LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 17: Patrick Grant attends the opening party of Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason at Somerset House on November 17, 2015 in London, England. The stylish ice rink opens to the public on Wednesday 18th November and runs until Sunday 10th January 2016. Pic Credit: Dave Benett[Patrick Grant. Pic Dave Benett]

Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason, one of the capital’s most anticipated Christmas traditions, officially opened last week, heralding the start of the winter season with a celebration in the spectacular surroundings of Somerset House.

F&M 17-11-15-112
VIP guests reveling in the festivities included Immy Waterhouse, Sam Rollinson, Charlotte Wiggins, Matilda Lowther, Dame Shirley Bassey, Jasmine Guinness, Christopher Kane, Lulu Kennedy, Sienna Guillory, Jade Parfitt, Camilla Rutherford, Gemma Cairney, the Hemsley sisters, Polly Morgan, Mat Collishaw, Patrick Grant, Nicole Farhi, Valentine Warner and Thomasina Miers.

F&M 17-11-15-114

Beneath the twinkling 40-ft Christmas tree, handpicked from the Kielder Forest in Northumberland and decorated with Fortnum’s mini hampers, guests enjoyed some of Fortnum’s finest fare. On the menu were hog roast brioche baps, smoked salmon blinis, lentil and spinach dal, and roast sirloin of beef in Yorkshire Puddings, many of which are available on the menu at the Fortnum’s Lodge.

F&M 17-11-15-94
Guests were also treated to canapés, including avocado and chilli on toast, mini chilli dogs, pigs in blankets and dressed Portland crab. The veritable feast was finished off with delicious mince pies.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 17: Dame Shirley Bassey attends the opening party of Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason at Somerset House on November 17, 2015 in London, England. The stylish ice rink opens to the public on Wednesday 18th November and runs until Sunday 10th January 2016. Pic Credit: Dave Benett[Dame Shirley Bassey. Pic Dave Benett]

Party-goers were served a selection of drinks, from Fortnum’s own champagne to warming mulled cider, cranberry lemonade and frozen slushy cocktails devised by master mixologist Nick Strangeway. They could also top up on vodka and gin martinis from an ice luge.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 17: Christopher Kane (L) and Tammy Kane attend the opening party of Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason at Somerset House on November 17, 2015 in London, England. The stylish ice rink opens to the public on Wednesday 18th November and runs until Sunday 10th January 2016. Pic Credit: Dave Benett[Christopher Kane and Tammy Kane. Pic Dave benett]

Ahead of Somerset House’s collaboration with the EFG London Jazz Festival, guests enjoyed skating on London’s most stylish ice rink to a live performance from Kansas Smitty’s Big Four, followed by a live DJ set from special guest and Club Nights favourite Gemma Cairney.

Canadian quintet Le Patin Libre showcased a shortened version of its ground-breaking, contemporary icedance performance Vertical, which will be brought in full to Somerset House between 12th and 16th January 2016.

F&M 16-11-15-93

Guests were also treated to a sneak preview of The Christmas Arcade with Fortnum & Mason – a pop-up Fortnum’s situated in the West Wing of Somerset House, overlooking the ice rink, selling ladies’ accessories, confectionery, Christmas foodie delights, decorations and menswear – to make a start on their Christmas shopping.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 17: A general view of the atmosphere at the opening party of Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason at Somerset House on November 17, 2015 in London, England. The stylish ice rink opens to the public on Wednesday 18th November and runs until Sunday 10th January 2016. Pic Credit: Dave Benett

Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason takes place from 18th November to 10th January 2015.

Fortnum & Mason (181 Piccadilly, London, W1A 1ER)