Today we took a very special trip to our local(ish) Wyevale Garden Center to meet Santa in his grotto. We visit Wyevale Garden Centers a lot, so when we told the kids that we were taking them to meet someone special, they looked a little underwhelmed when we arrived at mummy’s favourite shop. That was until I told them that we were here to visit Santa for a VIP meet and greet with the big man himself and his elves. There were lots of high pitched squeals within our car… aggghhh!
Visiting Santa’s Grotto
Once we arrived at Podington Garden Center we took a short walk through the store following the signs pointing to Santa’s grotto. We actually spotted the 3 real reindeer first, which was very exciting! The girls then noticed the magical walkway to the grotto. There were lots of bits to see such as animated polar bears, deer and penguins. Super cute!
We checked in with the elves and said our ‘Hellos’. The head elf handed the girls a plant pot each (how strange but then again we are in a garden center!) and asked them to fill the plant pot with shredded paper. She then gave each of the girls a magic bean to plant within the paper. I was rather confused, but the girls just knew that there was magic to be had!
The head elf then took us to the grotto, where we met Santa! There he was, looking spectacular inside of his beautiful grotto. There was an open fire, a beautiful Christmas tree, a comfortable sofa (for the grown-ups to sit on) and some of the most beautiful Christmas decorations I have ever seen. I had some serious grotto-envy!
Santa said ‘Hello’ to each of the girls and after some small chit-chat, he asked the girls to place their plant pots in a small box within the grotto. He then asked the girls what they each wanted for Christmas (boy! Did I have some surprises). Santa then gave the children a gift each. In previous years of visiting grottos with the girls, it always seemed that Santa was on a tight budget (IYKWIM) but these gifts were spectacular. Willow received a lovely Doc McStuffins magic writing set, while Olive and Ivy each got a lovely Jack-In-The-Box.
Santa then asked the girls if they would like their photograph taken with him. Santa has a camera set up in his grotto and his head elf is the photographer. The girls all posed for a picture (Ivy was a little nervous… but it makes a cute pic) and gave Santa a hug.
Suddenly Santa reminded the girls about their magical beans. He asked the girls to get them back out of the box. Inside, the beans had magically grown into real miniature Christmas trees! The girls were amazed. I was amazed! There was also an extra surprise tree for Jimmy. Magic can be so touching at times 🙂
As a gardener and someone who is keen to get kids gardening too, the gift of a real Christmas tree was just wonderful. A gift that they can keep for years to come, watch grow and remember that Santa Claus gave them ‘that’ tree. Honestly, this little gift was so wonderful. I never thought that we would be going home with a tree each, but Santa always gives the best surprises.
We said ‘goodbye’ to Santa and wished him good luck for the next few weeks. We left the grotto full of smiles and festive cheer. The head elf had one last treat for the girls. They got to decorate their miniature Christmas trees with tinsel and baubles. The girls spent around 15 minutes decorating their trees to perfection.
I popped to the kiosk to say thank you to the elves and to purchase a copy of the photograph taken by the elf. There were a few packages to choose from but the elf helped me to choose which one- a set with a keyring, glittery picture and a bauble. The quality of these was also really nice and would make great gifts for family or friends.
We all then popped to see the 3 beautiful reindeer who were happily having the dinner. They were such magnificent creatures and I fell in love with them instantly. We all did. The reindeer looked very happy and were enjoying the fuss from us all.
All-in-all Wyevale Garden Center’s Santa experience was one of the best we have ever visited. It felt personal, unrushed and magical. Santa Claus was lovely, as was his head elf. We shall certainly be visiting Santa again next year when he comes to our local Wyevale Garden Center.
But first, we have to make sure that we all stay on the Nice List this year!
Would You Like To Visit?
Wyevale Garden Centers have Santa visiting across lots of their stores from November 17th – December 24th. Booking is taken online, but visitors can also pop by on the day. Be warned that Santa is a very busy man and his grotto may get booked up fast so online booking ASAP is always advisable.
Tickets are £6* per child, and the photograph packages are an optional extra. Visiting Santa’s grotto is suitable for children aged between 3-8 years old. Children must be accompanied by an adult when visiting Santa.
To book your family’s place visit the Wyevale Garden Centers website here.
We were kindly gifted tickets to Santa’s grotto in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own. All images are my own.
*Prices may vary between locations.
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