On Saturday, we went to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, London. It is something I have wanted to do for years. Last year would have been ideal, but we had visited Florida instead so funds were a little tight, so this year, we were tide to weekends. We decided to go earlier in the festive season to try to avoid some of the queues. We spent the morning doing the usual tourist thing and showing the girls the sights.
We had booked tickets for the ice kingdom at 3pm, so we headed for the Wonderland for 2pm. It was very well sign posted from marble arch, and took us direct to the entrance, where we were greeted by lots of stewards.
We made our way to the ice kingdom and as the line was HUGE, we decided to queue straight away, after 10 minutes of queuing we came across a steward, and as we started queuing 5 minutes before the 15minutes allotted time, we were kicked out, and told to re-join the end.... we were not impressed.... where and when were we told when we could queue?? We eventually made it inside, and it was magical, and will have its own blog piece in time. After coming out, we warmed up with a hot chocolate, cream and a flake. The stall were impressive, and gave the girls smaller servings but in larger cups to stop spillages,(cheaper price) and even provided straws for them, which took a lot of stress away, as S is messy still when it comes to drinking out of real cups!
Due to the mess around with the ice kingdom queue, we decided to start queuing for the big wheel which we also pre-booked almost straight away, and thought it was ideal timing as the sun as starting to set. When we started queuing, they decided to split the queue between people who pre-paid and those who bought coupons on the day.... the coupons on the day got through quicker.... we were not impressed. However, we didn't let it spoil our time.
Whilst queuing, I realised how high it actually was.... im petrified of heights, and almost chickened out.... but glad I didn't, as it moved so slow, you didn't realise how high you were.
We were lucky enough to have our own pod. Once inside we could choose what we wanted on the speakers, commentary about what we were seeing or Christmas music, we chose Christmas music. As we started to rise up, we realised just how busy the park was becoming, and decided against exploring the winter wonderland anymore. The crowds were spectacular, and was more interesting to see rather then the view of London we had.
They had shut the gates and the queue stretched back right to the entrance of Hyde park from marble Arch.
So when we departed the big wheel, we also departed the wonderland. We enjoyed the parts we bought tickets for, but due to how busy it was we couldn't take in the atmosphere with two small children, large groups gathering drinking, and the hustle and bustle of being pushed along.
We made it back to marble arch, but they just shut the tube station on us due to congestion, which meant we then had to battle the crowds of Oxford Road to get to the next tube station. To start with I thought "great" I get to do the lights too, like I wanted. That thought soon changed to dread. It was near impossible to walk anywhere, we decided to cross the road, where it was a little easier, but still shoulder to shoulder, but it was moving, until we passed a bus stop. S soon got put on my hip as it was too dangerous for her to walk as people couldn't see her. We started panicking due to our train home being in 2 hours, as we heard as we were passing Bond Street that they had shut the station that we were heading for.
We started to change our tact, and crossed the road again to check out the bus stops. We eventually found the stop we needed, and the queue put us off again, so we carried on. It seriously was the worst hour of our lives. We have never experienced crowds like it before. The Christmas lights weren't even that special compared to others I have seen, so I couldn't understand it. I never managed to get any pictures, as it was just too unsafe to let go off the girls, as they would be carried along with the crowd.
So the big question.... will I do it again?? Nope. I enjoyed the day, until we left the big wheel, then it went down hill due to the sheer amount of people, and lack of manners and pavement space.