Friday, 14 December 2012

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

If you like Fairs and Christmas Markets, then don't miss out on the brilliant Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park this year. Our EDtot spent most of the visit exclaiming "wow!" at all the stalls and lights. Granted her vocabulary isn't huge yet, but it was very sweet to see her so excited. If you're put off by the idea of battling huge crowds then try and head down on a weekday before term ends.

We went in the afternoon which is lovely as you get the full effect of all the lights as the sun goes down. The big bonus was that at 5pm most little kids had left and the evening crowd had not yet arrived so there were only 3 people in the queue to see Santa. This time we decided to stick it out and see the Big Man even though our EDtot was shaking her head before we had even approached him. Cue meltdown when we then sat next to Santa. He was very understanding and sweet and we managed to get a photo of EDtot mid-meltdown leaning as far away as possible from the scary man in red. They have a professional photographer, but you can also take your own picture which I thought was brilliant (especially as the photographer didn't have time to take a shot before we jumped off the chair to calm our traumatised tot).

Although there is lots to see and do all around the park, the main toddler section is Santa Land (which is where Santa is based, funnily enough) and the carousel has handy straps to keep your little one attached to the horse/reindeer whilst you try to scramble up with them. We didn't manage to try the other rides as our EDtot was already cold and tired by the time we made it to Santa Land (next time will head there first and then walk round the rest of the attractions), but the duck boat dodgems looked brilliant. Think bumper cars, but on water and shaped as massive ducks. Fab.

The stalls do tend to repeat as you go round so if you were undecided on the chestnuts or waffles when you first walked by, rest assured there will be plenty more opportunities to buy some during your visit. We had the buggy with us which was fine as the ground is covered either by wooden flooring or, on the main walkways, some clever plastic interlocking pieces of flooring that allow for a mud-free, smooth ride. Next time though, I will just use the sling so that we can both go on rides with EDtot and also try out the Carousel Bar that looked like a fun way to increase the effects of a warming alcoholic beverage!

All in all, a lovely way to spend a chilly December day and I will definitely be heading back before they close in January for a morning visit so that we can see everything in daylight.

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