Promising more festive spirit than Christmas dinner at Shane MacGowan’s, London’s borough-sized Christmas festival, Winter Wonderland, is taking over Hyde Park until January 1. Along with an abundance of fairground rides, Winter Wonderland is home to festive markets, a Barvarian bar village, alpine grottos, street food stalls, an ice rink and a shed-load more.
Winter Wonderland is one of London’s most popular December attractions, so we asked some of our Time Out Tastemakers for their top tips for those visiting this season. If you’re thinking of heading down, a little planning may pay off. Here’s what the Tastemakers had to say...
When to go
‘Go towards the end [of the day] on a weekday’, says Natasha Tooray
‘Go just before it closes, after New Year, it’s so much quieter! I went the day before it closed and it was the best – no crowds, quiet rides and cheap food,’ says Chloé Miller
‘Go first thing on a Saturday or Sunday and you’ll beat the crowds of horrid teenagers!,’ says Joanna Boyd
‘The sweet spot is the afternoon of New Year’s Eve. London is uber quiet always and everyone is prepping for the evening festivities,’ says L-J Bryan
‘Have a few drinks somewhere else beforehand to get a “Christmas buzz” before entering the madness!’ says Ruth Joyce
‘I definitely recommend wearing a pair of good boots. Something like a pair of Hunter boots. It gets super muddy and dirty walking around Winter Wonderland,’ says Marco Duarte
‘Take your ID. My mates got refused mulled wine and the staff weren’t so nice about it!’ says Claire Etchell
‘Set yourself a budget, don’t dash about feeling you have to do everything and just take some time to soak up the atmosphere – be it the sounds of the German oompah band, or that delicious smell of freshly fried doughnuts!’ says Tara Protheroe
‘Go with a good group of people, always have a hot drink in your hand and take out plenty of money first,’ says Elisa Tan
Must-visits when you’re there
‘I went with a group of friends and headed straight to the Bavarian beer house. There was a band and it was just a fun Christmas experience,’ says Madison Cass
‘The Christmas market always has something for everyone. I’m a big fan of the stand that makes homemade jams and chutneys. I get several jars every year for my family back in Singapore!’ says LeeLee Seah
‘Go to the Lángos stall – you won’t regret it,’ says Luisa Gottardo
‘I am a fan of the Bavarian beer sing along tent! Always good for a cheeky celeb spot (aka reality TV star) and Christmas spirit!’ says Kathryn Winfield
Not everyone had such, erm, constructive advice however. ‘Hectic, stale and pretty much where fun goes to die’ is what Jenny Edwards thought of the festive event when she visited. If only she’d had this indispensable survival guide beforehand, eh...
Find more festive fun with our guide to Christmas in London.
Read our pick of the loveliest Christmas lights in London, the most festive ice rinks, the best Christmas markets, the most unusual Christmas events and more, including pantomimes, carol concerts and restaurants that are open on Christmas Day.
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