Winter Wonderland Manchester 2016
With the countdown to Christmas in full swing we visited Winter Wonderland in Manchester on Monday night and had a fantastic evening out. We have visited the attraction for the last two years and the little adventurers have loved it each time. We visited with children aged 10, 7, 5, and 3 years old and wondered if they would enjoy it given that we have visited twice before. I needn’t have worried as the little adventurers had an even better time than our previous visits and we left the event with huge smiles. Here’s our review of Winter Wonderland Manchester.
What is Winter Wonderland Manchester?
In case you have yet to come across the Winter Wonderland, it is the largest indoor winter wonderland in the country. The attraction is located in Event City opposite the Trafford Centre, Manchester so perfect to combine the attraction with last minute shopping. Tickets are sold on 4 hour slots, 11:00-3:00 and 4:30 – 8:30 (times differ on some days and full details are here) and it is on until 1st January 2017. There is an entry fee but this then includes all rides, shows and a meeting with Santa. Even though there is a big cost at the time of booking, I prefer this method as after visiting Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, where a charge is payable for every single ride, visiting Manchester Winter Wonderland worked out to be more cost effective once the total cost was calculated.
The first thing which will hit you as you walk in is the amount of rides that are available. The whole of the Event City is covered with rides upon rides and there is a really good selection of ride choices from the playhouse running around rides, to small and large fairground rides, a few rollercoasters to bouncy castles and slides. Under 3s are free, so you may be worried that there wouldn’t be much they could go on, but there is loads of options for younger children I loved the one near the circus with the glass mirrored maze. I could see the little adventurers all confused and took a while for them to work out how to get through. They also had a few bouncy castles and big slides so providing something for everyone’s needs and likes.
There are some height restrictions on certain rides as Raihan was short for a couple but did manage to get a few bigger ones with Maya. For the children we visited with, it was perfect.
The attraction has a number of shows on during the time slot and these are included in the admission price. This year we watched the Star Wars show on the main stage and the Circus. We unfortunately missed the Frozen show, so I would recommend that you get the show times before you enter to make sure you don’t miss out on something that the kids are keen on doing. We loved the circus and came out very impressed. The acts were all fantastic with our personal favourite being the unicyclist. The show is just magical and what I think a circus show should be.
Within the entrance fee, you are also able to meet Santa but there is an additional cost of £3.50 for a present. The purchase of the present is not obligatory so you can decide if you want to on the day.
Extras – Stalls & Food
There are are a number of food stalls located in the centre of the hall, we had eaten before visiting so we didnt sample the food that was on offer. There are also number of additional paid for activities including face painting, fair ground games and market stalls selling lots of festive items. If there is anywhere where the attraction is lacking something it would be here. The Christmas markets are lovely and super festive in other cities especially in Manchester and I think if this was incorporated into the event, it would make it even more magical and festival
What the little adventurers thought of Winter Wonderland
We arrived at the attraction just before the doors opened and note it can get really busy, so always ensure that your children are with you at all times. When we arrived, we headed straight to the back of the attraction as the rides there were much quieter compared to those at the entrance. I would recommend ou do this as the few rides near the entrance were really busy especially at the start of the event.
There is a great selection of rides for the whole family. There are smaller rides for children 3 and under, roller coasters and other ride choices for those up to 12 and even the older children have some great choices with the rodeo and some faster rides.
The location itself was ideal, nice and big and you don’t feel that it is busy. This is one thing I hate the most when you are out with little children/pushchairs. The queues were really fast moving and there is so much choice that even if the ride you want to sit on has a queue you can easily move on to another and then return later.
The main stage has a number of different shows on during the time and these aren’t repeated, so if there was a show that you would want to watch i.e. Frozen or Basil Brush do check the times as you go in to make sure you dont miss it. I loved the stage, there was plenty of spaces at the front for the children to sit and plenty of seating for adults.
The circus had several new acts this year and it was good to see especially for families who may have visited the attraction in the past. We went to the circus 10 minutes be
Overall we had a really lovely evening. We left with big smiles on our faces and more happy memories to talk about and share. That for me is what makes or breaks a day out. It lived up to all of our expectations and ticks all the boxes for a fantastic, family fun day out. It is expensive with the initial cost but I think it worth the money. Our little adventurers give it a big thumbs up! We made a short video of the fun we had, hope you like it!