Winter Wonderland Hyde Park LondonA very modern German type Christmas carnival which has all kinds of traditional gifts, food, attractions and the regular carnival things you would expect at a county fair in the USA. Since it was England though, you could walk around with your Gluewein.
It seemed silly, entertaining, and an interesting thing to see in London. I had purchased evening timed-entrance tickets and pre-purchased the big Ferris wheel plus the ice palace and some Gluewein (mulled and reduced wine that is a German Christmas treat) with a Weissewurst. Redeeming the prepaid food and drinks was a bit of a challenge, but was glass smooth for everything else.
The Arrival - WalkingI was staying at the Hilton Park Lane, which is just across the street from Hyde Park where they hold the Winter Wonderland, so I was able to take the pedestrian subway literally in the car arrival lane from the hotel. The closest entrance had a line of over 100 people waiting to get in and they said "Go to the next one" which was a long walk through the park. The line was insane there too. This is a very popular event.
The WonderlandIt is split into somewhat distinct sections, like the food and drinks (alcoholic) section, the rides section and the market section. The rides were all over and the paths to traverse the event were quite circuitous to get from one spot to another. First things first - the Ice Palace because it also was timed with a small window of entry. It's a super frozen large enclosed area of really well done ice carvings telling a fairytale of olden days (which given the temps didn't break freezing while I was in London, this was hilarious).
Then it was time for wandering. The rides are pretty nutz. Germans seem to love funhouses too and those were in high representation here. Plus some... well lots of cultural fusion.
More wintery themesSo I am pretty sure the origin of these carnivals was the Christmas Market, and they had a huge one here. So many things, some trashy, most really old world classical. You could spend a long time just walking these (but there are also about 20 of them around London too, so there seems to be a challenge on marketing and having to pay to see this one I am thinking).
SummaryA very quirky and entertaining diversion from the overall formality of London, celebrating the German aspects of modern Christmas as we know it (they kinda invented a lot of the traditions we utilize). If you buy enough add-on tickets, the price to get in is free, and apparently in the earlier day it's free to get in too but I didn't test that.
Easy way to kill a few hours and relax a little. It is very much for families and younger crowds, but Rob isn't a grinch, and I enjoyed it for what it was.