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Friend: Should you go to Winterville?

I bloody love Christmas. (Sorry if you've read Loner. Lover. Friend before or know me at all and find that blatantly obvious). My boyfriend said the other day that my Christmas spirit is probably the worst thing about me, that I have so much yuletide joy it is exhausting and suffocating. Every Christmas I have a list of all the things I want to do to help me enjoy the season - to go and see the nutcracker, to go ice skating, to watch a whole list of Christmas films, to go to Rules restaurant, to eat every lunch place's version of "the Christmas sandwich", to wear velvet somewhere and drunkenly dance to Mariah Carey "All I want for Christmas", the list goes on.

Therefore it might surprise you that I've actually never been to Winter Wonderland, London's Christmas spectacular that takes place every December. Now I like the hustle and bustle of Christmas as much as the next person (my Dad and I go to Tesco's every Christmas eve just for the atmosphere) but the number of people who get off the tube at the stop for Winter Wonderland overwhelms me. I've had to queue to get out of stations, queue to get into stations and let 11 full tubes pass before I get on one in the worst of London's rush hour, but I don't think I've heard the tube driver warn you about getting off because of congestion in the station, apart from for Winter Wonderland. So that congestion must be really bloomin bad.

And then along comes Winterville, east London's answer to Winter Wonderland apparently. Does this mean crowds of tourists eating bratwursts and sipping over priced mulled wine will be replaced with clusters of hipsters drinking craft beer and eating ceviche? Well sort of. There is both a ceviche pop up, and a Brewdog craft beer stand, but rest assured there are still plenty of bratwursts and over priced mulled wine on offer. Whilst there certainly is an amount of new east end about the joint - Voodoo rays, smoked beef brisket, the trendy "Bar Humbug" and so cheesy it is wonderful "hot breath karaoke", there is a fair chunk of traditional Christmas, in the shape of a santa's grotto and an ice rink, and a little bit of traditional east end, in the shape of the fairground which I'm told is much bigger and better than Winter Wonderland's.

Bar Humbug was by the far the busiest spot when I visited

And yet Winterville hasn't been getting rave reviews, and I can sort of see why. There is a little bit of "grass is greener" syndrome in that whilst Winter Wonderland is too busy for my liking, Winterville is a little too empty. You don't have to queue for rides or for the bar, which is great, but it means it all feels a little eerie, walking around a quiet fairground in the dark with Christmas songs blasting out.

Having said that, last Thursday night, which I spent at Winterville, I did have a bloomin amazing time. The lack of bar queue meant that I drunk copious amounts of red wine. I ate a sausage with cheese in the middle of it. I had an almost out of body experience in hot breath karaoke watching the presenter in lycra silver and a slightly geekish looking boy sing a duet of "rhythm is a dancefloor" at the top of their voices to an empty room, it was so hilarious. And I went on loads of rides. I laughed, I screamed, I felt all nostalgic, I thought I might be sick, I felt all Christmassy all over - what more could you want from a Christmas outing?

Hotel of terror is actually scarier after your third glass of wine...

This cruel photo of me and Katy eating cheese filled hotdogs is by Bessie Jewels

On the crazy mouse

So how much will it cost you? Winterville is free to get into, so I guess it just depends how much you do when you get there. I spent around £30 and that was enough to keep me slightly tipsy and occupied from when I got there at 7:30ish til when it closed just after 10. Find out more about Winterville, by visiting their website.

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