14 December 2013

Skating on Wet Ice

It has been dry in London for weeks, so of course it started to rain on the evening we had booked tickets for the Canary Wharf ice rink. It was, at least, quite a mild evening and we all managed without the ponchos offered by the rink staff. I've been to the Somerset House ice rink a few times, but had heard good things about ice skating at Canary Wharf; plus, it's just a short hop on the Jubilee line from Bermondsey. I don't think I've been to Canary Wharf before, and found the underground shopping centre/food court adjacent to the tube station to be a little confusing — I was expecting there to be at least one sign to the rink, but sadly not. But if you head for Waitrose, and then go out through the ground-level doors, the rink is just opposite.

If you've booked tickets online, you don't need to queue outside; just head straight to the skate-hire station. While I waited for the others to arrive, I perused the bling for sale in the shop. Sadly, even though this is Canary Wharf, you don't get to skate in the sparkly, rhinestoned ice skate they have on display; just the regular boring blue skates.

The rink itself is a fairly decent size and has a little 'track' you can follow that takes you under the sparkling trees. This is a nice idea but we were there during the 6.30 pm slot when there were a lot of kids, so the track quickly became bottle-necked.

Skating among the skyscrapers gave the rink a Manhattan feel, though. You could almost be in New York — at the Rockefeller ice rink, if not the Wollman Rink. Although it was pretty busy, it wasn't quite as crowded as some of the more central ice rinks in London can get — next time, I'd probably opt for a later slot.

The other good thing about skating in Canary Wharf is that a wealth of dining options are available when you need some post-skating nourishment. Having skated past Wahaca about 300 times, we couldn't not go there, and a number of refreshing margs and, in my case, some delicious fish tacos, we were ready to take the tube back South of the River.

Canary Wharf ice rink. Canada Square Park, Canary Wharf, E14 5AB (Tube: Canary Wharf). Tickets are £13.50 for adults and £9 for children (plus a 50p booking fee). Website.

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