Bright lights, festive music and the smell of German sausage fill the air as London’s Winter Wonderland returns for its 10th Anniversary. We went along to the preview evening to see what this year’s event has in store.
Nothing marks the start of Christmas better than the arrival of a festive German market and a bunch of seasonally decorated amusement rides. The Winter Wonderland has taken place in Hyde Park, London for 10 years now. And whilst the event has grown considerably from it’s routes as a Christmas market to the festive theme park of recent years, it has still managed to retain the magical charm that has been accountable for its success.
This year’s theme is strongly focussed on celebrating the tenth year of the event. From the moment you enter the site you’re instantly immersed into a Christmas wonderland that feels comfortably familiar yet strikingly different from the events of preceding years. Take a look around and you’ll notice a variety of new shows to entertain the family, new food and beverage outlets and spectacular new rides.
Thrill seekers are certainly in for a treat at this year’s Winter Wonderland. The Ice Mountain coaster, Star Flyer and The Hangover freefall tower have all returned for 2016 and make up some of the 100 rides and games in attendance. But this year’s show-stopper is undoubtedly the Munich Looping Rollercoaster. Occupying a plot measuring 87 x 39 metres, Munich Looping is the World’s largest transportable rollercoaster and features five vertical loops. It has become famous for its appearances at the Munich Oktoberfest since 1989, however this is the first time the ride has ever opened in the UK.
But maybe thrill rides aren’t your cup of mulled-wine. Well that’s OK, Winter Wonderland has something for you too. If the festive atmosphere and the constant fear of having a pram rammed into your ankles isn’t enough to get you in the mood, Hyde Park is offering a variety of shows to cater for all tastes.
Returning for 2016 are the UK’s largest outdoor Ice Rink, the Ice Kingdom and Zippos Circus. Joining them and new for this year are The Nutcracker on Ice, Cirque Berserk (from 7pm) and The Sooty Christmas show (11am daily). Booking is essential to guarantee entry, prices range from £7 – £18.95 per adult per show. Full details can be found on the official website.
What better way to warm up on a cold winter’s night than to head into a bar made of ice?! Bar Ice offers a sub-zero drinking experience where everything you see, from the tables through to the glass you drink out of, are all sculpted from ice. But don’t worry, as well as one free cocktail, the £15 entry fee also gets you a pair of gloves and a cloak to prevent frostbite.
Fans of more traditional methods of eating and drinking will love the Bavarian Village – a huge complex featuring indoor and outdoor seating, german entertainment and Bratwurst aplenty. Also new for 2016, a range of Winter Wonderland merchandise that can be purchased either on-site or online. Items include a cuddly polar bear and a branded wooly-hat.
2016 is set to be a fantastic year for Winter Wonderland. Whilst there are fewer rides than we saw at last year’s event, what we do have this year is of a remarkably high quality. The layout has again been tweaked and removes some of the dead-ends and bottle-necks of yesteryear. But don’t just take our word for it, check it out for yourself by watching our video!
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland runs from 18th November to 2nd January 2017. It’s open 10am – 10pm every day except Christmas day. Entry is free, no ticket required. You will however need a ticket for Ice Skating, The Magical Ice Kingdom, Nutcracker on Ice, Zippos Christmas Circus, Cirque Berserk, The Sooty Christmas Show, Giant Wheel and Bar Ice.
Ride tickets are all sold separately and available at ticket booths across the site. Contactless payment is available on Munich Looping, Wilde Maus XXL, Ice Mountain, Thriller and the Christmas Coaster.
The best way to get to the event is using Public Transport, the nearest tube stops are Bond Street, Green Park, Knightsbridge, Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner.
More information can be found on the official website.