The winter season is finally upon us and there is no better way to celebrate than with a session of outdoor ice-skating which you can find dotted around London at various sites during the festive period.
We made our way to the Natural history museum outdoor skate rink in Kensington which is fairly easy to find from South Kensington station via the underground passage. We were greeted with a magical scene of trees covered in fairy lights and a massive tree in the middle of the ice.
We picked up tickets from the box office which is right opposite the skate entrance from the underground passage but they are also available to purchase online which is more of a guarantee to get the time you want. We were then directed to a section behind the rink to queue up and get our skates on.
This was my first visit to an outdoor rink. I expected it to be freezing cold being outside and on ice so I bought myself a new pair of gloves for the occasion but actually the act of skating is quite hard work and I left the rink feeling really hot, I had to take my coat off!
Considering as a teenager I would be down Lea Valley ice rink every Sunday with my friends I thought I would be OK on the ice, but that was 20 years ago and I was absolutely rubbish. I spent the whole time holding onto the side apart from when I had to manoeuvre around others that were just hanging around, having a break or taking photos. Although there were a lot of people that took to it like a duck to water, I was relieved to see there were a lot of beginners and strugglers, it made me feel less guilty about grabbing on to them when I was about to fall as they were doing the same.
I have to say, I was so impressed with all the kids who just went for it, fell over and got back up again. I wish I was as brave but then I know it would be a lot heavier of a bump if I went down!
Each session lasts for 50 minutes and we left the ice about 5 minutes before everyone was called off, which I actually recommend because as everybody enters the room to remove their boots and pick up their footwear, there doesn’t seem to be any order and people just push in to collect their shoes. Also beware that the floor is very wet from the ice on the boots and so you end up with soggy feet by the time you put your shoes back on!
While skating around we noticed the café overlooking the rink had a balcony so we decided to go up and have a drink while watching the next session.
The café was so pretty and lit up just like the trees outside. There was different seating areas, benches, small tables and more cosy seating and I was surprised it wasn’t busier as there were so many people watching the skating outside.
Although I wasn’t a great skater I still found it lots of fun and definitely want to practice some more so I can get out into the middle of the ice with the pros. It was a really beautiful setting and a great start to the festive season.
If you are planning to visit then check out the latest prices on the NHM website. If you have youngsters that need some help then you can use the penguin supports for £5 and if you have things to leave in the cloakroom then it’s £2 an item, bags are not allowed on the ice so best to travel light.
Have you visited any festive skating rinks yet?