WINTER WONDERLAND, a multi-faceted Christmas-themed event that is now a fixture on London’s festive calendar, opens this weekend, and celebrates its fifth year at Hyde Park.

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Built around the biggest outdoor ice-rink in the country, Winter Wonderland features a 100-stall Christmas market and a 53m big wheel (about the height of Nelson’s Column) which gives spectacular views over central London.

This year, the ice-rink is even bigger and has a new centrepiece – a band-stand – to add even more of that Victorian Christmas charm. Organisers predict that 120,000 skaters will use the rink between today (18.11.11) and the end of Winter Wonderland (03.01.12).

There are also big top shows provided by Zippos circus, fairground rides at the Alpine Adventure area and a new Carousel Bar, where you can sup mulled wine while being gently spun round and round.

Winter Wonderland launches tonight, Friday 18 November from 5pm until 10pm and from then on its opening hours are 10am-10pm every day until 3 January 2011.

Entry is free, but the headline stuff isn’t and highly oversubscribed attractions like ice-skating need pre-booking, which you can do here.