The following blog is about my family’s trip to see Santa at The Winter Wonderland, Westport House (Sunday 29th November 2015).
This was our second trip to see Santa at Westport House, had a great time last year so we came back!
The day is all planned out around your booking time to see Santa with plenty of activities to do before or after seeing him. (Do allow plenty of time for your visit, as it is VERY popular and all the activities are busy).
We were booked in at 5pm to see Santa, so planned to get there 2 or so hours before, to make sure we had time for all the activities, saying that we were a little delayed, due to watching Andy Murray on the box!
When we got to Westport House we were met at reception by one of the many elves (Santa’s little helpers). Given a leaflet with all the activities on it. Great first impression was made and a BIG fuss was made of Samuel (our 5 1/2 year old son). Instructions were given on where and when to make our way to the Santa visit and I must say that there is plenty of signposts along the way, so you will never get lost!
First stop was “Make Your Own Yuletide Log” This is a Parent/Child activity, after a 5 or so minute wait (which the elf kept all waiting informed and interacted with us) we started to make our Yuletide Log, full instructions and safety warning were given by the Yuletide Elf! A log with a candle is provided and plenty of holly, evergreen leaves and pine-cones to make your own design of the Yuletide log. A great family activity. Emma (my wife) was the “responsible” adult and was in charge of the glue gun, I was in charge of prepping the green and Sammy was chief prodder (holding the pieces in place, with his own little glue stick). After some great family “teamwork” we have a wonderful centre piece for our Christmas day table.
Next up was the “Decorate Your Own Gingerbread Man” This activity is held in one of the many side rooms, and runs from 10.30am behind a closed door, so you will need to queue for the sessions. The activity is for the children,
with support from parents. The Elf interacted with both kids and adults, so make sure that you are up for a bit of light-hearted singing! The Gingerbread Elf did a great job in telling the story of the Gingerbread man, making sure all the children were included and got them in the mood for making the gingerbread elf. We just about got it done before we had to go to see Santa (the main event).
You need to make sure you are up at the entrance for the Grotto 10 minutes before your booking, all kids have to be checked in and given a name badge. Only a small number of children are in with each session, so they all have an equal chance of a good chat with Santa. Last year’s Santa had a look that you would say was a traditional Scandinavian St. Nicholas look, but this years was straight out of the Richard Attenborough school of Father Christmases, with a look straight from “Miracle on 34th Street” The children each get a mention from his “Naughty & Nice” book (personal messages can be added at the time of booking, to make it extra special). Each child gets a present from Santa and an opportunity to have their photo taken with and without their parents (photo’s can be purchased in the entrance hall). Samuel loved every minute, transfixed on Santa’s every word, priceless to build memories like that. Each group of children get enough time with Santa, did not feel rushed and Santa was great with the children.
After leaving the grotto, we headed back down the stairs and purchased a photo of him with Santa, there can be a queue after each session finishes so top tip would be leave 5/10 mins and come back after the rush, plenty of other stuff to do.
Next on the visit list was a trip to the Old Kitchen Cafe for a glass of mulled wine and juice for the kids, service was good and with a smile. I recommend you do take a few minutes out just to re-charge the batteries. They have a new menu and it is open from 11am-8pm so plenty of time to get food and refreshments throughout the day. When you are at the cafe do not forget to make a Christmas Wish at the Wishing Tree in aid of Mayo/Roscommon Hospice.
Well that was the end of this years visit, with still plenty of other activities to do (so we WILL be back next year)!
Other Activities include
- Visit Mrs Claus’ Storytelling in the Drawing Room
- Christmas Face Painting
- Elves Music, Games & Fun in the Dining Room
- Ride the Westport House Express Train on the Lakeside Loop
- Kids Making Memories (Christmas Decorations)
- Train Ride into Town (make a full day of it and visit the delightful town of Westport.
Best recommendation I could make is that we will be back next Christmas to do it all again. Many thanks to Santa, the Elves and all the staff at Westport House for kick-starting Christmas in the Miles Household. Think it was a wonderful weekend to go to Westport House for the Winter Wonderland as it is the same weekend of the #LateLateToyShow so really in the mood for Christmas NOW!
Westport House: http://www.westporthouse.ie/
Tips for parents:
Make sure you wear your Christmas Jumpers and join in the fun, makes it more fun for the children if the parents are enjoying it too!
Just beware of the dark nights, and make sure the excited children are safely walking to the car park after their visit to see Santa.
Hope you enjoyed the blog, feel free to leave a message.
“MERRY CHRISTMAS ONE AND ALL”