On Thanksgiving I said to my husband, “Let’s go to that train museum in York this weekend!” Then we couldn’t find a suitable hotel room. So we decided to go to Winter Wonderland in London’s Hyde Park instead, mostly because I NEEDED TO GET OUT.
We did a little research to confirm the weather wouldn’t totally suck and find the best tube route for our entourage. Then we went.
We followed the steady stream (er, flood?) of people from Marble Arch to the entrance by the Giant Wheel. Then we shuffled along with thousands – THOUSANDS! – of merrymakers.
Not having much experience with Christmas markets, I can best sum up the experience as something of a Christmas-themed state fair. Just subtract the livestock and 4H projects. Substitute fried foods on a stick with bratwurst and funnel cake with waffles. Add some mulled wine. And there you go.
There are a variety of rides, for kids of all ages. Midway games. Vendors selling Christmasy wares. A Bavarian village with, of course, a biergarten. There’s a circus, an ice-skating rink, and indoor ice sculpture garden. We missed all of the ticketed features; pre-booking tickets is advised to get the times you want. (Admission into the park is free.) Plus, the day was full enough for our two tinies.
We don’t celebrate Christmas and are kind of crowd-adverse, but I’m glad we made a point to go. There’s something satisfying about sharing an experience with the millions of visitors that will walk by that wheel in the next few weeks . If you want to share it, too, the fair (er, fayre) runs through January 5, 2014. I highly recommend a weekday visit.