Tag Archives: Christmas market

Step Twenty-Seven: Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

30 Nov

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So I’ve been making my way round London’s Christmas markets. Second stop: Hyde Park Winter Wonderland.

Christmas and all things Santa really have exploded in the city’s famous park. The organisers as usual go to town with their decoration, festive music, neon lights and fun fair rides and games. They’ve taken the Christmas theme and stretched it further. This isn’t just your average market serving bratwurst and mulled wine.

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There’s an apres-ski bar booming out cheesy tunes, giant santa and polar bear toys to be won, a packed ice rink with sweeping fairy lights and my personal favourite, a carousel – but not just any carousel, a spinning carousel bar.

There’s also the not so Christmasy but year-round fun on offer, like the bright red helter skelter, stacks of flavoured fudge, fish and chips wrapped in paper and Chinese takeaway, of course.

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The rides are a central attraction so naturally we had to try them. Lily was adamant on the big swing that takes you high up above the park and spins you round and round in a not so enjoyable manner. It doesn’t look scary until you realise just how high you are, and how you’re only strapped in by a mini seat belt and gusts of wind start howling in your face. Not quite so wonderland-esque.

But the rest was.

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The details:

Location: Hyde Park. Tube: Marble Arch.

Opening times: 10am-10pm.

Prices: drinks from £4, food from £4, rides average at £5.

Open until 5th January, except Christmas Day.

Step Twenty-Six: Southbank Centre Christmas market

29 Nov

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Southbank. One of my favourite parts of London. Not just for the views, the beautiful sunsets, the cultural buzz but also the Christmas market.

When I first started my blog, the aim was to do 52 Steps in 52 weeks. It’s been a year since I wrote about the market for the first time, when I was on Step Seven, and although I’m only half way through my Steps and haven’t exactly reached my target, it means I get to revisit the topic again.

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We pretty much did the same fail-proof routine.

Walk up the market, listen to the buskers, ooh and aah at St Paul’s lit up, get into the festive spirit, warm up with some Bailey’s hot chocolate, walk back down the market, touch all the soft Alpaca jumpers and not buy any because I already have five, watch the chimney cakes being made, drink the first mulled wine of the season, pick and try some cheese, take selfie photos in front of the Eye, watch the carousel swing round and finally, the main reason I go to Christmas markets, stuff my face with German food.

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The details:

Location: Queen’s Walk, Southbank. Tube: Waterloo.

Opening times: Mon-Fri, 11am-10pm, Sat-Sun, 10am-10pm.

Prices: drinks from £3, food from £4.

Open until 24th December.

Step Seven: get some German sausage at Southbank

19 Nov

Ali: a very happy sausage.

Until last weekend, I hadn’t really felt the festive Christmas mood, just a freezing cold mood. So I decided a trip to Southbank Christmas market would sort me out.

Quite a few winter markets have opened, or are due to, but for me Southbank has always been one of the best as it’s one of my favourite parts of the city. Wooden huts line the river, Christmas lights weave through the trees and walking past the hog roasts and German bratwurst, you know you can’t leave without biting into a sausage. Ali and I did exactly that, followed by sipping a Baileys hot chocolate, followed by sampling all the cheese from Snowdonia, followed by trying to get perfect shots of Southbank.

At five in the afternoon it was already packed, so you’ll have to fight your way through the crowds. But it’s still worth wandering up and down the market to soak in the festive mood.

Food on offer: hog roast (around £6), German sausages (around £5), noodles (yes, noodles), cheese, chocolate, churros, fudge, sweets, gingerbread and an odd pretzel-like cake called ‘chimney cake’.

Drink on offer: beer, cider, mulled wine and hot chocolate (around £3) of all varieties.

Gifts on offer: smelly soaps, woolly hats, wooden ties (yes, my dad did always want a wooden tie), personalised prints and photos, hand-made leather notebooks, etc. etc.

Open now until 23rd December.

Monday to Friday, 11am-10pm; weekends 10am-10pm.