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to not go to Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland thingy.

(38 Posts)
littlegreenlight1 Mon 01-Dec-14 15:25:50

Going to London with my children (10 and 14) before Christmas.
Never done the Winter wonderland thing.
Want to do something christmassy while we are there but not prepared to spend a mad amount and what Ive heard is its not really worth the amount you spend while there. Or is it? How much would you budget for a day out there?
I apologise if this has been done to death - I just cant think what else to do!!

Gawjushun Mon 01-Dec-14 15:34:06

I've heard mixed reviews. Some people said it was amazing, kids loved it, others moaned about food prices and crowding. You could always look at the Southbank centre winter festival or Somerset House ice skating instead. They sound slightly less chaotic.

Summerisle1 Mon 01-Dec-14 15:37:02

Reviews seem very mixed but many of them are negative and certainly it appears to cost a bloody fortune. I suspect there are better things to do in London and the Southbank centre winter festival would be a good alternative.

ReggieJones Mon 01-Dec-14 15:41:57

Theres some fun stuff there but it is VERY busy, difficult to move and hear each other. Not sure if its worth it, theres probably better Christmassy stuff out there tbh.

BeCool Mon 01-Dec-14 15:45:05

my 2 were 2 & 6 last time we went and I kept them on a tight leash and easily spent £40 on (the baby) rides. We didn't buy much food.

It is quite nice though and I'm looking forward to going back. I went after Xmas and it wasn't too crowded though it was a bitterly cold day.

My London Xmas essentials include Trafalgar Square hot choc & see Xmas tree, and seeing the lights, decorations & shop fronts of Oxford St, Carnaby Street, and Knightsbridge.

EdithWeston Mon 01-Dec-14 15:48:03

What sort of things do you like doing?

MNetters might have ideas of Chrisstmassy things that fit.

It might be worth seeing when there are good carol services in interesting places (try the Chelsea Pensioners?)

fairgame Mon 01-Dec-14 15:51:36

I went for the first time ever at the weekend. We live in yorkshire so stayed in London overnight. It is not worth it tbh and i would never go back. Too crowded, too expensive (£4 for DS to go on a fun house that he got trapped on but that's another story!) and we left after we had done the ice kingdom which we pre-booked. I didn't even feel that it was really very christmassy.

ShatnersBassoon Mon 01-Dec-14 15:53:29

We went about 7 years ago, on the Monday before Christmas. It was quiet, but I think that made it lack atmosphere. I didn't enjoy it much (there was nothing different to see), it was nicer just walking round Hyde Park. I've just remembered I saved a girl from choking in a cafe by the Serpentine confused

Covent Garden has a lovely festive feel, especially after dusk.

littlegreenlight1 Mon 01-Dec-14 15:57:44

Cheers guys.
I'm not a Londoner but I am very familiar with London and go a lot. I took my dd a couple of years ago and did carnaby at, south bank etc so think i was along the right lines!
I think we'll give Hyde park a miss, kids are into diff things in terms of rides, ill spend the money on mulled wine hot chocs elsewhere!
Still love to hear ideas. We love love music, saw the London gay men's choir one year in Covent garden, that was amazing!

operaha Mon 01-Dec-14 15:58:35

*live music

SeasonsEatings Mon 01-Dec-14 16:04:53

My friends went on Saturday and said that they were glad that me and my DD (aged 2) hadn't joined them as it was too busy and at times resembled a bad pub crawl.

I would have struggled with pushchairs and crowds apparently,

AuntieMaggie Mon 01-Dec-14 16:09:38

went last year for the first time and was really disappointed - it's like a large German market with an ice rink and rides and some bloke charging money to take photos with his husky dogs (?)

LilyPapps Mon 01-Dec-14 16:15:14

I went on Saturday in the late morning with my toddler, not as a special excursion, but because we were staying nearby and on our way to his favourite Princess Diana playground - it was busy, but not unpleasantly so, and I only spent £10 on a ride and some lunch. He liked just looking - the polar bears, people falling over on the rink, the lights, the talking tree - and climbing on an old sleigh, but I can see how costs would mount up with more than one child.

It was another matter as we passed it on the way back, at about 5pm - then the crowds trying to get in from the Marble Arch entrance were frighteningly dense, and I would no more have taken a 2.8 year old in a pushchair in there than I would have thrown him off a cliff.

So, my verdict is that it's pleasant enough early in the day with a child who doesn't need to go on every ride and who has a small appetite, but feel free to skip what is essentially an expensive fairground-cum-Christmas market.

NanFlanders Mon 01-Dec-14 16:22:39

I've been. And although it was a nice day out, it did cost an absolute fortune (four quid for one candy floss and I had four kids with me!). Have had an equally nice pre-Christmas day out with them visiting Hamley's, followed by a meal at Spaghetti House. THere is also 'Santa versus the Snowman' at the IMAX theatre at the Science Museum, Somerset House ice-skating.

scaevola Mon 01-Dec-14 16:26:19

Lots of ideas on the Time Out Christmas page

Andrewofgg Mon 01-Dec-14 16:31:17

Please leave Hydr Park for individual or family but in any case unorganised enjoyment. Stay away from events like this,

Redling Mon 01-Dec-14 16:34:39

There is a large Christmas Market outside the Tate Modern, but no rides etc just market. There was nothing opposite the SB centre this year, or at least wasn't on Saturday and we'd walked down there.

Chandon Mon 01-Dec-14 16:35:03

My 12 year old remembers very fondly going yup the London eye last year in November, followed by a walk on the Southank to Tower Bridge, looking at all street performers and stalls on the way, and buying a wooden crossbow. Then ht HMS Belfast (I think? old warship)

It was a really nice day out, saw a fair bit of London, and enjoyed ourselves.

LilyPapps Mon 01-Dec-14 16:36:58

Reddling, the market by Tate Modern this year is instead of the one that used to be further along the South Bank, I believe.

MrsE Mon 01-Dec-14 16:40:13

I went last week with work. Although it's free to get in everything else is really expensive - think �4.50 for a coffee. The rides were just as expensive and there are stalls everywhere is large cuddly toys which will no doubt catch a small childs eye for them to have. Personally, i thought it was a rip off and cewrtainly wouldn't go again

tshirtsuntan Mon 01-Dec-14 16:57:09

Ice skating at the natural history museum at dusk is very atmospheric, if you can travel east a bit Victoria park in hackney is having a winter wonderland which may be a bit quieter.

tshirtsuntan Mon 01-Dec-14 17:00:08

Borough market gets very christmassy and can be combined with Tate modern/walk along the river?

Blu Mon 01-Dec-14 17:12:48

The Time Out link is good.
Vauxhall Pleasure gardens has an ice rink and a Christmas tree maze, craft stalls, food stalls etc. The maze is £ Skating is £10.80 for adults, 7.65 kids, incl skates.

Tapewormuprisings Mon 01-Dec-14 17:14:25

My 7 yo (and i!) thought it was awful. Totally cheerless, wet, muddy, expensive, tacky. I really hated it! We bought £15 worth of rides vouchers which were gone very quickly (He went on about 3).

It didn't feel very christmassy at all!

Quangle Mon 01-Dec-14 17:22:20

It's basically a fairground but a joyless, overpriced one. I would wait till your local fair comes round and get on the dodgems there for £1 instead of £7 or whatever stupid price it is at WW. If you want something Christmassy, lots of the xmas lights are fab and the shop windows. Selfridges a bit disappointing this year but a little wander round Cov Gard or Bond St (lights are beautiful) and then a hot choc (possibly in Fortnums which is always Xmassy - expensive but if you're not spending loads on Winter Wonderland you could probably get away with it).

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