So it appears that without me noticing it, December has crept up on us. And December means twinkling lights, Christmas trees, panic shopping and, most importantly, a trip to see the Big Man himself. That is Santa, Father Christmas, St Nick, Kris Kringle, that big dude in red…whatever you choose to call him, if you have children you will undoubtedly be seeing him at some point before Christmas Day.
We’ve been on our annual Santa trip to various places over the last five years but the first place we ever visited Santa with Elsa was Carr Gate Garden Centre. So we decided to make a return visit for this years trip.
The Grotto visit begins with a meander through a Winter Wonderland. Ted was in love with the animals, wanting to stroke and kiss them all. Elsa found the Giant intriguing and a bit scary in equal measures.
There are various scenes set up featuring both traditional Christmas themes and slightly less traditional such as the giant and a fairy scene. Lots of animatronics are used which all the children there seemed to love. Who doesn’t enjoy a singing reindeer?
When we reached the Grotto the helpful elves directed us into the correct queue. I would totally recommend pre-booking as we had done. We joined a much smaller queue than those that hadn’t prebooked and we were whisked through with only a short wait.
Just before we headed in to see Santa himself, Elsa and Ted planted a magic tree seed with one of the elves. A magic seed went into the pot with some magic soil and this was placed in a magic cupboard when we went into the Grotto.
And now for Santa!! My children, particularly Elsa, can be quite shy and she made Santa work hard to get any conversation out of her. He was excellent though and not at all put off by her one word answers and reluctance to go within 10 feet of him. He had a good chat with both of them, usual questions about what they would like for Christmas and he actively encouraged them to be nice to each other and not fight in the run up to Christmas. I hope that they listen to Santa on this one because they certainly don’t listen to me.
The presents for both were good quality. Elsa received a Crayola stamping set which she has enjoyed so far. Ted received a set of stacking cups which I thought was a little young for him, however has spent most of the weekend building towers with them so they went down well with him.
As we were about to say goodbye to Santa his Elf assistant reminded us about the plant pots we had placed in the magic cupboard and when the cupboard was opened the big reveal showed that their very own mini Christmas trees had grown! This was very exciting for both of them, they were blown away by the magic of it.
After leaving the Grotto Elsa and Ted spent some time at the craft table decorating the mini Christmas Trees that they had grown.
The whole experience last approximately 30 minutes. The planting and growing of the mini Christmas Tree added a lovely twist, something I have not seen done before and the kids loved being able to bring it home.
You are quite welcome to take photos throughout the experience and with Santa. Santa’s Elf does also take a photo of the children with him. This can be purchased afterwards. I did buy the photograph and I am slightly disappointed with how it has come out. It looked really lovely on the screen but seems to be much darker when printed and my own photos are actually lit better. Unfortunately I was too busy talking to an Elf afterwards to have a proper look at the print out or I may have asked for it to be reprinted.
Overall we had a lovely time visiting the Little Diggers Grotto at Carr Gate Garden Centre. The cost was a reasonable £10 per child and tickets can be booked here. Pre-booking is the way forward! The Grotto is open daily right up to Christmas Eve.
** We were invited by Wyevale Garden Centres to visit the Little Diggers Christmas Grotto in return for an honest review. All words, photos and opinions are my own**