Monday, November 28, 2011

London, England - Ice Skating at Somerset House

The Christmas season is in full swing here in London. Not only are there spectacular decorations illuminating the city streets, but there is a Winter Wonderland market and carnival in Hyde Park, Christmas carollers serenading you at teatime at the grand dame hotels such as the Dorchester and Claridges, as well as many outdoor skating rinks set up in beautiful settings. Yesterday I went ice skating at the Skate at Somerset House and had a fabulous time!

As the ice skating rink is sponsored by Tiffany & Co, there is a Tiffany gift shop, Tiffany Christmas Tree and other events, such as the Teatime with Tiffany. The gift shop, housed inside a huge Tiffany blue box, sells limited edition gifts, as well as Tiffany jewellery, gourmet chocolates from Cocomaya, candy canes and lollypops. There is a simply beautiful Tiffany Christmas tree that is adorned with a menagerie of ornaments. This year’s beautiful 40-foot tree takes its inspiration from the iconic carousel in New York City’s Central Park, and its twinkling lights are meant to evoke the evening Manhattan skyline.

Tickets must be booked in advance, and you are assigned a specific skating time, which allows you to skate for one hour. The ice is cleaned every hour between each session and skate rental is included in the ticket price. Friday night skate sessions feature dance club music with well known DJs, on weekday afternoons, join English National Ballet dancers for a 20 minute ballet warm up off the ice to music from Strictly Gershwin, then join fellow skaters and an expert ice dance coach on the ice where you’ll learn to perform a skate routine to Strike up the Band. There is also a skate school and Saturday afternoon figure skating performances.

For those who just want to watch the skaters and partake in the festive atmosphere, you can visit Tom’s Skate Lounge for tasty sweets and mulled wine, winter cocktails like a hot toddy, rich hot chocolate or a glass of champagne. Additionally, Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens' restaurant at Somerset House, Tom’s Kitchen, offers fine dining as a treat before or after your skate session.

I highly suggest a visit to Skate at Somerset House as a great way to both kick off the holiday season and burn some post Thanksgiving calories on the ice!

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