Santa at the Chill Factore in Manchester

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This Saturday as we welcomed in the month of December, we made the journey across the M62 to visit Santa in the snow.  I know the weather keeps going a bit mad, but this wasn’t one of those occasions, we were going to see Santa at the Chill Factore in Manchester.

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After two years in the making, Chill Factore launched in November 2007 bringing the UK’s longest indoor real snow slope (180 metres) to the North West. Located less than 4 miles away from Manchester City Centre, adjacent to The Trafford Centre; one of, if not the most popular shopping centres in Britain, Chill Factore is an easily accessible, fun and popular leisure destination for absolutely everyone.

Santa at the Chill Factore in Manchester

The main reason people visit Chill Factore is for Skiing and Snowboarding; for lessons, practice or just because they love the sport.  However, what I didn’t realise is that there are also snow fun activities, including the Downhill Donuts, Luge Slip ‘n’ Slide, Sledge ‘o’ Mania, Snow Luge, snowplay in Mini Moose Land and a 12m climbing wall (NB the climbing wall isn’t in use when santa’s grotto is running).

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Our reason for visiting was to see the main man himself … Santa! They have a package where you go and visit Santa in his grotto, then have either an hour playing in the Snow Park, or if under 4 Mini Mooseland.  Prices are only £2.50 more than the Snow Park pass, and definitely worth the extra.

We arrived to be greeted by Gingerbread (an elf), she explained the set up and suggested that we got our snow clothes ready as we were a little bit early.  We had brought salopettes and ski jackets but as the boys haven’t been skiing we hired clothing for them.  This was easily done, and well organised.  We left our gear in a locker ready for after we’d met Santa.  As we had a bit of spare time, we had a cheeky hot chocolate and a wander around the shops, and then we were then showed through into the waiting area.  This was set up with plenty of activities to keep the kids occupied, as long as one adult stayed in the queue.  We only waited about 20 minutes and then it was our turn.  We were shown through and told to find the red door and knock three times.  However, getting to the red door was through the snow … cue the first excitement! We made it and entered Santa’s Grotto.  He did the usual routine of asking the children their ages, having some banter with them and finding out what they wanted for Christmas, and I have to say he was a very good Santa.  We had photos taken and the boys were able to choose a gift each.  The photos were done by the elves and as you left you had the option of buying them.

Santa at the Chill Factore in Manchester

We then went through to get our snow gear on, including gloves and helmets (which are compulsory).  The next bit we were a bit unsure about, however, eventually someone asked us to wait for a safety briefing, and then they described all the activities and what equipment we needed for them.  This is what we’d been waiting for …

Santa at the Chill Factore in Manchester

We had great fun trying out the five different activities and then picking our favourite and going on repeat!  Our eldest loved the ice luge, which you went down on a mat on your back; I think he probably screamed in delight every time he came down.  Our youngest couldn’t decide and loved all of them, although I think he went on the sledges the most!  I think an hour was probably the right amount of time; my toes were just starting to get chilly.

We really enjoyed it as a family and the boys loved racing us grown-ups down the slopes.  It turns what can often be a processional visit to Father Christmas into a fun, memorable activity which the whole family can enjoy.

Find out more about Chill Factore and their Santa’s Grotto Santa and his helpers will be at Chill Factore every day in December until Christmas Eve.

NB: we were given complementary tickets to see Santa and visit the Snow Park but all views are our own.

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