A crisp November day, with bright blue skies - it was the perfect time to head off to Clapham Common and visit Winterville on its opening weekend.
Winterville is now open until December 23rd, 3-10pm Tuesday-Friday and 10am-10pm Saturday and Sunday. Entry on Tuesday is free, other days it is £2 (free if you have bought a ticket for one of the main events) - kids go free every day.
We drove and parked in a side street but there is a train station in the high street and many buses stop near the common. Approaching Winterville and seeing the huge ferris wheel was magical, the kids were very excited - actually it is the most excited I have seen them in a long time.
We usually go to Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland each year, Winterville is a lot smaller but still has plenty going on. My girls couldn't wait to head to the funfair having seen the rides in the distance. You do need to buy tokens for the rides which vary from 3-5 tokens. There are rides to suit all ages including the traditional waltzer and dodgems to high adrenaline Altitude and Oblivion. There are food stalls and kiosks selling candy floss and hotdogs in the fairground. Some only excepted cash, there are cash machines on site but be warned they charge £2.25 for withdrawals.
Our next port of call was the ice rink. It costs around £30 for a family ticket but you can save if you buy online in advance. If you have a small child who is struggling on the ice you can hire a penguin aid for £5. There is a cloakroom available, you are not allowed to have your phone or camera out on the ice for safety reasons.
We have visited the Backyard Cinema a couple of times at its usual home inElephant and Castle, it was great to see that they were set up at Winterville too. Catch your favourite festive flicks including Elf, Home Alone, Love Actually and The Holiday, as well as singalong blockbusters such as The Greatest Showman, Beauty and the Beast and Moulin Rouge.
We had a game of Plonk Golf - great fun for all the family set in a UV neon area. It costs £17 for a family of 4 and you can book a session online in advance.
The Solo Craft Fair takes place in the Idolise Spiegeltent every Saturday and Sunday showcasing the best local artisans selling a range of art, jewellery, ceramics, kids clothing and more. Think affordable gifts and accessories, unique crafts, unusual homeware and other Christmas gifts you won’t find anywhere else. It was lovely in here.
We didn't actually have a go on the roller skates, but the Roller Disco looked like great fun.
You'll find an amazing range of food available both in the large Street Feast area and the Truck Stop which had very welcome heat lamps. We tried some Piri Piri fries, these cost us £3.50.
There are live DJs, comedy, kid’s raves, Mexican wrestling in the Spielgeltent - again we didn't venture into this as we were fully occupied doing other things.
For kids you can hop on board a converted double decker bus and experience the magical puppet show What Is That In My Hat?! from Bus King Theatre, before heading upstairs for a puppet-making workshop. There are Family Raves from Big Fish Little Fish, Okido Art and Science Workshops, a special kid’s Mexican Wrestling show and a one-off drag cabaret special from Mariah & Friendz.
The whole place was well decorated, it came to life as the sun started to set, with lights, fires and riding on the ferris wheel as the sun went down was spectacular.
We spent a good 4 hours roaming around Winterville. We thoroughly enjoyed it there, the atmosphere was great. Tips from us are wrap up warm, it got very chilly in the evening especially. If you are not afraid heights try the chair swings or the ferris wheel the views over London are amazing. It can be very easy to spend a lot there. Although getting in is cheap, if you want to go on rides it could end up being an expensive day.
* We were kindly given a press pass, all opinions of our day are entirely our own*