We were very kindly gifted this experience, however as always all thoughts are my own and are genuine 🙂
Visiting Father Christmas is one of my favourite Christmas traditions, and I couldn’t wait to have a child of my own to enjoy this experience as an adult. We first took her to visit Santa when she was just three months old, and we like to try and go somewhere new every year. When I was invited along to Cotswold Farm Park I was really excited.
Upon arrival at the farm we were given a ticket with our time to head to The Grotto. We had half an hour to wait so we mulled around the farm and Harper played on the electric go-karts. At the time stated we headed to The Grotto and were greeted by staff in festive attire. We went into a cosy room with a Christmas tree, and an area showing a Christmas film with seating. We were given a colouring activity to do and were told to wait for our elf. Our elf came to meet us and greeted Harper by name. He then took us to meet Santa. Watching Harper walking along with him was so lovely, she was so engaged as he interacted with her and skipped along with her down a festive walkway.
We arrived at Santa’s cosy cabin, which had a Christmas tree and a faux roaring fire. Like many little ones, Harper’s initial reaction to Father Christmas was fear and I had to coax her inside. My heart sank as I worried this would be a repeat of last year, where she wouldn’t go anywhere near him, and therefore after just one year she already hindered my dreams of wanting a yearly photograph with Mr. C.
However, we had been asked before we came (when booking our tickets) to fill out a short survey on Harper before visiting, and to me this was the most magical part – and definitely sets this Santa Experience apart from others we have done. Not only was Harper greeted by name and asked if she was two years old, Santa then began asking her about her love for Thomas the Tank Engine and the fact that she enjoyed horse riding this year. With joy, we watched as she quickly warmed to him. By the end of our visit she was chatting away, smiled for a photograph, and even gave him a goodbye cuddle.
Before we left, Santa handed her a special wooden key. Our elf led us to a tiny door and helped Harper use her key to open it, inside was a beautiful treasure cove – Santa’s Toy Workshop! Harper was allowed to choose a toy, she of course ignored my attempts to convince her a DIY decoration kit was what she wanted and chose one of those eggs you put in water until it hatches. We then went into another room where you could decorate a cardboard Christmas Eve box. We were also given a Christmas Eve colouring pack, and some reindeer food – I was mightily impressed by this as it was a packet of seed mix; so instead of harming the wildlife with glitter like many of the ones I have seen, the reindeer can share their treat safely with wildlife.
Once our Santa Experience was finished, we were allowed access of the park (this is included in ticket price). So we spent a lovely few hours feeding goats, bottle feeding lambs, and playing in the park.
I would highly recommend this Santa Experience to anyone considering it, it really did have so much attention to detail and felt so personal. My final parting observation that again really impressed me was a sign I saw when waiting to see Father Christmas that read “If your child has any additional needs, please do not hesitate to let us know”. This, along with a ticket specifically aimed at “older children (15+), made me feel that the farm is really inclusive, and this is so important.