Tab Tries: Winter Wonderland

We check out the yuletide’s biggest London attraction

christmas winter wonderland

Every year, around the time that Christmas songs start replaying over and over throughout London until you feel like you are trapped in a grimy level of Bioshock, Winter Wonderland comes to town! This enterprising writer spent a whole day touring the Hyde Park attraction, picking out the best bits and the worst parts of the whole experience.

Nothing makes you feel as holly-jolly as being herded like cattle through the world’s smallest archway

The most obvious thing that you will notice when you step into wonderland is how unhappy the ‘jolly brigade’ of wonderland employees really is. The staff is made up almost entirely of irate old women (who look like they could topple over at any moment, and ascend to the real wonderland above), and surly Eastern European dudes who look like they are in the Witness Protection Program. It’s really hard to get into the roller coaster experience when the guy strapping you in looks like he would rather drown puppies in a bathtub filled with acid.

Supposedly one goes to these places to find joy, to be elated and escape from reality, but instead it just feels like hiking up to Santa’s Village, only to find that the elves have lynched Santa because he refused to grant them health insurance or something.


Borderline serial killer employees aside, the real problem with Winter Wonderland (or any such carnival) is that it is essentially a giant money pit, which is used to systematically drain you of your hard earned student loan. The token system in place means instead of just paying for rides with cash like a sane person, you have to buy these little plastic chips (that have to be used on the same day) to get on the rides, so at the end you are rushing around trying to use up all your tokens – so you don’t feel like a jackass for wasting your money. Also, the price of food is hefty even for London standards. A cheeseburger will set you back £5.50; the waffles, ice-cream, drinks and popcorn are just as bad.


With gags like this, who needs Christmas cheer?


Perhaps I’m just being a bit of a Scrooge. Overall, it was an alright day out. The rides are generally pretty fun – the two that I would recommend would probably be Gladiator (trust me, you can’t miss it, though your stomach probably won’t thank you for it afterwards), and a smaller but equally thrilling ride that goes by the name of The Yeti. This one is particularly recommended for those who don’t have the stomach for the more excessive ways of reaffirming your mortality available at Winter Wonderland. But during my second time through on the Yeti (don’t judge me), a girl broke down in tears and had to be let off before the ride could continue.

Also, it’s always fun to watch someone stagger away from a particularly vicious ride, green-faced and delirious, towards the nearest bin to empty the overpriced contents of their stomach in a decidedly sickening and hilarious display of human fragility.

So, if you can get past the dead-eyed employees, avoid the overpriced temptations and suspend your critical faculties for a few hours, Winter Wonderland promises a suitably enjoyable experience. Merry Christmas.