Saturday, August 13, 2022

Newcastle Winter Wonderland Review & Tips

 This review is based on a visit in 2021. Some of the facilities / set up may be different in 2022 but hopefully this post will give you an honest idea of what to expect. Scroll to the bottom ot the post for information about 2022's event.

Newcastle Winter Wonderland Review & Tips

Newcastle Winter Wonderland made it's debut at Newcastle Racecourse in winter 2021. It's fair to say they received mixed reviews and did receive a fair bit of flack on social media. 

Yes, the event wasn't perfect but these things are what you make of them. We visited on a rainy day and still managed to have a good time. I will probably visit again this year as it's ideal for teens / tweens with plenty of thrill rides to choose from. 

Newcastle Winter Wonderland Review & Tips

We booked our tickets in advance. To be honest I wouldn't recommend doing this as walk ins are allowed (although it is slightly more expensive to 'walk in'). The weather can be so tempremental in Winter and I think I would just rather wait for a calm evening or day to visit rather than be tied to a particular day and have to make do whatever the weather.

Last year they said they'd never turn a walk in away so it makes sense to just wait for a nice day rather than having to brave a rain/snow storm. 

Tickets were around £4-£5 per person which considering the scale of the event, I thought was ok. This includes parking. 

Newcastle Winter Wonderland Review & Tips

Parking on site was very poorly managed, the roads are not well lit, full of pot holes and flooded. There were not enough staff around to help either. Walking to and from the car park at night with no lighting whilst dodging holes, traffic and puddles was like an event in itself. Parking is a bit of a walk away - I'd say 5 minutes. Hopefully things will improve a little this year. 

Newcastle Winter Wonderland Review & Tips

On arrival the entrance is lined with the usual food stalls, you'll be able to get your main festive fixes whether this be Bratwurst or Mulled wine. There were a few market stalls too but not loads - it's not somewhere to come with the primary aim of shopping. My MIL bought some nice Christmas cheeses from one of the stalls. 

Food prices obviously weren't cheap but we didn't feel like they were totally OTT either. 

  • Greek Gyro £10 
  • Hot Meat Baps £5 
  • Loaded Fries £5 
  • Chinese Noodles £5 
  • Bratwurst £6
  • Hot Chocolate £2.50 
  • Mulled Wine £4 

Newcastle Winter Wonderland Review & Tips  - food stalls

We visited on a rainy day and after a sustained period of rain. The ground is kind of all covered with artificial grass for the event. There are some areas where big puddles formed and it was squelchy underfoot. There were also muddy areas between the car park and site entrance. 

A lot of complaints were about the weather but it's an outdoor event - what can you do? We wore wellies / waterproof walking boots and it was fine. I'd recommend doing the same (alongside some thermal socks). Some people did bring pushchairs but it was a bit of a struggle navigating the ground like this. If there is heavy rain / snow, I would say the site would not really be suitable for wheelchair users but it may be ok if the weather is better this year. 

Although the event is mostly outdoor, there were some indoor bits where you can hide from the rain - the ice rink is under cover and there are a few indoor bar areas too. 

It is primarily an outdoor event taking place in winter though so wrap up warmly and dress for the weather. 

Most of the kids rides were £2.50-£3.50 each with some of the bigger ones going up to around £5. There were no queues on the day of our visit and the kids seemed to get a long time on each ride. From this perspective, I found it to be good value. 

Ride operators took cash or card but sometimes their card reader's didn't have the best signal so I'd recommend bringing cash for the rides if you can. It's just quicker and easier. 

I know at the start I said that I wouldn't pre-book tickets however I will say, if you'd like to include ice skating, I would pre-book as ice skating was sold out on the day of our visit and we wouldn't have been able to do it if we hadn't booked. 

You need to book both Winter Wonderland admission AND ice skating tickets to skate. 

There was a spectator area for ice skating and it was all under cover which was a nice relief from the rain for us. They blast out the festive tunes and the atmosphere is good. 

It does get extremely busy though and it's not a huge space, we did visit better ice rinks in the region and wouldn't say this one was the best. Mid-session, there wasn't room to swing a cat or get any kind of speed up. 

However, you can hire those little snow penguins and there are staff on the ice who were great with the kids. It does it's job and ticks the winter wonderland box. 

You get an hour including skate changing time which is more than enough time. 

The whole atmosphere is very festive and it looks very festive all lit up in the evening. There are characters walking about posing for photos, all of the staff we met were lovely and there is regular live music, live singers and lots of christmas songs. It does get you in the festive spirit. 

As well as the rides, food stalls, ice rink and bars, there are a couple of other attractions too like Christmas pony rides and a Christmas maze (the maze was pretty rubbish so I'm hoping this improves this year). 

Christmas Tree Maze 

We stayed for a couple of hours and left as one of my children was absolutely freezing cold. It's nice grabbing a hot drink from the food stalls at the entrance to walk back to the car with. 

I did enjoy the event as did the kids. We visited with extended friends and family - nieces, grandparents, aunties etc..... and it was ideal for a big festive outing as there is something for everyone. Dogs on leads are welcome too. It's not really the kind of place I would take Fozzy though - I think he'd prefer to be left at home. 

Newcastle Winter Wonderland Review & Tips - Seating

A Christmas Circus also set up site but we didn't visit. Again there was a lot of confusion around whether you needed Winter Wonderland admission in order to visit the circus - some staff said you did, others said you didn't. I never did get a clear answer in the end! 

Overall, there are definitely areas for improvement but it wasn't a bad event and we had a lovely time. I think the main thing that frustrated many was the unprofessionalism - for example nobody dealing with complaints, emails being ignored/bouncing back and event info not being provided in full on social media and confusing messages being posted.

They could really benefit from a proper social media manager in 2022 and I'm sure this will help to reduce complaints. 

Regardless, we'll be back in 2022. 

Newcastle Winter Wonderland 2022 

Winter Wonderland will return from 17 November - 24 December 2022. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for announcements. 

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Newcastle Winter Wonderland Review & Tips - 2022 info


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