This weekend was the start of our Christmas activities and no such plans would be complete without a trip to see Father Christmas. We were invited to visit the grotto at Wyevale garden centre in Nantwich and the children couldn’t wait to tell him what they wanted.
We had never been to Wyevale before and were amazed to find that it was so much more than a garden centre, with shops, cafes, crazy golf and market stalls all under one roof. It is well worth a visit if you have never been before (especially the farm shop). It is safe to say we were blown away by the sheer size of the place and I must admit it took us a few minutes to find the grotto, but once we did we were not disappointed.
Unlike some grotto’s you do need to book this one in advance which although means you can’t go for a spontaneous visit actually makes the visit itself more pleasurable. Having to book means you avoid hours of queuing with cranky bored kids and, most importantly, means that only so many people are allowed in per session, ensuring every child can get the most out of the experience without feeling rushed, pushed, or squashed.
When we arrived at the grotto we were welcomed by two of Santa’s elves who told tales and spoke to each child individually, keeping them entertained whilst we waited for the whole group to arrive. The elves were so friendly and the male elf was so happy playing his character that you couldn’t help but smile at his enthusiasm, which was certainly rubbing of on the children. The elves gave each child a snow ball (cotton wool) and told them they could use this in the wishing well to make a Christmas wish. This really caught the imaginations of our boys and they loved this special touch, something we had never done before.
Once Santa was ready for the group we were taken into the expedition which was a magical wonderland of polar bears and penguins. Plenty of things for the children to see and enjoy on the way to Santa. Along side each display were some interesting facts about the animals, which although wasted on my 4 year old, certainly captured the attention of out 6 year old who has a thirst for knowledge since starting school. Not only is the walk through wonderland pretty and interesting but it also provides some lovely opportunities to take magical family photos.
Once we had finished our magical mystery tour of wonderland we found ourselves in Santa’s workshop with the big man himself perched in his special chair ready to read all the children a story. The story with Santa is such a lovely idea and there was plenty of opportunities for the children to join in with the story and talk to Santa too.
No trip would be complete without a picture, followed by a gift. Just like the entire event there was no rush or stress at all. Both the elves and Santa himself talked to the children as if they were the only children they were going to see that day and as if they had all the time in the world, helping the children pick the right gift for them.
The gift – well what can I say the gifts from Wyevales Santa are the best Santa gifts I have ever seen. There were teddies, games, 3D modeling kits and racing car sets, something for everyone regardless of age or gender.
The experience costs £8, lasts about 20 minutes and each child gets a choice of gift. In my opinion this is well worth the price, both my boys enjoyed it and I would definitely go back again next year.
(The Santa experience was given to us in exchange for a review but all opinions are my own.)