I love the Christmas season is an understatement if I say it so myself. I grew up in the Philippines where Christmas decorations are up and Christmas songs played as early as September 1st. Yes, we Filipinos believe that Christmas season starts when the ber months start. I believed in Santa Claus as a kid up until an alarming and embarrassing age of… I’d rather not say because it will seriously hurt my reputation. So yes, Christmas is a huge deal for me.
Unfortunately when I left the Philippines to work and live in Dubai in 2007, I haven’t had a full on Christmas celebration. Although Dubai was very accommodating to Christian traditions with all the Christmas brunch, Christmas decorations, Christmas markets and Christmas trees in hotels and malls (did you know that at some point, Abu Dhabi had the most elaborate and most expensive Christmas tree in one of its hotels?) – it still didn’t feel the same as celebrating it in a predominantly Catholic country like the Philippines where everyone’s on a holiday for a week during Christmas and New Year. I did appreciate everything though specially since it was a Muslim country and Christmas isn’t really a part of their culture.
The Christmas spirit went down the drain more when we moved to Doha where Christmas celebrations are scarce (and so freaking expensive). Qatar is a lot more conservative than Dubai so I was somehow expecting that the elaborate Christmas decorations I used to see in Dubai will be non-existent in Doha unless it’s inside a hotel. Thankfully, not long after that – we moved to London where Christmas is a huge celebration once again! Can I hear a woot woot?
I’ve listed all the Christmas-themed events and places in London and I plan to visit EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. I kid you not, I’m definitely going to everything that I can go to. I’ve missed Christmas so much and I plan to make up for it this year. Not going to waste anytime.
So for my first Christmas-themed bucket list is the Natural History Museum Ice Rink which reminded me so much of the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest in Philadelphia. With the beautiful architecture of the Natural History Museum as your backdrop, the ice rink is absolutely stunning specially with all the fairy lights decorating the trees surrounding it.
The Cafe Bar overlooks the ice rink and offers food and refreshments. I had my first taste of mulled wine here, a very popular Christmas/winter drink which was sweet, warm with a bit of red wine kick. I’m not really a skater, I’ve only ice skated once in my entire life so I spent most of my time at the Natural History Museum Ice Rink at the Cafe Bar watching the skaters glide below me.
There’s also a carousel opposite the ice rink which added a magical feel to an already enchanting atmosphere of the place. I ended my night by going inside the Natural History Museum for their after hours, with a glass of prosecco while admiring the dinosaur exhibit inside.
I’m still finding these all too weird for me. I came from a place where activities and events are scarce or private and then moved to a place where there’s just so much to see and do no matter what time of the day it is. I can’t wait to see all the other Christmas-themed events and activities around the city which are all starting in the coming days.
Plan your visit to the Natural History Museum Ice Rink
Adult: from £12.65
Child: (12 and under): from £8.80
Family: (2 adults, 2 children or 1 adult, 3 children): £39.60
Members: Save 10%
Student: £9.00 – includes a drink
Parent & toddler: £11 – includes a drink
Dates and Timings:
The Naturally History Museum Ice Rink will be up and running from October 27 to January 8 and will be closed on Christmas day, 25December. Generally, the ice rink is open from 11am to 9pm however depending on the dates of your visit – you might want to check their website if you plan on going there later in the evening, on the weekends or during New Year day itself.
Each skating session lasts for 50 minutes.
Skate hire is included in the price but you can also bring your own skates.
There’s a cloakroom for bags and coats which costs GBP2 per item.
You don’t have to have a ticket if you just want to walk around the whole area. You only need a ticket if you wish to ice skate however, you can also just enjoy watching the skaters from the Cafe Bar which is what I did without the need to buy a ticket.
Nearest underground station is South Kensington.
The Natural History Museum Ice Rink is open from October 27 to January 8 and closed on December 25.
For more Christmas in London festivities, do visit the below posts:
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