A few days before Christmas Sam and I met up with some friends on the South Bank by the Christmas Market for lunch. After a lovely catchup, we left to go on what is now an annual adventure for us: going to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.
A winter stroll along the South Bank.
Two friends on a Christmas Market stroll.
Between being on the South Bank and going to Hyde Park we made an important detour to Sloane Square. Since we were spending Christmas just the two of us, we had filled the menu with the Christmas dishes that we love, and I needed a box of Stovetop Stuffing. Yes, the filthy chemically packed, freeze dried stuffing that haunts the Christmases and Thanksgivings of American childhoods. I needed to eat that this year for the first time in 4 Christmases. Unlike other expats, I have never struggled to find American groceries and staples in England. (It’s because I am in London.) But the biggest selection of imported American foods in London is at Partridges. American section aside, the rest of the store is just lush. It’s the grocery store of wealthy dreams. Of course, being in Chelsea ups the price of food, plus the import fee means pretty much anything there is expensive. Not to mention that Patridges has a Royal Warrant, meaning that it is one of the select stores that fills the larders of the Royal Household on a regular basis. Hence, why shopping there is a special occasion activity.
Sloane Square and the flagship John Lewis store.
With my box of Stovetop safely in hand, (plus a bag of purple skittles and a carton of figs) we hopped on a bus to Hyde Park. Going to Winter Wonderland together is becoming a yearly tradition for Sam and me. I even got him on the ferris wheel last year, despite his ghastly fear of heights. Since 2007, Hyde Park has played host to the infestation of fairground rides, ice rinks, bars, restaurants and shops that are collectively known as “Winter Wonderland”. And if you are in the market for a hotel in Central London (or as close to Hyde Park as possible) I recommend using Venere to help find a room based on location and price!
The grand entrance.
In order to not be squashed to death, I would recommend going earlier in December rather than later. This year, we couldn’t make it until the 22nd of December and believe me: it was busy. We had to queue for a short while to get in, but after that fun was had by all.
Magic Fake Snow.
Just add water to crystals and it blossoms into this!
Christmas tree by one of the many bars.
I made a new discovery this year. We all know that mulled wine is delicious. But if you add a shot of amaretto to your mulled wine it takes it to a whole new level. Don’t fear, there are non-alcoholic drinks galore too, if that’s what you are in the market for. Although, in that case you’d miss getting to go to the spinning bar. Yes, a bar that is essentially on a giant lazy Susan and never stops spinning (albeit slowly). That just seems like a bad idea to me!
Winter Wonderland Carousel.
Years ago, I was in “Carousel” the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical and to this day I still burst out into “This was a Real Nice Clambake” with such frequency that Sam knows the words now.
Sam snapping shots for his instagram. Me snapping him.
And the games….What can I say? I really wanted a Minion.
Yes, I am an adult. But I still see the appeal of a really big slide.
Can you believe I got a man who is deathly scared of heights on here?
Tourists and locals alike pack into Hyde Park every year, and I will continue to be one of them.