Winter Wonderland events turned into ‘Winter Washouts’ last year as the UK was in the middle of a lockdown due to the pandemic.
This Christmas, Winter Wonderlands are back with a bang, taking place across the country and promising festive lights, real reindeer, fairground rides – and a chance to meet Father Christmas.
Treat the whole family in the run-up to The Big Day with a visit to one of the best Winter Wonderlands in the UK. Here’s our round of the most magical events taking place this November and December.
Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, London
When: November 19 to January 3
The Hyde Park extravaganza is one of the biggest and well-known Winter Wonderlands in the UK.
Booking for this year’s event is essential – and entry is free during off-peak periods and £7.50 at peak times.
Attractions include the UK’s largest outdoor skating rink, where the whole family can take to the ice under a canopy of twinkling fairy lights.
Thrill rides include a real ice slide, where you can race friends down a slippery slope in a rubber ring and a 70m high big wheel where you can enjoy a breath-taking view of the London skyline.
Younger family members will enjoy spending time in Santa Land, with smaller funfair rides, festive food outlets and a chance to have a ‘dance off’ with Santa’s elves before meeting Father Christmas himself. Children who have made the ‘good list’ this year will also receive a gift from Santa.
And if all that activity makes you hungry, stop off at the Street Food Village and enjoy a festive feast from one of the many mouth-watering food stands.
Snow Dome Wonderland, Tamworth
When: November 13 to December 31
Real snow, real reindeers – and we hear that the ‘real’ Father Christmas will also be making an appearance at Tamworth’s Snow Dome Wonderland later this month.
Families can enjoy fun in real snow as they explore Santa’s Trail, with ice slides, displays and falling snow flurries. You may also spot some of Santa’s sleigh-pullers – with real reindeer taking centre stage on the winter walk. Tired little legs can even hitch a ride on a sledge before sliding about in a snow tube.
Santa puts in an appearance in a heart-warming show – where Father Christmas has to teach Rudolph the true meeting of the festive season and discovers the origins of some of our best-loved Christmas traditions. After the show, kids can visit Santa’s house and write him a letter to post into the magical talking post-box.
In Santa’s Christmas Village, you can get up close and say hello to some furry reindeer friends and enjoy a ride on a traditional children’s carousel before enjoying a hot drink and snack in the café.
Tickets must be booked in advance – and under two’s go free.
Winter Wonderland, Yorkshire
When: November 19 to January 9
This festive paradise is home to ‘The Ice Factor’ – a skating rink with plenty of space for the whole family – overlooked by a 30ft high Christmas tree and a rinkside café, where non-skaters can spectate and enjoy a warming glass of mulled wine.
The festive fun continues with a vintage funfair, with rides from yesteryear which include traditional dodgem cars, and a 1930’s Speedway ride. There’s also plenty of sideshows where little ones can win a prize every time.
A walk through the enchanted woodland leads to a cosy log cabin, where Father Christmas and his elves are busy getting ready for their Christmas Eve deliveries. Youngsters can meet Santa and collect a special gift from his grotto.
Visits to Santa’s Grotto and ice-skating sessions must be pre-booked at the website.
Winterfunland, Manchester & Birmingham
When: December 9 to January 2 Birmingham – December 19 to January 2 Manchester
Complete with a Christmas circus, pantomime, Santa’s Grotto and ice rink, Winterfunland is the UK’s biggest indoor seasonal event – meaning that even the worst winter weather conditions won’t spoil the fun.
Set over two locations – Manchester and Birmingham – both events offer a seasonal spectacular with all the trimmings!
Join in the fun with a visit to the Christmas circus, complete with acrobats, clowns and the impressive ‘Globe of Steel’. Traditional circus food of candyfloss and popcorn is available while you watch the antics of the tumblers in this festive foolishness.
Funfair rides include a vintage carousel, helter-skelter and dodgem cars – with the promise that Winterfunland is the most Christmassy place outside of the North Pole. Tickets must be purchased in advance for both locations.
Winter Wonderland, Cardiff
When: November 16 to January 2
Cardiff’s City Hall Lawn is home to the Welsh capital’s Winter Wonderland 2021. The event is situated next to Cardiff Castle, which provides a stunning backdrop for the festivities – and the castle is all free to enter for anyone visiting the Wonderland.
A large skating rink offers sessions for families, accessible sessions, and times set aside especially for young children. Hungry skaters can enjoy snacks and a marshmallow-topped hot chocolate in the rinkside chalet, before hitting the funfair with rides suitable for all ages. There is even a giant wheel, where riders can enjoy amazing views over the city.
New for 2021 is the City Hall Lawn Ice Bar, where everything from the glasses to the bar itself is made from ice. Wrap up warm as the bar is kept at a chilly minus 10 degrees. Tickets must be purchased in advance to experience this frosty, festive treat.
Get ready for Winter Wonderland fun
This Christmas, organisers of Winter Wonderland’s throughout the UK are celebrating the festive season in all its glittering glory. However, most events – even the free ones – will require booking in advance, so check the organiser’s website before travelling to avoid disappointment. All the Winter Wonderland’s featured are closed on December 25.