One thing we wanted to do before we left for Tennessee was celebrate Christmas at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Winter Wonderland is London’s biggest Christmas event featuring two different Christmas markets, the UK’s largest ice skating rink, a Christmas circus, carnival rides and games, an ice sculpture kingdom, live music and entertainment, and (my personal favorite) enough food and drink chalets to feed a small country! As long as said country would be happy to live on bratwurst, grilled salmon, and mulled wine anyway. The only thing that could have made it more Christmas-y would have been if the whole park had been blanketed in snow, but instead we got rain. (This is London, after all.)
Christmas Markets at Winter Wonderland
We began our evening in the Christmas markets with no real intention of purchasing anything. Had we been looking for anything in particular, I’m quite sure we would have found it. Over 200 vendors line the streets selling items such as handmade crafts, jewelry, clothing, accessories, and sweet treats. The stalls were set up inside wooden chalets strung with lights which gave Hyde Park a lovely village vibe. (Those candies were tempting, but I stayed strong! I was determined not to spoil my dinner – I knew it would be a good one here!)
The Food at Winter Wonderland
There are all sorts of bars and restaurants around Winter Wonderland, all with their own unique atmosphere and culinary dishes. I don’t think you can make a bad choice here. Although the revolving Carousel Bar doesn’t sound like the best idea if you’ve had one too many drinks! While we were shopping it began to rain, so we took cover in the eating area closest to us which happened to be the lively Bavarian Village. We ordered spicy bratwursts and hot chocolate (because those go so well together) and watched the crowds from under a heated pavilion.
Entertainment at Winter Wonderland
Our original plan had been to go ice skating after dinner (my first time in two decades), but Mother Nature chose to spare me from inevitably looking like a fool on the ice when she turned the skating rink into a giant kiddie pool. (Potentially embarrassing situation averted!) Instead we stood under the safety of our pavilion and listened to the outdoor live music before heading into the enormous Great Hall for even bigger entertainment!
London is so good at Christmas. I know I haven’t been here for a full year yet, so you can take this with a grain of salt, but I think the city is at its best in December. I’ve never lived anywhere that has put me in the Christmas spirit more than London has with its holiday traditions, over-the-top street displays, and celebrations. I am already looking forward to Christmas next year so we can do this all over again!
Winter Wonderland will close in less than a week, so if you haven’t been yet, you better hurry! Make sure you bring plenty of cash – most food and market vendors won’t accept card payments. (There are ATMs around the park, but they charge a fee of £3 per transaction.) Entrance is free, but tickets will need to be purchased for the ice rink, ice kingdom, circus, and other attractions.
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