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:
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):
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:
Father Christmas walked round the tables and spent a lovely long time talking with all the children:
And then the grotto-based photo op:
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!