Winter Wonderland

At this time of the year you don’t need to travel far and wide to experience some holiday fun.  Cities all over the world put on various festive treats for everyone to enjoy.

My home city of London hosts Winter Wonderland, a huge German Christmas market and funfair taking up a fair chunk of one corner of Hyde Park near Marble Arch.

Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, London

The small, almost inconspicuous entrance belies the size that Winter Wonderland has now grown into.

I guess we are all guilty of not exploring our own doorsteps enough and that is certainly true of my relationship with London.  I know countless other cities around the world better than I do my own home city and that is something I am going to have to work on.

One thing that has remained constant over the past 10 years has been a trip to Winter Wonderland.  It doesn’t feel like Christmas to me until I have had my yearly fix of some of the largest travelling rides in the world, mulled wine and german beer then back on some more rides.

Over the years I have seen the event grow.  Rides have come and gone, replaced by bigger and better versions.  The layout gradually changes every year to accommodate the influx of thousands of visitors the event now attracts.

This year the whole thing shifted over from previous years.  Walkways are larger making it easier to get around.  This is it’s 10th anniversary year and the organisers have celebrated by bringing over the largest transportable roller coaster from the celebrated German markets.  With a slight name change from its original name of  Olympia Looping, Munich Looping is the star of this years event and it doesn’t disappoint.

Munich Looping, Olympia Looping, Winter Wonderland, London

This years big draw, Munich Looping

With 5 loops and more than enough g-force along it’s 90 second circuit, it does not disappoint.

Munich Looping, night, Winter Wonderland, London

The rides come to life at night

It’s not just rollercoasters (although there is an impressive and growing collection every year).  Kids are catered for with Santaland, and pre bookable perennial favourites; the UK’s largest outdoor ice rink around the bandstand, the giant observation wheel, the Magical Ice Kingdom created every year with over 500 tonnes of ice, 2 different circus experiences, Zippos Christmas Circus and Cirque Berserk.

Winter Wonderland, Alpen Hotel, London, fun house

One of three epic multi floor fun houses. Fun for all ages not just the kids.

The Bavarian Village caters to more adult centred entertainment with music and and bars in an impressively large marquee.

Bavarian Village, Winter Wonderland

The Bavarian Village this year gets it’s own impressive mascot

inside Bavarian Village, Winter Wonderland, London

This years main tent is slightly smaller than last year but the stage entertainment is as professionally produced as always. Joseph is fast becoming a Christmas tradition.

Totalling 100 rides and attractions ranging from the smallest carnival stalls right up to the largest travelling rollercoasters in the world then throw in the Circus Megadome and the Bavarian Village, Winter Wonderland has come a long way from its start in 2007 with just the ice rink and some Christmas stalls.  There truly is something here for everyone.

Winter Wonderland, ice rink, London

Looking down on the entrance, ice rink and marquee that holds the Magical Ice Kingdom

Where ever you are this festive season, I hope you have a fantastic time with friends and family.  If you are in London you still have time to experience this years Winter Wonderland which is on until 2nd January.  If you aren’t near London why not use this festive break to explore your own home town.

Winter Wonderland illuminated

Another new feature this year is this illuminated walkway between the Bavarian Village and one of the entrances while Blizzard spins it’s fearless riders in the background.

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