The cultural casualties of coronavirus continue to climb, with the news that this year’s Winter Wonderland festival has been cancelled.
The annual fair has appeared in Hyde Park every winter for the past 13 years. A favourite with families, the month-long cavalcade of fun sees a mix of circus shows, white-knuckle rides, a big wheel, ice sculptures and hundreds of food and drink stalls. Not this year. The attraction relies on high footfall to be economical. It wouldn’t be practical with social distancing measures.
The Lord Mayor’s Show is another family favourite to announce a sort-of cancellation. The parade to celebrate a new Lord Mayor has taken place in some form for over 800 years. It’s normally a vibrant, showy affair, with thousands of participants marching through the streets of the Square Mile. This year’s ‘Show’ will be restricted to Guildhall Yard, and the only way to watch it will be on television. Unusually, the current Lord Mayor, William Russell, will serve for a second term to ensure ‘continuity of leadership’ during this very difficult time for the City. That hasn’t happened since the 1860s.
Not everything is cancelled, however. Kew Gardens has announced that its hugely popular after-dark illuminated trail will be back in action, from 18 November. Tickets are already on sale and likely to sell out fast.
Get regular entry tickets to Kew Gardens here.
The big unknown is whether London’s traditional New Year’s Eve fireworks will also be cancelled. The annual event around the London Eye would be difficult to marshall in a socially distanced way.
Although originally from the Midlands, and trained as a biochemist, Matt has somehow found himself writing about London for a living. He's a former editor and long-time contributor to Londonist.com and has written several books about the capital. He's also the father of two preschoolers.