Europe is a lovely place to be in December, especially during Christmas time. When thinking of Christmas in this area of the world, tiny snow-covered towns in Central Europe with their quaint, cozy charm may come to mind for many. However, the sprawling metropolis of London does Christmas exceedingly well too. Believe it or not, the huge city of London somehow captures that cozy small-town holiday charm that gives the sought-after classic Christmas feel to locals and visitors.
Of course, there are a multitude of Christmas decorations and events to see and experience around London, and even a simple stroll around the shops will put you in a festive mood. However, if you want to experience everything Christmas all in one place, look no further than London’s Hyde Park, which is home to the enormous Christmas festival known as Winter Wonderland during November and December.
Classic German foods, delicious snacks and traditional holiday drinks keep guests warm and well-fed
Winter Wonderland is in London, but in the heart of the park you might feel like you’re in snowy Germany for the holidays. The Christmas market area of the park is housed in over 200 Bavarian-style wooden stalls, all decorated with twinkling lights. Many of these stalls are specifically dedicated to food, and guests can simply follow their noses to find their desired treat or meal. There are plenty of designated eating areas with chairs and tables as well, some of which even have live music to serenade diners.
With an enormous variety of food options, no guest will leave hungry. German classics are always guest favorites, with stalls selling everything from hot pretzels with cheese to succulent bratwurst, and fresh fudge to giant gingerbread hearts. No visitor will go thirsty either; the park is home to many different bars that serve beer and festive drinks and cocktails, including mulled wine and hot chocolate. There is even a bar made entirely of ice (advance tickets recommended), and a bar situated on a vintage revolving carousel.
Classic carnival rides create a nostalgic holiday feeling
Adults and children of all ages will appreciate the festive Christmas atmosphere that one experiences simply from wandering around the park’s many Bavarian stalls and attractions in the crisp December air. Soaking up the cheerful holiday feel costs nothing, as the park is free to enter, but beyond that, there are many fun ways to spend a few pounds.
The park is home to over 100 different carnival rides and attractions, from bumper cars to tilt-a-whirls to retro German funhouses (pictured above). Tokens must be purchased for the rides; each one costs 1 GBP (1.54 USD) each, and most rides require 2 to 3 tokens. While children and young people entertain themselves on rides, adults may be more interested in the many shopping stalls that sell everything from Christmas decorations and jewelry to handmade crafts and unique gifts.
Book ahead to complete your Winter Wonderland experience
A meal or a few snacks, a drink and a couple of rides might cost the average visitor around 20 to 25 GBP (30.88 to 38.60 USD). However, there are other paid attractions that, despite costing a bit more, have the potential to make your experience that much more special.
Visitors are strongly encouraged to purchase tickets for these attractions online in advance, as they are very popular and sell out quickly. Ticketed attractions include ice skating, a Christmas circus show, a ride on the Giant Ferris Wheel, a seat at the Ice Bar, and a stroll through the Ice Kingdom, which is made entirely of real ice and snow.
The vintage style of certain attractions creates a classic Christmas atmosphere for guests
The park has an all-around vintage, Christmas village feel. Certain attractions like the funhouse (pictured above) and the Bavarian-style food and shopping stalls contribute to the cozy, classic Christmas experience. Visitors don’t have to try to battle the crowds only in the week of Christmas, however. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is open every day, from 10am to 10pm, beginning in mid-November and not closing until a few days into January, except Christmas Day itself.
The fact that Winter Wonderland is open for almost a month and a half helps to break up the crowds, but it can still get very busy on evenings and weekends. Best for families with small children, weekday mornings and afternoons are known to be the least busy times. Pushchairs are allowed within the park and recommended for small children, as it’s a large complex and little feet may get tired after a few hours of holiday fun. Finally, Hyde Park is a well-known London landmark, and is therefore easily accessible by public transport.
Put yourself in the Christmas mood with a visit to Winter Wonderland
December weather can be chilly in London, so guests are advised to bundle up before gathering friends and family and heading to the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. However, it’s quite likely that you will be having so much fun enjoying Christmas in a nutshell that you won’t even notice the temperature. It’s impossible not to be in a good mood after spending some time at Winter Wonderland, and this festival in the park is the perfect kick-off or ending to your December holiday celebrations.
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