Spent Christmas in London a few years ago. Winter Wonderland alone will make anybody's holiday season, as it did mine. Really missing it this season. It is unmatched to anything in the States. Along with the carnival rides and sort, there is an excellent Christmas market, and ice rink. There is a lot to take in.
Try a hot Bovril drink if you never had one. Like a shot it'll take a bit to get used to. Nothing like a hot liquid steak to keep you warm.
Winter Wonderland makes me feel like a kid again. That is, if I had grown up where we had a real winter :)
There's a lot I loved: the roasted chestnuts, truffles, the pretty lights, the huge ferris wheel, the fire pit stations where you can warm your hands. It was all very festive and dare I say, a bit romantic. Minus all the screaming kids.
On the downside, it is a bit over commercialized. Like, I don't get why there are so many vendors here selling random crap. I get that they need to produce revenue since it's free to get in, and I suppose Christmas is so commercialized as it is that it all makes sense.
Overall, it was a fun experience. I was lucky enough to catch this event with my boo on the very last day. It's definitely worth a stop-in.
Face it, nothing says Christmas quite like stuffing your piehole with grilled sausage, riding what must be the world's tallest swing, then getting plowed at the Nordic Bar. Welcome to the weird, wonderful world of European Christmas markets.
Somewhere along the line the Germans put their imprint on Christmas. Why they chose this particular holiday and how they got away with owning it all over Europe is a mystery. Perhaps nobody else wanted it or just maybe, nobody could improve on the ideas thrown down by the Germans. They're inspired, after all; someone was definitely thinking outside the box.
Sitting at home in America I read about the many European Christmas markets but really had no vision for what they were. I wrongfully assumed they had something to do with Christmas, the baby Jesus, even St. Nick, when they're actually more akin to a carnival. In this case, a carnival with really good food, really good rides, interesting (and tasty) products for sale, amusing decorations, and booze.
This Hyde Park-based Christmas market was one of two I hit up in London post-Christmas 2013 and this one was better by a long haul, mostly owing to its large size. You can see the tall rides from far off. Up close, this market is quite extensive and somehow I wound up hitting it up three times in one day. I enjoyed:
* First, a giant grilled bratwurst, and hot, mulled wine. I also purchased an inexpensive novelty hand warmer and fake snow.
* Second, a chocolate-covered marshmallow while waiting for my family who had ostensibly gone off in search of restrooms but returned with big steins of beer.
* And finally, after dark, my daredevil son and I ponied up a ridiculously overpriced £7 each for an over-too-quick spin on the giant swing ride. We followed this up by closing down the two-story, rustic, dusty Nordic Bar where we tried to offset the price of the ride by purchasing many more reasonably priced drinks (full bar here).
As someone not overly fond of what Christmas has come to mean here in the states, I'm happy that some German visionary invented the European Christmas Market. It's at least as meaningful as anything else I tend to do during the holiday season and actually much more fun and tastier than most of my current traditions.
Being an Aussie I'd never really been to a Christmas market, (minus Brussels last week) and I wasn't aware its a German thing to do. So when I went along to Winter Wonderland last Friday night, I was amazed and excited to see all my favourite German things.
I was and still am such a big fan of the sugar coated nuts I had at Oktoberfest, and boy oh boy were the ones at Winter Wonderland just as tasty.
I am soo very glad I don't have children, because taking them to a place like would cost four arms and 5 legs. But the atmosphere, makes it worth while.
I tucked into mulled wine from many of the vendors, and I loved the german beer hall.
Bring plenty of cash and an umbrella (it rained most of the time we were there). Definitely a fun day/night out !
This review will be short.
It's like any German Market you've ever been to in the UK, on steroids. And then more steroids. And maybe just a few more.
Tents, mulled wine, gift stores, roller coasters, big wheels, steins, mulled wine, hot dogs, burgers, singing german oompah bands, mulled wine... ALL ON STEROIDS!
Also, I have a feeling that the place makes people stupid/12 - the amount of grown men who look like they would usually never step foot on a dance floor but on this particular night were singing along to Mariah Carey and shaking their posteriors was quite quite large!
Make sure you go to the large tent and engage with Joseph. And make sure you drink mulled wine.
I have been to Winter Wonderland every year since its inception, and this year it has returned bigger than ever!
And of course, as it is bigger than ever it is busier than ever... without a doubt this place is not for those of you who are claustrophobic. Mind those errant elbows and stomping boots, it is like being on a London Underground Tube during rush-hour. However, when I am normally on the tube I do not ( generally) have a foot long Bratwurst sausage in one hand and a cup of nuclear-heated Mulled Wine in the other.
But, you know, all of this adds to the general hilarity! Right? Right.
I will not bother to detail all of the attractions here, as I'm sure by now that we all know what this place contains. For me, it is all about the eating and drinking... But mainly, the people watching!
Winter Wonderland is part Christmas market/holiday fair, part carnival, and part outdoor music festival. It takes the best parts of all of those things and puts them together in a wonderful holiday experience.
My friend and I went to Winter Wonderland when I was in London last week (we went on Monday evening) - he had been a few weeks previously and knew I would love it. Of course, he was right! The entry is free and I didn't think any of the food, games, or drinks were that expensive. We had a great time walking around, stopping in some of the different bars (there are tons set up) to get beers, playing some games, and watching people fall while ice skating. The ice skating rink was pretty crowded so if you plan to do that, I would go early. Like with any event with live music, some of it is good and some is...not so good.
Visiting Winter Wonderland was one of the highlights of my trip to London and definitely got me in the Christmas spirit. It only runs until 10 pm, so to get the full experience, I recommend getting there between 5 and 6 pm if you go in the evening.
One of the best experiences in London during December/January. I just love the Bavarian Village! We always have a great time out. Can't wait for next year :)))
Very impressed!!! We were lucky to be in London while this was going on and it was nice seeing how they put on a nice winter fair. Coworkers go here each year with their families but there's so much alcohol available (hot, cold or frozen!) that you can also go here with a group of friends and just chill.
There's rides, food, drinks, trinkets, prizes and all kinds of goodies. We went on the dodge 'ems aka bumper cars and had a great time!! You get a lot more time than you would in the States. They also have entertainment (bands and such) who sing and dance while you drink hot mulled wine by a huge bonfire. Ya...my kind of fair :)
Hilarious, rowdy, fun. Might be OK for kids but on a friday night it was a sh!tfest of revelers. Especially inside the Bavarian beer hall with the cheesy German DJ. I'd go back any time.
I love stuff like this. If you're lucky to be in London in December, you have to make the trip out to Hyde Park... especially since it's FREE to enter. It totally reminds me of being back in the states when the fair comes to town, but what makes this better is the fact that it is Christmas themed. I have to say that I loved my experience here, aside from the massive hoards of people everywhere. The music, food, beverages, and Christmas decorations were all fantastic! There are three things you MUST do here:
-Eat Curry Wurst + Fries. Highlight of my night #1.
-Drink Bailey's & Hot Chocolate. Highlight of my night #2.
-Shoot Jager (Bomb is optional). Highlight of my night #3.
Follow my advice, and that's a guaranteed good time right there. Another tip: Go at night because the daytime just isn't poppin'.
There are lot
of rides, foods, drinks,shops,ornaments, rewards and all types of treatsto keep
people of all ages busy. What a
fun place! Possibly the best
part of the wonderland was the huge restaurant space with plenty of food from
sausages and potatoes. Here is the place where the entertainment that arefull
of tunes for hours. The environment
is awesome, when you go to Winter Wonderland, you were experience a happy, joyful
feeling.It is a place you must go if you are in London.
Before I went down to Winter Wonderland, I tweeted that it better be magical and delightful. Indeed it was.
This is a carnival. A Christmas market. A food festival. A date spot. A family spot. It's hard not to be impressed...
And yet, as you walk through, it all feels a little... much. Ok, a lot much. If you are looking for a subtle Christmas experience, this is not it.
Let's start with what there is. Come through the glowing arch and passed the truly terrifying nine foot tall robot Santa who greets you as you get there. Here there is a Christmas market filled with everything from fun hats to sculptures made of wax.
Then you get into the heart of Winter Wonderland: You'll find carnival games to play, roller coasters to ride, and a giant Bavarian village for all your German Christmas needs. Drink your mulled wine, eat your Christmas sweets, dance to the bands that are set up throughout the area.
They even have a circus, ice skating rink and zip wire that you can buy tickets for. What!
There are most certainly some strange things throughout, like the haunted houses given a Christmas touch (it's a normal haunted house but some of the monsters are wearing Santa suits). Or the giant North Pole recreation with some sort of half-naked elf ice princess sitting on a throne? Who is she and what North Pole have I been imagining all these years?
Everything is way overpriced (a £4 glass of mulled wine will get you a tiny styrofoam cup filled with badly brewed drink) and the staff there are surly as hell. But still, it's free, it's fun and certainly worth coming down to for a few pics!
Ok, I am glad we fit in a little time for Winter Wonderland. Our recent trip to the UK, we weren't sure if we should spend precious time on a holiday market since we've been to several in NYC just a year ago. Then the very last night before leaving London, we thought we'd swing by just to see it. Well, we were overwhelmed by just how large it is and how many people there are.
The atmosphere is terrific, I mean, assuming when you go to Winter Wonderland, you are looking for that happy, cheery, Xmas is here type atmosphere. We walked around, saw a bunch of vendors, rides, bands, and fooooood. Lots and lots of food vendors. Since it was the last night in London, we are actually very low on cash (which is a gooood thing) so we only tried a pork sandwich. Well, it wasn't great. It was way over priced, but the overall experience at Winter Wonderland was pretty awesome.
Winter Wonderland was the 3rd xmas market I've been to in a week. Did it beat the charm of the "real thing" in Berlin? Well, not really (but they all sell a lot of s&*t); nor was the mulled wine as nice as the artisanal gruwine I drank there, but it was filled with lights.
Fairylights, ride lights, fake snowmen, fake german huts, cherry mulled wine (yummy), bratz (ok, not amazing) and a fake german market.
This is what I imagined Venice would be like in Las Vegas- glitzier, crazier and in its own special way- better.
Also the live singer preforming to a mass of drink people- it was fun, even though I wasn't drunk.
Don't wear ballet flats, you'll regret it.
I echo many of the reviewers here, AVOID on a weekend. Weekdays are a joy though.
A bit extortionate for food and rides but in the spirit of christmas and getting the economy moving, it's a few days a year.
I was rather disappointed with my currywurst. It's a pitiful portion for a fiver. Bratwurst looks way more substantial, and don't get tempted by stuff that says gourmet. It's not. The burger was crap. BUT I love the lights, I love the christmas market stalls and I love the cheery people in the stalls selling weird shit.
The bavarian village live music lounge, I adore. The weird array of german and european singers reminds me of apres ski resorts, and it's kitcschey and entertaining, it's warmer in there and every one is holding a beer and smiling.
What a fun place. We went on a Saturday evening and it was awesome, hectic, and massive! What is really neat is this place is so bright and full of lights that on a flight coming into LHR airport, you could see it from the air!
Tons of rides, shops, and food to keep people of all ages busy. If you are adverse to crowds, you might want to come during non-peak times as walking through the crowds on a Saturday evening was pretty intense and suffocating.
What a great surprise. I had no idea Londoners enjoyed all the frills of a German Christmas market. Here you can find decorative holiday items, last minute gifts, ride on the amusement park rides or simply grab a pint and listen to an old German guy belt out holiday tunes like my friends and I did.
Perhaps the best part of the wonderland was the massive restaurant like space with lots of food from sausages and potatoes to desserts. Here is where the entertainment belted out tunes for hours, his pint never seeing the bottom of the glass.
Great way to spend a rainy afternoon.
How adorable! I was taken here on an afternoon date and we had such a good time. Granted it was quite freezing out so we didn't stay here that long, but it was the thought that counted!
Loads of stuff to amuse you here: carnival games, amusement park rides, Christmas market, German pubs and/or smoking pits with German food, and lots and lots of lights and crazy ostentacious over the top Christmas decorations.
Cute place for families, children and even dates!
This year Winter Wonderland has don a great job at putting me in the spirit for the season. The lights, unlike last year, have light up my year. Last year there were sections that were pitch black, and it was pretty much empty. This year, it's packed full of stalls and rides. THEY EVEN HAVE A ZIPWIRE! WOW! but
This year is the best, out of the 3 times running I have been, it's better by far this year. Still as expensive as ever, but I never pay for the ride/ice rink. I go for the lights and the German market/food. So good. I had a crepe that night and a Erdinger beer, I walked away satisfied, but I plan on going back with more money, to try out the archery game. As I used to be good at archery.
Winter Wonderland, you must go and see if you are in London and near Hyde Park corner station or Hyde Park. Be advised, if you have kids with you, expect to be nagged senseless. Happy Holidays.
The Winter Wonderland falls somewhere between a carnival, a market and a zoo. The carnival aspect comes from the rides - the large arc of a ferris wheel, the gaudy decoration of a tower encircled by a slide. The market factor stems from the dozens of little huts selling gifts, food and drink. The zoo part refers to the crazily bustling atmosphere of the whole. When I went to the market, it was a winery of people - I became a grape pressed through bottleneck-small areas next to a hundred others, in a slow process of juicing. Squeeze and push. The bright lights and loud tinny musical swirled around me like a hurricane. If you're not in the mood for the crush and rush of garish (perhaps that is too strong a word) festivity, stay away. On the other hand, if you are looking for collective effervescence and holiday bazaar, this is your place.
I prefer the Bankside walk market of stalls near Waterloo, just south of the river. Personally, though perhaps I was just tired, I found the din of this wonderland a bit too commercial, too suffocating and just plain too much for my wanderlust personality.
c-c-c-c-old! I have a friend visiting me this week. what else are 2 jews supposed to do on a winter-y night.
I went to this last year, but it was SO MUCH bigger this year. they had a lot more food stalls and rides, but none of this mattered to me as long as they have the haribo booth.
it was annoyingly cold, but it was worth it for the mulled wine. however I could have used a place to defrost.
It really depends what mood your in...
I went last weekend and the first impressions weren't great. We were greeted by a giant crowd being calmed and controlled by the stewards outside the entrance, everyone was confused and not sure what was going on but it turns out that it was just because the park was getting to crowded and we were told that noone would be let in for an hour... Well... That was a lie because 10 minutes later we were let in.
Inside there are a load of rip off "gift shops" placed next to rip off food retailers who are all serving pretty much the same thing. The prices really are high with basically any drink setting you back at least £4 although the deal we found was hidden near Santaland, a galaxy hot chocolate for only £2.20! BARGAIN!
The rides and attractions work on a token system which only really benefits the staff as if you buy a large amount you'll struggle to find somewhere that takes 1 or 2 tokens for a ride/go so you may end up with wasted tokens. We just bought exact amounts went on the rides and went back.
Onto the rides, you have your fair share of normal dogdems, fling you as high as they can, spin you as fast as they can, ghost trains, real trains and budget rollar coasters.
Of these, between the two of us, £20 got us a go on a rollar coaster (so rickety it was frightening. Felt like we were going to fall off at any moment but that's the excitement I suppose) and the ghost train (most boring 5 minutes of my life).
Walking around the park was crowded and it seemed that you couldn't go 2 minutes without someone being too close to you and therefore shouting in your ear at someone. However, there are some comedy gems listening into people's conversations!
The atmosphere is ok and if you go with a lot of people I can see it being fun but when you consider the kettling to get in, the massive prices, the distinctly similar items everyone's selling and the loud music which is competing with everyone else's attraction is has to be said its probably just distinctly average!
Maybe I'm just a Scrooge...
We went here for the second year in a row last week. Having just come back from Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Bavaria (where they filmed Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!), we thought we might find London's market offering to be a little less shiny than it was the first time round.
But no! I was happily surprised to find that it was JUST as fun. The place itself is done well, the stalls look great and there's a minimal amount of tat.
The Gluwein was tasty, the food smelled delicious and oh my, the rides made me pretty hysterical. What can I say? I love rides. The huge one that looks like it has an eyeball on it, maybe called Air, is EPIC. I don't care if it's £6 a go, it's CHRISTMAS.
Nice place and awesome features. Fantastic and fabulous entertainment are also here. Experience a happy, joyful feeling. You must love it! A tourist attraction here in London.
I can be rather bah-humbug when it comes to the Christmas spirit. However, when I stumbled by accident across the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park last week, my inner curmudgeon was completely won over by my inner child.
That familar smell of Glühwein, the wonderful German chalets with hanging gingerbread hearts and the sound of gleeful children will warm even the hardiest person's Christmas cockles.
Mosey around the craft stalls, get yourself a hog roast, take a turn on the ice rink (£10 for 1 hour) or have a go on the ghost train - for old times sake.
The entrance is free and most of the attractions are open 7 days a week.
This was really a nice find for us on our last day in London. Although the nightmare tube ride we could have done without. The tube was crazy heaving full of people. I've never EVER been that crammed on it and well, we were all the way from Russell Square to Hyde Park Corner. Had to fight our way on and off.
Anyway, once there it was a blast. Tons and tons of people but we really liked the feel of it. Part Kristkindle Market, part carnival and part food fest.
We ended up buying a few things to bring home (a lovely hand-carved wooden 3D puzzle for our boy) and enjoyed some fresh-made crepes (nutella and banana) and chocolate dipped waffles. We loved walking from stand to stand to look at what they were offering.
Although I was talking to someone who said that the rides really cost too much and were a rip-off. They had 3 kids so alas, they were probably feeling the pain a bit. It did say you could buy ride tickets online in advance so I'm not sure if there was a discount or not. There is no cost to just walk around and sample the wares and shop.
We had to take a taxi home though as there was signal problems on the east bound line and they weren't allowing anyone to go down at the Hyde Park Corner stop. But taxi's are pretty easily found around there.
The best of its kind in the world that I've seen. So cool - sausages, mead, hot choco in a beautiful park setting.
It is so well organized! And tasteful! Although I will say there should be more bathroom options. There was altogether one bathroom and it was next to a Tavern, so obviously the line was immense. Women were using the men's bathroom, which was also very dirty and gross. I was not a fan. Other than that, great food options and the lights were just magical!
How I lived near Hyde park for 2 years and never went to this, I don't know. I actually went back whilst visiting friends and I regret that I never took the time to wander through before.
It turns Hyde park into a fairy tale. There are rides for the kids (and kids at heart) and stall after stall of wonderful, chocolaty food. Of course, a stop at the crepe stall is in order and make sure to be careful not to get any of the creamy Nutella on your gloves as you walk through the shopping stalls.
I went at dusk and the lighting was just perfect and really did make it feel like a Wonderland. Highly suggest that.
It seems as though this has a distinctly German feel to it (I'm fine with that as I'm part German!) and I love the wooden toys for sale that make me wish I was a kid again.
I didn't get a chance to go ice skating, but would have loved to!
Yay! One of my favourite events of the Christmas season is back again, and this year it is bigger and better than last. Anyone who isn't the Grinch will be able to enjoy this fantastic Christmas fair and market. I just love the smells of mulled wine and roasted Chestnuts that emanate throughout the fair. Although I could do without the staggering cold, I wish every day of the year would smell this good, but then again that would mean I would have nothing to forward to all year.
Anyways, this fair is perfect for kids, so if you have some bring them over to appease their Christmas angst! They have lots of rides including a big wheel, a roller coaster, merry-go-rounds, a fun house, a haunted house, an ice-skating rink and big big slides. For the adults, there are ample Bavarian bars selling mulled wine and beers. Great stuff.
I'm not a big fan of fun fairs, but the ferris wheel across the serpentine has a magical attraction. I was greatly cheered by the German-style Christmas market.
In particular the mulled wine, served in the traditional themed mugs - at a steep cost of £3 (same again for the wine). If you enter the fair from its main entrance near Hyde Park Corner, you can get a different design at a £1 deposit - that's more like it.
A great afternoon walk and browse around the wooden huts.
Most of the rides seemed to be left-overs from the Munich Oktoberfest.
just like your in the South Pole.
Warning , very busy though
Great German beer and food
Standard carnival flair! Bundle up because it will be super cold out and bring ca$h!
winter wonderland on a weekend...hell on earth.
winter wonderland on a weekday...wonderful!
there are so many creepy christmas things to find here - but mostly the insane laughing santa, and the talking tree. there are so many food and drinks options. they do jager slushies! what a wonderful place! plus the carousel bar is just amazing - definitely seek that out. drinks are expensive, but hey, you're in london, what isn't?
Went to this on the opening weekend. It was a miserable rainy weekend, so I have to admit that any benefits from sunshine and other external factors weren't present. While we were there, it wasn't chucking it down, but it was slowly getting us all moistened up.
The rides were not impressive, and given the rain not even borderline tempting as I value the dryness of my bottom.
The food stalls were... vile.
I had a waffle from one place which I asked to be warmed. The man put an old waffle in the iron for a few seconds and handed it over. Not only did it taste of sugared cardboard, but it was cold, too. I threw it out at the nearest rubbish bin.
Not wanting to give up, and having seen some lovely roasted chestnuts, we bought a tiny bag of about a dozen for £2-3. Most of them had gone bad, couldn't be peeled, and tasted bitter or were burnt.
I didn't try a third stall, because I had serious doubts that my luck would change. Please, if you go, bring your own food!!!
As for the skating rink... Having lived in Canada for 13 years, I am accustomed to seeing skating rinks spring up out of front gardens, parks, and other organised areas. They just happen. And guess what? The "gigantic" skating rink in hyde park? Is more like a somewhat thinner and longer version of a normal rink. And given the leaves stuck in the ice and the amount of water falling into that frozen pool from the sky, I'd recommend you head over to Queensway's underground skating rink instead. Cheaper, larger, and drier. Really.
The irony is that i was the one who dragged my boyfriend and his visiting brother all the way to the "Winter wonderland" as something that would be fun and lovely and nice. I don't think they've forgiven me yet!
Also, I have to agree with someone who mentioned that these markets seem like a marketing effort on steroids, all clones of each other. There was nothing original, thought out or familial about the entire place. No real handicrafts, just generic tat that you can find at all of them. Which is a shame, because the local craftsmen make the joy of my visits to christmas fairs in the UK.
Wear a jacket - chances are it's freezing cold and you WILL be outside for the entirety of your visit!
The Winter Wonderland is based around a central thoroughfare with a selection of bars, funfair rides and stalls.
The bars were bloody expensive - £4 for a small cup of mulled wine. The hot cider was equally expensive but delicious (which helped).
The rides were also expensive - £3 for a ride down a slide.
Enough humbugging, it's a great place to hang out with friends to get in the Christmas spirit. There's a lot of people about in good cheer and it's free to get in so even the tightest humbugs (me?) can still have a good time.
I'm glad that I went to Winter Wonderland at least once before leaving London. Mulled cider, amazing nutella mini crepes, and a live singer performing gangnam style to a large mass of drunk people. It was a good night. Dress warm and bring cash :)
Its a nice day out with children. There are tons of rides to keep them occupied. With a good spead for toddlers to older teens. Entry to the park is free. However, you must purchase tickets for the rides.
There are food stalls selling traditional german fair, but way overpriced and not good value for money. Don't be tempted.
They have a craft market selling the normal bits and bobs, like wolly hats, mugs, windchimes and wooden toys.
The food hall tent was very overcrowded, with some people just drinking hot drinks and hogging all the seats.
We decided to leave the park and eat in a restuarant where the children could have a good dinner. By then it was dark so we came back and went on the big wheel. We managed to fit 4 adults, 1 teenager, 3 children and a baby in a pod.
Be warned: It is crowded and busy and manic. If you don't like this stay clear. People will be pushy and rude and don't care if they bonk your kid in the head or step on your toe.
I haven't been to a Christmas market for years. So having a nice "copy" of a typical German/Austrian Christmas market in London is amazing!!! When I went there a couple of days ago I was excited like a child.
You have to:
1. Eat a nice German "Bratwurst" yummmmmy (£4-4.50, trust me in Germany it isn't that freakin' expensive)
2. Drink a "Glühwein" (mulled wine). This is tradition on german christmas markets!!!
3. Eat "roasted chestnut". OMG heaven!!! (£3, again for a small portion, but trust me its soooo good)
Overall, as a german I was looking at this whole christmas market from another perspective. It was too expensive and a bit touristy, but it was worth going!
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