Winterland, Winter Wonderland, Winterville… There are so many festive events hitting London each December it’s hard to know what’s what anymore. That is why I’ve decided to make it my mission to try them all this year. So last week I hit the launch night of Winterville along with a few fellow bloggers; Romy (the Dutchess of London), Annabelle (Absolutely Annabelle) and Natalie (The Floral Republic).
Sitting cosily in its new home on Clapham Common, Winterville is branded as the ‘alternative’ Christmas village, and with the likes of a roller disco, UV mini-golf, a secret cinema, yoga on ice and drag cabaret, it has certainly lived up to the name this year. Attracting Londoners wanting to avoid the crowds at Winter Wonderland, Winterville is a great choice for locals looking for a festive night out with friends or colleagues, without being drowned in a sea of tourists and small children.
You can whizz around on the Mousetrap, get some cheap thrills in the haunted house or take out your friends on the dodgems. As well as the alternative attractions, Winterville still has many of the classic fairground rides. Check out my video below where we try to cover as many of them as possible in one evening!
The Big Wheel
My favourite activity of the evening had to be sitting on the big wheel with a glass of mulled wine, looking down over Winterville and out across at the rest of London. If you look at the top right-hand side of the photo below you can even see Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland in the distance.
A compulsory winter activity, regardless of whether you’re gliding around the ice like a professional figure skater or clinging to the side for dear life! Winterville has a small ice-rink with a beautiful view across to the central Christmas tree and big wheel. The perfect photo spot, even if you’re not a fan of the skating itself.
For me, the key thing that made Winterville stand out from the festive crowd is its food choice. Rather than just the German hotdogs, pretzels and crepes that you’ll find at most Christmassy events, Winterville has its very own Street Feast. A whole 2 story area dedicated to some of London’s best street food. Here you’ll find an assortment of amazing dishes, from jerk chicken from White Men Can’t Jerk, to crispy squid rings from INK.
We went for the lamb kofta, chicken and halloumi Kababs from Babek Brothers. Tasty, filling and a little bit messy!
There are also some fantastic dessert options, such as Chin Chin Labs iconic ice-creams and hot-chocolates and chunks of Nutella and Oreo brownie from SE Bakery.
Cabaret, live bands, musical bingo, Mexican wrestling and DJs can be found each night in the Spiegeltent. Or if you’d rather be drinking you can head to the ‘town pub’ inside a large heated wooden lodge, where a party will be in full swing until closing time. There are also bars located all over the venue so that you’re never too far away from your next mulled-wine.
Open until 1st January (except Christmas eve and Christmas day), entrance to Winterville is free during the week and £3 after 6pm on Fridays and Saturdays (which is payable on the door).