If you’re considering visiting Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park this festive season, here are a few tips to help make your visit the most fun and enjoyable.
S and I visited recently, and had a truly wonderful day. In fact, on the way home S commented that it had been the Best Day Ever.
1. Arrive early.
Like most good attractions, Winter Wonderland can get very busy. If you’re not a fan of crowds, I would suggest being at the gate when it opens at 10am. While we were there it wasn’t really busy until after lunch so S and I had a good few hours of enjoying ourselves without queues and suchlike.
2. Pay with contactless
The majority of rides and attractions do not accept cash; you either pay with “tokens” purchased from one of many booths around the grounds, or with contactless. It makes sense therefore, to use a contactless card/device, rather than queue once for tokens at a booth and again for the ride/attraction itself.
3. Download the app
There is a brilliant app for Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. You can use it to book tickets, but also to get information etc. The map is especially useful; you can select to have attractions, food and drink, rides, themed areas, box offices, toilets and ATMs highlighted. You can also tap “Find me” to be shown exactly where you are. I found this incredibly useful in finding my way around – and finding toilets!
4. Visit Zippos Christmas Circus
S had never been to the circus before, and since the Zippos Christmas Circus is less than an hour long, we thought we would pay a visit. It was absolutely wonderful, and S was of course spellbound and gobsmacked in equal measure. It’s really good fun and definitely not to be missed. Plus: it’s very warm and cosy inside, and allows for a nice relaxed hour of entertainment between wandering around rides and attractions!
5. Plan ahead
Winter Wonderland is massive, with lots of different attractions – from rides to shows to a wonderful Christmas market. It’s worth downloading the app or checking out the website beforehand to decide where you want to visit and even planning a route. It sounds silly, but planning ahead can allow you to make the most of your visit.
6. Visit the Magical Ice Kingdom
… But wrap up warm! The Magical Ice Kingdom tells the story of A Christmas Carol using ice sculptures – so it stands to reason that the building they’re in would be freezing cold! It’s a wonderful walk through the amazing sculptures, with photo opportunities at either end. We enjoyed the experience and it was also a nice, relatively quiet reprieve from the hustle and bustle outside.
7. Ask the staff if you’re stuck!
All of the staff we met on our visit were incredibly kind and helpful. People directed us to toilets, gave advice about rides and were generally brilliant. One lady even offered to take a video of S on the ice slide on my phone (this was while it was very quiet).
I’ve heard people complain that Hyde Park Winter Wonderland can be very crowded and expensive. I don’t enjoy crowds, but I found this was not too bad – we were there from 10am until about 3pm and the longest queue we experienced was about 15 minutes for the reindeer ride.
It’s not cheap – but not really any more expensive than I would expect to pay for things on a day out. I don’t mind paying for experiences that will create lasting memories, and this was definitely one of those for us. If you look at it in terms of how much you’re paying per giggle or massive grin, rather than per ride or bag of candy floss, it’s actually very reasonable!