An Ode to Garden Centres & Wyevale Christmas Event Review

I love a good garden centre…I don’t even care if that makes me sound 84….I really do. I’ve spent the last three years culminating special relationships with my local garden centres – they are my ‘go to’ destination with my son. I wonder sometimes if they know what a glorious gift they’ve given to the parent attempting to entertain a small being all week…

Need fresh air but it’s pouring and your child, like mine, has a rain aversion? What’s that…? A covered outside area with trees to boot? Yes please.

Are you considering remortgaging and taking a trip to the zoo? May I interest you instead in a selection of miniature (and quite lifelike) animal statues?

Imaginative ‘real world’ play? Let the display sheds step up to the plate…

Educational resource? Hello clock aisle.

Throw in a cafe, a play area and hours of entertainment watching the water features and you’ve got yourself a whole day’s worth of activity. You’re welcome. Some even have small soft play areas if that’s your bag. It’s not mine. We tried it once and my son turned feral in the ball pit so we beat a swift retreat.

Anyway, anyway, I was wondering if I’ve always felt this warmth towards these hallowed halls of horticultural goodness and I realised that my memories of garden centres growing up are entirely centred around Christmas. Choosing my annual Christmas ribbon (that’s a thing right?) and the wonderment of the decorations aisles. If there’s one season garden centres do well it’s Christmas.

So imagine my delight when I was invited to a Christmassy event by Wyevale Garden Centres. Breakfast or Tea with Father Christmas…hurrah! Oh, then imagine my horror when I realised it meant I would have to actually leave the house and get somewhere at a set time with my three year old and 10 week old…then attempt to control said children for the duration of the event. Hmm, maybe next year…!?

What to do? I really wanted to take my son… Aha the solution! To live vicariously through my friends….

So enter blog-stage right my lovely friend Genevieve…

Now, Genevieve has a son, Laurence, and he has a December birthday. Being the switched-on bod that she is, Genevieve swiftly saw the potential for turning this trip into a proper birthday party for her son. More tickets were booked and a cake was baked…what little person wouldn’t want to meet Father Christmas on their birthday!?

By the way, booking is essential for these events and I love that – it limits numbers and prevents the events feeling like a scrum. Children are £9.99 and adults start from £3.99 (depending on foodie options).

Genevieve opted for the ‘Tea with Father Christmas’ option and, upon arrival at Wyevale, the party made their way to the restaurant where they found their festive table:

Table set with scone, teas, red tablecloth, crackers

Creams teas for the adults, and the children, lucky ducks, had their places set with an activity sheet, a cracker and a snowman cookie to decorate with icing, marshmallows, hundreds and thousands and chocolate buttons.

Cue the children getting busy, and sticky, making their cookies look fabulous (probably):

Little girl decorating snowman cookie
Loving the subtle festive knitwear here!

After cookie decorating the children’s meals arrived. Wyevale offer a choice of meals which you choose at booking, including a number of hot options or a cold picnic tea.

Then the big moment…elves, yes elves, introduced Father Christmas:

Two women and a small boy meeting Father Christmas. The boy is pointing at him
The birthday boy, safely ensconced on his Godmother’s knee, is enjoying his mother meeting Father Christmas!

Father Christmas walked round the tables and spent a lovely long time talking with all the children:

Father Christmas chatting to a girl kneeling on a chair
Laurence’s cousin, Mariella, engaged in serious convo with Mr C…

And then the grotto-based photo op:

Father Christmas and lots of children

After bundling the big man, the children were able to choose a toy before leaving…and they sound good quality proper toys – books, dinosaurs, rag dolls, toy horses… ahh proper Christmassy things.

All in all the verdict from Genevieve is that it was a brilliant event – festive, fun and well thought out by Wyevale Garden Centres. Yippee – Happy Birthday lovely Laurence!

And me? Well I think it looks brilliant too, it’s like I was there! 2017 will be my year, I’m already looking forward to the breakfast. But if you fancy it this year, take a look at Wyevale’s website here for participating venues and booking information.

Disclaimer: As stated we were invited to review this event by Wyevale Garden Centres. Saying that, all opinions are Genevieve’s own…except the ones that are mine of course!

Two Tiny Hands

7 thoughts on “An Ode to Garden Centres & Wyevale Christmas Event Review

  1. I’ve personally never got the whole garden centre thing. I don’t think they do them the same in the North!! All the garden centres round here seem to sell plants and honestly that’s just bad marketing!! Happy Birthday that is a great Birthday tea with a visit to Samta and all!! 😘


  2. Oooh Sam always says how great the garden centres are for a free/cheap activity… I don’t know if I have any big ones near me though. As we live so close to town I tend to walk everywhere and I don’t think there’s any that fit the bill. This Christmas event looks fab! I love that you passed it on, seems it was well appreciated xx


  3. Oooh Lucy you have summed up how I feel about garden centres. I’ll be honest I never stepped foot in one pre child. Now though they are a life line. I was wondering what to do tomorrow but now I know! This looks fab, garden centres do always do good food as well, perhaps that’s why I like them so much ha. But breakfast with santa – that has to be a winner. Look forward to 2017 lovey, it’ll be your year. Have a wonderful Christmas and thank you for joining us at #familyfun x


  4. I hear lots of great things about the wonders of garden centres, but I’ve never taken the Popple to one. I’m not sure if there’s one near me – maybe because I live in a city? Though surely there must be one a short drive away. I’m always on the lookout for good indoor activities now that it’s winter, and there are only so many times we can visit our local library or the weird modern art museum. #FamilyFun


  5. What a good idea. I hadn’t thought of taking my daughter to the garden centre. I always just thought she would destroy everything so had never bothered, but I see it in a different light now.. ha.


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