WINTER WONDERLAND, HYDE PARK, LONDON

December 2013 and 2015

Winter Wonderland will be "celebrating ten years of sparkling magic" when the gates open on 18 November, according to its website. It is certainly a fascinating place. Occupying a sizeable chunk of the park, it is jam-packed with rides and stalls - a magnet for small children and their indulgent parents. Sadly, the weather doesn't always play its part. In recent years it has been rather less than frosty and the Wonderland's collection of polar bears and penguins look rather sad in the grey light of a rainy London day. 

At times like these there's a certain  bathos to the place. The architecture and the trappings scream fun, but the faces of some of the patrons - particularly those whose children have gone into meltdown - tell a rather different story. 

It would be wrong to mock, of course. The vast majority of visitors love the place and it does have a kind of plastic magic. It is certainly a fascinating place to photograph and I will, no doubt, be celebrating the 'sparkling magic' once again this year. 

Winter Wonderland

Children watch one of the rides at Winter Wonderland. A plastic bear watches the children.

Winter Wonderland

Family at Winter Wonderland transfixed by one of the rides.

Winter Wonderland

A fibreglass mouse roars at Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

A polar bear, penguins and some human detritus

Winter Wonderland

A woman smokes in front of a carousel at Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

An attendant at one of the attractions lost in thought

Winter Wonderland

Another mouse, another child at Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

A fibreglass seal peers out at passers by.

Winter Wonderland

A static Santa, a bucket and a child in a corner of Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

Disconsolate child is consoled by his mother at Winter Wonderland