Get your skates on this Xmas

Steve Dinneen
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Dedicated runners say part of the reason they slog through the pain barrier, come rain or snow, is to recapture the feeling of being young: to feel the wind rushing through their hair and the ground rolling under their feet.

I think running is too much like hard work but after ice skating for the first time in more than 15 years (which came as a stark reminder of my relentless journey towards the grave), I can appreciate the sentiment.

The rink I visited is located slap-bang in the middle of Canary Wharf: a decent-sized puddle of frozen water set against the imposing backdrop of One Canada Square.

After a somewhat shaky start, all my lost afternoons spent as a youth in the the local ice rink came flooding back. I was a teenager again, head down, skipping through the crowd – albeit with the grace of a flamingo on a unicycle. For those without the benefit of youthful experience, you can book training sessions through the centre.

Despite being in the middle of one of the world’s busiest financial hubs, it has a real family feel to it: children weave skillfully between their ungainly parents and couples float by hand in hand.

Head over on a week-day afternoon and you’ll see besuited bankers gliding blissfully along, their latest deals pushed to the back of their minds. For everyone else, it gives a reason to visit Canary Wharf during the evening or at weekends.

After skating through two hour-long sessions, I collapsed at the conjoined Moose bar, aching from muscles I had forgotten existed.

Decked out in the style of an Alpine chalet – complete with faux bear-skin rugs and pine walls – it’s a cosy place to warm up after the ice. If you get there before 7pm you will be able to take advantage of the Mexican-themed food van, which offers tacos and burritos for less than £6. If not, cake and mulled wine are available until the centre closes at 11pm.

Canary Wharf Ice Rink is open from 9.45am-11pm. Prices from £10 a session for an adult or £32 for a family of four.


These retro ice skating boots with faux fur lining will set you apart on the ice

Glitra Ice Skates, £45 from

The coolest kids will be staying warm skating with faux fur coats

ASOS Hooded Fur Coat £90.00 from