I’ve been ice skating more in the last week than I have in the last 10 years, and my aching legs are the evidence.
But despite any aches and pains now, while I was out on the rink I was having a blast. I spent two consecutive evenings trying out two of the rinks on offer in London.
First up was the Canary Wharf venue, which is located in Canada Square Park. It’s nestled among the business estate’s skyscrapers. A quick glance up and you’re looking through the windows of KPMG, HSBC and more.
The rink is pretty small, but serves its purpose. The crowd is a mix of people, but hardly any of those people would be found down at your local ice rink. Rather, the skaters are made up of bankers and lawyers from the city’s biggest firms, easily identifiable by the thoroughly unsuitable suits and ties they’re still sporting from a day at the office.
Still, it’s a fun crowd to skate among, and a fun crowd to watch, even if it is only to chuckle when a slightly cocky banker stumbles while showing off. I’m cruel, I know.
Second up was the Tower of London ice rink, which is slightly bigger than that at Canary Wharf and nestled in the moat just by the Tower.
There’s a much more diverse crowd at this rink, everyone from young children (wearing cute roller skate style skates) to older couples and, like us, groups of friends just there for a laugh. The atmosphere is more lively, and with a brass band playing the tunes it feels festive even though Christmas is more than a month off.
It’s the atmosphere that marks Tower rink out as the winner in this battle. That, and its surroundings. While there is something beautiful about the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf, it’s the romanticism of the setting of the Tower rink that really makes the experience.
It’s not just the river on one side, the Tower on the other and buildings like the Gherkin within sight. It’s the little window in one of sections of the Tower, emitting a comforting orange glow, illuminating the flowers on the ledge. Some days I’d love to be the princess in the Tower waiting to get rescued by a handsome prince.
But on reflection I’m glad I’m actually the girl on the rink having a laugh with her friends.