Review – Tower of London Ice Rink
(reviewed by Sandra from SaSaSlings and her rather willing family)
We love the Tower of London. We have visited it many times as a family, so when we heard about the temporary open air ice rink that has opened in the moat surrounding the tower, we jumped at the chance to try it out as a family.
George (10), Peg (8) and Edith (5) travelled up to the city with Mum and met Dad at the Tower after work. George had been ice skating fairly recently, the adults had been many, many years ago, but for the two youngest this was an exciting first experience.
We ventured down the steps opposite the Tower of London ticket office and we quickly found the area where you can pick up some skates and leave your belongings securely. The staff were very efficient and helpful and before long we were hobbling our way towards the ice. A few safety notices were taken in before we were at the edge of the ice!
George was first, stepping on and heading off around the edge, a little wobbly, but confident. The remainder split into two groups, Peg & Dad, Mum & Edith. Edith had nerves of steel and was quickly walking around like a penguin under the careful eye of Mum and one of the very experienced Ice Guides (dressed in red). Then came Peg, who took it quite tentatively, and a terrified Dad who was unable to let go of the side for the first hour of pulling himself around the edge.
The ice guides were superb; never interfering in letting people try to learn their own way, but always happy to offer advice. They would also be instantly with you to offer assistance should you fall over. Edith called them her magic red men! For the inexperienced, getting up on the ice when away from the side can be difficult, as well as highly amusing for anyone watching. Dad took a fall, right in front of the bar. “Good one mate, that’s the best one yet!”
Despite the cold evening, we soon became very hot and thirsty and took a welcome 20 minute break in the adjoining bar for mulled wine, hot chocolate and mince pies, as well as enjoy the Christmas carols from the resident brass band. It was also a good opportunity to observe some of the other skaters and pick up some ideas of what to try (and what to avoid in some cases)! There is also a photographer available in this area who can take a photo of you and/or your group on the ice with the tower visible in the background. It made a very pleasant change to have to request this service, rather than feel like you were being bullied into it, as you get at some events.
Back on the ice and we were all now capable of skating around the rink without holding on or falling over (too often). We split up a little to allow us all to skate at our own speed and just concentrated on improving our technique. Sadly, the time to leave came all too soon. We headed off the ice, collected our belongings and went to catch the train, chatting excitedly to anyone who cared to listen about the great time we had just had.
Would we recommend it? Of course we would!
Hourly sessions can be booked form the Tower of London Ice Rink website – prices start form £11 per adult and £8.50 per child (family ticket from £34).
There is no minimum age for children, but minimum skate size is Child’s size 8 (there are a limited number of bob skates, which have a double blade and strap to a young child’s shoe, which you need to request at the rink). Maximum skate size is Adult size 13.