So we headed to London for a day trip, to experience Winter Wonderland, Hyde park.
I had heard a lot about it. Heard it was really great and Christmassy. So booked tickets weeks ago and planned to make a day of it with some family.
Winter Wonderland is free to enter. Its essentially a MASSIVE fun fair but with a Christmas theme. I will hasten to add that we didn’t explore the entire ‘site’. There were markets, rides, activities, food and drink. However, what we did experience, did feel quite like a giant fun fair….thankfully, just not so muddy!
There are many things you can pay for – tickets needed. Ice Skating. Circus, a show and Ice Kingdom.
We opted for Ice Kingdom only which I pre-booked. We can skate in Maine whenever we want. We have seen Cirque do Soleil and comparable shows and we thought the Ice Kingdom would be the most unique experience and festive feeling.
Ice Kingdom was fun. It was well done and the ‘sculptures’ were beautiful (we debated if they were sculpted or moulded). Themed around woodland creatures and fairytales, it was fun and the kids queued to slide down the ice slide.
While on the whole, most of us enjoyed it, a couple of the party did comment it was mediocre and over priced. Considering the amount of people trawling through, the setting of Hyde Park and cost, it should have been better. Perhaps they have a point? But as they didn’t pay for the tickets and we quite enjoyed it, i have chosen to ignore the comments…
We spent hours at Winter Wonderland….and we only paid for one ‘activity’. I am thankful we didn’t over book and over schedule our day. Even ice skating would have been too much. We didn’t have the time or the energy to add another thing.
As I have mentioned – it really is a giant fun fair. Obviously the kids thought this was awesome…all the adults could have left this behind! If there is one comment on cost, it should have been the rides. The Ice Kingdom was far better value for money than the rides. They operate through a token system. Fairly standard but the tokens are 1 pound each. Most rides were 3-9 tokens….perhaps even more. With 3 kids in tow, that wanted to ride everything, we quickly put a cap on this…
The eldest picked a 9 token ride (!!!). the younger 2, took 2 cheaper rides. a total of 6 minutes entertainment for almost 25 pounds! West end tickets woudl be a better deal i think!? Well the kids had fun so that’s all that counts I think.
The absolute highlight of Winter Wonderland was the giant Toblerone win….a random game of luck. a 2 pound ticket and we won 2kg of Toblerone chocolate. We were shrieking with delight when we realised! The downside is carrying 2kg of chocolate around London for the rest of the day/ evening! We generated a lot of attention though with many people stopping us to ask us where to buy one!
We headed out of Winter Wonderland in the early evening. If you thought it was busy during the daytime, in the evening, folks were piling in in droves…so many crowds. Any advice to go, I suggest early as possible during the day. Especially if you don’t care for crowds.
We spent the early evening hours strolling around the gorgeous streets of London looking at lights and window shopping. New Bond Street was a favorite.
We had a great time at Winter Wonderland but the most favorite part of the day, was before we got there.
We parked up in Bermondsey where we met a family member. As we headed to Hyde Park, we detoured through Maltby Street Market. Tucked into the arches of the bridge over head, the market is young, lively and creative. Real London. A great market focusing on food and drink. We walked the market and tested almost every stall….vodka, grilled cheese sandwiches, waffles and bacon, coffee, honey and so much more. We ate our way from one end to the other! If you are in that area, this is a must do!
While our day trip was for Winter Wonderland, we enjoyed the market the most. A gentle reminder that London has so much more to offer than tourist driven events that overwhelm. We would most defineletely return to the market, Winter Wonderland – once was enough…