From ice skating to Paddington and from mulled wine to hot chocolate round the fire, London’s biggest Christmas market is sure to get you in the festive mood
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Mistletoe, mulled wine, being with loved ones and a genuine excuse to eat lots of chocolate are just a number of reasons why Christmas is so good. It’s also a chance to visit festival markets around the world.
There are so many wonderful places to choose from to indulge your Christmas spirit (Zagreb’s Xmas market has been voted the best European market three times in a row – 2016, 2017 and 2018) but this blog concentrates on London’s Winter Wonderland.
While it’s free entry, the market certainly isn’t the cheapest – hot chocolates can cost over £6.00 – but it’s in a beautiful setting, easily accessible and offers a variety of stalls and kid fun. With over 100 rides, attractions and shows, Winter Wonderland is London’s biggest Christmas market.
Opening hours and costs:
When: The event runs until 5 January 2020.
Time: 10am – 10pm every day, except Christmas Day.
Costs: Entry is free.
Pre-bookable attractions such as ice skating, Magical Ice Kingdom, ice sculpting workshops, the giant wheel and Paddington on Ice, get fully booked during peak times so it is recommended to book ahead. Click here for tickets.
TIP: No refunds will be given for a late arrival to pre-booked events and late arrivals are allowed at the discretion of the operator. It’s advised to arrive 20 minutes before the start time stated on the ticket.
You will need tokens for the rides. Each token costs £1. Children’s rides start at £2 and other rides start at £3. However, the market takes contactless card payments, which you can use to pay for rides instead of buying tokens.
TIP: For families, mornings are the best time to visit the wonderland. At night, Hyde Park lights up and can get really busy.
Winter Wonderland is situated in Hyde Park. The best way to get to the park is via public transport. The nearest tube stations are: Victoria, Bond Street, Knightsbridge, Green Park, Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner.
It’s important to note that there are different entry points to visit the park – a red gate, blue gate, green gate, purple gate and gold gate.
Red gate: This is the family entrance and Santa Land and is accessible from Bond Street, Paddington, Edgware Road, Marble Arch and Oxford Circus.
Blue gate: This is the closet entrance for the ice rink and is accessible from Victoria, Green Park and Hyde Park Corner.
Green gate: This is the closest entrance for the Bavarian Village and is accessible via Knightsbridge and High Street Kensington.
Purple gate: This is a pre-booked ticket entrance and accessible via Marble Arch.
Gold gate: This is accessible via Marble Arch.
TIP: Hyde Park Corner tube station gets very busy, especially at weekends, so use one of the other tube stations mentioned for a more comfortable journey.
If you want to travel by bus:
North: 6, 7, 16, 19, 23, 36, 52, 73, 82, 98, 113, 274, 390, 414, C2
South: 2, 19, 36, 137, 148, 159, 436
East: 30, 38, 274
West: 9, 14, 19, 22, 23, 52, 74, 94, 148, 414
Located around the park’s Victorian bandstand under a canopy of lights, the outdoor ice rink is the largest in the UK.
The session times run every hour, on the hour, between 10:00am – 9.00pm. Each session lasts around 50 mins.
It’s advised to arrive 20 minutes before your booked session.
Cost: An adult off peak ticket costs £9.50 (child is £7.50) while a peak ticket costs £15.50 (a child ticket costs £10.50). A standard ticket costs £14.50 and £9.50 for a child ticket.
Food glorious food
Winter Wonderland has a wide variety of food offerings – from eating on the go to a sit down meal. Drinking water is available at all bars, so you can take your own empty bottle to refill.
The Bavarian village offers rustic charm and chalets, outdoor seating, bars, cafes and restaurants. Chomp on a tasty Bratwurst, or dine on traditional dishes, washed down with German beers.
Meanwhile, food stalls sell everything from pies to gourmet burgers that can be enjoyed by the Fire Pit.
Stalls like Bad Brownie, E8 Fish, Makatcha and Fannys offer gluten free and vegetarian food.
Take a leisurely stroll around the market’s 200+ stalls that feature everything from handmade crafts to luxury gifts.
The fairy-lit huts sell sweets like bonbons, Christmas decorations, homemade jams, delectable treats, jewellery and accessories.
TIP: There’s an official Hyde Park Winter Wonderland app, updated for 2019, which has all the information you need for a visit and where you can buy tickets. Click here for the app.
Checking out C & J.