The pandemic could not dim this London tradition if it tried. This year Hyde Park once again threw their annual ‘Winter Wonderland’ festival and gave Londoners of all ages, a wonderful experience. 

Coming from the Marble Arch station entering the park, great alumnus fairy lights spell out the festival title as you walk in. This year, for over 18’s covid passes, as well as a prepaid ticket, was needed for entry. There are many different sections with various seasonal themes like ‘Santa Land’ and ‘Bavarian Village’. 

Personally, I went to see what the hype was about and although I enjoyed it, I have a few Quams. The first and the most obvious issue is the price. When ordering my ticket, the prices ranged from £5.00 for off peak times and £7.50 for on peak. Since I ended up going on New Year's Day, my ticket was £5.50 including tax. You can also preorder rides on the site, but since it was my first time going, I wanted to keep my options open. However, in small print, it stated that any preordered rides over £20 would make your ticket free. This was unbeknownst to me, and I ended up spending £33 sans food and ticket amassing to 4 rides.  

I actually didn’t end up buying food. Even though the festival prides themselves on their multiple food stores, the range of food was limited to burgers, hotdogs, churros, and miscellaneous bread items only found in the Bavarian Village, and from £7 and up, costing more than some of the rides, the phrase ‘there is food at home’ never felt so true.  

On the good side, going early in the afternoon on an off-peak day meant there were practically no lines for rides, and you could move fluidly through the park without risking pedestrian traffic. This was probably attributed to the fact that Winter Wonderland is known for its festive lights, and it gets busier after sunset to witness them, but when my party and I were ready to leave, it was getting dark, so we didn’t miss out on fluorescent pictures but also didn’t have to survive the mob. 

That’s my last problem- the crowds. In the wake of a pandemic, the crowds nearing evening time were abysmal, there was barely any space to move let alone be within restrictions. Of course, I cannot shun everybody else when I was there as well but Winter Wonderland obviously promoted and oversold tickets for people to inevitably come.  

All in all, Although I had grievances with my experience going to Winter Wonderland, I ultimately had fun and after I recover from my financial disparity, I will be looking forward to going again.