Hyde Park Winter Wonderland 2012
Until Sun Jan 6
© Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Time Out says
Tue Jul 24 2012
Hyde Park goes all Christmassy with the sparkly additions of rides and attractions including a Giant Observation Wheel and two circuses – 'Christmas Circus' and 'Cirque Berserk' – from the family-friendly Zippos Circus. Winter Wonderland's ice rink, the biggest outdoor rink in the UK, surrounds the Victorian bandstand and is illuminated with more than 100,000 lights. While most activities are ticketed, it's worth noting that entry to the site, including Santa Land and the Christmas Market is free and an after-dark stroll is surprisingly atmospheric. If temperatures plummet and you need to defrost, there's rustic revelry on offer around open fires, with hot cider, mulled wine and food for sale. If you're skating, be aware that while there's no minimum age for skaters, under-12s must be accompanied and the smallest skates for hire are children's size 9 (adult skates go up to size 13). You can use your own skates as long as they're not speed skates. Wheelchair users are welcome on the ice. There are also ice guides who can look after groups of up to 15 skaters at a time (for an additional charge). New this year is The Magical Ice Kingdom experience, which is sculpted from 200 tonnes of ice and snow and gives the visitors the chance to explore frozen pathways and an ice forest to discover sculptures and characters in themed rooms – you can take a seat in a unicorn-pulled carriage, dare to approach the ice dragon's lair or meet the ice queen in her throne room (Magical Ice Kingdom prices are: peak: £8, £6 children, £22 family; off-peak: £7/£5/£20).
For our guide to ice skating in London see www.timeout.com/iceskating