If the season of jolly brings out the Scrooge in you, then consider this a warning: Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is like Christmas cheer on steroids.
There are life-size Santas up to all sorts of tricks around the park and the only thing low-key is the voice of the animatronic Reindeer head near the entrance, belting out a Christmas song to passers-by.
Clearly, minimalism is not what has turned Winter Wonderland into a London institution and this year’s event is bigger and bolder than ever.
I remember being somewhat underwhelmed on our first visit to the Hyde Park extravaganza, years back when I was pregnant with my eldest.
But last Friday I was pretty much blown away by its scale and had that toasty feeling inside as we entered the charming Angels market.
The largest of its kind in London, it’s lined with artisanal chalets and food huts selling Bavarian beer and bratwurst.
Under the glow of the Giant Observation Wheel, the park’s centrepiece attraction, there’s a mind-boggling mix of stuff to see and do.
The babes were entranced by skaters gliding under sparkling lights on the open-air rink.
Sadly both Zippo’s Circus shows were closed on opening night (due to filming for Children in Need), but this left plenty of time to explore the rides.
The fairground attractions range from freaky fun houses and terrifying vertical drops to sweet and gentle rides for younger visitors.
The park looked magical lit up at night and being out so late meant we didn’t have to queue for any attractions.
Still, the whole experience could be sensory overload for little ones so it’s best to time your visit according to what you think your kids can cope with.
Oh and bring plenty of cash, as while entrance to the park and Santa’s Grotto are free, (and we were lucky enough to have press comps) everything else adds up.
So whether Wonderland gives you a Cheshire cat grin or a Queen-sized headache, do keep an eye on that shrinking wallet!
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland runs until Jan 3, 10am-10pm daily (closed Dec 25) at the park’s main entrance, opposite Hyde Park Circus tube station. Visit www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com