EventCity is well signposted, so it is very easy to find and is only a short distance from the motorway. Apart from a few short queues on the way, we had a pleasant journey there and arrived with enough time to enjoy a meal together in the Trafford Centre. We then made our way over to EventCity approximately half an hour before the start time of 7pm and had no issues with parking. The security was excellent and although a sad reflection of current times, it was very reassuring to know that you were in safe hands and that a good security protocol was being followed. In addition to being well staffed at the entrance, there was a visible security presence throughout the event, which was excellent.
Once inside all guests stayed in a large 'holding area' where everyone could gather prior to the curtains to the event opening. We were treated to live entertainment by the fabulous Chloe Rose and the Aim Sky High Dance Group, who were both well received by the audience. In this area there was access to the toilets, cloak room and also a quiet room for anyone that may have found the noise, crowd or lights a bit too much. Just after 7pm the curtains were drawn and families began to make their way through the falling snow, ready to enjoy all the attractions inside.
This is the fifth consecutive year of the event, which sees the 22,000sqm exhibition space transformed into a spectacular wonderland extravaganza, that features over 50 family rides and attractions all under one roof. In addition to the rides, there are also a great selection of shows to enjoy, including Daisy & Ollie and Zippy & George from Rainbow, who add lots of magic, mayhem and comedy capers. You can also be marvelled and amazed by the daily performances of the Christmas Circus. There really is so much choice so I would recommend making a note of the time of the shows, so that you know what time to return and don't miss out.
Riley's favourite ride last year was the Flying Elephants, so he had already asked if we could go and find it first. He knows that I don't like heights so he always finds it hilarious to press the pedal which makes the elephants rise really high towards the ceiling. It's also a great place to get a good view of everything else that is on offer. The queues for most rides were literally only a couple of minutes at the most, and we were even able to walk straight on to some. All the rides are included in the price you pay for entry, which means that the ticket price actually offers fantastic value for money.
It was great that I didn't have to worry about ride prices once inside, so instead of limiting how many rides they could go on, they could literally just pick and choose as much as they wanted. There was something for everyone, ranging from slow paced toddler rides, to fast and exciting rides for thrill seekers. My older children aged 9 & 11 enjoyed being able to go on their favourites over and over again and also liked being able to go on the smaller rides with their younger brother who is 4.
Winter Wonderland operates on a session basis, that offers families four hours of fun and entertainment. I personally think this is a great idea as it prevents overcrowding and ensures that families are able to make the most of their session without the queues being too lengthy for the rides. We had a shorter session of three hours on the launch night and didn't manage to fit everything in, so I would recommend having a look on the Winter Wonderland website so you can get an idea of what rides and shows are available, in order to help you plan your visit.
Another firm favourite from last year was the Pip Ahoy beach. Riley could literally sit and play in the sand for hours and often does when we go on beach holidays, however he obviously doesn't get the chance to do this much in the winter. It was therefore lovely for him to be able to build some sandcastles with his siblings, whilst Mr F and I took advantage of the deck chairs for a sit down, around the sand pit. There were plenty of buckets and spades for all the children to play with and it also provides a somewhat quieter zone for little ones, away from the hustle and bustle of the bigger rides.
Both Ben and Emma really enjoyed the huge inflatable assault course that was on offer and went on this several times. Adjacent to this was a crazy fun house, which also provided lots of laughs and challenges as you made your way around. Ben's absolute favourite though was the rodeo bulls, where there are a row of bulls that can each seat three people. You then have to try and stay on as long as possible, whilst the bulls move and twist in an attempt to throw you off. This looked so much fun and again Ben went on this quite a few times.
Santa is also available to meet and greet children over in his grotto, along with a couple of his reindeer, which helps to make the visit even more magical. There is no gift included, but this didn't bother us at all. We also met numerous elves and fairies throughout the night, who were busy giving a friendly wave and a smile to all the children. The whole place was just full of happy families which made it a really nice atmosphere to be in.
There is a wide range of food and refreshments available for purchase, that cater for all tastes (including the very popular Yorkshire Pudding Wrap)! Alternatively, you could grab a bite to eat at the Trafford Centre like we did, if you would rather enjoy a sit down meal.
Overall we had an absolutely fantastic time. It was great to be able to have a fabulous evening together as a family and have so much fun. I feel that the entry price offers excellent value for money, which if you consider the average cost of a fairground ride now is around £3 each, you can certainly get your money's worth. There is plenty to see and do for all ages, offering lots of enjoyment for both young and old. Would we go again? Absolutely!
Event - Winter Wonderland Manchester
Venue - EventCity (next to Intu Trafford Centre), Phoenix Way, Off Barton Dock Road, Urmston, Manchester, M41 7TB. Free Parking Available.
Ticket Prices -
Adult £20.50 (plus £1.50 Quaytickets booking fee)
Child (3-16) £20.50 (plus £1.50 Quaytickets booking fee)
Family of 4 (2 ad + 2 ch or 1 ad + 3ch) £70 (plus £1.50 Quaytickets booking fee per person so total fee of £6)
OAP £15.00 (plus £1.50 Quaytickets booking fee)
Under 3's are Free (Ticket not required).
Groups 10% discount (when booking 15+ tickets)
School rate: £9.50 per child (under 12's) with some teachers free from Tuesday 13th to Friday 16th December (morning session only).
All rides and attractions are included in the ticket price (excluding games and food stalls) and each session lasts for 4 hours.
Session Times -
Tue 12th, Wed 13th & Thurs 14th: 10:30am-2:30pm
Fri 15th: 10:30am-2:30pm and 5pm-9pm
Sat 16th & Sun 17th: 11am-3pm and 4:30pm-8:30pm
Mon 18th & Tue 19th: 10:30am-2:30pm
Wed 20th: 10:30am-2:30pm and 4:30pm-8:30pm
Thurs 21st, Fri 22nd & Sat 23rd: 11am-3pm and 4:30pm-8:30pm
Tue 26th: 1pm-5pm
Wed 27th, Thurs 28th, Fri 29th & Sat 30th: 11am-3pm and 4:30pm-8:30pm
Sun 31st: 11am-3pm
Mon 1st: 1pm-5pm
To book please visit www.winterwonderlandmanchester.com or alternatively you can make a booking by telephone on 0843 208 1842. For group bookings please call 0843 208 6003.
Disclaimer: Details can be subject to change, so I would always recommend visiting the events own website to obtain the most up to date information. We attended Winter Wonderland as guests for the purpose of writing a review of our experience.