What to expect

We leave from Wellington Arch at 8pm on Friday. We start from Serpentine Road at 2pm on Sunday. Aim to get there a 15 minutes early so you don’t miss any announcements and don’t get left behind.

The skates last about two hours and are split into two sections, with a half time break in the middle. Usually we loop back around to the start point, except for special events and skates where we finish up somewhere else and you’ll need to find your own way home.

On Friday, the second half is usually a little faster than the first half.

You need to be a competent skater. You must be able to control your speed on downhills, stop and turn safely, and be confident skating near other people. If you’ve never done a street skate before, the LFNS is not the best one to start with. Try the Sunday Stroll or the Wednesday LondonSkate.

What to bring

Please bring with you:

  • Your skates! We don’t do skate hire, but there is a shop near the park that does hire skate.
  • Protective equipment. We advise a helmet and pads (wrist/knee/elbow).
  • Water: especially in summer. If you’re feeling thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Two hours on skates is a long time if you’re not used to it.
  • Lights. We skate at night when it’s dark: be seen. Most cycle shops do cheap red LED lights, which are pretty effective : don’t get totalled by a taxi turning right across the skate.
  • Shoes/Travelcard/Taxi fare to use if you don’t make it all the way to the end. It’s really easy to lose your friends in the skate, too: swap mobile numbers with people before the start and you’ll find it easier to locate them at half time or at the finish. (Side note: some skaters have reported increased success in hailing taxis if they remove their skates first. Can’t imagine why …)

Finding it tough?

If you can’t keep up, don’t be discouraged: it’s happened to all of us. You’ll probably find it’s not about the speed but about how long you can keep going for – when you get tired your skating gets sloppy and you’re more likely to make mistakes. Good skating technique helps a lot too: if you’re skating with less effort, you won’t get tired as quickly.

Come back next week and see how much further you get. Practise in the park, or anywhere else convenient to you, and consider taking lessons. We suggest asking on various skate forums – ESS (Easy Saturday Skate) is a great place to start and has a great social skating scene.

What type of skates should I get?

Without being a snob about it, there is a certain minimum standard of construction for skates if they are to be comfortable on London’s roads. For brand-new skates it’s around the £100 mark.

If this seems like a lot, why not hire a pair first to see if you’ll like it? Most people use inline skates (a.k.a Rollerblades, but Rollerblade is just one of several companies that make good skates).

Quads, boards and bikes

Some people come on quads (what most people mean when they say ‘Roller Skates’). Some people turn up with more outlandish equipment yet (e.g. cyclists and skateboarders) – if this is you, please be mindful of the people around you. For safety reasons we might ask you to follow behind the rear marshal instead of mixing it with the body of the skate.

What about alcohol?

Alcohol is a no-no: it affects your judgement and dehydrates you more quickly. It also creates a bad impression of the skate in the eyes of bystanders, other road users, and the police.

If we see you skating with an open alcohol container, or if you’re apparently drunk, we will ask you to leave the skate.

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