Is it even Christmas without a trip to Santa’s Grotto? Harley has always loved going to see Father Christmas and we couldn’t wait to take Ada on her first visit so were mega excited to go to the just-opened Santa’s Grotto at Shenstone Wyevale Garden Centre this weekend.
So after a morning of relaxation (I got my hair done for the first time in forever) I picked up the kids and Tom and headed over to the garden centre. Despite it being quite close to us we’d never been before but can promise you we’ll definitely return. Every parent knows a good garden centre is the holy grail – it’s a fab day out for the little ones as there’s lots to see, usually a small aquarium, occasionally soft play and always a coffee shop – and Shenstone Wyevale has all of those.
The garden centre is so Christmassy and instantly will get you feeling all warm and cosy. There’s a life-size motorised reindeer amongst a festive display when you first walk through the doors and Christmas trees, decorations, polar bears and penguins as you continue through the store. You could get lost in there for hours looking at all the decorations and we made full use of all the different photo opportunities including a £750 glitzy light-up reindeer, especially since I forgot to pack nappies and Ada pooed – oops! – so Tom had to go to the nearest shop to get more.
There was lots to keep the kids (we also took my niece, Poppy, with us) occupied whilst we waited, we went to see the fish and also found that as part of the shop’s free festive weekend event (there’s lots going on over the next few weeks including Christmas story time, cartoonists and magic shows) there was a face painter. Poppy quickly decided she wanted to be a unicorn whilst Harley opted for Rudolph and hands down the lady that did it was the best facepainter I’ve ever seen – she was incredible!
After order had been restored (i.e. nappies had been purchased and Ada was all cleaned up) we headed over to Santa’s Grotto with Rudolph and the unicorn in tow. Due to the drama we were about 25 minutes late for our slot but the team of elves were great and let us carry on.
First stop on our visit to Santa was to each plant a magic bean in a pot, Harley and Poppy loved doing this and were excited to write their names on the plastic name tag they were given. Then after a short wait we went to see the big man. The grotto looked amazing, it was so festive with lots of decorations. lights and trees, and rather importantly, lovely and warm! Father Christmas was waiting for the three of them and already knew their names welcoming them each as they came in.
He asked Harley and Poppy to put their magic beans in a special magic sprouting chamber before they sat down and told him what they wanted for Christmas. He spoke with them both for such a long time and made them feel really special, also telling them that it was really important that they were good for their mum and dad, went to bed on time and kept their bedrooms tidy – thanks Santa! He then asked them to head back to the magic sprouting chamber where they found that their beans have turned into beautiful mini Christmas trees, which they could decorate outside the grotto.
It was then time for pictures and presents! Harley received a Monsters Inc. card game, which he loved, whilst Poppy received an Angry Birds soft toy, which she’s taken everywhere with her since. And Ada was gifted a Pet Pals Googlies book so it was great gifts all round.
The pictures taken were really lovely so we chose to buy some of them. There are a few packages on offer that are great value – we went for the Silver Package which included a snowglobe, keyring and two mounted pictures for £16.
Finally the kids got to decorate their Christmas trees with tinsel and pipe cleaners in a small crafting area that was set to the side of the grotto. Harley and Poppy had so much fun and loved the whole experience, even Ada loved it! It was stress-free experience for us as parents and great value.
Santa’s Grotto is open every day now until Christmas Eve and admission is £10 per child. You can book online here or ask in-store as a small number of slots are available as walk-ups. Ticket price includes admission, a gift and a mini Christmas tree.
The Aspiring Yummy Mummy. x
Disclaimer: We were gifted with free admission to Santa’s Grotto in exchange for a review. We paid full price for the photograph package.