Winter Wonderland 2013
Hyde Park, London
22 November 2013 – 5 January 2014
Reviewed by Claire Agasee
Having wrapped up warmly for the evening we were ready to explore Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland. Upon entering you walk through what is essentially the Christmas Market. The wooden chalets offer a variety of merchandise ranging from sweets to paintings, to wood carvings and jewellery. Everything you’d expect from a Christmas Market. We could have browsed at a leisurely pace; however, if you are with children, as we were, they would pull you away to the far more ‘exciting’ attractions on offer.
The ice skating is one such attraction. After squeezing your feet into the rather uncomfortable boots you are off to skate around the magically-illuminated rink. Even if you are an absolute novice you can still enjoy yourself – just hold onto the sides! For your safety there were a few members of staff who were on hand to help you off the floor and to ensure everyone going the same way around the rink. The sessions are up to an hour and it is essential that you pre-book during busy periods.
After a rather exhausting skate we were ready for some food. Now, there is certainly no shortage of places to eat, and also a great variety, however the prices and quality leave a lot to be desired. A ‘special offer’ of 4 chicken nuggets (rather thin) and curly fries will set you back £7.50. A squirt of ketchup was £1! Other stalls which sell burgers, noodles, fish & chips and various Bavarian delicacies will all set you back about the same amount for each portion. So unless you take your own picnic you’re pretty much stuck with paying for overpriced and not very enjoyable food.
All around you and looking pretty amazing in the night sky are the fairground rides. Whether you are a thrill seeker or enjoy the more tranquil rides there is certainly plenty on offer. Perhaps a tip, especially if you are with children, is to walk around and see the many rides first and then choose which ones you want to go on. The main reason for this is again the price. Rides start from around £2 and go up to £7 per person. Our children are not thrill seekers and were very happy going into the Fun House. Be careful in the mirror maze though – although a lot of fun both children came out with bumps on their heads having walked straight into the walls!
If you fancy a sit down and to warm up for 5 minutes or so then I highly recommend the 5D cinema experience. A cute film of Santa, his elf and a grumpy looking reindeer take you on a magical adventure of delivering Christmas presents. The first ‘3 dimensions’ speak for themselves the other 2 are rather unexpected.
Having walked around the park and seen everything from ground level it was time to go on the Observation Wheel. Around half the size of the London Eye the view from the top is still a great way to see Winter Wonderland and much of London as well. Each enclosed pod hold up to 6 people and the ride takes you on 3 revolutions.
Other attractions available are the circus, Santa Land and the ice sculpture exhibition – all of which are chargeable.
Whether you go for a day out or just a few hours there is certainly something there for all of the family to enjoy over the festive season. Just keep warm and take plenty of money!
For more information or to book tickets visit www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com.