I wanted to take the children to a magical grotto this year. I thought that last year might be the last year that Stephanie would believe, but the magic is still there this year. I was talking on facebook asking where the best grotto's people had been to were. Some of them we had already been to, my sister suggested that I look at Gulliver's World, Warrington as she had been there last year and loved it. An added bonus of this is that she lives less than an hours drive from Warrington so we could stay with her and visit my 'Up North' family for a few days as well.
I am so pleased that we did go there. It cost more than going ot the local shopping centre grotto's at £50 for the three of us to enter, but we had a day in a theme park in with the ticket costs as well, which made the day more appealing for Dylan.
To get to the grotto you got to ride on the Santa Express. Which was eventful, as the express tried to pull up a slight hill the wheels slipped and slid on the track and the train went back to the station. Twice. We found this rather amusing and made some jokes about this. Third time lucky the train managed to successfully pull away, with the help of a little sand. As we were driving along we could see little Christmas scene's set up with elves etc. Then we got out of the train and walked up a ramp into a truly magical set up! We spent a long time wandering around looking at the different scenery. There was so much to look at, I took a few photographs but soon forgot as we were so caught up in what we were doing.
There were talking trees, telling us all about Christmas, there were trees, Santa's, Reindeer, sleighs- everything Christmassy. It wasn't small either it took us a while to get around. It was only us in there for much of the time. Other families had got off the train with us, but we took loner to wander around. There was no rush, I get the feeling we could have spent as long looking as we wanted to.
When we had almost got to where Father Christmas was a Christmas Fairy was waiting with her pot of magic fairy dust. She put it on the children's hands and as we went through to the final section. If the dust glowed brightly you were on the nice list- phew- We were!
We waited with an elf for just a minute before we went into see the man himself.
Stephanie went very shy and was only giving poor Santa one word replies! But he carried on chattering regardless and in no way made us feel rushed to get out the door. We then passed through into the elves workroom where we were able to select our very own gift from their shelves.
Once we ha chosen we passed through to an elf hut where we made Reindeer food to put outside on Christmas Eve;
Once that job was complete the children decided it was time to hit the rides! These were not your huge theme park rides, but a gentler selection enough to amuse older children but not to rough for the more delicate riders like Stephanie. she surprised all of us by how many rides she did go on, she normally hates all rides!
We went in the haunted house, on the dodgems, the carousel, the roller coaster, the scary-pillar aka the caterpillar among many other rides. We also had a Christmas treat by eating in the café. It was reasonably priced for a day trip place. The food was fairly good. Staff very friendly and polite.