Reviewed by Louise Totton
After we’d had such a lovely time at Winter Wonderland in Manchester last year, we were absolutely delighted to be invited back again for a second visit this Christmas.
For those who don’t know, Winter Wonderland in Manchester is the largest indoor theme park in the UK, and is located at Event City, adjacent to the Trafford Centre. Being located close to such a major site, directions and access is a doddle – the capacity of the road can cope with the traffic without any issues and we were able to pull into the ample car park and find a space without any delays.
Event City is a modern, clean and purpose built exhibition centre, and Winter Wonderland is located inside a very large hall, so although there are lots and lots of people, it doesn’t feel hemmed in at all.
I would probably describe Winter Wonderland as a combination of a (very large) fun fair alongside lots of Christmas themed shows and other attractions. There is a Santa’s grotto, an indoor beach, a mini panto, a circus and special celebrity appearances from none other than Basil Brush himself.
My girls are 7 and 4, and remembered what a fantastic time they had last year, so were very excited about going back. Our visit did not disappoint – from the second that the curtains opened and we walked under the Christmas arch, showered with snow, right to the second we left, we all had a brilliant time.
The rides are all laid out really well, and there is a super mixture of rides for smaller kids, rides for bigger kids, then those aimed at age 10+. As well as differently themed roundabouts, there are some really rather fast rides that throw you around as well as a few mini rollercoasters. One of the things that we all really like is that the majority of the rides were accessible to our girls without being accompanied by an adult – it made them feel more independent and meant that I didn’t have to ride on much, as fair ground rides don’t always agree with me.
As well as the rides, there are lots of little mazes and soft slides as well as the beach that the kids can use when they need to be a bit more physical and run around a bit.
We found that all of the queues were managed really well, and we didn’t have to wait for more than 5 minutes for anything. There is also lots of reasonably priced hot food options. We’d just had a meal at the Trafford Centre, to try to make a treat evening for the kids, so we didn’t eat, but it looked and smelled great.
There is plenty of seating for the shows. The Basil Brush one was fantastic. Unfortunately, it’s the only one we managed to pin the girls down to see as they were having such a fantastic time on the rides, the beach and trying out the fairground games. It is also a massive bonus that so many of the games guaranteed participants a prize. The girls were over the moon with the meerkat toys that they won on the hook a duck, and they make a lovely memento of the day.
Visits to Winter Wonderland are fixed four hour sessions. We stayed just short of three hours as it was a school night and the girls were getting tired. You could easily fill 4 hours though, especially with the shows / panto / circus.
We had a really wonderful time and would whole heartedly recommend to anyone.
Tickets cost £19.50 (Children 3-16 and Adults), £64 (Family – 2 adults, 2 children or 1 adult, 2 children). Under 3′s FREE. Booking fees may apply.
Winter Wonderland runs until 1 January 2017. For more information or to book tickets visit www.winterwonderlandmanchester.com or call the box office on 0843 2081842.
Winter Wonderland, EventCity, Phoenix Way, Manchester, M41 7TB | 0843 2081842