The outdoor event season extends way past the summer and dedicated festive events are now a firm fixture, seemingly growing in popularity each year. From Christmas markets and temporary ice rinks to light trails and winter wonderlands, event organisers and suppliers are kept busy well into the New Year delivering all kinds of Christmas spectaculars for audiences keen to attend.
For our December issue of the Showman’s Enews Bulletin we thought we’d take a look at Five Festive Favourites.
- Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London
Celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2022, the popular event located in the heart of London in Hyde Park is held annually and runs for six weeks. Organised by IMG, it is the biggest Christmas event in the UK attracting than three million visitors. The 2022 edition includes 100+ fairground rides, the UK’s largest outdoor Ice Rink, The Magical Ice Kingdom experience, the world's largest transportable Giant Wheel and performances in the Circus Megadome and comedy club. All this sits alongside a German-style Christmas market. A huge undertaking, numerous event suppliers support the team at IMG to ensure that the event is successfully and safely delivered.
- Cardiff Christmas Market
The well-established Christmas Market sited in the heart of Cardiff City Centre has been organised and successfully run for 30 years. Launched in 1992 by Howard Potter, it continues to support genuine artists and crafts people who are looking to promote and sell their work. The organisers actively encourage “in action” demonstrations to show off their skills making it a unique shopping experience. Each year there is an extensive rolling programme of over 200 individual businesses selling a wide variety of diverse arts and crafts interspersed with seasonal food and drink.
- Glide at Battersea Power Station
Brand new for 2022, Glide opened at Battersea Power Station this November and is delivered by the same the team who were responsible for the Natural History Museum Ice Rink and Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. Its not just the backdrop against one of the capital’s most iconic buildings that’s unique, the ice skating takes place on three interconnecting rinks with a spectacular 30ft Christmas tree as its centrepiece. Off the ice, there is plenty to enjoy including a selection of vintage-style fairground rides, live entertainment, photo booths and a selection of fabulous food and drink venues.
- Festival of Light, Longleat
This year’s Festival of Light at Longleat is entitled ‘The Wondrous Worlds of Roald Dahl’ and brings its visitors all their favourite characters from the author’s famous books. Each lantern scene brings key moments from the iconic books to life, from The BFG, to Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, to Matilda, The Twits and Fantastic Mr Fox. Featuring 23 stunning lantern scenes, with over 800 individual lanterns, some more than 15-metres tall, it’s the first-time the iconic characters and stories of Roald Dahl have been brought to life as lanterns, with unforgettable moments from the stories reimagined on a huge scale – from The BFG to James and the Giant Peach. Guests can even walk through Wonka's factory gates, with the Chocolate Factory standing at an impressive 25.5m in height. Returning for the first time since 2019 it has been a huge hit with visitors.
- Lapland UK, Ascot
Lapland UK is an immersive event that transports families to a magical and enchanted forest to experience all things Christmas. The story telling begins from the moment you book your tickets and upon arrival you’re transported to a world that includes fake snow, real reindeers that you can feed, making toys with elves and Mrs Claus, decorating gingerbread men, ice skating and a visit to see Santa Claus. Organisers Mike and Alison Battle brought together a team of Hollywood set designers and West End production professionals to create the setting which is truly stunning.