I’m pleased to say we survived our first Santa visit of 2016 without tears and tantrums! Yay to me. After the last few years, I wasn’t really sure if I’d bother. You can read more about our Santa trials and tribulations here if you really want to. So when Wyevale Garden Centre invited us to put the Santa’s Grotto at Cadbury in North Somerset to the test, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect this year. We often take a trip to Cadbury garden centre if the weather is bad. They have a café with a small soft play, as well as a pet’s corner and aquarium area. B loves trying to find Nemo and spot all the fish.
We’d been to the Santa’s Grotto at Cadbury when b was just six months. It was part of a baby sensory Christmas party. I wasn’t overly fussed though as everyone went in the same room as Santa and you couldn’t hear anything he said. B was less than impressed and not fussed at all. It wasn’t the perfect first visit to Santa I’d envisaged:/
The visit we had this year though was really lovely – and I’m not just saying that because we were invited. It was clear that Cadbury had put a lot of effort and thought into their grotto this year.
When you enter the garden centre, you’re greeted by a number of festive displays. B loved these polar bears and he actually posed for a nice photo. We usually get a rogue tongue sticking out or a silly face.
There are plenty of signs guiding you to the grotto, taking you through the main Christmas area. There’s so much to see here that we had to try and hurry the little man along so as not to miss our half 9 slot! The handy floor stickers take you outside and to the grotto.
As like most grottos, the décor was cute and the little man enjoyed looking at the snowmen and decorations.
When you enter the grotto, you’re greeted by a very cheery elf. I don’t know how they keep the cheer up all day to be honest. Definitely not a job for me! The elf gave b a little pot of which he was asked to fill up with “magic soil”. B was then asked to place a (jelly) bean in the soil and cover it with some more magic soil. In typical b-style, he wanted to eat the beans and took a handful of them! We managed to coerce him to pop them in his pot and he obliged – phew. I didn’t want any more meltdowns. He’s been really up and down with tantrums recently and I didn’t want a drama in the grotto!
Essentially this part of the grotto is to kill some time while the other kids visit the big man. The cheery elf did a fab job of keeping the kids entertained. She pulled out some “magic” glasses, which, when you looked through them, made all the fairy lights look like reindeer. Mummy and daddy were more impressed than b!
The elf also tasked the little man to find certain items around the grotto entrance. There was a large display featuring penguins, snowmen, presents and whatnot. It kept other kids entertained but b was doing the cling-on and wouldn’t leave daddy’s side.
We probably waited ten minutes or so before another elf appeared and took us in to see Santa. The big man was sat by the fire, surrounded by sacks of presents and a pretty Christmas tree.
I was not at all surprised that b wouldn’t come out from behind daddy’s leg. He is super wary of Santa and not up for getting too close. When asked what he’d like for Christmas, b did manage “transformers” and Santa replied that he was the only child that had asked for those so far!
Next up Santa asked us to give our plant pot to the elf. She popped it into a special cupboard above the fireplace and Santa told us he would work his magic.
After a little more stilted conversation between the boy and the big man, b was presented with his present. Highlight of the visit for b! Santa then said we’d better check on our magic bean in the cupboard. When the elf took the plant pot out, to b’s amazement, our magic bean had grown into a beautiful Christmas tree! I thought this was a lovely idea and Santa explained that if cared for properly (i.e water it), it would grow as b grows. I love this photo of b, hanging on to every word Santa told him.
At this point we were invited to have a photo with Santa but b wasn’t up for that. We said our goodbyes and promised we’d be good between now and Christmas Eve. When we exited the grotto, there was a table set up with tinsel, baubles and sparkly pipe cleaners where the kids can decorate their tree. I thought this was a really nice touch too and b enjoyed adding some decorations to his tree.
If you do get a photo taken in the grotto then you have the opportunity to purchase various gifts and whatnot. I didn’t look at the prices as we hadn’t had a photo taken. The cost to enter the grotto is £10.00 per child – no charge for the adults. In terms of value for money I’d say ten quid was worth it. We got to see Santa alone – which for me is a massive plus. We got to keep a real Christmas tree and b received an age appropriate toy! We got a dinosaur modelling clay set which you can see he enjoyed playing with after 🙂
Disclaimer: We were invited to Cadbury to review the grotto this year. My thoughts and opinions are my own and honest.
Also, apologies for the really dark photos! The lighting wasn’t great, as you can imagine, and it made it difficult to take really good pictures!