Winter Wonderland or Wonder-lost?

Christmas is fast approaching and events are starting to spring up all over the place. Hyde Parks’ Winter Wonderland has opened its doors once again but is it as magical as you’re lead to believe?

Set in the majestic backdrop of one of London’s Royal Parks the Winter Wonderland experience returns year on year, bringing an assortment of festive activities to entice you into the park.

Entry to the park is free, however, everything you’ll find once inside is far from it. Food is overpriced and inadequately portioned to supress your appetite. Most of the experiences can be found elsewhere, for better value. An example of this is, Ice Skating, at Winter Wonderland it will set a student back £13.50, compared to £9 for Ice Skating at the Castle in Norwich. Of course, at Norwich you also wont have the travel costs and can enjoy the local sights, such as the illuminations and local eateries galore.

Alternatives to trekking all the way to the Capital for a Christmassy experience are easy to find, with North Norfolk’s seaside town Cromer being highly rated for shopping during the festive period. Even closer, Norwich BID have put together another incredible display of Christmas lights for us to enjoy in this Fine City, with an award-winning Tunnel of Light as its centrepiece! At 45 metres, long, it comprises of 50,000 pulsating LEDs, it is certainly a spectacle not to be missed!

Some students have previously been drawn in by the promise of wonder and amazement. Emma Kurton said: “I’ve been to Winter Wonderland a few times, the atmosphere is great, but it is overrated and overpriced”, this has been echoed by many. Winter Wonderland claim to have over 400 stalls in their Christmas Market, but honestly once you’ve seen 10 of them, you’ve seen them all. You’ll be hard pressed to find anything truly original or even on some stalls anything Christmassy, there is of course a funfair where you can exchange money for tokens for overpriced rides and play games for the chance to take home a stuffed animal.

So, if you happen to find yourself in London sometime between now and January the 1st it may be worth strolling around Hyde Park and soaking up the festive atmosphere of the Wonderland however I would urge you not to plan a trip based around this alone.


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Roo Pitt