London certainly doesn’t hold back at Christmas time. The bustling streets are veiled with dazzling lights, window displays are festively themed, and there’s multiple Christmas markets dotted across the city. But one thing you really can’t swerve whilst you’re in the capital, is a trip to London’s Hyde Park Winter Wonderland! A ginormous, brightly illuminated funfair, where rollercoasters and towering rides protrude into London’s skyline.
Theres over 100 rides and attractions here (I told you it was enormous!) But Winter Wonderland isn’t just suited for the daredevils and thrill seekers. There’s heaps of other attractions and things going on too. So let’s take a look at some of the festive fun up for grabs at London’s Winter Wonderland.
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Where in London is Winter Wonderland?
Winter Wonderland’s official title is actually ‘Hyde Park Winter Wonderland’ which instantly gives away it’s location! For a few weeks of the year, Hyde Park in Westminster, transforms from a tranquil grassy park into this huge pop-up Christmas event.
Whats the best time to visit?
Ok. Let’s not beat around the bush. You have a very slim chance of visiting Winter Wonderland without the usual swarm of crowds. On average, an astronomical 2.5 million people come and visit Winter Wonderland throughout the six week period that it runs! So you’d be rather optimistic to think you’ll get the place to yourself.
If you’re bringing young children along for some festive cheer. Your best bet for a slightly quieter, and more leisurely visit. Would be attending first thing in the morning during a week day. Even then, there’s still no guarantee that it wont be busy! The busiest days will always be Friday and Saturday evenings. When it’s swamped with people who are looking for a good time and a somewhat lively party atmosphere.
It has to be said, Winter Wonderland looks far superior in the evening when it’s all brightly illuminated. The rides and Christmas stalls glow with colourful lights, and everything pop’s against the contrast of dark winter nights sky. If you want it to feel all cosy and festive, then I recommend visiting after 4pm once it’s become dimpsy dark.
How much does it cost to go to Winter Wonderland?
Standard tickets for Winter Wonderland cost £5 each, and children under 2 are free. It’s a little more if you plan to visit during the peak days/times though, with those tickets starting from £7.50.
The peak and off-peak days will be shown on a calendar thats displayed on their website. Which is exactly where you need to go to purchase your entry tickets. You have the option to buy tickets at the gate too. Although, there’s a high probability that all the tickets will be sold out.
When does Winter Wonderland open?
Winter Wonderland is a pop-up Christmas event, so it’s not there all year round. The opening dates can alter slightly each year, but on average it’s open from mid November untill New Years Day. As for opening times, Winter Wonderland is open Monday – Sunday from 10am until 10pm (except for Christmas day).
Food and drink options at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Things can get a little expensive once you’re inside Winter Wonderland (it is London prices after-all!) If you’re on a tight budget, or just want to be money savvy. Then you may wish to eat something prior to your visit to Winter Wonderland. As you’ll certainly find some cheaper alternatives outside of the park. Having said that, there’s still plenty of tasty options with different price points inside of the Hyde Park too. From pop-up restaurants offering hearty slap-up meals, to oodles of street food take away stalls. Where you’ll find chocolate topped churros cones, loaded Belgium style waffles, BBQ pits full of tender meats, cheesy chips and loads more!
There’s plenty of bars to enjoy a festive tipple too. We sipped on warming mulled ciders inside the Narnia bar, and had spiced rum punches from another merry stand. Whilst the children indulged in decadent Belgium hot chocolates that came topped with whipped cream and oozy marshmallows!
Top Tip: You can’t take food or drink into Winter Wonderland. They have big bins at the entrance where you show your tickets, and you’ll be asked to bin it. The only exception is baby food and bottles of water.
Is Winter Wonderland worth visiting?
If you want an abundance of rides, entertainment, circus shows, ice-skating, tasty street food, and more. Then yes it’s definitely worth it! But if you’d rather have more of a traditional Christmas market to casually stroll around. This might not be the right place for you. Winter Wonderland gets hectic and personally I felt the focus here was much more on the rides and entertainment, rather than the individual Christmas market stalls. So, I guess it solely depends on what you want.
Do you have to pay for each ride at Winter Wonderland?
Although Winter Wonderland tickets are cheap, be aware that your ticket only gives you entry to the park and doesn’t include anything else. All rides, attractions and shows will be chargeable, meaning Winter Wonderland can easily turn into a rather costly day out.
How much do the attractions cost?
Attraction costs vary depending on what it is, and wether you’re visiting Off-Peak or not. Theres heaps of different things to do, so as an example the following attractions start from:
|Giant Ferris Wheel
Top Tip: If you book online in advance and spend over £25 on rides, attractions or food packages in one transaction. You’ll gain free entry entry to the park!
How long do you need to spend at Winter Wonderland
We entered Winter Wonderland at 4pm, and left around 9:30pm. This gave us enough time to wander around, play some games, go ice skating, have some food and drinks, and watch a brilliant circus show. You’d need a little longer if you want to brave some rides, and don’t forget to factor in some queuing time too.
At a very minimum I would suggest you’d need 2-3 hours here. Ideally you’d want at least 5 hours to enjoy some of the fun attractions.
You can stay inside Winter Wonderland for as long as you want. There is no exit time on your ticket! Well – they shut at 10pm but you could go 10am-10pm if you really wanted!
Going ice skating on Winter Wonderland’s ice rink
Ice skating seemed very popular at Winter Wonderland. To avoid disappointment, I would advise pre-booking your timeslot way in advance. Ice skating sessions last 45 minutes (which feels plenty long enough). You need to arrive 20 minutes prior to your session to switch your trusty shoes for slippery skates.
Top Tip: There is the option to pay £2 for a locker if you have items you want to lock away safe whilst you’re on the rink.
Even though it was chocker, they had enough benches inside a covered marquee to sit down and change your shoes. Little ones (under 1 meter) have the option of hiring a penguin skate-aid to help them balance on the ice. Our boys were too tall, but somehow they transformed from Bambi on ice at the beginning of the session. To Torvill & Dean come the end!
The ice rink itself is set around the charming Victorian bandstand in Hyde Park thats draped with twinkling fairy lights. It’s pretty and It’s a good sized rink, but they do allow too many people on the ice at once. With lots of people falling over left right and centre, and others cutting you up. You had your work cut out to try and avoid collisions!
We got told off for taking a photo whilst on the ice-rink – apparently its forbidden for our safety. Although I feel this was purely upselling as they want you to purchase photo’s from their photographer on the rink.
Watch the Cirque Berserk circus show!
This fast-paced circus show is well worth a watch. There were motorbikes whizzing around inside a tiny caged ball, BMX tricks, and plenty of gravity defying stunts to make your jaw drop. Shows last 45 minutes and they are performed in the magnificent Megadome, which is the newest and biggest circus tent in the UK! You’ll need to arrive 20 minutes before the show to present your tickets and find a seat, which are first come, first served. They have popcorn and refreshments for sale in the foyer of the Megadome.
Top Tip: There are no toilets inside the circus tent. The closest ones are a short walk away, so you might want to factor in a toilet stop on your way to the show.
Have a fabulous time!
Winter Wonderland may be busy and full of crowds, but its a great place to dip your toes in some festive fun! This magical funfair will keep you jam-packed all day long, whether that be gliding around on the pretty ice-rink, zooming down the ice slides, seeking thrills on all the soaring rides or strolling around the market stalls.