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January is a tough month. The fun and feasting is over, we’re all back at work and the detox dullness has begun to bite. Meanwhile, while The Big Freeze means most are heartily sick of cold things, this morning I actively sought the ice, attending a lesson at Somerset House Skate School.
The school is held on the Somerset House Ice Rink on weekdays from 8.30-9.30am for adults, and there’s also Penguin Club, which teaches kids how to skate.
The skate school class consisted of about 15 (adult) pupils, who were split into two groups – absolute beginners and slightly more advanced. After booting up (skate hire is included), we stepped out onto the rink.
I was nervous – I’ve skated before but not often and it’s been a while. I started with the beginners, clutching the barrier, but soon got the hang of it enough to glide across, triumphant, to join the advanced group. Here we practiced the basics of skating forward and backwards, as well as stopping, crouching down, skating on one leg, sharp turns and even a little jump!
My instructor, Lucy, was friendly, helpful and calm. Skating backwards is something I thought I’d never even attempt, but I managed it, albeit with a helping hand from Lucy. My poor balance meant the one-legged glide, while less scary, was a lot more difficult and, oddly, the hardest bit is stopping.
The thing is, though, once you get going, you don’t want to stop because skating is such fun. Throw in the gorgeous backdrop of London’s Somerset House and a small group of friendly people that ensures you’ve got room to move and it’s a lovely start to a frosty morning. I’d recommend this for anyone who’s a bit nervous on the ice or who wants to learn new moves and brush up their technique. I’m sure, like me, you won’t be able to stop either!
Somerset House Ice Rink is open until late January and there are still a few places available at Skate School. Tickets are also available for the afternoon and evening sessions, including late skates accompanied by a DJ.
Other London ice rinks open now include Canary Wharf, Broadgate and the Natural History Museum. Plus there’s permanent ice rinks at the Lee Valley Ice Centre, Alexandra Palace and Queensway Ice & Bowl.