London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies
Alexandra Palace ice skating in a nutshell: the biggest indoor ice rink London venue, rich in grandeur, shabby chic charm and heritage. The capacity is 1,250 people, open all year around and weather proof; so no wonder Ally Pally ice skating with kids or without is an all times London favourite!
A London landmark destroyed by fire 16 days after first opened in 1873 – Alexandra Palace re-opened again two years later becoming the place from where the BBC had its first broadcast in 1935.
Named after the Princess of Wales, Alexandra of Denmark, who married Prince Edward in 1863, formerly has been known as The Palace of the People and more casually Ally Pally. Historically Alexandra Palace contained an amazing concert hall, art galleries, a museum, lecture hall, library, banqueting room, large theatre, horse races course, one of the the finest concert-organ in Europe and even a swimming pool! The first and second world wars Ally Pally witnessed refugee and internment camps as well as further deterioration. The recent history is mixed as well, with the charitable trust set up in 1900 going through the challenges of much needed renovation – complex and costly for a listed building; fundraising; proposed and blocked commercial developments; public consultation and advice from English Heritage.
A day out at Alexandra Palace has it all: heritage, raw charm of a historical building still in renovation in certain parts, a beautiful park next door declared local nature reserve and of course ice skating!
We’ve been exploring ice skating London options with kids for the last couple of years and by far Alexandra Palace ice rink was one of the most relaxing experience : the space is large and copes well with the crowds; the sessions are generous at 2 hours; the ice skating for beginners is well facilitated with 3 options depending on size, energy and skating abilities: penguin, seal or snowman; lots of place for the spectators with the 740-seat stadium; there’s a casual cafe perfect for a quick drink and kids lunch next to the ice rink plus Phoenix pub next door.
Our 5 years old picked the usual penguin that he tries to abandon occasionally to venture by himself.
Our almost 3 years old tested the penguin but first time with proper ice blades didn’t have much success (in the past he used add ons). So the seal for the toddler was a winner for all of us, leaving us to actually enjoy iceskating.
Not tested with the kids but we understand Saturday night sees Alexandra Palace ice rink turn into a dance floor, with funky lighting and chart hits mixed by Ally Pally’s resident DJ. 8:30 to 11pm plus there’s also a monthly appearance from legendary London DJs Club de Fromage – we should be checking and reporting back soon!
Back to Ally Pally ice skating with kids, the options are numerous: ice hockey and figure skating classes, birthday parties, school bookings and private hire, chilled or advanced ice skating classes.
It’s a perfect day out all seasons – the other Sunday the kiddies played with melting snow; in summer the Park and playground are to be explored in full glory. A gem with stunning architecture, beautiful parkland and great views, best of indoor ice rink London and facilities make a perfect glorious day out !
For more indoor ice skating in central London, head to our dedicated article on the funky Queens Skate Dine Bowl. And for the seasonal pop ups, do not miss Queens House Greenwich and Hampton Court ice rinks ( Tower of London not re-opening in 2021), some royal winter fun to be had !
Disclosure: many thanks to Alexandra Palace Ice Rink for the complimentary passes. Cheeky monkeys and enthusiastic impressions, entirely ours.