Dear Mummy, the Christmas season is in full swing and already we’ve joined in with some festive events. A couple of weeks ago we visited LaplandUK (which is running until Christmas Eve) and you can read our review here. This week it was mummy’s turn, taking an annual trip with her family to another massive christmas attraction called Winter Wonderland in London’s Hyde Park. She has visited before, a couple of years back, but this year it was bigger and better.
What is Winter Wonderland?
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is a spectacular festive event in the heart of the capital. For six weeks, London’s famous Hyde Park is transformed into a magical wonderland of winter festivities. It’s FREE to enter so you can walk around at your leisure and soak up the atmosphere. This year Winter Wonderland celebrates its 10 year anniversary and we can’t believe its been going on for that long!
They stayed at the Hilton Double Tree, Hyde Park, next to Queensway Tube Station which was handy as it was on the Central Line. This meant we could zip up Bayswater Road to Marble Arch, Bond Street and Oxford Circus. Mummy and Grandma decided to walk through the Royal Parks to Winter Wonderland and take in the lovely sunset over the city. It was in fact a longer walk than they had planned which took them by surprise but luckily they were prepared and warm. They liked watching all the joggers and the horse riders pass them in Hyde Park and got excited when they spotted the large white wheel of Winter Wonderland.
They decided to visit Winter Wonderland in the evening to take in the festive atmosphere as the attraction’s bars and restaurants sprang to life with live music, DJs and twinkling lights. It was a great atmosphere but very cold! It wasn’t as busy as they expected it to be either as they arrived around 5pm and stayed till 8pm. You needed copious amounts of alcohol (I’m not sure what that is) to stay warm and it was bitterly cold so they gave up after 3hrs.
Free entrance means that it’s easily accessible to everyone, however you do need to take out a small mortgage to afford the rides as they ranged from £2 for children rides up to £6 per person per ride! Special Winter Wonderland tokens were used in exchange for money at the token booths and they enjoyed being spectators. Mummy had a giggle at the Haunted Christmas House, as Grandma got spooked after a man sprayed her with air while she was having her photo taken, but at £6 per ride it was too expensive to justify a fare.
There were many bookable attractions this year and they decided against pre-booking anything on this visit as they wanted to keep the visit fairly fluid (plus my mummy wanted to do some Christmas shopping at Oxford Circus too). Last time they went to the Ice Kingdom but it was during the day so they had the chance to warm up afterwards, they wouldn’t recommend it during the night!
- Skate on the UK’s largest outdoor Ice Rink
- Voyage through the Arctic in The Magical Ice Kingdom
- Enjoy the enchanting Nutcracker on Ice
- Jaw-dropping acts in the Circus Megadome
- Spectacular views from the Giant Wheel
- Perfect for tots – The Sooty Christmas Show!
- Festive cocktails at Bar Ice
There were lots of food outlets selling every possible dish you could imagine. They didn’t queue for anything which was good and enjoyed Mulled Wine and Hot Chocolate. Mummy and Grandma enjoyed theirs on a rotating carousel! They warmed up as they browsed the markets and took a leisurely stroll around the park, with over 200 charming Bavarian-style wooden chalets they were tempted with crafted gifts, traditional Christmas decorations, sculptures and clothes. Probably best I wasn’t there as I would have liked to play with everything!
It was a photographers dream and every spot Mummy saw was a photo opportunity. Too expensive for them to purchase anything at the market they wondered how anyone could afford a tea light holder for £20?!? They were there for the atmosphere, beautiful lights and chance to spend time together at this important time of the year. Maybe next year I’ll be old enough to go with them.
My mummy loved the Bavarian Village with the giant wooden sculptures, costumed stage performers and Karaoke singers. Eating at Winter Wonderland is not cheap so expect normal festival prices, so worth taking some extra pennies with you as the food choice is brilliant. Cash machines on site were charging £2.50 so take plenty with you! It was easy to stock up on sweets for Christmas and a child’s dream, as every other stall they passed had treats.
The smells, sights and sounds alone were worth a visit and it really can’t be beaten as a FREE glimpse of Christmas, maybe next year Mummy will save up and return during the day when it’s a little bit warmer. She loved the Victorian-style rides and Winter Wonderland had some beautiful old fashioned ones like the carousel and helter skelter which are two of her favourites.
Their faces were numb with cold and their cheeks were slightly ruddy with mulled wine. Everyone seemed to be having a good time and some of the rides looked epic – like The Hangover which shot up into the air then plunged to the ground (a bit too scary for me I think) and The Munich Looping, the world’s largest transportable roller coaster… maybe next year?
Have you been to Winter wonderland yet? What did you think?