Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Being it’s that time of year, we wanted to do something festive, so we decided to visit Winter Wonderland again. We had been a few years back but thought try again. Here is what we thought…

Every year Hyde Park turns into a giant winter funfair, full of bars, restaurants, activities and rides.

Which seems great, but the problem is you need to be made of money to experience it to its fullest.

You can of course turn up and walk around in-between the events, try your hand at some side show games and find something to eat, but if you want to get a drink in the Ice Bar, go Ice Skating or see the site from above on the Ferris Wheel, you need to buy tickets in advance and each ticket is between £15 for the Ice Bar to £60 per person for the Ice Sculpture. If you wanted to do the whole experience you’ll spend at least £330 per person at minimum.

But we went anyway and walked in the dark along the paths to the grand entrance and then discovered…

The queue!

It was ridiculous! At first we almost gave up before we even joined it, but we didn’t and soon discovered that it was a bag check, to stop you taking water in there, so they could charge you £4 for one inside.

Once inside we wondered around, passing the booths and games, where you throw a hoop over a block to win an iPod – yes the latest tech! an iPod! Ooo! – Or try to throw a basketball in a hoop, that everyone knows the ball is the same size as the hoop and will not fall through if it has any momentum, or throw a dart and score over 100, but the dartboard is frozen so the darts always bounce out, or any number of games where the odds are stacked against you and if you eventually win after trying 6 times you will have just paid £5 a go and spent £30 for a stuffed toy worth £1.

This years toy of choice were Angry Birds with a balloon inside, which will deflate after a couple of days in the warmth and then you’re left with a saggy bag of fur! I know I’m a cynic but it’s true!

And that is just the sideshows.

But the rides are big and dramatic, neon lights all over the place and ranging from Roller Coasters to Giant Drops, Werlizers to Haunted Houses. All spinning, bouncing, whizzing and crashing about, all playing music, none of which seemed to be Christmassy – and mostly was Bruce Springsteen! 

We did the rounds – twice – taking in the views, but not being taken in by the costs – £8 a ride – besides we had a dog with us and though that may sound like a bad idea, the only problem was our dog pulls on the lead and wants to go ‘here, no here, oh here, no over there, and back there and here and up there’, non stop so we end up exhausted from the tugging, but the advantage is every pretty girl in the place seemed to want to say hello to the dog and in turn us – not a bad thing! –  

So we decided to find ourselves a little treat and a cup of Mulled Wine, we looked at a couple of the bars but the servings were tiny and the service was rubbish, so we headed for the Arctic Lodge and a very jolly gay barmaid, who also fell in love with the dog and gave us water and a fun conversation.

With that little Christmas Tradition sated we headed home once more, saving our pennies for another adventure.

So have you been to Winter Wonderland, did you go Ice Skating or Ice Sculpting? What did you think of it? Did you go on that Big Drop ride? 

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