I am lucky enough to work in an office just a stone’s throw from Hyde Park, which is currently being taken over by Christmas. Winter Wonderland descends on the park every year, trampling down the otherwise pristine grass with helter-skelters, rollercoasters, Bavarian bars and food stalls. It’s a completely different experience in the day compared to the evening, so I decided to do both and tell you all about it.
The Bavarian village is my favourite area. It’s a collection of bars in alpine huts with abundant wooden tables. I’m told that the German beers are excellent, though I opted for a polystyrene cup of mulled wine instead. We happened upon a huge marquee with an elderly German gentleman on the stage entertaining everyone with his voice, which left rather a lot to be desired, but everyone drinking from their Steins thought it was amazing. It was one of those moments which happen most frequently when I’m abroad surrounded by a foreign culture; it was completely bizarre. It was packed, rowdy, and hundreds of people were holding their flagons of ale up to the sky and chanting. Surreal, but amazing.
While there are a lot of food stall around the gigantic market, there aren’t actually many options available. If you’re in the mood for hot dogs and crepes, then you’re in luck. We also saw Christmas dinner sandwiches, burgers and pizza. There are loads of sweet treats, too. We shared some gorgeous fresh doughnuts from a little stall. The only issue with so many places selling the same food is that when you walk around the next corner you’re almost guaranteed to find someone selling the same thing for less, as we did, but the doughnuts were so good that we didn’t mind.
While I’m a ride addict when it comes to Disney and theme parks, I’ve had a fear of portable fun fairs since I was little. My mum instilled a distrust of them in me, and I still carry it today. Luckily I’m not missing out on much, as most of the rides at Winter Wonderland are the type that spin round in endless circles. Since the one ride at Disney I won’t go on is the spinning teacups, it’s not really my style. If you do love fair ground rides, then you will adore the ones here. They’re bigger and better than any others I’ve ever seen in the UK.
When I got back home after an evening of Christmas fun at Winter Wonderland, my hair smelled of campfires as we stood next to one to warm up while eating hotdogs, and the faint tickle of mulled wine was still in the back of my throat. All in all, it was a chilly but lovely way to spend a December evening.
Have you been to a Christmas market this year? Which is your favourite one in the world?