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Winter Wonderland

Every year we look forward to our family trip to Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park. For me it signals the start of Christmas in London! So even if you have been before or this is your first ever trip, let me tell you what you need to know to enjoy your day at this magical festive experience. Every year they seem to add more and more rides and attractions, so I think it really pays to study all the information available on the Winter WonderLand’s website. That way you can have a think about which rides and attractions you would like to visit. I think if you plan your visit instead of just wondering around, you will actually get more from your day out. The nearer to Christmas Day you go in my opinion the more busy it becomes, so I think go sooner if you can or even wait until after Christmas.

When is it open?

Winter Wonderland is open every day (apart from Christmas Day) from 10am to 10pm until the 6th January 2019.

How much does it cost?

It’s completly free to enter, but of course rides and attractions will have charges. A ride token costs £1.00, children’s ride start at £2.00 and adults rides start at £3.00.

You can purchase tickets for all the shows & attractions via the website.

How do I get there?

The best way to get to Hyde Park is via the Underground or rail via the following stations:

Green Park – step free access

Victoria

Paddington

Marble Arch – avoid at peak times

Hyde Park Corner – avoid at peak times

Can I bring my own drinks?

Only if it is an un-opened bottle of water, anything else the security people will not let you bring in.

Any other tips?

Really do watch your bags and belongings. I haven’t seen any evidence of pick pockets, but I have been told they are around, as in any other busy part of London.

This year we started off our visit with a show, Teletubbies Live! The show is on every day at 11:00am and runs for around 45 minutes. To give you an idea the cost for a family ticket is around £ 30.00 to £46.00 depending on if it is peak time or not (Children under 1 year do not require a ticket), a transaction fee will also be added. We enjoyed a snack before the performance then settled into our seats. It is recommended that you arrive 20 minutes prior to the show start time, which I think is a really good idea as you will also need to allow time to walk from which ever entrance you come into. The new family entrance which brings you in via Santa Land is recommended.

I would say the show is suitable for ages 1 up to 5 years, it was perhaps a bit young for my six year old, but I did see her laughing and joining in when audience participation was needed!

Image credit – Glenn Grafton

Our next show was Zippos Circus, which I have to say for me was the highlight of my visit! I love a good circus and this one certainly didn’t disappoint. Show times are daily at 1:00pm, 2:00pm and 4:00pm. Again to give you an idea of ticket prices for a family ticket you are looking at around £30.00 to £46:00 depending on if it is off peak or peak times, a transaction fee will also be added. The show lasts for 45 minutes, which we found with a 6 year old was about the right length of time for her to sit through it.

There was a really good mixture of traditional circus acts and take your breath away stunts and tricks. From amazing acrobatics to stunts involving huge rotating wheels, it really was jar dropping stuff!

Image credit – Piet-Hein Out
Image credit – Piet-Hein Out
Image credit – Piet-Hein Out

I would highly recommend a trip to the circus as it is a great show for all ages. The show was produced really professionally and the level of talent of performers was very high too.

Image credit – Piet-Hein Out

Then it was time to relax and have some lunch in the Bavarian Village. Every year we go I can not resist a Bratwurst sausage and a lovely warming cup of mulled wine! The music and atmosphere in the village always gets me in the Christmas Spirit!

Even if you are not into the German style food you will find so many other opitions such as: chicken and flamed grilled salmon, burgers and so may sweet treats to mention just a few!

Our next activity was The Magic Ice Kingdom, The Secret Forest, which is amazing! But make sure you are wearing a hat, scarf and gloves as it is just like stepping in to a freezer, the temperature can be as low as -10 degrees. It really is magical you will see so many beautiful ice sculptures, you can even sit in your very ice throne and there is an ice slide too which children will love!

You can take your time walking through this attraction, but I would allow around 30 minutes. The last admission is at 9:30pm and to give you an idea of the cost a family ticket ranging between £20.00 and £36:00 depending if on if it is classes as off peak or peak time when you visit, a transaction fee is also added. You are able to bring your pushchair all the way round this attraction which is handy.


There are so many rides to choose from this year. They range from traditional childrens fairground type rides to the super frightening roller costers. We tried a few different ones and this year we even braved Ice Mountain that had all of us screaming, not for the faint hearted!

Image credit – IMG Press & Winter Wonderland

A new addition to Winter Wonderland this year is Santa Land, which is really geared up to younger children and there is also the opportunity to meet Santa in his grotto for free! However the queues will be long at busy times and he does take breaks throughout the day. So do check the times in advance and think about getting there early if you don’t want to wait!

This is just a taste of whats’s on offer at Winter Wonderland for 2018. I think I might be going back for another visit, as I have some other things on my list that I didn’t manage to do!

Image credit – IMG Press & Winter Wonderland

Disclaimer – I was invited to the Family Press Day and received complimentary tickets for various rides and atttractions. All views are my own and are an honest reflection of my visit.

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My family and I have been going to Winter Wonderland every year since it first opened in 2007. Over the years it has become a place that we always visit, as the build up to Christmas begins. It started off 10 years ago as an ice rink in Hyde Park with a selection of Christmas markets. It has grown over the years to become a destination to visit and I know many families who have made their visit part of their holiday traditions.

Winter Wonderland is open every day (expect Christmas Day) from 10am to 10pm until the 1st January 2018. Admission is free and is a short walk from the following underground stations: Green Park (this has step free access useful to know if you have a pushchair), Paddington, Victoria, Hyde Park Corner and Knightsbridge. I usually avoid getting off at Marble Arch as this can be a very busy station.

This year there is so much more to do! It is definitely worth picking up one of the free maps available, as the site it’s self is now a lot bigger. Or alternately why not get familiar with what is available before you go via the website, that way you can plan which attractions you really want to visit. The Winter Wonderland website also has a handy feature where they have suggestions for various days and evenings out. Perfect if you are going with children or alternatively for a romantic date night!

There are so many amazing rides to try out. Remember you will need to purchase tokens which are available to buy from the various token booths on site. Make sure you use up all the ones you have brought, as they are only valid on the day of purchase. Each token costs £1.00, so to give you an idea of the cost children’s rides start at £2.00, with other rides starting at £3.00. With some of the children’s rides you will need to accompany your child, so do factor in that too.

There are a number of pre-bookable attractions including: The Ice Rink, The Magical Ice Kingdom, Cinderella On Ice, Bar Hütte, Zippos Christmas Circus, Cirque Beserk, Bar Ice and the Sooty Show. It is worth booking these shows as soon as you can, that way you can get the times and dates you want. My top tip would be make sure you allow extra time to get to the right part of The Winter Wonderland. As if you are attending a show, it will depend on which entrance you enter at, as it can be fair walk with little ones in tow!

This year we went to the Sooty Christmas Show and I am not sure who enjoyed it more? Myself or my Daughter! I think it goes back to the fact that when I was a child Sooty and Sweep were very popular and I remember going to see them (yes I am a child of the 1970’s!), so at that time Matthew Corbett was the puppeteer. The show this time hosted by Richard Cadell. It was very much the simple slap stick humour that I remember from my childhood. There was plenty of water pistol action and silly jokes. My Daughter couldn’t stop laughing and neither could I!

I would throughly recommend this show to families with children from toddlers up to around 6 years old. The show lasts approximately 45 minutes, so a really good length of time for children of this age group. An adult ticket is priced at £8.50 and a child ticket is £5.00. Children of 2 and under if they are not taking up a seat will not need a ticket.

We also went to Zippos Christmas Circus, which was an excellent family experience. Incorporating all the fun of the circus, from comedy with clown like characters to acts that perform acrobatics to escapism. Again a really managable length for young children the show lasted approximately 45 minutes. Ticket prices vary according to if it is peak or off peak times.

My Daughter particularly loved the dancing snow bears, courtesy of Britain’s Got Talent finalist Vadik and the Bears.

You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to eating and drinking at the Winter Wonderland. There are so many options to choose from including plenty of indoor areas for when it get’s chilly. I particularly loved the atmosphere in the Bavarian village. You just can’t go wrong with a hotdog and a mulled wine to get you in the festive spirit!

We are planning another visit in-between Christmas and New Year, as there are still lots more things we would like to experience!

I received complimentary tickets to the shows and some rides in return for a review. All opinions are my own and are a honest reflection of my recent visit.

 

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