During the winter and new year period, the central courtyard of the glorious 18th century Somerset House, on the Strand overlooking the Thames in central London, is home to an ice skating rink. And stunning it is, too, seeing hundreds of people skating in the courtyard of a classic building at night under the gentle floodlights.

Now Wembley Stadium is joining in. The giant 90,000 capacity stadium, the second-largest in Europe, home of the England football and rugby league teams, is to be the home of a new ice rink.

The rink will be around the edge of the pitch, in a similar way to a running track. It will be 355 metres in length and able to handle up to 750 skaters, who will delight in being at the scene of some of the greatest moments in English sport, such as the 1966 World Cup Final, the 1948 Olympics and the FA Cup's 1923 "White Horse Final" between Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United.

Fans will also be able to climb the 107 steps FA Cup winning teams need to make to the Royal Box to receive the trophy.

The rink will be open from December 6th until January 3rd.

Skating spectacular: Wembley Stadium to house UK's biggest ice rink this Christmas

By Daily Mail Reporter (external - login to view)
Daily Mail

Ever wondered how Beckham feels when all eyes are on him at the hallowed turf at Wembley?

A new ice rink inside the world-famous stadium set up just before Christmas will put skaters at the scene of some of Britain's greatest sporting moments - just keep off the grass!

The rink, the biggest in Britain, will follow the outside of the pitch where England beat Croatia 5-1 this week to qualify for the World Cup finals in South Africa.

Skating for glory: This artist's impression shows how the outdoor rink will snake its way around the 90,000 capacity stadium, carrying up to 750 skaters an hour

It will be 355m in lenght and be able to handle up to 750 skaters an hour doing laps of honour around the pitch. There will also be a nursery rink for nervous or beginner skaters. The rinks will be open from December 6 until January 3.

In setting this up, Wembley joins the roll-call of London landmarks like the Natural History Museum and the Tower of London who offer ice skating over the festive period.

Also on offer at Wembley will be a chance to visit the England's squad changing rooms and the players' tunnel and climb the steps to the royal box at an extra cost.

Organisers face a huge challenge as they will have just a few days to install pipes and freeze 2,000 square metres of ice in the 6m-wide track between the grass and the seats.

As we know it: Over 87,000 fans packed into Wembley Stadium on Wednesday night to watch the World Cup qualifier between England and Croatia, which England won 5-1

Furthermore they have been told the turf must not be damaged in any way.

Nigel Mousley, head of production at organiser ICExperience, said: 'We have got to build the biggest rink in the UK in just six days, which is no mean feat.

'We will have teams working day and night to get it done. But we hope skating round the rink and looking up at the arch and the thousands of seats is going to be very impressive.

'There's nothing like it in Britain.'

Generators pumping out 1,200 amps will be used to keep the ice frozen, even through a mild winter. There will also be lights and music and big screens showing skaters in action.

Prices for skating-only tickets are 11.50 for an adult, 9 for a child of 15 or under and 36 for a family.

All-inclusive tickets, which include the football tour and other activities, are 32 for an adult, 22.50 for a child and 94 for a family.