London With An Empty Wallet (Part 4)

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Having annoyed enough joggers for one day, I made my hasty exit from Kensington Park and headed to Marble Arch, where you are immediately encounter a giant horse head and the expected marble arch. While a marble arch can hold your attention for a few seconds, I was more interested in the giant horse head. The word ‘why’ sprang directly to mind, but then, who am I to question the validity of giant art.

It was at the giant green horse head that I gathered some friends for the main event of the evening, namely the gigantic sprawling mass of Christmas-y goodness known as Winter Wonderland.

Winter WonderlandPhoto Courtesy of Emily Freeman

Winter Wonderland has everything you could want in the name of entertainment; giant carnival rides, circus performers, a truly gigantic Christmas market, enchanted ice kingdoms, and the compulsory ice skating rink. To hike without stopping from one side of the event to the other took us half an hour, so you can imagine how much time you can spend exploring this place.

The aroma of sausages and mouth-watering hog roast permeated the air, and mulled wine is never far from your grasp.

#13. If you want to revel in true style, the Bavarian Village is the place for you. You can join in the party Bavarian-style at the Bavarian Great Hall, which has an extraordinarily festive atmosphere to enjoy with some bratwurst and a stein of German beer in each hand and cheesy European music drowning out all normal level of conversation.

#14. If you want grown-up amusement for your inner child, there is a carousel bar. That’s right, a carousel bar. It spins slowly around, you go around, and there are beverages. Brilliant.

If it wasn’t for the fair ground rides, I might have settled on the carousel all evening. As an adrenaline junkie, however, everything that gets my blood pumping is first on my itinerary. Consequently, I was at the front of the queue for the biggest rides (and the haunted house, because who doesn’t enjoy a haunted house?).

#15. For the stout of heart, there is the Star Flyer, which is fundamentally a swing set that takes you 60 meters into the air and tosses you around 360 degrees, or the Power Tower, which hurls you down to the ground at eyeball popping speeds. If you prefer something a little more serene, there is always the Giant Ferris Wheel, or some much calmer, less death defying rides to enjoy.

As entertainment goes, Winter Wonderland is not a bad place to finish any trip. Unfortunately, this little treasure is limited to the winter period only, usually open for two or three months. For those that visit London at other times of the year, fear not! The city is so vast and diverse that there is always something to capture your attention and your imagination. The amount of places that I wasn’t able to fit into this one day trip are uncountable, even though they also are definitely not to be missed. What this day trip has proved is that you definitely can’t expect to see the best of London in a day. But then, I could have told you that even if I had stayed in front of the TV at home.

#16. Therefore, if you have limited time in London, make sure you plan accordingly ahead with your essential list of activities in mind, and give yourself sufficient time to do it properly, or you might end up as a walking zombie, as I was after this little undertaking.

Yet, tired and weary as I may have been, I had the gratification of an unexpected upgrade to first class for my return train journey. Hooray for slightly more comfy seating!