4 alternatives to Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

23rd November 2017

Christmas header
The annual Christmas bonanza that is Winter Wonderland in London’s Hyde Park draws huge swathes of people from all over the world. Roughly 2.5 million people attended in 2015 according to Campaign, so it’s certainly popular, but is it worthy of the hype? The entrance to the park is free but if you fancy a lap around the ice rink (£15.50 per adult at peak times), a trip on the Observation Wheel (£24 for a family) or Zippo’s Christmas Circus for up to £46 for a family at peak times, the costs mount up considerably. If you’re put off at the prospect of giant crowds and inflated prices, we have four alternatives to get your festive fix without splashing the cash.   


The Southbank Centre Wintertime market

10th November 2017 to 4th January 2018

For those Londoners not wanting to stray too far afield, there are plenty of options within the city limits. The Southbank Centre Christmas market at the Royal Festival Hall has lots to offer for both adults and children. There’s a wide array of Christmas gifts for last minute Christmas shopping, and mulled wine available from a cosy bar. If you’re feeling especially indulgent, there’s a Finnish rooftop sauna to beat the winter chill. To top it all off you have the magical view along the Thames for the ultimate festive feeling.  

Winterville Clapham Common

23rd November - 1st January 2018

Self-proclaimed as ‘London’s alternative festive experience’, Winterville is certainly throwing down the gauntlet by taking on the Hyde Park behemoth.  But how does it compare? Well, firstly it doesn’t draw nearly as enormous a crowd as Hyde Park and was described by one Time Out reviewer as ‘not disgustingly crowded’, so that’s definitely a plus! It has plenty of activities for both adults and children including an ice rink and a roller disco. It has ‘Plonk Golf’ - an indoor golf course made from a converted Dodgems track, where you can round off a round with a round of plonk. And there’s a lot of evening entertainment with live performances from the likes of bands called ‘Old Dirty Brasstards’.

For the kids there’s a family rave in ‘Big Fish Little Fish’ where famous DJs play dance music for you and the family to dance along to. There’s the ‘Little Birds Kids Quarter’ where children can spend the afternoon learning circus skills for future party tricks, make Christmas decorations and glitter tattoos for the hipster kids. And best of all, it’s absolutely free!  Take that, Winter Wonderland.

Christmas in Leicester Square

Open now until 8th January 2018

Slap bang in the middle of London, you can see the West End as you’ve never seen it before (unless you went last year) to Christmas in Leicester Square, where there are 25 Bavarian-style wooden food, drink and gift stalls. They have mulled wine which is always a plus, and lots of wooden hand-crafted toys for an eco-friendly gift alternative to plastic toys. Once your last-minute shopping is sorted, take the kids to Santa’s Grotto to hear a Christmas story being read aloud, followed by a photo op with the man himself.

Entry to the market is free, but there are lots of ticketed events including Santa’s Grotto (tickets from £10.50), and big ticket performances from the likes of Barbra Streisand and the comedian Al Murray.


Greenwich Market At Christmas

27th November - 24th December 2017

Last but not least, in one of the most beautiful parts of London there is the ‘Greenwich Market At Christmas’, which boasts a market jam-packed full of gift ideas with 150 stalls, and a ‘Greenwich Lantern Procession’ for children taking place on 22nd November which winds through all of the major Greenwich attractions including the Cutty Sark and the Old Royal Navy College. If you’re concerned that a winter market isn’t complete without risking an injury on an ice rink, you’re in luck! There is an ice rink at the Greenwich Wintertime Festival at the Old Royal Naval College which takes place from 1st - 31st December.

There are plenty of places to get your Christmas fill in London if you can’t face the huge crowds at Hyde Park, and you could potentially make some reasonable savings by attending other events. To save even more money, if you’re not from London, book your train in advance and be sure to check for deals on group travel as well as booking travel passes to save on London travel.