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10 unmissable things to do at Winter Wonderland London 2018

Winter Wonderland has taken over London’s Hyde Park for the 12th year running, and it’s bigger and better than ever before. Running until 6 January 2019, it’s open from 10:00 until 22:00 and only closes on Christmas Day. Entry into Winter Wonderland is free and you don’t need a ticket, so you can soak up the festive atmosphere and browse the Christmas markets without spending a penny. You will need a ticket for most of the shows and attractions, though, so they’re well worth booking in advance on the official site. You’ll also need tokens to go on the rides, and you can buy these from the various booths inside. Here’s our guide to the top 10 things to do while you’re there, including lots of things that are new for 2018.

1. Walk through The Magical Ice Kingdom

The Magical Ice Kingdom is a walk-through attraction made from more than 500 tonnes of ice and snow. This year sees the theme change to The Secret Forest where you'll be transported to a forest to discover magical and mythical creatures. It takes about 30 minutes to walk through, and you’ll choose a time slot when you book. Also make sure you pack your winter coat, hats and gloves as the temperature will hit a chilly -10 degrees.

2. Go ice skating under the stars

The open air ice rink at Winter Wonderland is the largest in the UK, and set around the park’s Victorian bandstand. Live bands play there in the day, and the whole thing is lit up by fairy lights at night, so you’re guaranteed a really festive experience. You’ll need to pre-book a slot and make sure you arrive early to get kitted out with skates, which are included with your ticket.

3. Shop at the Christmas market

Hundreds of Bavarian-style wooden chalets make up the Christmas market at Winter Wonderland, and you don’t need a ticket to browse. As well as things like traditional Christmas decorations and posh foodie gifts, there are lots of food and drink stalls to keep your energy up.

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4. Brave the world’s biggest travelling rollercoaster

Munich Looping is the largest mobile coaster on the planet, and definitely one for the brave. Although you may recognise it from Germany’s Oktoberfest, it’s the second time the ride has made it to the UK. You can buy tokens for this and other rides at various booths inside Winter Wonderland, or use the contactless payment option, Tap & Ride. And brand new for 2018, you can get your hands on a Coaster Pass which you can pre-load to use again and again during the 45 days Winter Wonderland is open!

5. See Peter Pan on Ice

Once you’ve tested your mettle on the ice rink, head over to see how the professionals do it. The Imperial Ice Stars cast is made up of Olympic and World Championship skaters who put a new spin on Peter Pan in a 1-hour pre-bookable show. And the kids won't want to miss the new Snowman Experience, which will allow you to feel like you're flying with The Snowman. See the classic story in a whole new way! For something more suited to the little ones, head to the Teletubbies Christmas Show which is on at 11:00 every day. 

6. Sip a cocktail at Bar Ice

Pretty much everything in this bar is made of ice – from the walls to the cocktail glasses – so it’s about as close as you’ll get to the Arctic without actually going there. Luckily the pre-bookable tickets include a warm cloak and gloves, plus your first cocktail. And as slots only last 20 minutes, there’s no time to catch a chill. 

7. Visit Santa in his grotto

Make sure you head over to Santa Land if you’re visiting Winter Wonderland with children. Father Christmas is here from 10:00 until 18:00 most days with a gift for every child who pops in. Visits are free and it’s run on a first-come, first-served basis. There are lots of child-friendly rides here too, so remember to buy some tokens.

8. Ride the Giant Observation Wheel

Head 60 metres above Hyde Park on the giant wheel and you’ll get some great birds-eye views of London, not to mention some amazing photographs. The ‘flight’ takes about 15 minutes, and you can book a private pod if you don’t want to share.

9. Watch a circus show

Zippos Christmas Circus is a traditional mix of clowns, jugglers and aerialists. At 45 minutes, it’s perfect for families. The show is more of a Cirque du Soleil-type affair, with daredevil acts and you can snuggle up from the cold in the heated tent enjoying candy floss, popcorn and even a marshmallow-topped hot chocolate.

10. Karaoke and cocktails

Bar Hütte is a great place to gather your friends and family for a bit of karaoke and cocktails. You'll find a unique take on 'Alpine Après Ski' here and you can huddle up in your own private hütte where you will be served food and drinks by one of the hosts. Every hut has its own karaoke machine so you can sing-a-long to all your favourite Christmas classics. You can book one-hour slots for up to 10 people between 10am and 9pm, so be sure to book early!

Hurry – book your megabus tickets to London before it’s too late.