Breakfast with Father Christmas at Wyevale Garden Centre
As weekends go, this one has been a 10/10 on the festive scale. On Friday we watched the 4-year-old in his first nativity at pre-school – he had absolutely no idea what he was doing, because we’d spent the previous week on holiday at Center Parcs Sherwood Forest so he’d missed all the prep, but he looked pretty cute with a tea towel on his head regardless.
On Saturday morning we were invited to have breakfast with Father Christmas at Wyevale Garden Centre in Woburn Sands. It was quite a sweet set-up – Santa met us at the entrance of the shop and walked us inside to the cafe, where we sat down to a cooked breakfast with eight or so other families at 9.30am.
He mingled with all the guests, chatting to the kids as they ate breakfast, coloured in and decorated some huge festive cookies, then later set up in a little outdoor gazebo so the kids could come and choose a present each (these were fairly decent as far as Santa’s grotto-gifts go – the eldest chose a game, and the littlest chose a Barbie-type mermaid doll).
Afterwards, they worked off breakfast in the little soft play area next to the cafe, and we let them choose a Christmas tree decoration from the shop on the way out. I think part of what made it such a nice experience was the fact there was no rush – we didn’t have to queue at any point, the whole thing lasted an hour and a half so there was plenty of time with Santa, and it just felt really relaxed. We’d definitely go back, although I’d probably book the 11am slot so we’d be a bit more ready for a Full English.
Stockwood Discovery Centre at Christmas
Fast-forward to today, and we were invited to Stockwood Discovery Centre in Luton. It’s a museum that regularly runs events, including this year’s special Christmas programme. We arrived at 2pm and the kids spent an hour trying out all the different activities set in the museum itself. They decorated gingerbread men, had a snowball fight in the snowdome, wrote a letter to Santa, and the 2-year-old had a play in the bubble disco.
We had a bit of time to kill before our 3pm slot with Santa, so we went outside where there’s a really nice play area and some gardens I’d love to come back and explore in summer. By Santa o’clock the kids were starting to lose the plot (a combination of timing and sugar), so we were slightly miffed to have to queue 20 minutes to see the big man.
Still, there’s no better incentive to behave than ‘Santa can see you…’, and it was nice that he seemed to spend a couple of minutes chatting to each family. We walked away with a couple of little gifts and a camera full of photographs.
As for this week, the eldest will be seeing Santa again twice more at each preschool Christmas party (he goes to two). That’ll be five Santas in three weeks, although at least he’s sticking to his story each time (“I’ve been a very good boy and I want kinetic sand that glows in the dark please”). I guess we’ll just have to see what
mummy Father Christmas can find in the shops…
Breakfast with Father Christmas is priced at £9.99 for children and £7.99 for adults and runs until 24th December at selected stores. Although it’s now showing as fully booked at Woburn Sands, there may be availability at other centers and also for Tea with Father Christmas, which is in the afternoon. You can check on the Wyevale website.
Christmas at Stockwood runs until 23rd December. Tickets cost £6 per child, plus £4 for a Santa visit. All accompanying adults are £1, and under-2s are £4, which includes a Santa visit. You can book via the Stockwood Discovery Centre website.
Disclosure: we were invited as guests to both events. As always, all opinions are my own.