East London’s winter village offering, Winterville, opened for its second year last Thursday at Victoria Park. I went for the first time and honestly had an unexpected blast! It was like combining three dates into one evening – ice skating under disco lights to pop songs, a circus show with performances from The Moscow State Circus and African Whirlwind and dinner with live band Old Dirty Brasstards, a 10-piece brass and drum band blasting out renditions of Shake it Off and Man in the Mirror. Apart from some questionably skimpy outfits from The Moscow State Circus, everything was suitable and entertaining for all ages!
Yes, it could be described as a scaled down version of Winter Wonderland outside of central London, but it offers a backyard cinema, crazy golf, pantomime and club nights on top of comparable attractions such as ice skating, market stalls, fairground rides, circus shows and children areas. Entry is free and tickets to attractions range from £4-£12.50 – a touch cheaper than Winter Wonderland.
The food stalls had a good range of dishes outside your typical bratwursts and chips, selling paella, crepes, soft shell crab burgers and Rendang. I went for the soft shell crab burger from Crabbie Shack that was topped with sweetcorn salsa and 1000 island lobster sauce, while a friend had vegetarian paella from The Paellaria. I loved the concept of a soft shell crab burger, but it sadly lacked flavour and tasted more like a deep-fried batter burger- not something I would pay £7.50 for. On the other hand, my friend’s vegetable paella, though only lukewarm (it was near closing), was packed with flavour, al dente and scrummy!
Area: Victoria Park
Rating: 3.8 / 5.0