There are so many things to do in London's Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, that it's best to plan ahead a little to make the most of your time there. Here are 10 tips to ensure you make the most of your trip to this magical Christmas attraction.
1. Buy tickets in advance
Winter Wonderland is free to enter but certain attractions become fully booked during peak periods. Buy Winter Wonderland tickets in advance to make the most of your experience.
Activities include ice skating, ice sculpting workshops, The Magical Ice Kingdom presents A Christmas Carol, Bar Ice, the Giant Observation Wheel, Christmas shows such as Zippos Christmas Circus and Cirque Berserk, and other special attractions.
You can also purchase a Coaster Pass online before your visit, giving you access to all nine rollercoasters.
2. When to visit
The festival is busiest during weekends and evenings, so be prepared to queue to get in and to get onto rides during these peak times. If you want to escape the crowds, visit on a weekday morning. Experience a fabulously festive atmosphere during the evening as the attraction's bars and restaurants spring to life with live music, DJs and twinkling lights.
3. Use contactless payment
Shops, restaurants, bars, cafes and games throughout Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland accept contactless card payments, as well as cash. You can also pay for Winter Wonderland rides via contactless payment or by using tokens, which are available at the token booths dotted around the site.
4. Take the kids
This family-friendly attraction has rides galore to keep children of all ages happy. There are gentle rides and attractions for children as young as two, with thrilling rollercoasters for teens. Most of the festival site is buggy-friendly and there are baby-changing facilities at various toilets.
Winter Wonderland activities with the little ones usually include ice skating, Zippo's Christmas Circus and The Magical Ice Kingdom.
5. Wrap up warm
It can get pretty chilly in the winter months and since the festival is an open-air event, we'd recommend wearing a hat, scarf, gloves and a warm coat. This is especially important if you're visiting Bar Ice or The Magical Ice Kingdom, chilled to a frosty -10C (14F)... brrr! But, if you're feeling cold, you're never far away from a mulled wine or a hot chocolate.
6. Spot famous faces
As one of London's most popular Christmas attractions, Winter Wonderland also attracts stars from the worlds of music, fashion, film, as well as members of the Royal Family. Top celebrity spots over the years have included the Duchess of Cambridge with Prince George, members of One Direction, Cara Delevingne, Naomi Campbell, Chris Martin, Rod Stewart, Tom Cruise and Tim Burton. So make sure to keep your eyes peeled on your next visit!
7. Live the high life
Take a flight on Winter Wonderland's Giant Observation Wheel and soar 60 metres (200ft) above the ground in a comfy pod, while gazing across the London skyline. To make the 15-minute experience extra special, hire a private pod which holds up to six people.
8. Enjoy a taste of Bavaria
Soak up the party atmosphere in the Bavarian Hall and the famous Bavarian Village where you can tuck into bratwurst, sup a stein of German beer and watch live oompah bands perform.
9. Be dazzled by a top show
10. Meet Santa
See Father Christmas and his magical elves in his Santa Land grotto, which has its own dedicated family entrance and is open every day except Christmas Day. Meeting Santa is free and children receive a small gift. An official photographer will be taking souvenir shots, available to buy on the day, but you can also take your own photos if you prefer.