Last weekend Toby, Martha, my best friend Sam and I jumped in the car and drove to Crowland Wyevale Garden Centre for breakfast with Father Christmas. It was the first time doing anything like this with Toby because he’s only just really getting old enough to join in with the fun and games.
The entrance to the garden centre looked nice and festive and we walked past loads of festive gifts in the shop area to get to the restaurant. We were welcomed by two of Father Christmas’ elves and shown to our table, which had an activity sheet, crayons and a Christmas cracker for Toby. He immediately wanted to pull the cracker and got stuck in doing some colouring, although his head proved a bit too small for the hat!
I’d called in advance to change my breakfast to a vegetarian one, then on the day Sam asked for hers not to have a couple of things on it that she doesn’t like. Toby’s breakfast was brought out and it was quickly obvious from the cheese and leek croquette and lack of sausage that he’d been given a veggie option. As he was tucking into the egg the moment the plate was put down I didn’t want to risk a tantrum by accepting the elf’s offer to swap the meal, but I think it would have been nice if she had brought a sausage out for him. He ended up just eating the white of the egg and some beans because he didn’t like the croquette. The breakfast wasn’t huge but it was tasty and we each got a drink too.
The decorations were nice and Toby liked wandering around to look at the lights and the huge reindeer display. Martha was dazzled by the lights that were being projected on to the wall and ceiling! I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but there wasn’t a totally festive atmosphere; I think maybe some nice Christmassy music would have helped although the elves did get everybody up and singing Jingle Bells, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and the such, which was funny.
The children all went with the elves to call for Father Christmas and there was a lot of excitement amongst the little ones when the big man arrived! They all gathered around the cosy display and sang songs before Father Christmas saw each child individually.
Now any parent is sure to agree that small children don’t do waiting very well, so I thought it was a good idea that they had a snowman biscuit decorating activity at each table. There was a piping bag with buttercream icing in it and a selection of toppings such as sprinkles and chocolate drops. Toby and Sam had fun making a lovely snowman, which Toby loved showing daddy when he got home.
Toby was quite shy when his turn came, but he showed off his beautiful biscuit and quietly said that he would like a little blue suitcase. He’d spotted the nice art and craft cases that were on offer as a gift choice and excitedly exclaimed “I got one!” when he got his. I did think that Father Christmas could have been a little more jolly if I’m honest. I don’t want to upset him and I know he’s a very busy man, but he was ever so quiet where I’d been Ho-Ho-hoping (sorry) for a big personality to bring Toby out of his shell.
Breakfast with Father Christmas is available at various Wyevale garden centres across the country. It’s £3.99 (continental breakfast) or £7.99 (cooked breakfast) per adult and £9.99 per child. The kids’ option includes biscuit decorating, meeting Father Christmas and their choice of gifts. Compared to other similar experiences it is good value for money for the children and I was impressed by the quality of the gifts. I do feel that the adult cooked breakfast is a bit small for the price.
As mentioned, there is some room for improvement but overall Toby seemed to really enjoy himself and that’s the whole point!
Has your little one been to visit Father Christmas this year?