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Friends Visit to Winter Wonderland 2017

Friends Visit to Winter Wonderland 2017

Ice Kingdom, Winter Wonderland

Having received our instructions to wrap up very warm and to approach the site from the Marble Arch entrance, about 28 Friends arrived for our wonderful Winter Wonderland experience. We started in the glamorous sounding Crystal Lounge where copious quantities of mulled wine, hot choc (with whipped cream) and delicious mince pies were offered and consumed. Sue Price, Chair, introduced us to Suzy Griffiths, Event Director for the last 10 years of WW, at whose invitation we were there. Suzy told us a bit about the history of the event and how it has grown over the 11 years since it first started – it is now the biggest festive event in Europe. Suzy works on WW all year round but said she has a big team working with her. A lovely part of Suzy’s job is travelling around Europe looking for new attractions to bring to Hyde Park.

Which takes us to the first attraction which is new to WW this year – called the Winter Wonder View Tower. A doughnut shaped cabin surrounds the 80m tower – you get in at the bottom and then the cabin rises slowly and rotates round until it gets to the top where it rotates a bit more and then comes down again. The views were amazing and all the lights of the Winter Wonderland site looked most fetching. There were lots of oohs and aahs as people spotted London landmarks and it was most enjoyable.
View of Winter Wonderland from the View Tower
View of Winter Wonderland from the View Tower

Next we walked through some of the Christmas market stalls selling all manner of tempting things, including a lot of edible treats, to the Magical Ice Kingdom. This was why we had been told to dress up warm! It was a very bracing -10 degrees C in there. It has a deep sea theme this year so think seahorses, fish, deep sea divers and a huge octopus. The ice sculptures are beautiful and pristine as all impurities are removed from the water beforehand. See sculptures in the Ice Kingdom being built in this video click here

Last but not least we headed to the Cinderella on Ice show. I think for many of us this was our first ever ice show and it was a fantastic experience. Suzy had told us that many of the Russian skaters are ex-Olympic athletes, and my goodness it showed. The skating was wonderful and the staging really professional. The absolute highlight was when Cinderella flew high in the arena and the whole ceiling glowed with twinkling lights. A magical moment on which to end a fabulous Monday afternoon at Winder Wonderland.

A Flying Cinderella

Many thanks to Rob Dowling, Hyde Park Manager, who suggested the event and to Suzy for hosting us and looking after us so well.

Written by Cathy I’Anson, a member of FriendsHPKG

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