General Chat, Products & Comps <
18/12/2012 at 16:00
We were so disappointed by the Father Christmas experience at Peppa Pig/Paultons Park for a number of reasons: Poor grotto with quite scary puppets... Miserable uninterested elves... Gift wasn't age appropriate and fell apart... Elves didn't interact with children at all and N wasn't introduced to Father Christmas, we were just herded behind a curtain and left with FC in a tiny freezing room... N got upset so rather than interact with him Father Christmas just thrust his gift at me and said 'stand by the tree' and then he said to H 'get your camera out then and you can take a photo' - There was no elf there so H couldn't be in the photo. Father Christmas wasn't even looking in the right direction.
All that for over £50.....
So today we ventured to Basingstoke (20 mins from us) and went to the shopping centre's grotto, £13.50 got us a ride on the bauble cars, two very good elves who asked his name/age etc, a box of word books from Father Christmas and a fabulous Father Christmas who calmed N down who initially got upset, spoke directly to N, asked him about what he wanted for Christmas etc. And we got 2 copies of a photo of all of us with FC included in the cost. I'm so impressed. N has been a bit afraid of FC this year but today was really good. He actually enjoyed it.
It goes to show sometimes the basic option is the best option! Our photo....
18/12/2012 at 16:14
I always thoroughly recommend Beamish and their FC. It is £17.50 to get in for an adult but that gives you a yearly pass. It then costs £3 for a child to see FC except they insisted I didn't need to pay for U. Now we go regulalry there so didn't include the cost of entrance, it was just £3 for the two children to see FC. However we did have to queue for nearly 2 hours. When you are taken in there is an eldery gentleman in a FC costume in front of a fire next to a bag full of toys. He chats to the children and asks them questions and then through the magic of cold reading and signals from the parents make comments about the children that make it seem like he knows the child. U was awe struck and hewas lovely with her and he was so lovely with B and he was happy to chat as long as they wanted to. It was me that was worried about taking too long in there. He then gave both children a tou that would ahev cost £3 to buy in the shop and they are age/gender appropriate. Except B got a train whistle in pink with flowers on it, which was miraclously - how many boys would appreciate that U got a small stuffed kitty which she loved. Although she didn't unwrap it for ages just stared at it and kept saying FC gave this to me over and over as if she had been handed the holy grail.
Whilst you are queuing there are people wandering around in Edwardian costume handing out chocolate buttons. B bless him automatically handed his over for redeeming at home for nondairy ones whereas U ate hers (dodgy nappy later but at least we knew it was coming).
BTW it was only later that night that I realised there was at least 4 FC's there and you are taken to the appropriate room, which means that they feel comfortable taking as long as they feel necessary to see you and there is no hurry at all.
What story do you tell your children about the various diffrent FC? My story is that there are people that dress up as FC and then at Beamish it is the real FC and that is one of his depots for when he is delivering toys. He stops there to refuel and restock and he visits there in the run up to Christmas to make sure everything is ready.
18/12/2012 at 16:16
I agree, sometimes the simplest things are the best for kids. We took E too PP world in the summer and the following week to the beach to throw pebbles in the sea and she said the sea day was the best! (And it was free v's £80 odd quid for PP!)
18/12/2012 at 16:17
Ah glad he enjoyed seeing him and wasn't scared, lovely photo and really reasonably priced.
QI I've heard a couple of good reports about Beamish but they waited ages to see Santa.
Lovely pic too, you are blooming gorgeous!
18/12/2012 at 16:59
1st baby you think that manic grin is gorgeous?! Nutter!!
N is now happily pointing at the photo and at our fireplace and doesn't say 'no no no' every time I utter the words 'Father Christmas' so today was a success!
18/12/2012 at 17:09
Basingstoke has it's uses then!
Didn't know you were a Berkshire gal Hep
18/12/2012 at 18:38
Yep, west Berkshire! We rarely venture to Amasingstoke but for Santa it was worth it!
18/12/2012 at 19:56
Oh I saw that last week when I popped into basingstoke, looked good. Lovely photo, my O is still petrified of Santa!
18/12/2012 at 19:58
Hep you should have come to the Reading NCT Christmas Party last Sunday, their FC was fab! (It was my dad )
18/12/2012 at 20:12
It was you dad? I don't understand. Father Christmas is YOUR DAD?!????
18/12/2012 at 20:14
Who knew he was Jewish!!
18/12/2012 at 20:45
Ahhh, just down the road!
Stripey - I was at the NCT party on Sunday! Didn't get to meet Santa though. Queue was too long and Little Miss had a meltdown (hungry adn tired) so we left
18/12/2012 at 21:01
It's made me feel really festive and fluffy to read both your Hepburn and QI Father Christmas reports.
we took Luke to see FC at the local tonn light switch on. he was half an hour late arriving (problems with the reindeer- no really- they were real!) and we were already queuing so waited 45 mins to see him. it was freezing cold, gone 7pm past Luke's bedtime and he got frustrated. By the time it was our turn he refused to go in and we had to literally shove him in through the door. he refused to look at him and then tried to escape. At least it was only £3.50. Maybe next year will be better...
18/12/2012 at 21:05
My first thought was Basingstoke is good for SOMETHING?? Lol, I reserve the right to say that as I had the misfortune to live there for 15 months (then I demaded to H that we get the hell out!). Actually I;ve seen the grotto and little ride in Festival Place before and it does look pretty good. Glad the little dude enjoyed it.
18/12/2012 at 21:06
Basingstoke is usually rather un-amazing I must say! Was really pleasantly surprised today!!
18/12/2012 at 21:39
Hep you look like you had an amazing time!
19/12/2012 at 12:21
Glad you had a good time. I'd have to agree though, the cheaper option can be the best. We took E & S to see Santa at a local garden centre, it was £5 each, so not overly expensive, but the santa was pants, there was no one to take a photo unless you took it yourself which then meant that not everyone could be in the photo, and the toy was rubbish, just cheap plastic tat.
The next day we went to the local shopping centre. They had Santa there. He was free, the elf took a picture for us, and even though E didn't get a gift, she was given a chocolate thorntons santa lolly. She enjoyed that much more.
19/12/2012 at 13:34
Looks like you had a lovely time. We took our daughter to the local shopping centre the other year where she got a nice photograph but a rubbish present (it was a book with OK pictures but so poorly written which considering how cheaply you can pick up well written children's books was such a shame. It quickly started to fall apart so I resorted to hiding it then throwing it out in the end). Now we take her to see a cheaper one but they take their time with the children, have a little grotto bit to walk through and then get to chat to Father Christmas.And the presents are much better too - this year it was a paint your own face mask which was just perfect for a 5 year old who loves crafts.
When she was at nursery she used to see Santa in his grotto every day and evening on her way too and from nursery. She used to love waving at him through the gap and usually because it was the end of the day he wasn't busy and would wave back. Then the night before she was going to see him at the place we take her to see Santa, she was waving and calling out 'I'll see you tomorrow Santa' . It didn't seem to occur to her that that would make him in two places at the same time. The magic of childhood!
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