The Winter Wonderland website claims that celebrities and their children, including Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Nicole Kidman, and Uma Thurman have all enjoyed this Christmas fair in London’s Hyde Park in previous years.
The attraction is popular, aimed at families and promises a traditional English Christmas celebration. Activities include ice skating on London’s biggest outdoor skating rink, two circuses, a roller coaster, helter skelter, carousel, giant Ferris wheel and a chance for children to meet Santa in his grotto.
As well as a traditional circus with clowns, acrobats and slapstick comedy there are performances by the excellent Cirque D’Hiver and their sensational aerial performances and contortionists.
The fair’s Ferris wheel is nearly 200 feet high and presents panoramic views across all of Hyde Park and Central London. There’s no need to worry about the cold as the heated capsules keep you warm while the wheel turns. (Further south by the Thames the management of the London Eye must be very annoyed about Winter Wonderland’s Ferris wheel. The London Eye also gives great views of London but over Christmas and until January it faces some stiff competition!)
While you can find stalls and cafés selling German stollen, bratwurst and Gluhwein, there are lots of traditional English options too if you want to try them. The English Food Fair offers strong cider and real ale, hog roast and fish and chips, hot chocolate and mince pies, hot roasted chestnuts, toffee apples and much more.
The Angels Market has more than 100 stalls selling everything you may need or want to celebrate Christmas with your family and gives visitors a chance to browse and to buy Christmas presents without having to fight their way through the crowds in Oxford Street and other busy shopping districts.
For families, a real bonus about Winter Wonderland is that entry is free. Tickets for the rides start at about 3 dollars and the circus shows cost from about 12 dollars for adults and 7 dollars for children (depending on exchange rate fluctuations.) It’s possible to buy combined tickets at a reduced rate for the ice skating, ferris wheel or circuses.
As there is free live music and lots to see, it’s also possible to look around the market stalls, wonder along Mistletoe Avenue, watch the ice skating and the roller coaster, look at the Christmas lights, visit Santa, enjoy the festive atmosphere, spend as little as you want – and still have a good family day out in London.