Santa Grotto Winter Wonderland

London at Christmas

At the weekend, I had the chance to head into London with Bunny for a workshop that we were doing. As it didn’t begin until late afternoon, we arrived at lunchtime to make the most of the day.

Winter Wonderland 2013

We started with a visit to the now legendary Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Bunny spotted it from the bus and insisted we went in.

Winter Wonderland queue

As we walked closer, I spotted the line of people queueing to enter. This didn’t bode well, but it moved quite quickly. As expected, it was very busy once through the gates and not particularly enjoyable. From what I could see through the swarms it appeared to be just a standard fair selling tat but on a much larger scale and with prettier stalls. Dotted in between were food stalls, again, much the same as a local fair would have and the smell of fried food did seem to permeate the entire site!

Santa Grotto Winter Wonderland

Not wanting to have wasted our time, I told Bunny she could go on a ride, especially as she was refusing to eat until she had! We wandered through and just past a lovely Santa’s grotto, found Santa Land which was aimed at smaller children.

Winter Wonderland Penguin boat ride

She started by picking the carousel ride, but then chose a penguin boat ride instead. It didn’t look much fun to me, but she enjoyed it which was what really mattered!

When it finished, we headed towards the exit as I couldn’t wait to leave and had decided there was very little else for us to see. I did wish we’d gone on the big wheel, as the views would have been quite spectacular, but probably more so at night.

Santa in phone box

After a brief lunch stop, we had a wander through the Christmas grotto at Selfridges. Again, I was disappointed as I had remembered it as being more magical last time I’d seen it, but now it was mainly a toy emporium (which Bunny LOVED, naturally!) and some wrapping and card stations alongside some stocking filler sections. And Santa in a phone box, randomly!

Selfridges Christmas window

However, the windows at Selfridges didn’t disappoint! Having mentioned to Bunny that we could go and look in some pretty windows, to which she exclaimed it sounded boring and that she was there to have fun, I was rather pleased to see her delight at each one. Especially as my fondest memories of London at Christmas as a child were of the amazing window displays! Some traditions live on!

Selfridges Christmas window

Every window had a snowy scene with tiny elves, Santa’s or snowmen dotted around. The focus was the merchandise instore, but Bunny didn’t seem to notice this, or at least care, as she was too busy trying to spot the Santa’s and pointing out all the tiny details.

Selfridges Christmas window

She ran from window to window and marvelled at each new scene she encountered.

Selfridges Christmas window

She did ask why our elves didn’t do something similar, and I managed to stave her off with the explanation that we don’t have big windows! Sometimes, the best answers don’t actually make sense, I’ve found!

Disney Store princesses

Our next stop was the Disney store. Somewhere I don’t think I’ve had the desire to enter since I was in Florida in my late teens! But Bunny is a massive Disney Princess fan (despite my best efforts!) and especially loves Ariel, who doesn’t always get included in the marketing. However, there was no disappointment here and Bunny was in awe at being surrounded by shelves and shelves of all things Disney Princess. She immediately insisted on having her photo taken with the Rapunzel statue, but was even more thrilled when she found the Ariel one, hugging it in excitement! This is one little girl who is really convicted in her idol choice!

By now we were starting to run a little late for our workshop, so I managed to drag her away from her Princess dream and we headed towards Soho.

We arrived a little bit late to the workshop but didn’t seem to miss anything and had fun together. I’ll write about that in a separate post.

London Christmas decorations

Afterwards, we wandered towards Covent Garden to meet my sisters and Bunny delighted in all of the Christmas decorations that we encountered along the way. Being dark by now, everything was much more magical as lights twinkled everywhere we turned.

Covent Garden Christmas tree

I particularly liked the Lego snowglobe scene in Covent Garden, next to the pretty Christmas tree and the giant baubles that hung from the ceiling of the marketplace. I even spotted a topiary Rudolf reindeer, complete with light-up nose!

Breaking Bad graffiti banner

My best spot was the Breaking Bad graffiti banner that was hung above the Prince Charles cinema in Leicester Square – the best TV show of all time!

Bunny on bus

We had a catch-up with my sisters and then had to head home before it got too late. It was a long and exhausting day but lots of fun, especially spending some one on one time with Bunny.

I wish we hadn’t spent so much time at Winter Wonderland and had been able to see the Oxford and Regent Street lights at night, but there’s only so much that you can fit into one afternoon!

Now, though, I want to go back and do all of the bits we missed and even more!