You may have noticed: there is an ice rink in our backyard. Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason is back with a bang … as we crash, letting confidence speed our skates a little too much. Two of your editorial team have sacrificed their dignity (with joy) to experience the world-famous ice-skating extravaganza and tell you all about it.
Having witnessed the construction of this rink while walking to lectures over the past few weeks, there was excitement in the air as we knew today we would actually be going on the ice. Disclaimer: we are both self-confessed terrible ice skaters, so were also feeling a little apprehensive. At the foot of the very-Fortnum & Mason-branded Christmas tree, we picked up our wristbands, granting us entry to the rink. The skate-fitting tent is scattered with benches where you can sit to lace up after swapping your shoes for skates, all a very efficient process in our experience.
Wobbling over and (rather inelegantly) gliding onto the ice, we have a very Bambi-like moment as the floor is suddenly much slippier. Obviously, there are edges to hold on to for those with less confidence, although a little problem presents itself when the railing suddenly disappears giving way to the exit from the ice. There is the option of walking here (as one of our duo did!) for those who are really unsteady but sliding across is equally manageable. Despite our worries, we both found that the skating wasn’t as hard as expected. The main risk for crashes are other people on the ice, however, we discovered that squealing when someone comes too close for comfort was a useful way of letting them know that we are incapable of moving out of their way!
As lovers of good photos, we made the most of the beautiful backdrop and surroundings. Although we have questioned if it could not be more Christmassy? Perhaps a little more decoration around the rink itself would put us more in the holiday spirit (let’s ignore the fact that it is currently only early November). However, once our minutes on the ice were up, entering the Skate Lodge certainly felt more festive. Winter branches draped with fairy lights climb the walls, creating a very rustic and homely atmosphere for the consumption of refreshments. The menu itself caters to all tastes, with both hot and cold, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. We opted for the hot chocolate which we can attest to being of a very good variety, but the festive takes on cocktails also looked very exciting.
Drinks in hand, we walked away content with our experience. Admittedly the brilliant weather made our morning all the better, but good organisation and set-up certainly helped. All in all, from two novice skaters, take this as a recommendation to go and experience this fab festive event; after all, it is just in our backyard!