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First-Timers Guide to the Ice-Sculpting Festival in London

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

The city of London, England is well known for its attractions, diverse cultures, history, many landmarks, and its pubs.  However, what most visitors to the city oftentimes overlook or just miss altogether is the Ice Sculpting Festival that attracts some of the best ice artists from around the world.  It is usually held every January when London’s weather is at its coldest in Canada Square Park at Canary Wharf.  This coming January, 2012 will be the 4th annual Ice Sculpting Festival.

The event lasts for three days, beginning on a Thursday and ending on a Saturday and features numerous attractions and events including a timed competition comprised of the best ice sculpting teams from Africa, France, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, and the UK.  In addition to this, there are:

  • competitions
  • demos
  • master classes
  • prize-giving ceremonies

Over 40,000 individuals braved the UK’s sub-zero temperatures this past year so don’t think for a minute that the weather during January is going to deter the crowds.  The Ice Sculpting Festival was the brainchild of Carol Cordrey (renowned art critic).  Her inspiration for the festival came from the snow sculptors of Grindewald, a municipality in the Bernese Alps in the Interlaken-Oberhasli administrative district near the capital city of Berne.

In addition to the above, you have the pleasure of seeing some of the world’s most talented ice sculptors at work, chain-sawing, chipping, and chiseling their creations out of massive 2.0 x 2.0 x 2.0 meter (6.5 x 6.5 x 6.5 feet) blocks of ice transported in from Belgium in numerous ice lorries.  As well as being able to watch these artists at work, you can also participate in some of the master classes that are conducted at the festival.  Just like the admission to the festival, it doesn’t cost anything to participate in these master classes.

Just like any other type of competition that has its admiring fans, you can cheer your favorite team on as they go head to head with others and try to create the most spectacular sculptures possible.  The winner of each competition is announced prior to the end of the festival at about 3 pm on Saturday afternoon.  If you want to have a little more fun once the festival closes for the day, you can wander over to the nearby Canary Wharf ice skating rink and finish your day.

The following venues are all within 500 meters (1,640 feet) of Canary Wharf and are the 5 nearest in the area:

  • 5 bars and pubs
  • 1 cinema
  • 5 hotels
  • 3 nightclubs
  • 5 restaurants

As you can see, everything is located in a fairly tight-knit area so you don’t have to venture too far away from the festival to enjoy yourself doing other things.


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About the author

Venere Travel Blog writer grace a.

Grace lives in India. She loves to travel, not as a tourist, but to soak in the secrets of the nooks and crannies of this amazing planet. She also loves words, expressed through the medium of writing. She firmly believes that a well crafted piece of writing can accomplish ANYTHING!

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