Hyde Park Winter Wonderland 2015

Sunday 20 December 2015

I think I first heard about Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park was when I was in sixth-form, a few of my friends went and said it was amazing, but I didn't know what the fuss was about. Then I never gave it a second thought. Tim and I got together in October, and our first proper weekend away was to Bristol in November, and at the time they had a Christmas Market. It was then that we decided that we would make our Christmas Market visits a yearly event. Last year we went back to Bristol, however this year we forgot about it, right up until a few weeks ago. My mind was turned back to Winter Wonderland when I realised that they had Christmas Markets there, I knew we had to visit. When I actually got around to looking into it, I realised how much they had to do there and knew that we had to go. We decided to pre-book tickets for three events, The Magical Ice Kingdom, Ice Bar, and also Zippo's Christmas Circus. Originally I had wanted to go ice skating however Tim wasn't too keen on that.

So on Friday we got up earlier than we would have liked, after having a terrible nights sleep, and got ourselves onto a train up to London. Arriving at Green park we made what we thought would be a short walk, but was actually a fair trek, and finally arrived! Our first order of business was to find the lay of the land so we knew where we needed to be for our events, for which we were given specific time slots. This proved to be trickier than you would think, considering all of the maps they had around, only one had a 'you are here' mark on it, and the maps had a ridiculous scale that made no sense. Eventually we found the place for our first event, The Magical Ice Kingdom.

Before entering the staff were encouraging us to wrap up warm before entering, I thought it couldn't possibly be that cold, however as soon as I walked through the door I was hit by the cold. It was so cold in there that I could see my breath in front of my face. Which is obvious when you think about it, because these beautiful sculptures need to be cold enough to not melt. These sculptures were so beautiful, I had never seen an ice sculpture up close before and was amazed with the amount of detail that is in them. The lighting made them glisten beautifully and it made everything so wintry and cold, it was just perfect. I could have stayed in there all day, well if it wasn't for the cold... After that we had a short time to warm up before heading into another chilly area, Bar ice.

Our tickets for Bar ice allowed us one drink and there were a selection of Christmas themed cocktails that you could have served either with or without alcohol. I obviously chose the non-alcoholic version of my cocktail which was red berry flavoured, and very sweet. As Tim wasn't driving he went for an alcoholic cocktail which had Bailey's in it, he very much enjoyed it. In the bar we got to sit on benches made of ice, which were freezing cold and made my jeans soaking wet! Unfortunately due to this we only stayed a short while, but it was still enjoyable and an experience I will definitely remember.

After the Ice bar we had a couple of hours before the circus, so we went and had some lunch and had a look around the Christmas markets. There were so many interesting stalls, from cute Christmas ornaments, and candles to all kinds of hand made jewellery. Tim and I knew that we still needed to buy a gift for his nan, and we settled on some beautifully crafted candles that were brightly coloured and interesting shapes. It was honestly so hard not to buy all of the things that I wanted, especially as I hadn't seen a lot of them before, but I was very restrained. I wasn't restrained however with what I ate, there were too many good choices and Tim and I ended up sampling pancakes and churros. Trust me I would have eaten more, but we ran out of cash and the food vendors didn't take card, much to my despair.

Finally we visited the circus, something which I haven't done since I was a child. Zippo's Christmas Circus was placed right in the heart of Winter Wonderland. The circus is always silly, and it definitely put me in touch with my childhood, the clowns were down right ridiculous, and the jokes were criminal. The stunts however were really good, there was one in particular where the acrobat almost tripped and fell from a great height, and it definitely wasn't faked, it was really scary! Overall though it was a fun show, not something I would go to again if I didn't have children to take with me.

I would urge any of you that haven't yet visited Winter Wonderland to consider going, it made for a very good day out, and it definitely got me into the Christmas spirit. I was distinctly lacking in the spirit department, but since Friday I have already planned plenty of Christmas activities to get me more in the mood!

Have you ever visited a Winter Wonderland, if so what did you get up to?
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