Greenwich Ice Rink, or Queen’s House Ice Rink, as it is officially called, is one of the best ice rinks in London. It’s only in its second year, nothing compared with London’s oldest ice rink Queens in Bayswater, which has been around for over 90 years. The first ice rinks sprang up during the so-called ‘rink mania’ of 1841–44. Back then they used pig’s fat mixed with salts instead of artificially cooled frozen water.
Until 24 January the ice rink is open from 10am to 9pm every day except Christmas Day. The price varies from £14.50 to £17 for adults 25 years of age and above, £9 to £12 for under-25s, and £7.25 to £9 for children (ages 3 to 15). Minimum age is 3 years. In addition there is a one-off transaction fee of £2.95 per order (orders are limited to 6 tickets). Pre-booking is essential.
The operator’s recommendation is to arrive at the venue 15 minutes before the session time in order to be able to enjoy the full 45 minutes session. The website warns that in rare cases the skating time per session might be less than 45 minutes due to maintenance works.
From what we saw, the operator takes Covid measures seriously. We witnessed a fair bit of sanitizing going on and everyone has to wear a mask, even out on the ice, and comply with social distancing rules. In order to minimise the number of people at the ice skates pick-up and drop-off points sessions of different visitors are overlapping and a new session starts every 15mins.
Things to do in the area
The Queen’s House and the National Maritime Museum are both free, but because of Covid, you will have to pre-book your tickets. Cutty Sark and the Royal Observatory also need to be booked in advance (and they are not free). The whole area around the former Royal Naval College, including the building ensemble and Greenwich Park, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and definitely worth a stroll around. Ms B & I have spent many happy hours there over the years.
We are also fans of Greenwich Market. There are only about 20 food stalls at the moment, compared with the 125 or so you could find during the summer months, but you will still find some true gems. The rest of the stalls is mainly about clothes, handicrafts, postcards, Christmas decorations, and the like.
Well-organised and family-friendly
We were surprised by how comfortable the skates were. We had forgotten to bring our thick hiking socks, but even with our thin everyday socks the shoes were pleasant to wear.
The rink is reasonably sized and because ticket numbers per session are intentionally kept low, there is a lot of space for every skater. We liked the fact that the marshals were quite strict and kept order. Nothing worse than some suicidal juvenile speed skaters running everyone over.
The whole set-up is very family-friendly and relaxed. In absence of any music pumping from the loudspeakers the atmosphere at South London’s only outdoor ice rink was rather peaceful. It offers beautiful views of the London skyline, both Canary Wharf and the City & Shard. We’ll be back soon.
Looking for more fun things to do? Check out our posts about our rides on a hot air balloon, a jetski, a jetlev, and a powerboat, that time we went packrafting in Wales, our trip to the Jurassic Coast, and our baking course with Bread Ahead.