We kicked off the festive season indulgently early, with our annual trip to Willow’s Activity Farm’s Santa Spectacular. This the third year we have been to the Santa Spectacular and our three daughters, now aged 9, 7 and 4, enjoy it more and more each year.
We thought perhaps our eldest daughter, being nearly ten and growing up rapidly, would decline the invitation this year, but she jumped at the opportunity.
We visited Willows Activity Farm on the opening weekend of the Santa Spectacular and it was delightfully quiet, with no queuing at all. We arrived mid afternoon and headed straight to see Santa stopping off for a quick fairground ride on the way. We weaved our way through beautiful Christmas displays and glittering paths, until we were greeted by a super friendly elf.
We were led into a warm cosy room where we met Santa Claus. The children had a lovely chat with Santa, discussing their favourite gifts and planning what they would leave out for Santa and his Reindeers on Christmas Eve.
Santa presented the girls with a golden key each, and after we said our goodbyes, they were shown to Santas toy shop where they could use their key to access shelves and shelves of toys. The choice can sometimes be overwhelming, but there really must be something for every child there. My eldest chose a box of magic tricks, the middle one a lovely soft toy penguin, and despite my best efforts to guide her elsewhere my four year old chose a very tacky plastic doll.
We were delighted to see that all their favourite activities had returned for another year. The children dashed straight towards the large barn where they could ‘make a cuddle’. The elves helped them choose a cuddle toy and provided them with the necessary stuffing to make the toy. We managed to avoid buying the additional outfits this year as the children left quite happily clutching their new cuddly toys.
Next we went on to write letters to Santa, who in our experience always manages to reply (although this is not guaranteed). We didn’t forget Rudolph this year, and were helped by the friendly elves to mix some sparkly reindeer food to be scattered outside on Christmas Eve to help Santa find this way to us. This year we all enjoyed the 3D movie, whereas last year the younger two found this too disconcerting.
In amongst all this Christmas creativity, we got the chance to meet and stroke, Mischa the Huskie, and see the reindeer in the barn. There were also many more shows in the Elves’ Theatre this year, but sadly not the nativity play with live animals that we had enjoyed previously. Its a good idea to check the programme before your visit so you can plan what you would like to see.
Our day was rounded off with a cuddle with Peter Rabbit for my youngest daughter and a trip to the snowball firing room for the eldest two. We enjoyed a picnic tea in the cafe, although I wish we’d tried the delicious looking hot food. The children had a final sprint around the soft play whilst we finished our coffees before we headed for home, once more full of festive cheer. Thank you to Santa, and his many cheerful elves at Willows Activity Farm.
Further details and advance booking can be found here
Lucy and her family received complimentary tickets to Santa Spectacular, but all their opinions are their own.