If you're already feeling festive, you might be starting to think about Christmas events and activities you can go to over the Christmas period. One of those events might be the famous Winter Wonderland in London – and we can't say we'd blame you: this Christmas attraction is just about as festive as it gets! With twinkly lights and the smell of mulled wine in the air, Winter Wonderland is one festivity that truly transforms London into a world-renowned Christmas destination.
Read our guide to find out everything you need to know about Winter Wonderland and other festive events you can attend around the UK this Christmas.
Where is Winter Wonderland London?
London's Winter Wonderland is located in Hyde Park in the borough of Westminster. The park spans over 340 acres of green space and is transformed into a wintry paradise for Winter Wonderland.
How to get to Winter Wonderland
Travelling to Hyde Park is easiest when you go via public transport. There are several Tube stops nearby, including Victoria, Bond Street, Green Park, Paddington, Knightsbridge, Marble Arch and Hyde Park Corner. Each of these tube stations is within short walking distance of Winter Wonderland, making it a quick journey from wherever you are in London.
If you're planning to arrive into London from elsewhere in the UK, Avanti's journey planner can help you determine the best, quickest and cheapest route for your travels. Our London-bound trains terminate at London Euston, which is both central and convenient for accessing any of the Tube stations mentioned above.
When travelling to any destination over Christmas, trains can be extremely busy. It’s always a good idea to try and book off-peak tickets where possible to avoid overcrowding. You should also keep up to date with the latest journey information to ensure you’re aware of any possible disruptions to your journey. You can do this with the Avanti West Coast app
When is Winter Wonderland?
London's Winter Wonderland is accessible over 6 weeks, usually between mid-November and the start of the new year. This year, the event runs from 17 November 2023 to 1 January 2024.
How to get tickets for Winter Wonderland
As you'd expect, Winter Wonderland is an extremely popular attraction for both London residents and people visiting from all over the country, which means buying tickets in advance is essential. Plus, since the COVID-19 pandemic, the organisers have made it compulsory for all guests to have pre-booked.
Tickets are free if you're visiting during off-peak periods but you'll still need to book a ticket for the date and time slot you intend to visit. For those arriving during peak times, ticket prices cost either £5 or £7.50, depending on the time and date you choose. You can buy tickets online from the official Winter Wonderland website.
Things to do at Winter Wonderland
There is no shortage of things to do at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. In fact, you might not even be able to fit it all in… With everything from ice-themed attractions and circus shows to funfair rides, trade stalls and, of course, a visit to Father Christmas, you're sure to find something to impress your entire group — just be sure to arrive with enough to time to see everything on your wishlist.
Winter Wonderland is home to the UK's largest open-air ice rink, enabling you to glide into the festive season with some Christmas-themed ice skating under the canopy of twinkling Christmas lights. From here, you can move onto some of the other frosty attractions including an ice slide, an ice bar and the Magical Ice Kingdom complete with 500 tonnes of sculptured ice and snow.
When you're all iced-out, grab a break on the giant wheel as you take in the sights of London's epic skyline from 70 metres high in the air.
Zippo's Christmas Circus
Then, when you're ready to see a bit more, head to Zippo's Christmas Circus and experience aerial acrobatic skills by the crew's world-class performers. If you're in the circus mood, Cirque Berserk is a fast-paced show that's not for the faint-hearted – think high-energy thrills and plenty of adrenaline.
Funfair rides and rollercoasters
Speaking of adrenaline, if you're a lover of theme parks and fairground rides, Winter Wonderland is going to blow your mind. Featuring over 100 rides and attractions from all over Europe, you're bound to find something you've never experienced before, whether it's the sky-high rollercoasters, stomach-churning drop towers, old-fashioned fun houses or the family-favourite Christmas Tree ride.
For those travelling with family, Winter Wonderland is extremely family-friendly, with an entire area known as Santaland dedicated to the kids. This magical place has plenty of things for the children to get involved with, from fun rides and festive eateries to a train that takes you on a scenic trip around the heart of Santaland. And no trip to Santaland would be complete without a visit to see Father Christmas in his grotto!
Winter Wonderland’s Christmas markets.
The European festive feel is not a forgotten element here, with over 100 traditional wooden chalets tempting you with unique gifts, stalls of handmade goods and delicious treats. If it's food and drinks you're after, the Street Food Village and Bavarian Village are the ideal places for unwinding, having fun and tasting the culinary delights on offer.
How long do you need at Winter Wonderland Hyde Park?
With so much to see and do at Winter Wonderland, it's difficult to say exactly how long you'll need. Most people spend at least five hours here, but many are known to spend the entire day and night. With the attraction open from 10am to 10pm, you could really make a full day of it. And while you have to book a time slot for your ticket, there is no time limit in terms of how long you can spend inside. So if you get there early, you've got all day to explore.
When is the best time to go to Winter Wonderland?
Any time during the opening period is a great time to visit Winter Wonderland, but the closer it gets to Christmas Day, the more festive you will feel. Of course, weekends and evenings tend to be the busiest times. So if you're not a fan of queuing or being in amongst large crowds, it might be best to visit on a weekday.
Can I bring my own food to Winter Wonderland?
Yes, you can take your own food into Winter Wonderland. However, by the time you've smelled the unmistakable waft of mulled wine and flame-grilled bratwurst, you might not want to tuck into your picnic!
Alternative Christmas events around London
While Winter Wonderland might be a major attraction at Christmastime in the capital, there are plenty of other festive activities and things to do to get you in the Christmassy mood. Here are some of our top picks we think you’ll find en-lightening.
Christmas at Kew
Is there anything more festive than bright lights on a cold winter's evening? If you're heading to London this winter, you can take in some Christmas magic at the family-friendly botanical world of Kew Gardens. Christmas at Kew Gardens is a popular event, decorated with luminescent lakeside reflections, vibrant tunnels of glowing lights, and trees covered in multicoloured illuminations. The event always has limited availability, so be sure to book an entry ticket beforehand.
For more information about Christmas at Kew and how to get there by train, visit our dedicated page.
Christmas light switch-ons
Christmas just isn't complete without seeing Christmas lights get switched on. No matter where you are in the country, you're never far from a switch-on, so be sure to check out events in your local area. If you're in London for Winter Wonderland or some Christmas shopping, be sure to check out London's offering of lights in Covent Garden, Regent Street, Southbank and the iconic Oxford Street.
Wherever you choose to visit this Christmas, ensure you've booked your rail travel in advance to make the most of early-booking savings.
Most cities and large towns in the UK now have a Christmas market that follows a familiar theme: wooden chalets, a continental feel, international stallholders, hot food, mulled wine, and hundreds of gift and decoration ideas. But London being the city that it is, there can't be just one such market, and each one has its own unique features that make it a favourite for its visitors.
Some of the best markets that are all easily accessible from London Euston include Leicester Square, Southbank, Covent Garden, and Borough Market.
To find out more about Christmas markets in London and how to get there by train, visit our dedicated page.