When Lapland arrives in the city: Inside Winter Wonderland – Britain's largest Christmas Fair
- More than 3.5 million people should visit Winter Wonderland this year.
- Admission is free and you pay as you go for more than 50 tours offered
- Local councils estimate it will generate £ 100 million for London's economy
The statistics are amazing. More than 3.5 million people are expected to pass through the gates of Winter Wonderland, Britain's largest Christmas fair, between now and January.
It's like a whole crowd of the FA Cup final showing up at the London attraction every day.
In just 45 days, the number of visitors will eclipse annual participation in all other theme parks in the country. The main reason is that admission is completely free. It's a pay-per-use case for more than 50 trips, while many people simply show up to enjoy the 200 bars and food stalls.
All lit up: London's Winter Wonderland shines at night. Local councils estimate it will generate £ 100 million for London's economy
Local councils estimate that Winter Wonderland, a short walk from the West End, will generate £ 100 million for London's economy.
But it is only when you enter that you begin to appreciate the scale of this thing. After spending a day with our three children (12, 10 and 8 years old), my advice is to arrive early. Although it seems more dramatic illuminated at night, it is less crowded during the day.
Last Sunday we had to wait just ten minutes for the Wilde Maus XXL roller coaster at 3pm. When my daughter insisted on another attempt three hours later, the queue took almost an hour. But since it costs £ 5 for a child under 12 and £ 7 for one adult at a time, such long waits can have their advantages.
Similarly, at lunch time there was no queue for the big wheel, which I can warmly recommend.
New this year, it is the largest transportable ferris wheel in the world, rising more than 90 m above Hyde Park to offer a beautiful view of the skyline and its largest permanent cousin, the London Eye.
Prices start at £ 8 per adult and £ 6 per child (off-peak) at £ 10 and £ 8 at peak times. Each trip takes about ten minutes and you get three rotations. Those in a hurry can afford a fast forward pass, costing £ 5 for adults and £ 3 for children.
Tours are paid for tokens you buy at booths spread throughout the site. It's $ 1.00 per token, so buy what you need.
The most expensive ride is also the most uncomfortable – the 9-pound Munich Looping, a replica of the Olympic rings, which falls upside down five times. It is the largest traveling roller coaster in the world and was transported directly from Munich's Oktoberfest.
More than 3.5 million people are expected to pass through the gates of Winter Wonderland, Britain's largest Christmas Fair, between now and January.
It turns out that many of these tours and bars come straight from Germany when Oktoberfest ends. Hence the strong Bavarian flavors and bratwurst stalls.
The standard of derision is certainly high and prices vary. You will pay £ 12 for an Indonesian curry dish at the local street food market, or you can go to the outskirts and have a great wood-fired pizza for £ 7. Similarly, it's £ 6 for a beer, but 2 pounds for a cup of tea.
Among the best-value rides is the 5-pound Fun House, a multi-story assault course that will take a child for at least 15 minutes. One thumb down, however, goes to the Star Flyer. It's a 7 pound per head (all ages) skyscraper swing that ends almost as soon as it starts.
Best of the lot is the Zippos Circus – magnificent acrobats, monocyclists, trapeze artists and a juggler who repeated his world record trick (keeping five boomerangs at the same time) before us.
Prices start at £ 7.50 for an off-peak kids ticket for the spectacular 45-minute show.
The park made headlines this week when a poor trapeze artist fell on a different show called Cirque Berserk, but fortunately she is now recovering.
And you should take a stroll through the tranquil magical kingdom of ice. It is an indoor park of ice sculptures with a temperature of minus 10 ° C. When you go out you will see a winter night in almost tropical London.
Winter Wonderland is open in Hyde Park from 10 am to 10 pm every day, Christmas Day bar until January 5 (hydeparkwinterwonderland.com)
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