Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

in a nutshell

This is the mother of all London’s Christmas markets; it’s been feeding freezing visitors hot drinks and festive meals for a decade now. Naturally, it’s gradually grown in size and scope over the years, but although crowds throng here, it still hasn’t lost any of its charm. There’s enough on offer to satisfy people of all tastes and ages, with a huge array of food and drink, as well as thrills in the form of good quality funfair rides, circus shows and ice skating. But beware, once you’ve been on a ride, skated, had some food, done some gift-shopping and bought a drink, your wallet will be considerably lighter!

about the market

2017 marks Winter Wonderland’s 10th anniversary, so this year’s event is particularly special. There are three new attractions to celebrate – the Nutcracker On Ice (an hour-long show with 4-6 shows a day, tickets from £15.95); The Magical Ice Kingdom (a frozen world made of fantastical sculptures crafted from 500 tonnes of ice and snow, including icebergs, a shipwreck, and the Palace of Polar bears – child prices from £5); and The Sooty Christmas Show (“a spectacular mix of magic, music and mess” – 11am every day £5 per child).

Other attractions on offer for 2017 include:

  • Open-air ice skating with live music from the Victorian bandstand – from £9.50 to £15.50 per adult
  • Two ice bars, with a complimentary cocktail included in the £14-£15 entry fee
  • Zippo’s Christmas Circus (from £8.50 per adult)
  • Cirque Beserk (from £12.50 per adult)
  • Giant Observation Wheel (from £7 per adult)
  • Munich Looping – the world’s largest transportable rollercoaster, on loan from the Oktoberfest!

And that’s not to mention all the funfair rides, bars, restaurants and craft stalls that we’ve come to expect. Food and drink options include The House of St Nicholas – wooden chalets with roaring log fires and a singing moose; the rotating Carousel Bar with DJs till late; The Fire Pit, where you can toast marshmallows with a mulled wine on the side; and many more. And finally, there’s Santa’s Grotto for the tots..

things to do around hyde park

Winter Wonderland takes up a fair slice of lovely Hyde Park, but there’s plenty left to explore. Head to the tranquil Serpentine lake and take in an art show at the Serpentine Gallery, or even watch an evening of film dedicated to Starship Troopers at the Serpentine Cinema.

Walk a little further, and you’ll stumble upon Kensington Palace - perfect for an afternoon of royal-spotting. The ticket price includes access to exhibitions and the gorgeous gardens. You could combine this with a visit to the museums of South Kensington, or head to Knightsbridge to buy some upmarket stocking fillers at Harrods or Harvey Nicks.

A lesser-known gem which is definitely worth exploring on a chilly day is historic Apsley House, which once boasted the address “Number 1, London". The home of the first Duke of Wellington, it has an impressive art collection containing masterworks by Velazquez and Rubens, alongside silver and porcelain treasures.

If you’re after something buzzier, vibrant Shepherd Market, lost in Mayfair’s maze of lanes behind Park Lane and Green Park, has off-the-beaten-track restaurants and bistros, boutique shops and a couple of cosy pubs. Being central London, it’s not cheap, but it does have a little bit of Potter-style magic about it.

With so much to see in central London, why not make a weekend of it? Find great hotels near Hyde Park or discover more exciting activities in London.