Last weekend my Mumbler family visited Ackworth Garden Centre Christmas experience to visit Santa and the festive displays; this is what we thought…..
We arrived early for our 2.30pm time slot to allow us time to look around the garden centre. On arrival we were greeted by Elsa who gave us a sheet of clues for the Reindeer hunt and our tickets to see Santa, she said our numbers would be announced when Santa was ready for us so we could relax and enjoy looking around the centre.
We had about 30 minutes before Santa was expecting us so whilst he fed the Reindeer we went outside and hunted for the hidden Reindeer. The clues helped us to narrow down where we needed to search and we manage to locate all baring one. The children were very excited to get to the café and collect their chocolate lolly once all the Reindeer’s had been found.
Whilst we waited for our numbers to be called we had a look around the Christmas displays, which consisted of numerous Christmas trees and stunning decorations. The children were very excited to see Santa’s footprints whilst looking around the displays, we followed the footprints which lead us to Santa’s Grotto and after a short wait it was announced that Santa was ready to see us.
It was Anna who greeted us this time and invited us into the Grotto; the curtain was closed behind us making it a lovely private family experience. Ana showed the children to a small table with paper and pens and encouraged them to write a letter or draw a picture for Santa, she showed them the letter box which delivered the letters to Santa and the children eagerly sat down to draw their pictures. There was no rush, Ana explained where to go when we had finished and encouraged us to enjoy the Grotto in our own time. Once we had finished our letters we walked deeper into the Grotto which was lined with Christmas displays, most of which included Olaf. The Christmas scenes were decorated with beautiful lights, snow and included ice skating polar bears, Reindeer and penguins.
At the end of the Grotto was a curtain, as we approached it Anna opened it and asked if we wanted to visit Santa. The children both became nervous at this point but on seeing Santa he was fantastic at engaging with them and my eldest soon became more confident talking to him. Santa asked what they would like for Christmas and told the children stories about how cheeky Rudolph was and what he liked to eat. Santa looked authentic and was fantastic with the children making it a very positive experience for them. Anna took 2 photos of us with Santa which she put into decorative books and Santa gave both children presents before we thanked Santa and left the Grotto. The experience didn’t feel rushed and Santa spent time speaking to the children making it a memorable experience.
We left the Grotto with 2 happy children and on returning home we opened the presents, my son got a toy car which made various noises and my daughter received a doll, both were happy with their presents and gave us 5 minutes of peace when we got home which is worth every penny !
The experience costs £15 per child and included the Reindeer hunt with the chocolate prize, the visit to Santa and his Grotto, present and a photo per child of them with Santa. We all had a lovely afternoon; the garden centre looks beautiful and was enjoyable to wander around we even bumped into a Minion as we were leaving. All the staff were very friendly and the experience felt very private and not at all rushed!
For more information on Ackworth Garden Centre & Santa Experiences – Grotto, Breakfast & visit with your pet, click here