SM Dad writer: “The last time I went to Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland was four years ago. It was a bit much TBH; I was a new Dad with a baby in the buggy, there was genuine London grey snow melting on the ground and seemingly everything that could have been festive was adorned with Minions. It was so packed that I could hardly move, let alone get to the front of the queue to get a beer.
I was amazed – on returning last weekend – this time with three kids (one in the Ergobaby, one walking, one blagging a lift on my shoulders) by how much it had changed since my last visit. Maybe it was the pleasant hazy Winter sun or the fact that (at 10.30am) the crowds weren’t at capacity. Maybe it was that (apart from signage everywhere warning of pickpockets) the spirit of Xmas was represented by gingerbread houses, polar bears and elves (rather than those yellow chaps).
My kids and I watched the Zippos Circus show in the Mega Dome on site. Eldest child’s eyes light up with delight when he spotted the Slush Puppies, middle child spent the first ten minutes of the show shovelling the popcorn into his mouth double-fisted. But both of them were giving the performers standing ovations once it got going; the quality really was faultless (unlike the local circus they had seen a few months back) and (spoiler alert) the dancing bears were AWESOME.
The problem we often have at funfairs is that the kids are too small to go on most of the rides and we struggle to find anything to actually spend the tokens on. At Hyde Park Winter Wonderland I was impressed that there actually were a couple of rides for tots that are free; plus plenty that 5-year-olds can go on alone (whilst Daddy has a gluhwein!)
My tips would be: take a rucksack style changing bag (damn those pickpockets!), pre-empt the tantrums by suggesting you walk ’round the funfair first and choose which rides to go on (then stick to your guns), get involved with the hot dogs (one whole one fed three kids) and finally wrap up really warm (it does get really cold).”
Entry is free but click here to book tickets for the shows or ice skating.