This year we planned a special trip to visit Santa with Mini and her two cousins who are 4 and 2. We went with my Sister in law and had a girls trip out. We chose to visit Santa and his reindeers at Blithbury Reindeer Lodge in Staffordshire.
The girls had finished school for the year and were very excited to meet Santa and pass on their requests. Our journey from home was about an hour’s drive and we took plenty of snacks to keep them occupied. The lodge is in a quite remote area and isn’t sign posted at all, our sat nav took us to the wrong end of the lane first but quickly found it once we had turned around.
When we arrived we booked in at the Elf Lodge who explained the different things that we could do and the times. I think a map or handout with the times on would have been handy. The girls wanted to feed the reindeers first so we purchased three cups of moss at £1 each, which I thought could have been included with admission given we had paid £103 for our group of five.
The reindeers were beautiful and were happy to receive the moss from the children in return for some gentle stroking, they were so soft. We spent time talking to the reindeers and finding out their names. There were reindeers of different sizes and ages and some with some very impressive antlers. The ground was quite wet and muddy in places, if we visit again we will definitely take welly boots for the children.
Next it was our time to visit Santa, this is the only part of the visit that a time needs to be booked in advance for, the rest of the visit is flexible around seeing Santa. At our time we were invited by two elves to go into Elf School. They entertained the children with stories and songs whilst we waited for other elves to call the children by name to visit Santa.
When we were called the elf led us into a small wooden hut to meet Santa. The three girls were all mesmerised as he talked to them about what they were going to leave him as a snack on Christmas Eve. Prior to our visit we had been asked to provide information for each child about what they had done well at school, names, ages, and what they wanted to ask from Santa. I was therefore really disappointed that Santa didn’t discuss any of this information with the children, he didn’t even ask them their names. It all just felt a little tired as though Santa had lost a bit of his magic sparkle at that point in the day and just wanted to get through the visits. The children still loved meeting him though and were happy to smile for a group photo afterwards.
The children were then led into Santa’s toy shop by an elf and were invited to select their own present. I did like this idea and there were lots of different gifts to choose from. Mini and her eldest cousin both picked a princess jewellery gift set, and her youngest cousin chose a bug play-doh set, with the help of mummy. The gifts weren’t particularly of a high quality but the children did enjoy choosing their own.
After our visit to Santa we went to decorate a gingerbread man, each of the children were given one biscuit along with a tube of icing and a sweet to decorate. An elf came and demonstrated some patterns that they could make. The decorating was finished quite quickly and the girls moved swiftly onto the eating stage.
By this time there was an story time session starting, led by an elf next to the fire. The children gathered round to listen to the story whilst sat on little log stools.
It had started to turn dark by this point and we remarked how magical the place looked in the dusk all lit up. We went to say goodnight to the reindeers on our way back towards the entrance.
There was an opportunity to pay extra for a reindeer ride, but at £7.50 per sledge for two children we didn’t feel this was good value for a 5 minute ride along a concrete path.
Before we left we visited the few shops on site and the girls went into the cute wooden hut where they could write a letter or draw a picture for Santa and post in into the post box for him.
We also found that the girls had a certificate for completing elf school waiting for them at one of the shops, however we only found this out by accident and hadn’t been told by anyone that they were waiting to be collected.
Overall we did enjoy our experience and seeing the reindeer up close was a special treat. The three girls all seemed to enjoy their visit too, in total we were there for around 2 hours. However I do feel that for the price Blithbury are charging they need to work on improving the quality of the experience in some areas.
These other lovely bloggers shared their favourite places to visit Santa in the West Midlands.
Sarah at Boo, Roo and Tiger Too recommends a festive day out at Drayton Manor Theme Park.
Sinead enjoyed a day out with her small at the Severn Valley Railway.
Rebecca at Here Come the Girls visited Hatton Country World. Mini was due to go on a Rainbow trip to Hatton but unfortunately it was cancelled due to the snow, definitely one to plan to do next year. Rebecca also visited The Polar Express in Telford, we weren’t organised enough to get tickets before it sold out so another one for us to do next year too.
Beth at Twinderelmo recommends a trip to see Santa at West Midlands Safari Park or Rays Farm near Bridgnorth.