While football is the undisputed obsession of many Londoners, ice-skating and ice hockey are niche sports that gather their fair share of interest too. As a fun and leisurely activity that can be enjoyed with the whole family, it is no surprise that there is a wide choice of rinks within the M25. More details on skating sessions and prices are available on each rink in the sport and fitness section of CityGuideofLondon.com, and this article will give a short introduction to each one.
Starting in North London, wannabe skaters in this part of town can pop up Muswell Hill to the imposing Alexandra Palace, at one end of which resides the ice rink. The “Ally Pally” rink, as it is affectionately known, is a very pleasant place to skate and enjoy, with a nicely lit clean and open rink with a range of facilities and food outlets close to hand. The rink is also home to the semi-professional ice hockey team the London Racers and a number of junior development clubs and leagues.
Further east is the Lee Valley Ice Centre with a popular range of ice discos and leisure sessions with free car parking and within close proximity to the Olympic Park and London’s East End. The rink is home to the Lee Valley Lions ice hockey club, with teams from junior through to senior National League South.
Continuing clockwise, Streatham ice rink is the capital’s newest rink, with a brand new 1,000-seat facility that is also proudly home to a sports centre, gym and swimming pool. The Redskins are the main ice hockey team that call the rink home, and are one of the country’s oldest and proudest clubs.
For those inside the Congestion Zone, the Queens ice rink and bowl facility on Bayswater is the place to go, with a compact rink that is ideal for family skating and also offers combo deals on bowling and karaoke to make for a great family day out.
Those are the major permanent rinks in London nowadays, with Richmond long-since closed and multipurpose arenas such as Wembley, the O2 and Earls Court only hosting ice when a major event requires it. That said, the coverage of ice in the capital is actually pretty good, with the north, east, south, and west covered by the four rinks outlined above. And for those that want to look slightly further afield there are also rinks such as Bracknell, Slough and Gillingham within an hour of London.
The winter months also see a whole host of seasonal outdoor rinks scattered across the capital at some great locations including Hampton Court Palace, Somerset House, The Natural History Museum, The Tower of London, Canary Wharf, and Broadgate Circus. All are great festive attractions and feature mulled wine and mince pies as well as skate hire and great fun skating under the skies. Check back here for more information in the autumn as to opening times and location details.
Written by Ben