There are few ways to celebrate the festive season in London lovelier than indulging in Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland. From the end of November to early January, a whole section of the park is transformed into a beautiful scene with everything you could possibly want to get you in the festive spirit. The smell of Christmas food and drink wafting from the stalls gives a fantastic atmosphere while there are entertainments fitting for the season.
There are plenty of things to keep kids of all ages happy at the Winter Wonderland. With activities that appeal to everyone, your visit is guaranteed to be great fun. The fairground rides range from the gentle galloping horses to something to give a thrill and a spill to those who are a little older and want something more exciting and are interspersed with plenty of places to get hot chocolate, festive sweets or something more substantial to eat
If you want to sit back and watch others performing tricks and stunts, take a trip to the circus instead. Within the Wonderland will sit a Big Top hosting the world famous Zippo and his Christmas circus. With shows lasting 45 minutes and fun-packed from beginning to end it’s the perfect way to entertain the little ones in your family on a trip to the park.
It’s always incredibly popular, though, so make sure you book your tickets early to guarantee a seat in the fully heated tent. After dark, Zippo brings out the Cirque Beserk and offers some of the more high-octane acts for an older crowd. For those looking for a little luxury, you can even book a box with champagne for the full VIP treatment.
Another winner with the kids is Santaland, where kids can meet Santa; enjoy a range of fun rides for little ones and the toy factory where you can watch the elves making toys for the big day. Visiting Santa is free and every little visitor gets a present to take home with them as a memento of their meeting with the big man.
The Magical Ice Kingdom
One of the highlights of any visit to the Winter Wonderland will be a walk through the Magical Ice Kingdom. A snowy walk through the park is dotted with wintry woodland creatures and even a carriage pulled by unicorns! At the heart of the Kingdom is the ice rink, which surrounds the old Victorian bandstand and is lit with hundreds of thousands of twinkling fairy lights. The biggest of its kind in the UK, it’s an incredibly popular attraction for Londoners and visitors to the city in the run-up to Christmas.
The Big Wheel
If you want to get a truly unique view of London in all its wintry glory, book for a ride on the Winter Wonderland’s incredible 50 foot high observation wheel. Offering the chance to look down over the whole of the spectacular park decorations as well as the area beyond Hyde Park, the wheel is a big attraction for those who would like to get a breath-taking vista from high above the frozen earth.
The 2013 Winter Wonderland will mark the seventh consecutive year that Hyde Park has played host to this seasonal extravaganza. Each year has been bigger and better than the last and 2013 promises to be the best yet by far.
The nearest Tube station to get you to the Hyde Park entrance for the Wonderland is Knightsbridge and admission to the park and the Winter Wonderland itself is free. While you may wish to pay for a ride or some tempting Christmas Fayre, you can also just wander around and soak up the Christmas cheer.
Image Credits: Flat World’s Edge