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Tower of London ice skating rink

Tower of London

For a few weeks of every year, part of the moat around the Tower of London is transformed into a frosty blue lake for skating upon. There are several ice rinks to choose from in London, but Tower of London ice skating rink has to be one of the best.

Giant whirling snowflakes project onto the walls that house the Crown Jewels, and which once imprisoned Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey. You can practically feel the history oozing out of the bricks, as you whizz around on the rink underneath.

Tower of London invited us to skate on a complementary basis, so that I could help spread the word about the ice rink.

When was the Tower of London built?

William the Conqueror built the solid fortress 1078. It’s gone through a series of transformations of the years. It was built as a symbol of oppression, then it became a prison, and menagerie, home to exotic creatures like a lion and a polar bear. These days, the Tower of London ravens are the only animal residents. You can see them, along with the Crown Jewels and the iconic Beefeaters, on a day trip to Tower of London. You can read about our day out there in this feature.

Tower of London ice skating rink at night

Arriving at Tower of London ice skating rink

If you arrive at Tower of London ice skating rink from Tower Gateway tube station, as we did in the early evening, the majesty of the Tower hits you in all its lit-up glory. When you turn the corner and head towards the river, the calm blue glow of the ice rink shimmers frostily underneath the city skyline, with City Hall across the water in the background.

Tower of London ice skating rink at night

You can see City Hall when you walk to Tower of London ice rink

It was the first time on ice for my two children, aged seven and four. We entered via a tent, where a bar sold warming hot chocolate, European beer and soft drinks. An extra charge gave entry to the Eis Haus, another bar made of ice and where you could snuggle up under blanket while sipping a gluhwein.

We didn’t go into Eis Haus this time, as even more exciting times were ahead of us. Joining us on the ice rink for this special invitation-only session were some of the stars of Disney’s Frozen on Ice. Although my son claims he’s not interested in Frozen, both children fizzed with anticipation while they put on their hire skates.

The entrance to Eis Haus, a bar in Tower of London ice rink

Skaters could snuggle up with a gluwein inside the Eis Haus bar.

Ice skating London: what’s it like for young children?

At Tower of London ice rink you can hire penguins on ski blades, with handles that your children grasp onto for stability. If your kids haven’t skated before, I’d strongly recommend getting one of these. Although they’re a bit slippy-slidey, and my two still had their fair share of tumbles on the ice, the penguins gave them lots more confidence to stride out on their own. Plus, they’re super-cute.

girl hugging penguin skate aid at Tower of London ice rink

Our daughter loved her penguin skate aid.

boy skating with penguin at Tower of London ice rink

The penguin skate aids helped give stability.

children with penguin skate aids at Tower of London ice rink

There were a few wobbles on the ice!

My two were determined to skate alone with their trusty penguins, and we spent a happy 45 minutes slipping around and squealing. None of us noticed our frosty fingertips; we were having too much fun (Top tip: don’t forget your gloves, and a hat. The air around the rink is very cold).

girl with adult at Tower of London ice skating rink

The Disney Frozen on Ice team helped the children learn to skate.

Our special experience with the stars of Disney Frozen on Ice

The Disney Frozen on Ice team were brilliant with the kids. They were lively, encouraging and patient, and gave plenty of one-on-one attention to each child. One of the actors even picked my daughter up, and whizzed her all the way around the rink at high speed. There aren’t many four-year-olds who can say they’ve done that!

The multi-talented bunch treated us to a mini-performance at the end of our 45-minute session. You can see some of it in the little video I made of our evening. It was spectacular stuff, and a great introduction to the full-on show that was just about to open at the O2 in London. My review is here.

Our two enjoyed their session at Tower of London ice skating rink so much that we’ve gone back almost every year since.

Tower of London tickets: how much does ice skating at Tower of London cost?

Tower of London ice rink is open until 5 Jan 2020. Sessions last 45 minutes. They run from 10am until 9pm, except during weekdays until 18 December, when the rink opens at 11 am. The ice rink recommends you arrive 30 minutes before your session time, to give you time to collect your ice skates. These are included in the price.

Tower of London price is £15 per adult or teen, and £10.50 for children aged 3-12. Family tickets are available from £45. The price doesn’t include the penguin skate aids, which are £5. They’re available on a first-come-first-served basis.

Have you been ice skating in London? Where did you go?

If you want to read about more ice rinks in London, check out this guide from Mummy Travels.

If you’re interested in visiting the Tower of London itself before or after you go ice skating there, read our guide to the Tower of London with kids.

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Tower of London ice skating rink

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24 Comments

  • Lolo
    December 6, 2016 at 8:05 am

    OMG how awesome! I didn’t know that the Tower of London turned the moat into an ice skating rink! Saving for later! #CityTripping

    Reply
    • Nell
      December 9, 2016 at 10:21 am

      Yes, it’s quite a recent thing. Spectacular!

      Reply
  • Tanja (the Red phone box travels)
    December 6, 2016 at 8:59 am

    it looks really fun! I haven’t done any ice-skating in a long time #citytripping

    Reply
    • Nell
      December 9, 2016 at 10:21 am

      It really was fun.

      Reply
  • Trish @ Mum's Gone To
    December 6, 2016 at 9:17 am

    Aw this is brilliant – your two are having such fun with their penguins. Do they not do adult ones for scaredy parents?
    I had no idea the Tower of London had an ice rink at Christmas – it looks so beautiful.
    #citytripping

    Reply
    • Nell
      December 9, 2016 at 10:22 am

      It’s quite recent, I think. Yes I could have done with one of the penguins myself!

      Reply
  • Allison
    December 6, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    I love that you can rent penguins to help kids on the ice. I love that there is so much history surrounding it. And oh my goodness, skating with the Frozen stars would be every little girl’s dream! #citytripping

    Reply
    • Nell
      December 9, 2016 at 10:23 am

      Yes, I just hope they don’t expect it every time they go! 🙂

      Reply
  • Elizabeth (Wander Mum)
    December 6, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    How fun! What a great experience and helpful to watch your video. I can imagine that is how my four-year-old daughter would be on the ice. As someone who isn’t great on ice, I am hugely impressed by the talents of professional skaters. My daughter would love Frozen on Ice. #citytripping

    Reply
    • Nell
      December 9, 2016 at 10:24 am

      I imagine it’s an incredible show, judging by the stars’ practise performance.

      Reply
  • Plutonium Sox
    December 6, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    This is SO amazing!!! We went to watch Disney on Ice and my girls would love something like this. What an incredible experience for you all.
    Nat.x

    Reply
    • Nell
      December 9, 2016 at 10:24 am

      It’s one of my favourite blog-related experiences so far!

      Reply
  • Phoebe | Lou Messugo
    December 6, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    What a wonderful, wonderful place to skate, so atmospheric, (though I’d happily skip the Frozen bit!!! Sorry, household of teen and tween boys, it’s really not our thing!) #citytripping

    Reply
    • Nell
      December 9, 2016 at 10:34 am

      Haha I understand! Mind you, even my son was blown away by the stars’ skating….xx

      Reply
  • Cathy (Mummytravels)
    December 7, 2016 at 6:57 am

    I love the Tower rink – I used to work not far from here so would walk past the Tower every morning. I never got tired of it and having skated there too, it’s an amazing spot. How incredible to have the Frozen on Ice cast there too. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

    Reply
    • Nell
      December 9, 2016 at 10:35 am

      That must have been a nice walk to do every day. I had something similar. I do miss going into town regularly now I’m a freelancer!

      Reply
  • Natalie
    December 7, 2016 at 8:02 am

    Hahahhaa, the penguins on ice blades is such a cool idea! I think I would probably need that as I’ve never ice skated before 😉 #citytripping

    Reply
    • Nell
      December 9, 2016 at 10:40 am

      You should give it a try!

      Reply
  • Catherine's Cultural Wednesdays
    December 7, 2016 at 8:56 am

    I love those penguins, do they come in adult sizes? #CityTripping

    Reply
    • Nell
      December 9, 2016 at 10:40 am

      I wish!

      Reply
  • Vlad
    December 9, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    The skating rink looks fabulous, I love it, I had no idea they do this at the Tower of London. One more reason to visit London in winter 😀 #citytripping

    Reply
    • Nell
      December 12, 2016 at 10:49 am

      Yes – there are plenty of reasons!

      Reply
  • Lyla Gleason
    January 31, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    What a gorgeous setting!! I would love to skate there someday….

    Reply
    • Nell
      February 2, 2017 at 11:58 am

      It’s such a stunning location.

      Reply

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