With the usual enthusiasm we have for Christmas in November I joyfully arranged for myself, my mum and two girls (aged 6 and 10) to participate in “The Lost Present” an interactive Christmas adventure around Leeds city centre.
NB: We were invited to review but all views and opinions are my own.
Two weeks into December, and the Monday night came, it was cold, the kids were tired and I must admit I started regretting the decision to venture out on a school night! I’m very glad we did though.
The Lost Present is presented by a young theatre group , Riptide, who bring a little bit of Christmas charm and cheer to the streets of Leeds City Centre. The experience is free for children and £5 for adults, so if you have a free hour its definitely a good way to engage the kids in the true meaning of Christmas.
The trail starts at The Corn Exchange where the story of the “Guild of Givers” is explained: Due to changes in the delivery company used by the Guild of Givers, some of presents haven’t been delivered, and the children are asked if they could help out. Armed with a map they are asked to visit various different locations in Leeds, to fill the box/present and deliver it to its final destination. Our present we were told was for a girl called “Eliza”. I know Leeds city centre quite well, so I was able to deviate from the map a little to include some of the wonderful Christmas lights and sights, taking in Victoria Quarter and Trinity en route to our first stop, The City Library. I loved this bit the most. I didn’t even know this building existed. It’s an old building hidden in a street full of shops. We knocked on the door and were greeted by a friendly riptide member who showed us downstairs to the basement where the Apothecary was waiting. In a room filled with pine cones and potions, we chose which gift of Christmas cheer we wanted to put into our presents… we choose reindeer tears, a cure for a broken heart and confidence . There were many many more..
From there we followed the map to a wall of wishes, a truly wonderful idea . A wall full of Christmas labels each with a hand written Christmas wish from the residents of Leeds. Choosing a wish to give to Eliza and attach to her present, you make your own wish for someone and put this on the wall. We chose the wish “ I wish my dog could talk to me “for Eliza’s present. It was so lovely to see what the residents of Leeds are wishing for this Christmas, from an engagement to Leeds United winning the cup and all round health and happiness for everyone!
There are five stops in total, with little elements of interaction all the way round. We were asked to deliver a letter at one point and watched it magically shrink so it could fit the tiny town post box.
The trail ends at East Parade Social, a sparkly roof top terrace where we delivered our gift and found out if it had enough Christmas cheer to become a member of the Guild of Givers. Thankfully ours did and the girls received some yummy hot chocolate and a Guild of Givers badge for their hard work, whilst we took in the panoramic views!
The trail took about an hour, has some main roads to cross so care is needed with young ones and my 6 year old definitely got more from it then my 10 year old.