Last year Joe and I went for a Winter weekend away to visit the German markets in Birmingham and it was simply wonderful. We enjoyed it so much that when we were in Knightsbridge the other weekend we knew we just had to spend our last afternoon at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. It was the perfect day with glorious sunshine but cold air, just right for wrapping up warm in a big coat and luxurious scarf with gloves and a hot mulled cider! We took a walk around Hyde Park after brunch at the Mandarin and made our way into a lively but not too busy Winter Wonderland.
There’s two sides to Winter Wonderland, the quaint German market stalls on one with an outdoor ice rink and an impressive fun fair complete with circus on the other! I have mixed feelings about fairs with their tatty old fairground stalls and shaky un-safe looking rides but Winter Wonderland was anything but. It was clean, tidy and everything looked brand new and although it was busy we felt really safe. With everything from carousels for the kids and big rollercoasters for the adults it was fascinating to walk round and look at during our trip.
You can’t visit the fair and not go on anything so we picked the big wheel just as the sun was setting. The views were lovely and it was certainly a gentler way to experience the rides without seeing our breakfasts all over again! We were also tempted to book in to the circus on their early evening show but as we didn’t want to be rushing around too much for our train we opted for a casual beer in the German pub instead. We sat in the toasty warm pop-up-pub with our ice cold beers watching the ice skaters whizzing past (and falling over!) and we honestly didn’t want to leave.
As the darkness descended Winter Wonderland lit up with tree lights and and sparkling stalls along the market strip. We traded our beers for a hot cider instead and wandered along looking at all the beautiful festive items for sale. When i was little my Dad used to take me to buy a new ornament for our tree every single year and this is a tradition Joe and I wanted to start together too. So we had a look through every stall before treating our tree to a hand blown gold glass acorn which will not only hold lots of happy memories from our weekend away in London, but will also sit pride of place on our little tree.
Although we managed to avoid all the yummy handmade chocolates, crepes and doughnuts we did sneak a big fat bratwurst hot dog which went down very well despite Joe dropping the last of his on the floor as we were walking – don’t worry, i let him share the rest of mine!
There really is something for everyone at Winter Wonderland and although it comes with the usual hiked-up food and drinks prices you get at any festive market it’s well worth a trip out if you can before it packs up for another year.
Winter Wonderland is in Hyde Park until the 4th January 2015 and you can find out all there is to experience on their website here.
Have you visited Winter Wonderland before? What was your favourite part?
Tweet me @xameliax #winterwonderland