Christmas Ice Rinks review
The best ice rink at Christmas is the one at Somerset House. This is how a winter rink should look, all lit in brilliant blues with a giant Tiffany Christmas tree up the front. It gets dark early in the winter when we put the clocks back so it's pitch black at five-thirty, and people have packed it out already. They are half gliding and half sliding, and they all look scared stiff to me. Once you are in the conga chain you stay in it forever, because you can't get out -- it's a big runaway train of skaters. Some of the mums (I'm guessing they are mums) want out right now, in this exact instant, and yank their husbands to the side. Don't let go! Don't let go of me! Down she goes like a sack of spuds.
Big smiles coming round on this lap. This guy clearly knows what he's doing. He's even spinning round 180 degrees in mid-flow to grab hands with his other half. Oh please God, please let him fall over -- please! I am begging you. Nope. He is too damn good. Sometimes you get a girl who looks happy and content, and totally in control of her herself, and then wham! down she goes like a battleship being bombed. People nudge you from behind and clip your ankles whilst you're turning, or they'll grab hold of your arm to stop themselves falling, and then it's curtains for you as you follow them down to the ground. I think I'll stay watching from the side.
The second best rink in London is the one at the Natural History Museum. They stick it outside the front with a big Christmas tree and a fairground carousel. They've usually got the best bar as well, nicely decorated and overlooking the ice. This is probably the one that I'd recommend if you've got kids, because you can take them to the museums as well.
The Tower of London's ice rink is quite popular because they stick it in the moat, but they don't have much in the way of decorations though, just a few flashing disco lights. They've got a little cafe selling coffees and bottles of beer, but it's not very Christmassy.
The ice rink by the London Eye is tiny. It's barely got room for a couple of penguins! You could build the entire thing out of a few ice cubes. But they also have a Christmas market along the Southbank, so you might want to go and have a look at that at the same time.
Broadgate is another little rink, but it's more for the adults than the kids (the business suits who work in The City). You'll find it around the back of Liverpool Street station in Exchange Square. It does have an interesting view down into the train shed though (looking straight down onto the platforms).
Normally I wouldn't bother with the rink at Canary Wharf, because it's foo far away for tourists, but I'm going to send you on a fifteen minute walk which will make it worth your while . You have to promise me that you're going to do this walk at nighttime, though (and preferably at Christmas), because it's not half as good during the day.
The ice rink is situated on the other side of that tower, in a place called Canada Square Park, so you can either walk right around it, or delve straight through the shopping centre which is situated underneath (the entrance is on the other side of that spurting fountain).
I quite like this ice rink, because it is bang in the shadow of three tall skyscrapers. There's usually a lot of fairy lights on the ring of trees around it as well. And when I say a lot, I mean a lot.
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