‘Tis the season to be jolly… because they’ve cancelled the Hyde Park hell that is Winter Wonderland. In a year of misery upon misery it’s a solitary piece of good news, in fact it’s probably the only thing keeping us going.

The annual extravaganza sees the South East corner of London’s Hyde Park converted from green and pleasant land into a densely packed, jostling  throng of grimness, closing the nearest tube and causing general West End congestion. But while its cancellation may be greeted by cheers, it’s not all good news…

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With more than 3 million visitors in 2019, the fun-fair-slash-market-slash-ice-rink-slash-my-wrists event is one of London’s most popular tourist attractions, and evokes a Marmite-like response from Londoners. You either #loooooooove it, or you’re re-posting this article.

While it’s great for anyone who enjoys a tasteful Christmas market, an affordable fun fair or a quiet walk in the park, the news isn’t all good… It shows just how bad the economy is set to be when large set-piece events are cancelled and also highlights the lingering dangers of coronavirus as we head into autumn.

A spokesman for the event said “It is with a heavy heart we share that Hyde Park Winter Wonderland will not be taking place this year. Our team has worked tirelessly, exploring every option in the hopes of being able to move forward with the event in a responsible manner, and provide London with some much-needed festive cheer”

And with it presumably also goes the chances of a ‘normal’ Christmas, promised by Boris just a few months ago. It’s hard to see how packed churches can expect to sing carols, how socially distanced shopping centres will handle the Christmas traffic or how former Love Islanders can  possibly switch on Christmas lights in front of thousands. The cancellation of Hyde Park Winter Wonderland most likely means the end of the annual office Christmas party (or at least intensively Detol-ing the photocopier) and even the possibility of not being even able to go home to see family.

Indeed, at his age and with his build Father Christmas himself should absolutely be shielding. So does the demise of Hyde Park Winter Wonderland (hark the) herald the end of Christmas itself?


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