themselves onto the main rink - and there's even room for parents with babies in pushchairs to watch their mini Torvilles and Deans develop that lifelong fascination with skating.
Don’t despair if you’re the Bambi of your family or friendship group - instruction is also available for adults, so anyone can brush up on their (potentially non-existent) skills. All teachers are accredited by the National Ice Skating Association and under their instruction, you’ll build confidence on the ice in no time.
The spacious rink, comforting treats, breathtaking decor and cosy hangouts, as well as the on-site festive shopping courtesy of Fortnums, make Skate at Somerset House a glorious way to spend an afternoon or evening - with family or flying solo.
Booking is now open
|What||Skate at Somerset House: 2019 highlights to catch|
|Where||Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Temple (underground)|
13 Nov 19 – 12 Jan 20, Session times vary
|Website||Click here for more information|