13 December 2014 to 4 January 2015
Reviewer by Catherine Joyce
There has been plenty of bad press recently about Christmas themed events so we really didn’t know what to expect when we arrived at Event City to visit the UK’s largest indoor Winter Wonderland. Once we walked inside the huge venue and saw all the fairground rides and the smiles on all the children’s faces we knew we were in for an amazing night. We were greeted at the entrance by friendly elves who gave us a map of the event and details of the three shows that were being performed that evening. The elves mingled with the visitors and were especially good with children. They guided people to the shows and were on hand to assist if needed. Christmas music was playing in the background which added to the Christmas feel.
As you would expect from an exhibition centre the facilities are excellent. There was plenty of free parking and adequate toilet facilities. Event City is really easy to find as it is just off the motorway and next to the Trafford Centre. There was a large cloakroom which was useful as we found that it was quite warm inside and it is much easier not having to carry coats, especially when you are jumping on and off rides.
The wonderland itself is a huge area filled with loads of fairground rides and attractions. The big advantage to Winter Wonderland is that all the rides are all included in the price and there is a wide range suitable for all ages. There are even a quite a few that appeal to adults! The rides and attractions are well spaced out and we didn’t need to queue for many rides. The boys loved riding on the dodgems and had several goes on them. It was hilarious watching them in the Mirror Maze, we could see them trying to work their way through the maze and the puzzlement on their faces when they kept hitting a wall (they did manage to find their way out eventually!). Whilst our boys spent almost the whole visit running from one ride to another, the admission also includes entry to the circus, a visit to the Sooty Show and a meet and greet with the ice princesses Anna & Elsa. Our two boys weren’t interested in meeting Anna and Elsa but there were plenty of children there who looked very excited about meeting them. A visit to Santa is also included but it is just a meet and greet, he doesn’t give out presents unless you pay an additional £3 for a gift. There is also a charge if you would like a photo of your child with Santa.
The circus deserves a special mention; our two children sat enthralled for the whole performance. The show lasted for 30 minutes and there were six different acts, neither of the boys fidgeted during the performance which is an amazing feat and shows just how good the show was! Elf acrobats opened the show with their trampoline performance which had the boys in stitches. The quick change act was amazing and the two men performing balancing acts using each other were just incredible.
Whilst all the rides are free there are also a number of fairground game stalls dotted around the venue. These stalls are the type you get at the fairground where you win prizes like huge cuddly toys and you per go. Food and drink are also available inside the venue and there are plenty of seating areas near the food stalls for you to sit and eat. Being so close to the Trafford Centre means there are other options available if you didn’t want to eat there.
We really enjoyed our visit and had no problem filling the three hours that we were there and in fact could easily have stayed longer. A family ticket costs £60 for 4 hours which we felt was very good value considering how many rides we went on and the shows we saw.
Tickets cost from £13 to £60 (under 3s FREE).
Winter Wonderland Manchester runs until 4 January 2015. For more information or to book tickets visit www.winterwonderlandmanchester.com or call the box office on 0843 208 1842.
Winter Wonderland Manchester, Event City, Manchester, M41 7TB | 0843 208 1842