Because Christmas tradition dictates that you MUST enter the festive period with a bruised bum...
It's not Christmas until you've strapped a pair of blades to your feet and made an absolute turkey of yourself by falling over in front of everybody on a makeshift ice rink.
We're still reeling from the news that some of our favourite festive ice rinks - at the Tower of London and the Natural History Museum - won't be returning this year, but London has come up trumps with its selection of beautiful skating spots for 2022.
So glug some Gluhwein, wrap yourself in tinsel and get your skates on at the BEST Christmas ice rinks of the year.
Glide at Battersea Power Station
Battersea Power Station’s resurgence wouldn’t be complete without becoming the backdrop for a thousand, Christmas Instagram posts and Glide is a perfect way to cement its position as a bona fide London landmark.
The rink - pleasingly shaped like an odd, Christmas bow with a bar and restaurant at either end - comes with luxury options for those looking to push the boat out: Private igloos give shelter to groups of up to eight people and include a complimentary drink.
There are few better settings for an ice rink this year - the power station and the twinkling lights of a Christmas funfair to one side and the River Thames to the other - and there’s plenty of places to warm up and grab some food afterwards, too.
The Queen’s House Ice Rink, Greenwich
Skating in a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you say? Don’t mind if we do!
The views around Greenwich Park are amongst our favourite in London, with the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf framed by the beautiful old architecture of the Royal Naval College, Queen’s House and National Maritime Museum.
The Queens House was built in the early 1600s for Queen Anne of Denmark when she shacked up with King James VI and I. It’s unknown whether the architect planned for it to be an exquisite backdrop for an outdoor skating rink, but good design always finds a way and we reckon the Scandinavian Queen would welcome an icy reminder of home on the front lawn. Price from £10 for an hour-long skate session
Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink
Strap on your boots and hit the ice in King Henry VIII’s front garden, on the banks of the River Thames. There can’t be many more impressive backdrops for a skate this year - especially now the Natural History Museum has dropped out of the festive ice game - so it’s well worth a journey out to Hampton Court Palace this month.
The rink is open from 10am - 8:45pm every day except Christmas Day and children from 3 up are welcome if accompanied by an adult. We’re already eyeing up a starlit skate on Christmas Eve, followed by a few beers in the brilliant pubs that line the river in Hampton. Price from £13 for a 45 minute skate session
Skate at Somerset House
The courtyard at Somerset House has become a stalwart on the festive skating scene and they’re back once again this year with backing from champagne house, Moët & Chandon. If the clues weren’t already there, we can tell you that champers will be on the menu, served up in the super posh Skate Lounge and the alpine-themed Chalet Suisse restaurant will offer gourmet dining by Jimmy Garcia.
If you’re a newcomer, skating lessons will be available, and we recommend learning how to stay upright if you’re planning on sinking a few drinks and skate-dancing around the rink at one of UNIQLO’s Skate Lates, where DJs spin tunes as you do your finest Torvill and Dean impression.
Skylight at Tobacco Dock
As you’ll probably know by now, we’re quite partial to a rooftop bar. There’s something about being up amongst the twinkling lights of London’s skyline with a cocktail in hand. But if you fancy taking your festive treat up a notch, why not combine a rooftop drink with skating, at Europe’s only rooftop ice rink? Yep, Skylight at Tobacco Dock is home to an impressive rink where you can skate beneath the stars this month. And if you want an extra impressive celebration, there are igloos and alpine huts available to hire, where waiting staff will bring you food and drinks from the alpine-themed street food menu.
Price from £15 for a 45-minute skate session
Canary Wharf Ice Rink
Hey, even investment bankers like to lace up their boots every now and again to live out their dreams of being in Mighty Ducks. Thankfully, in the shadow of One Canada Place sits an ice rink where they can do just that - and it’s undercover, which means there’s no danger of rain stopping play.
There’s food and drink on offer at the Off-Piste Bar, which is a fancy enough place to while away the evening whether you’re skating or not. And if the festive feels linger long in your life, fear not - the Canary Wharf rink will be open until the end of February, by which time you should be sliding across the ice like Gordon Bombay.
Lidl on Ice @ Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
It’s not Christmas until absolutely every single person within a 100 mile radius of London has crammed into Hyde Park to glug Gluhwein and chomp down on a monster German sausage. But Winter Wonderland isn’t all about the food and drink - It’s also got the UK’s biggest outdoor ice rink, which encircles the Victorian bandstand near Queen Elizabeth’s Gate entrance to the park.
Someone in Winter Wonderland's head office has a sense of humour - they managed to secure a sponsorship deal from Lidl for the UK's biggest rink - but we're not complaining as it means the supermarket will be serving their award-winning pigs in blankets, and your skate will be accompanied by the sounds of singer-songwriters performing on the bandstand.
JW3 Ice Rink West Hampstead
The festivities here are more Chanukah than Christmas - JW3 is a brilliant, Jewish charity helping the local community - but everyone’s welcome on the ice at this rink in West Hampstead.
There’ll be lights and music as you skate, but this is very much a family affair and penguin stabilisers and banana toboggans can be pre-booked for youngsters who aren’t as steady on their feet.
Thoughout thhe month, there’ll also be screenings of festive movies including Matilda, Frozen and It’s a Wonderful Life.