A few months ago, I heard about a new Christmas festival called Winterville that would be launching in Victoria Park this year, and given that I live so close by there was really no excuse not to go check it out.
As with Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, Winterville is completely free to enter although the events and rides within are ticketed and charged for.
I wanted to give ice skating another try, and Winterville offers discounted skating tickets for local residents living within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets on Mondays, so we booked our tickets for an evening session.
Upon our arrival at Winterville the first thing we noticed was the lack of crowds. Having been shoulder-to-shoulder with other people when visiting Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, this was a welcome relief. Perhaps weekend sessions would be busier but it was nice not having to queue for anything at all that evening.
Winterville is laid out like a town complete with its own Town Square, Market Place and Downtown areas. It was smaller than I anticipated and it doesn’t take long to walk around through each area. In addition to the ice rink there is a fairground, ferris wheel, a roller disco, street food traders, bars and a tent hosting live music, comedy and cabaret. I had been expecting to see some form of Christmas markets but there didn’t appear to be anything like that set up the night we visited.
There was an impressive array of food stalls to choose from, although given that we were about to hit the fairground rides I held off from sampling too much. I couldn’t pass up a mulled cider though.
The fairground has a good mix of rides to suit everyone - plenty of traditional family favourites as well as a few aimed at the more adventurous types (nothing too scary though - which is good for me as I am terrible with thrill rides!).
I am still trying to get the hang of ice skating, it’s been about a year since I last tried it so I was a bit wobbly on my feet. Maybe one day I’ll feel confident enough to skate away from the wall.
I’d definitely recommend a visit to Winterville, especially if you happen to live locally or are looking for a quieter, less touristy alternative to Winter Wonderland. Find out more on the Winterville website.