For six weeks each year, London’s Hyde Park is transformed into a magical Winter Wonderland. Set in 20 acres of parkland and located between Hyde Park Corner and the Serpentine, the annual Winter Wonderland experience runs from 10am to 10pm daily. The event attracts thousands of visitors each year, especially because it is suitable for all the family, and looks particularly magical when lit with sparkling holiday lights at night.
It’s the perfect place to get into the spirit of Christmas while you enjoy festive food or mulled wine, and the views of London lit up from above are spectacular. And, you may want to bring your skates. Although there are several other winter ice skating rinks in London, the one at Winter Wonderland is the largest open-air ice rink in the city. It measures a massive 1400m2 and accommodates up to 400 skaters at any one time.
Even if you’re not into ice skating yourself, there are cafes and viewing areas located around the rink, so you can watch all the action on the ice without being out there in the cold.
This year welcomes a breathtaking new addition: the
Magical Ice Kingdom, a spectacular ice and snow sculpture experience created from over 200 tons of
ice and snow over four months by 20 sculptors. In addition, there will also be many more
restaurants and bars, as well as traditional and thrill-seeking rides.
For a different perspective on London, the Winter Wonderland Wheel offers fantastic skyline views across Hyde Park and the surrounding areas. Measuring 60m, the wheel has 40 gondola pods – including a VIP pod – which take you high above the ground and provide 360 degree views.
There are over 50 traditionally decorated German chalets in the Christmas market, offering some lovely gift ideas, plus lots of areas where you can refuel with the help of some tempting refreshments. As well as English foods and drinks, look out for the continental offerings in the Bavarian Village, where some tasty treats are served throughout the day.
Zippos Circus is offering two Christmas shows each day. The heated big top provides a comfortable and warm venue to enjoy the entertainment and each performance lasts for one hour.
If that’s not enough, there are lots of fairground rides to enjoy and they are always a favourite with children, young and old. The price of rides starts at £2 a go, with tokens available to buy from booths located around the park.
Entrance to Winter Wonderland is free, but if you want to experience many of the rides or attractions, then tickets can be bought in advance or from booths on the day of your visit. As the attraction can get very busy, it’s recommended that you do book tickets in advance if you want to go ice skating, ride on the giant wheel or enjoy the Christmas circus. Combination tickets are available if you’re going to do several of them.
It’s not often that London is transformed into a natural winter wonderland, thanks to sporadic and unpredictable snowfalls, so this fun annual event offers a way of celebrating winter while enjoying a wide variety of festive entertainment options as well as delicious, holiday food and drink.
Written by Rachel Newcombe for EuropeUpClose.com