Hello Hello. Stephen @whataspoon here to help you find the best places to take your skates in London.
Here in the capital we have an almost endless concrete jungle at our fingertips. I have lived in London for around 2 years now and I feel like I have not even covered half of the city yet. When I lived near Glasgow or when I lived in Oxford I was able to cover the whole city in a short time, locating every skate spot I could possibly find. I remember even getting to a point where I was searching on google maps for more places to skate in Oxford and I had actually run out of options.. Thanks to the help of Slick Willies I was able to move to London so my desires of finding new places to skate could be fulfilled. Whenever I see a nice obstacle or area to skate I save it as a label on my google maps app. After being in London for 2 years, it looks something like this:
All the dark blue labels are skate spots and the light blue labels are skateparks. As I currently live in the West, work at Slicks and provide lessons in the Hydepark area, I have been able to explore this area of London the most. It certainly feels like this area alone has more skating options than the whole of Oxford itself. I have managed to skate some areas in the East, North and South but I am enjoying the idea that I will have so many new options to choose for future skating sessions. Let's have a look at some of the best and most popular places to Inline skate in London based on the surface of the ground, accessibility and obstacles to enjoy.
Hyde Park, Serpentine Road
Let's start with the main attraction shall we. By far, without any doubt, the most likely place to find an inline skater would be on the Serpentine in Hyde Park. This has been the case for around two decades now as there have been skate shops (including us) in the surrounding area of the park when inline skating first came to London. The Serpentine rd is wide, smooth and long with a nice view of the park and lake so it is the perfect recipe for a nice afternoon skate in the park alone or with friends. The ground is a great surface for beginners to learn how to skate, for advanced skaters learning how to slide and for slalom skaters who need space for their cones. Slalom skating is especially popular here so it's likely that you could come to the park and borrow someone's cones, if you ask nicely, for some practice. The slalomers also like to mark the ground where the cones should go so if you keep your eyes peeled you may find the perfect positions to set your cones down.
The famous London Friday night skate and Sunday Stroll also both start in and next to Hyde Park every week and have done for many years. If you travel past the Hyde Park Corner entrance and head to the Serpentine on a Sunday afternoon at 2pm you will see a massive group of inline skaters getting ready to set off for their stroll around the city. ( https://londonstreetskates.com/ )
The park is located next to Hyde Park Corner, and Knightsbridge tube stations on the Piccadilly Line and can also be reached from Marble Arch and Lancaster Gate stations on the Central Line. Otherwise there are bus stops surrounding the whole place and a car park that is situated at the end of the Serpentine inside the park itself.
If you are looking for super smooth ground and lots of open space to roam around then Tate Modern might be the spot for you. Right next to the river with some lovely views of the city, we have a space to skate around the whole building. The front has a slight downhill which can be great for practicing slides and the back of the building has a nice open space with flat ground. Sometimes there are events at Tate Modern which can cause lots of people to be hanging around the building so this is a popular spot at night time when it is closed since there is lighting in the area. There is even a fountain to fill up your water near the river at the front.
Tate Modern is a short skate/walk from St Paul's Cathedral which means you have Central, Circle and District nearby. There is also a short walk/skate to Southwark station which has the Jubilee line. Bus stops can be found in the Southwark area and you can even get a boat to drop you off at the nearby pier.
Peter's Hill (St Paul's Steps)
This spot is one of my favourites in London. If you like to ride and jump on steps then this is the spot for you. Peter's hill, or as it's sometimes referred to as "St Paul's Steps", consists of multiple sets of steps ranging from 4 to 6 steps each. At the side of the steps we have a long path that goes downhill leading to the bottom set of steps. This allows the steps to get smaller on the side so you can practice how to go down 1 step, then 2, then 3 before trying the 4 steps that face forwards towards the bottom.
This area is a very famous skateboarding spot and has been for years so expect to see some skateboarders if you visit at peak times. There is also a lot of tourist traffic as the steps sit in between St Paul's Cathedral and the Tate Modern museum so I do advise you to skate there in the evenings or early mornings.
This spot is not too far from St Paul's station on the Central Line and Mansion House station on the District/Circle Line. There are bus stops next to St Paul's Cathedral or you can walk/skate over the river from Southwark station on the Jubilee line.
Another park where you may find lots of people skating would be Victoria park in East London. The park is huge and has smooth pathways around and throughout the park itself. There is also a skatepark in the middle which consists of a huge bowl and a smaller street section so there is something for everyone there. This is a great park to hang out with some benches nearby and a kids play area so you can keep the little ones busy as you play on the ramps.
Victoria Park has the overground station Hackney Wick nearby and can also be reached from the District and Central Lines from Mile End or Bow Road stations. As always there are plenty of bus stops surrounding the park. It's also a short skate away from the next spot we are going to talk about.
Stratford Olympic Park
Thanks to the 2012 Olympic Games in London the Olympic Park has some amazing smooth areas with lots of open space for you to roam around on your skates. Between the London Stadium and the Velodrome there are many walkways and streets to explore with all different types of surfaces.
Reachable from Stratford Station and Stratford International via the Elizabeth Line, DLR, Central, Jubilee, Overground and National Rail. It's also not a bad skate from the centre of London. From St Paul's Cathedral you can head to whitechapel road and skate along a smooth cycle path all the way to Stratford. As always there are also bus stops everywhere.
Bay is an undercover skatepark, located in the West of London in the Nottinghill area near the famous Portobello Market. It is situated below the westway flyover making it a great place to skate in wet or dark weather. Fortunately for us rollerbladers, Baysixty6 has a few skaters that work there and help with the design of the park. They have turned it into the perfect street park filled with round rails and coping boxes. There is also a nice long mini ramp and a huge bowl in the back. The Capital Rollas lads organise many events here for us all to enjoy from skate competitions, to christmas sessions and even video premiers from top pros in the aggressive industry. Every Thursday you will see slightly more inline skaters and roller skaters attending the evening session than normal as these are the most popular times for our people. Check their website to see pricing, and their schedule to make sure you are arriving at a time it is possible to enter as they do have specific sessions for specific people.
You can visit their website here.
The Skatepark is a short walk from either Ladbroke Grove or Westbound Park stations on the Hammersmith and City or Circle Line. Bus stops are also located near the same train stations.
The city of London is filled with so many spots to skate whether you are an aggressive skater or simply someone who likes to freeskate around a city. We have spoken earlier about Peter's Hill which stands out as the most popular spot in this area but there are also many places you can go and explore in the surrounding area of Bank station. The best advice we can give you here is to go and get lost in the area. The journey from St Paul's to Aldgate has so much explorable concrete to offer with many levels so you may find yourself above or below the street you were on beforehand. We have tall office buildings with nice smooth areas surrounding them, wonderful architecture to take in and lots of obstacles to experiment with.
This area can be reached on skates from all over London thanks to the Cycling Super Highway that goes from Hyde Park all of the way to Canary Wharf or Stratford. Bank station also has the Central, Northern, Waterloo & City and DLR lines with the District, Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan and National Rail lines at nearby stations like Moorgate and Monument. And yes, you guessed it, there are bus stops everywhere.
Now, I am not recommending you to skate in the square itself at Trafalgar but actually up the top at the National Gallery entrance. Here you may find lots of skaters in the evenings of the winter months as the area is large and smooth with lots of light. This area is full of life with tourists, performers and skateboarders too so expect a fun evening if you are skating at this spot.
Trafalgar is a short skate, from the Piccadilly Line at Piccadilly Circus, downhill or accessible from Charing Cross station on the Northern Line.
Arsenal Football Club's stadium is surrounded by smooth concrete and open spaces to skate around. There are regular skate meetups happening at this spot throughout each week that are informally organised by those of the skate community who live nearby. This is a great place to practice speed, slalom, slides and more as you will have lots of space to play around with.
The stadium is accessible via Holloway Road or Arsenal stations which are on the Piccadilly Line or via Drayton Park on National Rail or via bus to one of the many bus stops in the area surrounding the skatepark.
Advice from a Pro
London is absolutely huge and probably holds some amazing skating spots that we have not discovered yet or even new ones that have just been developed. Pro skater for Powerslide and USD skates Sam Crofts, who has been skating in London for many years, has said in interviews that if you find a skate spot you like in London then make the most of it as it may be redeveloped at any time. Take that advice and go enjoy the concrete jungle we all love.