Hyde Park Winter Wonderland Review – Top 5 Places to visit

The Most Spectacular Christmas Destination In London

Located in the heart of London in Hyde park, get ready to fully immerse yourself in the biggest and best Christmas fair that there is around. Offering an array of attractions, activities and entertainment for visitors of all ages.

Winter Wonderland is FREE to enter and it is huge! There are more than 50 rides, over 10 pre-bookable attractions, up to 200 bars and food stalls and London’s biggest Christmas Market to enjoy. The shear size of this place is phenomenal and the work that has gone into putting it together is really impressive. At night the park is transformed with hundreds of sparking lights.

Press invite

Last Sunday we were invited along to experience Winter Wonderland ourselves. We have been once quite a few years ago to visit the Ice Rink and The Ice Kingdom, but didn’t really spend much time there. So we were looking forward to spending the day walking around and fully immersing ourselves into the Christmas Festive Spirit.

My eldest two boys arrived before myself and the youngest as we had a football match to attend first. They arrived just before 11 and managed to try out about three or four rides before we joined them at lunch time. Mornings are ideal for families to visit, we found it to be busy but with mostly people just leisurely walking around. The queues for the rides weren’t massively long, in fact the longest we queued for a ride was about 10 minutes and that was later on in the day.

What to expect

Winter Wonderland is split into festive themed areas.

You will find

  • Santa Land – Explore the land of Santa, see his workshop, meet the elves or ride on the Santa Express. Enter through the Red Gate, a dedicated Family Entrance that takes you straight into Santa Land.
  • Arctic Circle – Visit The Magical Ice Kingdom; a spectacular snow and ice sculpture walk through and ride on a real ice slide
  • Circus Town – Here you will find the Circus Megadome that is home to Zippos Christmas Circus, Mr.Men and Little Miss Show and Cirque Beserk.
  • Bavarian Village – This picturesque area is the perfect place to unwind, with its cosy chalets, outdoor seating, bars, cafes and restaurants.
  • Thrill Zone – Home to the world’s largest transportable roller coaster The Munich Looping and many more rides for those that are not faint hearted
  • Traditional Funfair – Young and old will adore this area full of beautiful Victorian-style rides -the carousel, helter skelter and vintage fairground games.
  • Angels Christmas Market – Over 100 charming traditional wooden chalets will tempt you with unique gifts, traditional Christmas decorations and culinary delights

Zippos Christmas Circus

Step inside the Circus Megadome to watch this fun packed daytime show last just under an hour which makes it perfect viewing for the younger ones. The boys were transfixed from the beginning introduction from the circus Ringmaster to the end performance of illuminated acrobats.

The show is jam packed with energetic routines and dare-devil antics that will keep you on edge of your seat.

There were unicyclists, trapeze artists, tightrope walkers, roller bladers, acrobats and a juggler who entertained us with a repeat action of his Guiness World Record of keeping five boomerangs in the air at the same time and catching them all without dropping one. Unfortunately, on his first attempt he dropped the last boomerang but not to be downhearted on his second attempt he was victorious.

Zippos Christmas Circus is a fabulous family show that will keep the whole family entertained. Emilion the Clown kept the crowd entertained throughout, throwing huge beach balls into them and finishing the show by putting on a little mime act using people from the audience.

The Magical Ice Kingdom

An indoor Magical Ice Kingdom walk through experience with a temperature of -10c you really do need to wrap up warm for this attraction. This year the incredible Ice sculptures tell the story of A Christmas Carol. The moment you enter the Ice Kingdom you are transported into the wintry streets of London following Dickens’ Christmas tale of goodwill, where Scrooge is taught the true meaning of Christmas. The magnificent sculptures of the characters and settings took a team of very talented ice artists months to carve and create. This was, personally, my favourite attraction. I could have stayed in there for ages just taking it all in, if it wasn’t so cold. The Ice Kingdom really is Magical! The whole experience from the beginning to the end is amazing, there is so much to see. Every ice sculpture has so much detail and helps you to relive the Dickens’ timeless classic story.

I don’t think the children felt the cold as they slid down the ice slide; they love it!

Giant Wheel

Winter Wonderland has the tallest transportable wheel in the world. The giant wheel is 70m tall and is a new attraction to Winter Wonderland. We rode the wheel at about midday and only had to wait about 5 minutes to board. We had a ski-like pod to ourselves. As you enter the pod, you are given a welcoming pre-recorded message where you are given the option to listen to music on your flight. The views are amazing, although I did get a little freaked out when the wheel stopped at the top to allow passengers to get on at the bottom. Our flight took about 10 minutes and went round slow enough for you to take in all the sights around the park and across the city, also it’s a great way of looking around the fair from above and working out where to go next, especially if you ride during the day. The view is spectacular and you get to see the shear amount of time and effort that has been put into the organisation of building Winter Wonderland.

Real Ice Slide

The Ice Slide in Winter Wonderland

Situated on the edge of Santa Land is the Ice Slide; a giant, 5-lane slope made entirely of slippery ice. After being given a helmet and a rubber donut to sit in you hike your way up to the top. We queued for about 5-10 minutes before we got to the top. Once there, you place your tube down in a lane and sit inside it. The friendly Winter Wonderland staff will then proceed to push you down the slide. You can reach a pretty high speed coming down, and it’s even better when you’re out of control and spinning around wildly as glide not-so-gracefully to the bottom. You get two turns on the slide per entry. It’s great fun to race your friends or family down the this spectacular slippery slope. There is also quite a breathtaking view of the park at the top of slide.

A slide made out of ice in winter wonderland

Ice Mountain Coaster

An indoor spinning roller coaster that takes you on a ride through a mountain cavern. We queued for about 15 minutes for this ride and that was mainly down to it being later on in the day. This was the last ride of the day for us, so we didn’t mind the queue. The queue went down rather quickly and soon we were all in the car ready to be carted off into the darkness of the mountain. We really wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was. We got flung from side to side and the car spun around making us feel rather dizzy. As the spinning coaster passed through the illuminated cavern we were transported through a world of penguins and polar bears.

We spent about 4 hours walking around and taking in the festive atmosphere. I found the facilities to be clean and well staffed and there were plenty of friendly staff around to help with any queries or questions that you may have. There were plenty of places to sit down and enjoy some tasty food or a light refreshment. The prices of food varied from about £5 upwards. I would definitely recommend a visit to the Bavarian village for some refreshments, we bought some Churros for £5 and there was enough to feed the four of us. We found a fire pit to sit around to enjoy a glass of bavarian beer and a festive mulled wine, it really was lovely and got me feeling rather warm and excited for Christmas.

Although, Winter Wonderland is free to enter you will need tokens for the rides, which are available from token booths around the site. Contactless is also available. Rides vary from £2 up to £8 per person

I would highly recommend pre booking attractions as they can get booked out rather quickly on a weekend

Zippo’s Circus – £14.00 per adult and £10.50 per child

Magical Ice Kingdom – £10.00 per adult and £8.00 per child

Mr Men Show – 10.50 per adult and £7.50 per child

The Big Wheel – £9.00 per adult and £7.00 per child

Winter Wonderland is open from 10am to 10pm up until the 5th January 2020 https://hydeparkwinterwonderland.com/

We were given tickets and tokens for the purpose of this review

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Beat That! – The Bonkers battle of Wacky Challenges – Review

Beat That! The World’s Wackiest Party Game

Limber up and prepare to bounce, flip, stack, hop, roll, blow, balance and catapult your way to victory. Beat That! is a new family party game aimed children aged 11+, where you pick one of the 160 bonkers challenges and bet on your ability to successfully complete it using an assortment of random objects. All players attempt the same challenge. The game encourages motor skills, coordination, dexterity and self-confidence. It is also, a very fast and competitive game – an ultimate battle of abilities.

Beat That Game Box

What’s in the box?

  • 160 Challenge Cards
  • 80 Betting Tokens ( Yellow worth 5 points, Orange worth 3 and Blue worth 1)
  • 10 playing Cups
  • 5 Plastic Balls
  • 4 Dice
  • 2 Chopsticks
  • Memo Pad
  • Tape Measure
  • Sand Timer
  • Rule Sheet

How To Play

You will need lots of space to play the game and I would recommend a clear table top. Each player starts with 10 betting tokens – 5 blue, 3 orange and 2 yellow. All players roll the dice to go first – the highest number picks up a challenge card from the pile and reads the category and challenge out loud.

Each player must then bet one of their tokens based on how confident they are in their own ability to complete the challenge.

Once all bets have been placed, all players take it in turns to attempt the challenge.

Players who successfully complete the challenge gets to bank the token that they betted with. Players who fail places there token back into the box. You start with 10 tokens so means that you have rounds of challenges.

Continue until all 10 rounds have been completed.

The player with the most points at the end of the 10 challenges is the winner.

Challenge Categories

The 160 challenges are split into four categories:

  • Solo – Attempt the challenge alone
  • Battle Royale – All players compete against each other
  • Buddy Up – Work alongside another player
  • Duel – Compete against another player
Category challenge cards

Each and every one of the challenges have been given wacky names like Bounce it home, Wimbledon and Feelin’ lucky, punk?

Each card has a description of the challenge and an illustration of how it is done.

What we thought of the game

Although the game is aimed at players above the age of 11, we played as a family and our youngest child is 8. He managed to do all of the challenges that we pulled from the pile bar one; his head was too small to balance a cup on.

The game can get very frustrating at times and is quite competitive. It definitely helps with hand eye coordination and encourages concentration.

It is a fast paced game which I can see being played with a group of adults being very fun.

Beat That is simple to play and lots of fun. My youngest loves a challenge and is always taking out a card and challenging me. I must say, he is far better at the ball games than I am.

The challenges are simple and easy to understand. Each challenge doesn’t last that long and fun to partake in. The game is quite addictive, especially if you are competitive and need to win.

There are balancing games, flipping cup games, word games, ball and cup tricks, dice games and games that involve using chopsticks. There is something that everyone can do (as long as you have patience).

Beat That! Key Info:

  • Brand new for this Christmas. Launched September 2019. £24.99.
  • Family Party Game. Age 11+, 2 – 8 players. 
  • Available on Amazon and John Lewis
  • 160 dexterity based challenges in total.
  • Fun for both kids and adults.
  • Encourages motor skills, coordination, dexterity and self-confidence. 
  • Company website: www.gutter-games.com

We was provided Beat That for the purpose of this review.

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Tea for Two – Afternoon Tea at Whittard of Chelsea, London

Living at home with very busy boys it can be hard to find the time to spend quality time with each one of them. The boys are normally, either, running or playing football and myself or Dad spend our weekends ferrying them around from one place to the next.

Last weekend we were invited out by Whittard of Chelsea to attend an Afternoon Tea for two at there Tea Bar in Covent Garden. I took this as the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with my middle boy.

Whittard of Chelsea Tea Bar is an extension of the Whittard of Chelsea Covent Garden store.

Situated in the middle of Covent Garden Piazza, downstairs within the flagship store you will find more than your average tea and coffee shop. The Tea Bar features a specialist bar that serves a menu of full afternoon tea alongside 100 loose leaf teas with delicious cakes and savouries to compliment their astonishing tea menu.

Whittard Tea Bar also serves a selection of alcoholic drinks, tea infused cocktails, sandwiches, hot chocolates, coffee and all day afternoon tea.

As we arrived we were immediately greeted by the lovely friendly staff, who made us feel very comfortable throughout our visit. The Tea bar is rather small inside and you get that cosy feeling from the rather relaxed atmosphere.

We were shown to our table and offered the menu. Oh my! I had never seen so many choices of different types of tea that was on offer. They had a pretty extensive list of teas available and we had no idea what to choose. Luckily, our host, Marta, was there to offer some advice on what to try. After telling her what tea we normally drink she recommended the Jade Formosa Oolong for my son and the Matcha Guricha for me. Marta also offered us her plethora of knowledge on tea; Oolong tea is a traditional chinese tea that the leaves are wrapped into small beads and can be brewed multiple times.

Tea Menu

We were served our tea and given 3 timers; 3, 4 and 5 minutes. We were advised to give our tea between 3 – 4 minutes to infuse.

Infusion

The tea was every bit of what you would expect from Whittard, it lived up to its expectation. Full bodied with a herbal richness.

The Whittard Tea

We ordered our afternoon tea and opted for The Whittard Tea which is their signature spread of sandwiches, scones, cakes and tea for an afternoon of champions.

As we waited for food to arrive we sat and sipped our delightful tea and chatted about school and work. It was lovely to spend time with my son in such a charming and relaxed surroundings. Sitting in the tea rooms you wouldn’t think that just beyond the window was the busy hustle and bustle of London.

It wasn’t long before our host was heading our way our afternoon tea.

The Whittard Tea

I was also served up a glass of pink prosecco that was infused with strawberry and mint. I must say, I don’t normally drink but this was very refreshing and smooth. A very summer taste. I certainly could have had more than one glass of this fine drink.

The Whittard Tea consisted of selection of handmade finger sandwiches – smoked salmon with lemon cheese; coronation chicken; cucumber; egg and cress Scones. Scones with clotted cream and tea-infused strawberry and mango preserves and a choice of five bitesize cakes.

The hardest choice was what to put on first on the scone; jam or cream?

The presentation was beautiful as was the taste. Freshly prepared food, with delicate flavours that sent my taste buds into overdrive. A sensational selection of excellent food to indulge in. A perfect british tea time experience.

Outstanding service, delicious food and a fantastic variety of drinks including vast tea choices Whittards Tea Bar is definitely a place to visit and a quintessential location to book for a Mother’s day treat.

Not only can you book for afternoon tea you can also browse round the shop and buy some amazing gifts that they have on offer. I would definitely recommend the Easter Tea; a treat that is better than eggs. A nutty oolong tea with subtle hints of chocolate and buttercream, finished off with a scattering of sugar bunnies. Not only is it palatable but it also smells amazing.

Whittard Afternoon Tea £30 per person

Glass of prosecco £6

Tea ranging from £3.50 -£5.00

Take a look at what Whittard has to offer here

To book a table for afternoon tea or check availability take a look here

We were gifted with the afternoon tea and a goody bag for the purpose of this review

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The Most Love-a-Bull Animation: Ferdinand Review

Blue Sky Studios and director Carlos Sadanha (Rio, Ice Age) brings you FERDINAND.

ferdinand

A charming tale of a giant – lover not a fighter – bull with a big heart. After being mistaken for a dangerous beast, he is captured and torn from his home. Determined to return to his family, he rallies together a misfit team for the ultimate adventure and proves you can’t judge a bull by its cover.

Inspired by the beloved book “The Story of Ferdinand,” FERDINAND (Voice of John Cena) is a heartwarming family comedy adventure with an all-star cast that includes John Cena, Kate McKinnon, David Tennant, Sally Philips, Gina Rodriguez, Anthony Anderson and many more.

We was sent the DVD to coincide with the Digital Download, Blu-ray and DVD release on 16th April.

The boys were really excited to watch this new animation. I must say it was the quietest my boys had been all Easter holidays. From the moment the film started to the end, I didn’t hear a peep from them-apart from giggles.

“My brother and I watched ‘Ferdinand’ and we thought it was hilarious, but also upsetting at times. Ferdinand is a great film and I would recommend it to all ages, young and old. Our favourite bits were the ‘Last Battle’ and ‘The bull in a China Shop’ because they were both funny and dramatic. My favourite character was ‘Paco’ who makes a great comedy duo with Ferdinand, his ‘brother’.”

Ferdinand really is a love-a-bull rogue who inspires the world by just being himself. He is unlike his stable mates whose ultimate goal is to face a matador in an arena, Ferdinand just wants to smell flowers. He has an unlikely bond with a young girl (Nina)

The movie is delightful with cute animation. A story of love and friendship that makes a great family movie.

SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE:

  • Ferdinand’s Guide to Healthy Living with John Cena
  • A Goat’s Guide to Life
  • Ferdinand’s Team Supreme
  • Spain Through Ferdinand’s Eyes
  • Confessions of a Bull-loving Horse
  • Creating the Land of Ferdinand
  • Anatomy of a Scene: The Bull Run
  • Learn to Dance with Ferdinand
  • Ferdinand’s Do-It-Yourself Flower Garden
  • Creating a Remarka-Bull Song
  • “Home” Music Video
  • Art of Ferdinand Gallery

Get set for a belly full of laughs!

FERDINAND charges onto Digital Download on 10th April and on 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™ and DVD on 16th April

We was sent a copy of the DVD for the purpose of this review

 

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Sheep & Wolves DVD: Review and Giveaway

TRL398 2D

From the producers of The Snow Queen 2 comes Sheep And Wolves, a fun, animated adventure featuring the voices of Tom Felton (Harry Potter) Ruby Rose (Pitch Perfect 3) Jim Cummings (Winnie The Pooh) and China Anna Mcclain (Black Lightening).

In a magical faraway land, in a picturesque village nestled among green meadows and rolling hills, lives a flock of carefree sheep. But their idyllic and stress-free solitude is interrupted when a pack of wolves sets up camp in a nearby ravine.

When the wolves’ retiring pack leader Magra (Cummings) announces that his future successor must prove his worth by defeating their rivals, the powerful and blood-thirsty Ragear steps forward. But, the only wolf brave enough to challenge him is Grey (Felton), the pack’s favourite but hopeless goofball. Grey has to prove to everyone, including his Fiance, Bianca (Rose), that he is worthy of becoming a leader. However, Grey faces a slight mishap and ends up taking a magic potion; given to him by a travelling gypsy rabbit, Mami, that turns him into a…Ram! After going back to the den and being chased out, he finds himself within the company of the sheep and quickly befriends Moz, a simple-hearted and kind ram and Lyra (McClain), a good-natured and naive young ewe.

Fusion x64 TIFF File
Fusion x64 TIFF File

Will Grey find his way back to his pack and his girlfriend Bianca?

Grey loves to mess around and be the centre of attention, but after spending time with the sheep, he soon learns what is important and being true to himself. Grey quickly becomes a leader that Magra would be proud of, but not for the wolves…

Fusion x64 TIFF File
Fusion x64 TIFF File

“From here on out, we’re not a flock- we’re a pack! A pack of wild sheep!”

We found the film to be very similar to the plot of The Lion King, although not as serious. Grey is kind and quick-witted. There were parts of the film that had the children laughing and you quickly become a big fan of Grey, wanting him to grow up and take on responsibility.

The film features mixed messages but we saw it about friendship and how to deal with other groups who are different to you. Friendship comes in all shapes and sizes and when it’s not expected.

My children enjoyed the humour and story of the film. It’s a great, feel good, family film.

It was interesting to hear Jim Cummings voice as Magra, I grew up being a big fan of Winnie The Pooh, He is a very talented man.

The DVD is set to be released in the UK  9th April 2018

RRP: £9.99 Cat no: TRL398

We have kindly been given 2 copies of the DVD to give away, enter below via rafflecopter for your chance to win
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  • Entrants must be 18 or over at time of entry
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  • Prize will be delivered within 30 days following notification of win
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