One of the things that concerned me about having our second baby due a week before Christmas was being able to give our son the same experiences that we had begun with him in previous years – Artie the Elf arriving on the 1st of December, visiting Santa, Pantomime, Christmas Eve box and generally encouraging the magic of Christmas. Some of these things are out of our hands as we obviously cannot predict when Baby Girl Roversi (BGR) will arrive however we were lucky to be invited to the Christmas Grotto at Carr Gate Wyevale Garden Centre this weekend. Perfect timing, just before I turn 37 weeks pregnant, meaning that chances were slim of her arriving and we could enjoy the experience as a family of 3 before becoming a family of 4.
Conveniently, Carr Gate is literally a five minute drive from our house and is somewhere we visit regularly at all times of year. With their soft play, cafe and Aquatics centre it’s a great place to kill a few hours on a wet afternoon and with the added Winter Wonderland from mid November it’s an ideal place for toddlers of my sons age.
The Great Grottos Santa ticket is £11 and includes meeting santa, a present and planting a mini Christmas tree. Photographs are taken by one of Santa’s helpful elves and there are a range of packages available to buy after the experience.
The experience begins in their wonderland, walking past reindeer, elves, a singing tree, a huge troll and other magical beings. Having visited this for a number of years I had seen some of them before however other displays were new and my favourite part is always the snowy land of polar bears, husky dogs, a waterfall and penguins.
This leads to the grotto and an elf ready to chat to your little person and ask them about their Christmas wishes. This year, the experience included a miniature Christmas tree and the elf gave Little L a pot in which he added a magic bean and some magic soil before writing his name on a sign that also went in the pot.
Then the magic happened, as we entered Santa’s Grotto, an elf took the pot from Lucas and put it behind a curtain. Santa had a lovely chat with our little boy, making sure he knew what he would like for Christmas and checking he’d been a good boy. The elf took some pictures of the boy with the big man and then Mummy and Daddy got in on the action too before he picked a present from the many santa sacks around Mr Christmas. Finally, Little L was asked to pull back the curtain and, because he had been a good boy this year, his pot of magic bean and soil had turned into a little Christmas tree! How cute!!! It was adorable to see the look on L’s face when he saw the transformation and made the whole experience much more magical. We said goodbye to Santa and told him not to work too hard over the next month before heading out to decorate our Christmas Tree!
The whole experience took about 30 minutes and had some lovely little features to make it more than just visiting santa. Mini R obviously wanted to open his present which was an Anger Birds Clay Modelling set which, as I write, he is playing with and his play-doh. We decided on the Silver package of pictures which included a photo, a glitter frame with picture and a picture keyring for £14. Due to Mummy looking like a whale with double chins for days, we decided on the photo that just had our son in, although the elf who was pressing the pictures was very complimentary which was nice.
In previous years we’ve been to events such as Magical Lantern Festival and Stockeld Park and, whilst they are lovely, they are also expensive. What I really enjoyed about this morning was the amount we got for our money and our son was more than happy so it’s a win win situation. I always enjoy a trip to Carr Gate, in general, but more so at Christmas as, living in Wakefield all my life, it’s been part of christmas tradition. This year was the first time we’ve experienced Great Grottos there and I know we’ll be back next year…only with a nearly 1 year old too! If you are interested in booking an experience at a Wyevale Garden Centre, please click on this link.
This post was written in collaboration with Great Grottos. We were offered a ticket for Little L in return for an honest review of our experience. All views are my own.