The humble garden centre.
For ten months of the year they are large, unassuming, sellers of plants.
For the non-green fingered amongst us, they would rarely rank in our top 10 places to visit.
Once November comes it’s a whole different story.
With a transformation that makes Cinderella pale in comparison, a garden centre is suddenly THE place to be!
Why is that?
What makes the garden centre a festive go to?
I neither know, nor care, but I DO know that as soon as they’re stocking baubles I’m all over it so last week we trotted off to Carr Gate, a Wyevale Garden centre in Wakefield.
This garden centre trip was more exciting than usual, not only were we going to admire baubles, wreaths and all things shiny, we were also going to visit the Little Diggers Christmas Grotto *internal squeee*
We haven’t visited a Santa that’s not part of a bigger ‘event’, since we’ve had the children so I was a little unsure as to what to expect.
Do we just rock up to an inflatable hut and wait?
Is he just sat in the corner near the Poinsettia?
Is it all a bit…tacky?
NO is the answer.
Carr Gate is just off the M1 so it really couldn’t be easier to find, always a bonus when Rory insists on pushing everything to the last minute.
Our visit was pre-booked so we followed the festive signs to the back of the centre, went through the door and entered a Christmas wonderland.
With twinkling lights, a talking tree, elves in Santa’s workshop and Santa’s sleigh there is so much to see and keep the children entertained. It all leads round to a Winter Wonderland complete with waterfall, polar bears, penguins and of course a unicorn. It is well crafted and beautifully put together, the children were mesmerised, a benefit I’m sure in busier periods.
We were then greeted by an elf who took our tickets, told us Santa wouldn’t be long and invited the children to plant a seed in magic soil while they waited. When Santa was ready,
we they skipped along the tree lined corridor and rounded the corner to be met by….a door.
What’s the North Pole etiquette?
Do we knock?
Do we wait?
As we stood debating, the door opened and an elf popped her head round and invited us in.
She took the plant pots and put them in a magic cupboard then we got down to the real business.
Now, what is said in the grotto stays in the grotto.
It’s a special time for the children to speak frankly with the big man, tell him a few fibs about tidy rooms and let him know what they’re hoping for this Christmas.
It is, more importantly, the perfect time for the parents to make a mental note of the requests being put it.
I can tell you that the grotto is decked out wonderfully, Santa is everything Santa should be – friendly, kind and attentive (that’s what we all want amiright?). We didn’t feel rushed, the children had the chance to really take in their surrounding and have a really good chat with the main man.
The elf also took a lovely picture of the children with Santa that can be purchased as a very well priced extra (which would make great gifts). As we were about to leave, Santa told the kids to look into the magic cupboard where they discovered, to their delight, their seeds had grown into real life trees! I think Seth’s face says it all.
What did we think of Little Diggers Christmas Grotto?
The children loved it, they love most things Christmas. Rory and I thought it was brilliant too, by far the best Santa we have experienced in a while and, at £10 a child, great value for money. Not only do they get a good chinwag and an actual tree, the presents were really good quality too and the photo extras, though there was no obligation to buy, weren’t terribly priced.
Once we had finished in the grotto, we decorated our small trees, then we left the kids with Mrs Claus who reads stories to the children every half hour so the grown ups can get a bit of browsing done – Perfect!
We would definitely recommend visiting Santa at a Wyevale Garden Centre this year.
The whole set up is beautifully executed and the staff and elves at Carr Gate were all in the spirit of things and were brilliant with the children.
It’s also worth noting that the Cafe in the Carr Gate garden centre is VERY well priced and there is also a soft play available at a small, extra cost (£1.50).
Santa will be visiting from now until December 24th, you can find your nearest Wyevale Garden Centre here
We were invited to the Little Diggers grotto at Wyevale Garden Centre, Carr Gate in return for an honest review.
As ever, all opinions are my own…I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!