SOUTHEND’S very own version of the popular Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park will be launching this December to the delight of families.

Visitors will be able to enjoy ice skating on a real ice rink, Christmas shopping, market browsing and plenty of fairground rides at the Christmas Wonderland in Garon Park.

From December 10 to 31, Southend is set to rival the iconic Winter Wonderland in London, and it is hoped Southend’s own version can become the “second biggest Winter Wonderland in the UK.”

Organisers will put on a shuttle bus service from Garon Park to both Southend Victoria and Southend Central train stations.

The move will hopefully attract visitors from out of town, who won’t be driving into Southend.


A spokesman from the Essex Christmas Wonderland group, said: “The Essex Christmas Wonderland is a Christmas spectacular for all the family.

“We are open from December 10 to December 31 at Garon Park in Southend.

“There is something for everyone with fairground rides, street food, bars, a real ice rink, Christmas market, and much more.

“We are open from 12pm till 11pm every day.

“When the evening comes around, Garon Park is transformed by thousands of sparkling lights so grab your pizza, hot chocolate or a pint of beer and join in the festive cheer.”

The ice rink will be built underneath a canopy of Christmas lights, and at night, the rink will turn into a disco with state-of-the-art lighting show.

The Christmas Wonderland bonanza will also feature a Jingle All the Way show.

Children will be able to take part in an immersive Santa experience.

Granddad-of-two Ron Sverdloff, 76, of Old Leigh, said: “My grandkids would love this, and I will be definitely taking them along.

“I’m fully behind anything that brings a bit of happiness to the town, and puts a smile on people’s faces.

“It’s what we all live for.”

Visitors will need to buy a parking ticket if they wish to use the parking facilities at Garon Park.

Daniel Cowan, dad-of-two and Labour councillor of the St Laurence ward, added: “I honestly can’t wait to take the kids along.

“It’s going to be a fantastic day out.

“It’s something that should be an annual event, and one that will bring in a lot of visitors.

“We should be actively encouraging events like this to the town, it’s going to be great for Southend.”

The event was first proposed for Chalkwell Park, but was later moved to Garon Park.

Organisers hope the event can become an annual part of Southend’s Christmas celebrations.