Dear Mummy, December is just around the corner and already our sights are on Christmas. We were lucky enough to be invited to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park in London to experience all the excitement of the Megadome (AKA the Big Top) at a parenting bloggers event.
At the end of November Hyde Park is lit up with neon lights, fairground rides and attractions as far as the eye can see. They replace the tranquil haven of this green open space in the heart of London. With Bavarian beer houses, christmas markets, rollercoasters and food stands it really is a sensory overload and a place to feel festive.
My folks have been to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park before in the evening, however during the day it is a much quieter affair. It might have had something to do with the fact that we entered the park at 11am and beat the queues on the opening weekend. It’s free to enter the Winter Wonderland and it seems to get more and more popular towards the evening when the twinkly lights add to the magical atmosphere.
Once inside Winter Wonderland the sounds, sights and smells of a fairground consume you. It adds to the excitement, especially for a child and I was bouncing around like a kid in a sweet shop. Candy floss and popcorn filled the air as we made our way to the Megadome. We got lost several times, even with our map, as we kept following the big top and ended up walking around the centre of the park.
Sooty & Co Christmas Show
Our first stop was the morning performance of the Sooty & Co Christmas Show. We had pre-booked tickets for the show which is on daily at 11am. The Megadome is the largest tented structure in the UK with comfortable theatre-style seating, a heated tent and vendors in the foyer. The only thing that was missing was toilets inside. The Sooty & Co Christmas Show was fantastic. My mummy grew up watching Sooty, Sweep and Sue, so it was a lovely trip down memory lane for her and grandma.
TV’s Richard Cadell headed up the Christmas variety show. We haven’t laughed so much in ages and he had us giggling away at his slap stick performance which kept me engrossed for over 40 minutes, even though I have never seen sooty before, he made a fan out of me. So much so that I wanted to meet Sooty in person and I was lucky enough to say hi to the little bear.
Zippo’s Christmas Show
I was most excited about seeing the circus. We watched jaw-dropping acrobats, knockabout clowns, feats of incredible strength and stunning illusion. The show lasted 45 minutes and was the perfect length for little ones. We don’t want to give too much away but would totally recommend Zippos Circus having recently seen them in Guildford we were pleasantly surprised about their new Christmas show.
Afterwards we had time to explore some of the rides around the big top, which included us flying on Dumbo high into the sky. There are quite a few ATMs dotted around the park so you can get cash out and most stalls won’t accept cards. To get on the rides you need to purchase tickets at the special booths as the rides don’t accept cash either.
There are so may rides to choose from and we were drawn to the beautiful Victorian-style rides like the carousel, helper skelter and vintage fairground games. For older children there are rollercoasters to funhouses, ones that spin you to ones that drop you from great heights. Eeeeek! There’s so much on offer to do there that we barely scratched the surface even after six hours! At Santa Land children’s rides start at £2.00 each which makes it a bit more reasonable for families and we spent the majority of our time just walking around.
There are plenty of new attractions for 2017 including the Magical Ice Kingdom Deep Sea Adventure, which is home to ice and snow sculptures, an alpine-style village with karaoke huts for festive sing-a-longs and Cinderella on Ice. The giant observation wheel offering great views over Winter Wonderland towers over the park and it great for benchmarking where you are. There’s a huge Ice Skating Rink (pre-booking tickets online is recommended) which is the largest in Europe!
Winter Wonderland be without Father Christmas. You can visit Santa’s Grotto, sit on his knee and have your photograph taken at Santa Land. The View Tower is a brand new attraction and from the 80 metres high platform, you’ll get a 360 view of the London’s skyline.
There are stalls selling everything you could imagine from Christmas decorations to handmade jewellery, scarves to hats, candles, gift, to toys and games. We liked the official Winter Wonderland merchandise but sadly the queue was too long for us to wait.
Mouth watering food
The smell of was food everywhere! We went over to the Bavarian Village and shared a Bratwurst hot dog which was possibly the best hot dog we have ever had. This picturesque area, with its rustic wooden chalets, is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy some delicious Bavarian fare. Dotted around the park, near the food outlets, were little fire pits where many families were huddled around roasting marshmallows. We missed the Bavarian Hall with live music but maybe next time we can explore. Of course I loved the sweet stalls which had tasty sweets ranging from home-made fudge to pick and mix sweets. See our video for a tour around the park.
At Winter Wonderland you’re never far away from the festive smell of mulled wine! From the stalls around the markets, the themed bars, cafes and restaurants, there’s mulled wine aplenty. We headed to the famous Carousel Bar, a traditional carousel styled bar that will take you on a slow 360-degree spin while you are enjoying your festive drink. There’s so many novelty bars here from the Ice Bar to the Ski Lodge, to the German Beer House that there’s bound to be something for everyone. If you are feeling thirsty, drinking water is available at all bars at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland too. We also visited the new area at Winter Wonderland called THOR’S tipi bar. Which brought an original Viking inspired Christmas experience with its giant Scandinavian tipis, roaring log fire, warm blankets & cosy snug
seating. I indulged in hot chocolate while the adults had mulled wine. We missed The Arctic Lodge which was a shame as it reminded us of Disney Frozen’s Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post and Sauna.
Watch our video!
We had a really fun (but expensive) day and the whole place felt magically festive and really got us into the Christmas Spirit. I’d definitely recommend Winter Wonderland to everyone. It’s world renown and we can see why. Our tip would be to take lots of money and arrive early in the day to avoid the queues and leave early evening to beat the crowds.
When is Winter Wonderland 2017?
This year Winter Wonderland opens for the 2017 Christmas period at 5pm on Friday November 17. The festive village is then every day from 10am to 10pm until January 1 2018, except for Christmas Day (December 25).
Where is Winter Wonderland?
Winter Wonderland is held in Hyde Park. The nearest tube stations are Marble Arch, Green Park, Hyde Park Corner, Victoria and Knightsbridge.
Love Bella x
Disclosure: We were gifted tickets to The Sooty Show, Zippos Circus and 2 rides each in exchange for this post. All thoughts and opinions are our own.