[Bryony Wharfe | Contributing Writer]
For those who are studying here from abroad, Winter Wonderland is the perfect place to experience an English winter festival. Winter Wonderland opened its doors in 2007, and has since been a family favourite among festival on-goers. It’s located in Hyde Park, the nearest tube stations being Green Park, Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge and Marble Arch. From 10am-10pm every day (except Christmas Day) until the 3rd of January, you can wander around the fair for free, gazing at the Christmas markets, European food stalls, fairground rides and Santa Land; perfect for small children and families.
The annual event has plenty of Christmassy attractions to get you into the holiday spirit with fair prices, starting with the most favourite and famous ice rink. The Lycamobile ice skating rink is the largest in the UK, and at around £12 per person and no minimum age to skate it’s perfect for getting the whole family involved or a bunch of friends. At certain times, the Victorian bandstand at the centre of the rink has live music playing from bands and solo singers, with plenty of Christmas songs to fill the mood.
If you want to see some cool ice sculptures you can head over to the Magical Ice Kingdom for £7, where a collection of huge sculptures will greet you. From goblins to gorillas, dazzling ice queens to butterflies, ice thrones you can sit on and a slide made out of ice! With real snow, and temperatures as low as -8C, you can really explore the chilly, mythical creatures. But if the cold setting is a bit too chilly for a London winter day or night, the attraction has plenty of other themed bars with real fires to keep you warm, such as the rotating carousel bar.
There’s dozens of typical fairground rides from prices ranging from £3-£9 each such as bumper cars, small roller-coasters, Christmas themed haunted houses, and a bundle of shooting galleries. Alongside most of these are food vendors; from the festive mulled wine and candy canes, to fairground favourites of doughnuts, cotton candy and a Winter Wonderland special of German-style chalets to dig your teeth into.
At £7 the Giant Observation Wheel sores over the lit up fairground showing a breath-taking view of the London area. It’s a great chance to see a beautiful sight, the sparkling lights of the stalls and rides below you, to the London Eye glittering in the distance.
Images: Bryony Wharfe