Activities, Winter guide

Winter wonderlands in the UK 2019

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening! From urban ice rinks to fairground rides, Santa’s grottos and glittering light shows, this is Christmas in all its ritzy, glitzy glory at some of the best winter wonderlands in the UK.

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Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London

21st November – 5th January
Stay: Any London YHA

This year, the Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park epic returns once again to guarantee visitors a magical evening filled with entertainment. With free entry and so much to see, it remains firmly at the top of our to-do list. Get your festive fix with a visit to the site’s 200 chalet-style stalls, sprawling fairground, ‘A Christmas Carol’ themed Ice Kingdom and Bar Ice. Take a spin around the UK’s largest outdoor ice rink, go and see a performance of Paddington on ice or check out the daring performance of Cirque Beserk. As night falls, unwind with a glühwein or two at the Bavarian Village.

Pier Head, Liverpool

9th November to 5th January
Stay: YHA Liverpool Albert Dock

Back for the fourth year running, Liverpool’s Christmas Ice Festival has taken over the city’s iconic waterfront. The Pier Head has been transformed into a magical winter wonderland in the UK, with an ice rink, giant ice slide, family friendly fairground rides and, of course, a whole host of Christmas market stalls. For the adrenaline junkies amongst you, don’t miss the Ice Jet – a white-knuckle ride which reaches speeds of up to 80mph. Get your fill of Christmas thrills and top it all of with a mulled wine in the Apres Bar. Perfect.

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Royal Pavilion Ice Rink, Brighton

2nd November to 19th January
Stay: YHA Brighton

With Brighton’s stunning Regency palace as its backdrop, this pop-up rink has to be amongst the prettiest winter wonderland in the UK. It’s just gorgeous! Skate, slide or wobble across the glass-like surface and once your ice-capade is through, the rink side bar and kitchen beckons. Enjoy some quality après-skate and watch the world glide by. Inside the Palace you will find a winter wonderland transformation with festive decorations and glittering trees. The perfect spot to fire up festive spirit.

Cardiff Winter Wonderland, Cardiff

8th November – 5th January
Stay: YHA Cardiff Central

Cardiff knows how to do Christmas and the city definitely knows how to create a magical winter wonderland experience here in the UK! Back bigger and better, Cardiff’s winter wonderland has something for everyone. Get your skates on and head over to the brand-new Alpine Ice Trail which offers an open-air ice-skating experience stretching 250 metres long, taking you on a magical tour of the wonderland. Afterwards be sure to visit the all-new Big Wheel, a unique experience where you can view sky-high sights of Cardiff city and is fully accessible for everyone. But wait, there is more! Snap up the perfect selfie opportunity on a ski gondola which are sent over from the Swiss Alps themselves. Conveniently, the gondolas are perfectly situated by the Sur La Piste – a two story bar with Apres Ski vibes. Grab a hot drink, sit back and soak up your cosy surroundings.

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Waterside Winter Wonderland, CONKERS

30th November- 24th December
Stay: YHA National Forest

The whole Christmas clan will be at CONKERS again this year. Guests will be met by the Chief Elf and his team on arrival, then it’s through the Enchanted Forest and the Valley of Christmas Lights to Santa’s Woodland Grotto to meet Mr and Mrs Klaus. Street performers, a balloon modeller and an appearance by Rudolph will keep the kids well entertained along the way. And for the grown-ups, a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie should keep the cold at bay. Booking is essential and there are 13 dates to choose from.

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The North Pole, Parkers Piece, Cambridge

16th November – 5th January
Stay: YHA Cambridge

Forget Lapland, Greenland and other snowy landscapes ending in -land, the North Pole is closer to home this year and it’s full of family fun. Show off your moves on the spacious outdoor ice rink, get your thrills at the funfair or tuck into some tasty festive treats in the Alpine Cabin bar. It doesn’t get more Christmassy than that at this winter wonderland in the UK.

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