Mumbler reviews Tong Garden Centre’s Santa’s Grotto; A Magical Journey
Charlotte and her Mumbler family went along to Tong Garden’s Centre’s Festive Fun Weekend to experience their Santa’s Grotto; A Magical Journey. Find out what they thought here…
Tong Garden Centre have created a brand new magical Grotto story featuring the Robin family helping Santa to make sure the right present is delivered to the right house. Collaborating with Sneaky Experience to bring the story to life with performers, the 30 minute interactive experience promises to entertain children (and grown-ups) throughout a magical journey to see Santa in his Grotto. For £12.95 per child and £9.95 for under 12 months, we were keen to visit.
We were booked onto the 1.30pm slot, and being the opening Festive Fun Weekend, it was understandably very busy. Santa’s Grotto; A Magical Journey is situated next to Grasshoppers soft play, and despite the busyness of the centre, the Grotto itself was much more relaxed. The slots are limited to a maximum of 12 children per session, making it a more manageable and enjoyable experience, especially for younger children.
We were advised to arrive 10 minutes early and were quickly and efficiently ushered through to collect our North Pole Post Office ID cards ready for the magical journey. With toilets to-hand just before the experience and a pram park to off-load we were all set to walk through the first festive tree scene to hear the first chapter from the Robins. We were given the number ‘552’ to remember then told to follow the red-letter chain through a magical corridor to an icier scene where Emily fell in love with the animatronic polar bear! The final scene was within the Robin postal office where we checked the naughty list and thankfully weren’t on it, and learnt how the Robins help Santa to deliver the correct presents to the correct houses.
With that, we entered Santa’s Grotto; a truly magical room with a fireplace, rug and the big man in red. After a brief introduction from the man himself, the children were invited to sit in the chair. Emily was a little apprehensive so I sat with her and Santa. He was very good with her, asking lots of questions and keeping her happy with some jingle bells. The Robins were also really good to keep the younger children entertained with festive Elmo’s as well as getting them to sit up with Santa sooner to avoid too much fuss and frustration.
Once we had finished our conversation, we moved into the toy shop where there was an abundance of toys to choose from, signposted with recommended age ranges. The wide choice of gifts was extremely impressive and after much deliberation Emily chose her very own set of dinosaurs.
And the magic didn’t stop there; the whole garden centre is impressively decorated with Christmas, from the arctic scenes in the entrance to the magical motored Christmas villages to the reams of illuminated trees. There are also umpteen opportunities to take selfies with giant baubles to pop out of, polar bears to sit on, and the supersized Snow Globe to enter! We also got to experience the Donkey Rides and Festive Stage for the opening Festive Fun Weekend with lots of performances to entertain the little ones from jokes to quizzes to discos. All this on top of the usual fun, including Grasshoppers soft play, café and aquariums; we were able to spend a fun few hours at Tong Garden Centre.
Santa’s Grotto; A Magical Journey’s production value was second to none. Creating a truly immersive experience from start to finish, the 30minute experience and wide choice of toys is definitely worth paying that little bit extra for. So, if you’re looking for a particularly special treat for the kids this year, this is the one for you. And with all the added extras throughout the centre, you really do get the full Christmas package.
Tickets cost £12.95 per child and £9.95 for children under 12 months. Up to two adults go free with every child ticket bought. Price includes a 30minute magical journey and your choice of a gift from Santa’s toy shop. Time slots are available every 10 mins, from 9.50am-4.40pm every weekend from now until Christmas and most weekdays in December. But be sure to book quickly to avoid disappointment, as many days are already fully booked!
The centre can also get extremely busy this time of year so it is strongly advised to arrive within good time to avoid disappointment. Whilst we managed to park in the main car park, the overflow was in full force with many visitors were coming and going. So please be aware.
To book Santa’s Grotto; A Magical journey visit the website here.
Tong Garden Centre, Tong Lane, Bradford BD4 0RY
*Mumbler was not paid for this review but we did receive complimentary entry into Santa’s Grotto: A Magical Journey. All of the comments in this review are our open and honest opinion.