It’s been a wet and drab December so far – so why not escape the gloom and get into the spirit of the season with the biggest Christmas market/funfair in London? Winter Wonderland, which occupies a huge space at the eastern end of Hyde Park, stretching almost from Marble Arch to Hyde Park Corner.
The organisers have kindly produced a map, which you can see here. It is very much in the style of a theme park map, lots of bright colours and 3D representations of the rides. It certainly gives you a flavour of what is going in at Winter Wonderland, and illustrates just how big it is. Incidentally, the map doesn’t have a north arrow on it, which is particularly naughty as it is not aligned to the north. Instead, eastwards (towards Park Lane) is up. Overall though, we like the map – lots of snowy Christmas trees on a map of London!
Your initial experience of Winter Wonderland will very much depend on which gate you enter from. If you love a snow-themed circus-style set of rides, then the entrances near Marble Arch, to the north, will get you right into the action. However, if you prefer a slightly more refined experience, with wooden Christmas market chalets, a Bavarian Village food court, an outdoor ice rink and a more traditional/less high-octane funfair, then head to the area from the Hyde Park Corner or Knightsbridge tube stations, to the south. Of course, you can walk right through the site from one to the other, but it does get very crowded at evenings/weekends, and the site is huge.
Winter Wonderland is free to get in to (rides/experiences cost, of course) and all traders this year accept contactless payments. It’s open at 10am-10pm every day during the season, and do note there are bag security checks, so it can take a while to get in occasionally. There is an official website of course, and you can download the map from here. There is also an Android Play and Apple App Store app for your smartphone.