London is one of my favorite go-tos when it comes to Christmas shopping and getting into the right mood for the festivities. Apart from the blinking lights in Oxford Street and Regent Street (and the crowds inside Hamley’s and Harrods) there’s fun going on in Hyde Park you shouldn’t miss: Winter Wonderland.
Every year from mid November (in 2016 it’s the 18th of November) to the second of January the whole huge area of Hyde Park transforms into a magical wonderland of winter activities. There are not only more than 100 festive fairground rides, grottos and the UK’s largest open-air ice skating rink, but also a German-style Christmas market, loads of candy floss, gingerbread and of course Glühwein (mulled wine).
While there’s no admission to the Winter Wonderland in general, there are some attractions for which you should get your tickets in advance, for example Cirque Berserk, Zippos Christmas Circus, The Nutcracker on Ice and The Sooty Christmas Show. They are a bit pricey (like 10 Euros or 12 USD for ice skating), but also: It’s just money and in return you’ll get some unforgettable memories. I do recommend an ice skating session and The Nutcracker on Ice – for getting into that perfect romantic Christmas mood (as known from TV or books).
And now a word to the crowds: It is London, there’ll be almost at any time a crowd at the Winter Wonderland, especially on weekends and in the evenings. So if you’re there on vacation, plan your visit for around 4 pm on a Thursday or Friday. All of the Londoners will still be at work, you can try out all the rides and then secure your seating in the Christmas Village and enjoy some food (for example in the Apres Ski Chalet – swiss style, very good cuisine!) and mulled wine when the crowds arrive.
From November 18th around 5 pm to January 2nd every day except for Christmas Day from 10 am to 10 pm.
How to get there:
The best thing (as always in London) is going there by public transport. Bond Street, Green Park, Knightsbridge, Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner, Paddington and Victoria are within walking distance, step free access grants Green Park station.
All images are mine.