I’ve been trying to deny it for the past two months but it’s now officially winter here in the UK, and as much as I’m already looking forward to Snowboxx in March and of course the 2018 summer festival season, I need to entertain myself in the meantime! Luckily for me there are some excellent winter festival-style events popping up here in my home town of London to keep me happy. The first of which is the wonderful Winterland (previously Neverland) on the banks of the Thames near Fulham next to Wandsworth Bridge, and I got invited to come and see their Christmassy transformation. Of course I invited my best bae, Luisa-Christie to come too.
The Venue & Areas
The first thing I feel I should mention early on about Winterland is that it’s BYOB on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. Yes, you heard me right, you can bring your own alcohol to drink on site! It’s £5 entry on the door, but you’re allowed to bring your own unopened beer or wine to drink once you’re there. This makes it a perfect place to invite your friends to for a winter gathering while keeping costs down.
When you arrive you walk down a beautiful tunnel filled with fairy lights and gold glitter. This transports you into the main hall area which has lots of tables and fur covered benches, Christmas trees everywhere and twinkly lights. Luisa and I instantly felt in the mood for festive frolics. The smell of mulled wine in the air helped 😉
We walked through the hall towards the back admiring the larger sofa areas, again luxuriously decorated with furs and cushions, the perfect place to cosy up with friends and loved ones. Some of these larger areas can seat up to 15 people and overlook the curling (‘Kurling’) lanes; a source of much entertainment!
Outside is a fabulous grotto of Christmas trees in all shapes and sizes. You could easily play a game of hide and seek amongst them! They give a little privacy to the outdoor heated lodges which seat up to 10 people, are filled with fur throws and are a great cosy spot for a small gathering. They host 3 course fondue parties in these cabins for £50 per head, the closest thing you’ll get to being in the Alps without leaving London I think!
The real jewels in Winterland’s crown are the three igloos overlooking the Thames at the end of the garden. These too are heated to help you stay cosy and can seat between 8 and 10 people. The same 3 course fondue package is offered here, or you can just reserve the area for drinks, but hurry as they are running out of spaces!
Alpine Food & Drink
On the BYOB nights (Thurs, Fri & Sun) each person can bring a bottle of wine, 6 cans of beer/cider, or 35cl of spirits. They will have mixologists on hand to create bespoke cocktails if you choose to bring in spirits, and you’ll only pay for the mixers (as you can’t bring in soft drinks)
On Saturday’s they will have the full licensed bar open, selling warm winter favourites such as mulled wine, mulled cider, and hot toddies. There is also an impressive cocktail list, featuring one of my favourites; the Espresso Martini. Cocktails are £8 which I thought was very reasonable, and they have a house rum punch served in various size sharing vessels from £15.
As for food, Jimmy’s Lodge serves a range of delicious Alpine fare. I for one am a huge fan of raclette cheese (I’ve mentioned it in my Bestival post) and at Jimmy’s you can get raclette on burgers, hotdogs, fries and the traditional new potatoes. I had the Lodge burger and fries, which comes with jambon cru, pickles, and garlic mayo as well as a healthy dose of raclette melted on top. It was pretty spectacular! I am desperate to go back to try the wild boar hotdog. There’s also stone baked pizzas available too!
Luisa and I were most excited to try curling, and this is obviously very popular so we headed straight there when we arrived. The lanes are under a covered area (suitable for any weather!) and neon lit, however they aren’t made of ice which disappointed me slightly, I can only assume this is for health and safety! Still, it’s a really fun game and me being ultra-competitive I made sure I won 😉 It’s £40 for 30mins on a lane, and each game can have up to eight players. So grab your friends and throw some stones!
Also available is mini golf, again in a covered area, with day glow putting greens and neon balls. It’s £5 per person per round and perfect fun whilst sipping on a mulled wine. I love crazy golf, and Luisa and I were talking about what a great idea it would be for a date! They also have a tent with beer/prosecco pong table, bookable for £20 an hour per table. So many activities makes for an awesome afternoon/evening with friends.
Luisa and I had an amazing time! Thanks to Winterland for inviting us. We’ll be back soon.
I’ll be making sure I visit other winter festival-style events near London, including Winterville in Clapham Common, Greenwich Winter Time Festival, Southbank Winter Festival, and of course, the big one, Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Look out for my reviews and comparisons!