Review of 'Hyde Park Winter Wonderland 2021'

https://hydeparkwinterwonderland.com/

Winter Wonderland has to be the biggest annual Christmas Market in the UK, returning to Hyde Park, in London (near Marble Arch) having been cancelled last year due to COVID. This year they now charge for entrance during peak times. Non-peak times are very few and a free ticket must still be obtained before visiting. Everyone attending must show not only their ticket but also proof of COVID vaccination. We purchased our Thursday evening tickets a few months ago and there was still quite a queue to get in at just after 7 pm (it took about 15 minutes to get in which is not that bad).

Hot Chocolate...£4

Compared to previous years there seem to be a lot more rides and fairground games with not a whole lot of actual market to look at though, to be fair, in previous years though there were more market stalls they repeated the same merchandise over and over again. The market is now located in the south-west corner. I have to also say there are a lot more options for food and the Bavarian Village is hugely expanded with several live music venues (all free) including two large interior tents.

Bavarian Village

I have attended Wonderland for many years now and every year my food choice is German Sausage with, and this is key, sauerkraut. In past years I have been sorely disappointed by the distinctive lack of the latter. This year, I was happy to discover this is now no longer the case. In the Bavarian Village I had the “Mr. Bratwurst Bavaria” (“Traditional German sausage in a pretzel roll with sauerkraut and onions”; £9) which was very good indeed with absolutely massive amounts of the pickled cabbage piled on top making it a bit tricky to eat…

Bratwurst Dinner

Cooking Bratwurst

It is still quite an expensive evening with soft drinks coming in at £2.50 for tins, and food is generally quite pricey as well. Rides are also quite expensive – We decided to go on the “Munich Looping” (“The Munich Looping, a famous ride from the popular Oktoberfest, is the world’s largest transportable roller coaster and it’s back again this year.”) which was £9 (each). This is the most aggressive ride we found there and resulted in both of us having headaches for a few hours later…lots of really tight, fast loops. Great ride though.

Munich Looping

A traditional thing to do is to ice skate. The rink is located on the south-east corner of the site around the bandstand which occasionally features live music. This year it is sponsored by Lidl (who offer what has to be the biggest bargain on the site: Hot chocolate and a mince pie for £3).

Ice Skating

Of course, the site features many other attractions including (deep breath): “The Giant Wheel” (a huge Ferris Wheel offering great views of the site…but not much else); “Real Ice Slide” (yes, really ice, but massive queues); a number of “haunted house” and “fun house” rides including “Haunted Mansion”, and “Irrgarten”; two circuses (pre-booked only, yes with big-top tents): “Zippos Christmas Circus”, and “Cirque Berserk”; “Santaland” (rides for smaller children); three roller coasters: “Munich Looping”, “Wilde Maus”, and “Eurocoaster”; many other thrill rides; numerous beer gardens; loads of fairground games…Basically, you will not be bored even if you just walk around and look, which is mostly what we did.

Fun House

The Giant Wheel

Christmas Tree Ride

Yes, it is tacky, yes, there are still crowds (though not nearly as bad as previous years), yes it is expensive, yes, it is noisy, but it is a whole lot of fun and well worth visiting. Much better crowd control with the timed entrance tickets (here's hoping this continues) though a bit annoying you have to pay now (unless you want to attend in November on a Tuesday afternoon).


A note for those considering a visit: Entrance tickets are free if you spend £20.00 on any of their attractions. Additionally, there are lots of on-site toilets.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2021-12-16



Hyde Park

Location: London (England)

Address: Hyde Park, London ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Hyde Park Corner TUBE Marble Arch

URL: https://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/hyde-park

Hyde Park is an amazing green space in the middle of London. With a large amount of trees there is also plenty of grass on which to enjoy good weather. “The Serpentine” is a small lake in the middle of the park that has swimming (in summer) and a few cafes along it's shoreline. The Serpentine Gallery is an art gallery just off of the one road (West Carriage Drive) that runs through the middle of the park north - south. On the extreme west end is Kensington Palace, former home to Princess Diana but also open for visitors. The Albert Memorial on the south-west side of the park is opposite the Royal Albert hall but is also surrounded by formal gardens which are wonderful in the spring and summer.

Hyde Park regularly plays host to many events including large concerts in the north east corner (near Marble Arch) in the summer and Winter Wonderland (in the same location) at Christmas. The Olympics in 2012 used park for several events.