Wondering whether the Christmas market and fair at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is still worth a visit? Kitty Buchanan-Gregory checks out this year’s offering…
Can you believe it’s 10 years since Winter Wonderland first appeared in Hyde Park? Lighting up the London’s skyline in a flashing neon it’s now an institution and part of London’ Christmas event calendar, but can often be dismissed as maybe a bit young, noisy and brash. However delve through the bratwurst stands and fairground rides and it’s also got some fabulous shows on offer that are twinkly gems of delight. At this year’s opening night, gold VIP wristband, bobble hat and glass of champagne in place, I got fully immersed in the Christmas spirit.
For those with a nostalgic sweet tooth The Nutcracker ‘on ice’ offers a really lovely traditional show with a twist. Following sold-out seasons at the Royal Albert Hall it’s been brought to the Royal Park inside a stunning new indoor venue, the Winter Palace Theatre and packs a show with lavish costumes, spectacular flying sequences, acrobatics, fire and illusions – all on ice skates ! Perfect for family fun the Mouse King, Nutcracker Prince and, of course, the Sugar Plum Fairy will delight any granny and little people and leave you humming Tchaikovsky’s score.
If you want to have fun with friends in a private box with champagne – then Cirque Berserk is your show. A variety of acts flung themselves around a small stage at times a whisker away from the audience. The eight year old boy behind us kept exclaiming with delight and horror – “I can’t believe they are doing that!” – and I concurred as the lady laid backwards on a Harley Davidson, twiddled fire sticks with her feet then stood in the middle of a wire cage whilst 4 motor bikes raced inches around her. Between her and the lady with axes thrown at her on a spinning wheel, I felt my CV lacked some ‘key skills’ and have never wanted to join the circus more.
My personal all-time romantic destination is the UK’s biggest ice and snow sculpture experience, ‘Magical Ice Kingdom’. Each year it takes on a different theme , and this year ‘An Arctic Adventure’ takes you from central London on a voyage across the sea to a frozen island with giant icebergs, a shipwreck trapped in an arctic ice flow and Palace of the Polar Bears. It IS magical, however be warned it’s unsurprisingly fffreezing so take your mittens, hug your date and warm up later with a mulled wine.
Between the Ferris Wheel, Ice Rink, Carousel Bar and German Christmas and there are so really lovely parts to Winter Wonderland , so don’t not be so bah humbug and get yourself down there and have a winter wonderful night out.
WHEN? Friday 18th November 2016 – Monday 2nd January 2017 (closed on Christmas Day)
TIMES? 10am – 10pm daily
DETAILS? Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is FREE to enter but some shows and rides are ticked. Please check the website for more details and online booking: www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com
READ MORE: The best London Christmas Markets 2017