A winter weekend – part 1

img_1877After the amazing high of my sister’s wedding 3 weeks ago; the culmination of 16 months of planning, dress fittings, secrets and surprises, things were feeling a little flat in our family. What did we have to look forward to now?!?!

Well…in a word, CHRISTMAS!

This is my absolute favourite kind of year. And thankfully mum and dad had booked in a festive weekend with Tom and me which gave us all something to look forward to in the bleak few weeks in between ‘The Wedding’ and Christmas Day.

And what a super weekend we had. So much so, I’m splitting it into two blog posts – lucky you!

Another reason I was particularly looking forward to this visit was because it was the first time mum and dad would be able to stay in my new flat – a lovely one bed place with just Tom and me. No more awkward stays in a 6 bed house share, with 5 other housemates roaming around, never knowing what state the house would be in or whether they would be drunkenly stumbling through the door at 3am.

So just after 10am on Saturday, I met the parents at our nearest tube and took them back to the flat for a much needed pit stop (they had been up since 5.30am for their 7am train!). Once fed and watered, the three of us headed to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.

img_1774Yes, I know what you’re thinking, “You went to Winter Wonderland on a SATURDAY??? Two weeks before Christmas?!!” Well yes we did and we had a lovely time!

I have lived in London for three Christmases now and this was the first time I’d actually made it to Winter Wonderland. I was slightly nervous as I didn’t really know what to expect. And I didn’t have a backup plan if it was horrendously busy and we wanted to escape. But thankfully it all worked out perfectly, and the time flew by! (If I had one small criticism it would only be that I wish there had been a few more Christmas market stalls).

Exiting the tube at Green Park station and making the short (and well sign posted) walk to Hyde Park, I was amazed at how unstressful the crowds were. Once in, we barely had to queue for anything. We could leisurely browse the Christmas market stalls and see what trinkets and treats they had to offer, we easily got a seat at lunchtime to enjoy our bratwursts, and could wander around the whole place, soaking in the atmosphere and watching open-mouthed the terrifying rides swinging high above us.

So in terms of food and drink, there’s plenty on offer – we probably should have wandered slightly further in to see what else there was, rather than diving straight into the first German place we saw. But three bratwursts and two portions of chips later, we were all pretty happy. (FYI: this came to £23.50. And if you fancy a mulled wine, be prepared to pay £5.50 for one).

We didn’t pre-book tickets for any of the extra attractions on offer, e.g. ice skating, Christmas circus, observation wheel etc. So I can’t comment on any of these but I’m sure they’re all wonderful, and great if you have kids to entertain. But for a festive and leisurely afternoon with the parents, Winter Wonderland makes for a great way to spend a few hours.

img_1784It’s also worth adding that Tom, who had been out for bottomless brunch with all his lad mates, arrived at Winter Wonderland just as we were leaving. In fact, we waved at him while he queued to get in and we walked out. By this point in the afternoon, around 3-3.30pm, things had got a LOT busier. The queue just to get in was way longer than what we had experienced arriving just before lunch, and once inside, things didn’t get much better. I quote:

“It’s absolutely rammed. I can barely breathe. We managed to get into the Bavarian beer hall but it’s now queuing for miles to get in.”

Now, I have to add that Tom LOVES to exaggerate, so I can’t guarantee the accuracy of his statement. But I think it does indicate that going earlier in the day would probably be the better option.

Entrance into Winter Wonderland is FREE! Overall I was really pleased with how the day panned out and would definitely recommend a visit.

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Have you been to Winter Wonderland? Did you love it or hate it? Any recommendations or tips for future visits? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

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