We are now fully in November and it is totally acceptable to be talking about Christmas now. Although it did feel extremely weird to be visiting Marsh Farm for The Father Christmas Experience in the second week of November.
This was our fourth year in a row and it’s definitely an experience that I’ve spoken about many times on my little corner of the internet and also in my real world too. So here’s our account of the 2019 Father Christmas Experience.
Tickets for The Father Christmas Experience range from £25.50 – £52 for a child depending on the date of your visit. Adults are half the price. It is an expensive grotto but I honestly believe it’s worth every penny.
We dusted off our Christmas jumpers for the occasion and it was a cold wintery day. Perfect for setting the festive atmosphere. When you arrive the children are given little backpacks which you’ll need as you wander around the experience.
You are requested to arrive about 15 minutes prior to your visit time, ours was booked in for 11 am on their press day for the experience. You are then asked to make your way to the Passport Control.
When you arrive at Passport Control, we was checked in by an Elf. I have to admit that during previous years, this initial contact was a little more magical and enthusiastic. This year felt like a normal everyday check-in for a day out. You are then handed Passport booklets and asked to wait in the seating area.
It’s beautifully decorated in there and I love all the wooden walls that make it look like a Lapland cabin. There are Christmas decorations and a festive feel to it. A few Elves wander around, playing little pranks on each other and generally chatting with the waiting guests.
The waiting area seemed to be extremely busy with quite a few grown-ups/families standing. I think this could have been because it was a press day rather than a normal capacity day. It just felt much busier than previous years had been.
There are six different rooms with festive shows and treats. The first was the Elf Academy. This is a fun and engaging show with the Elves where they teach you how to become an honorary Elf. It’s a light-hearted show that gets the whole audience involved, the children are given magical wands to use to help fix a teddy bear.
After the show, you exit through a Secret Walkway which is sprinkled with snow and takes you towards another barn that has been completely transformed into a woodland theme.
This next show is called the Snow Show. This section of the experience has changed a few times over the year. The Snow Show is lead by an Elf called Shiver. The girls loved it this year especially when a giant polar bear arrived. Together, they made it snow and I have to admit I expected more snow.
We then got to walk through a beautiful snowy garden with the most gorgeous wooden reindeers. I really want some of those in our garden over the Christmas period and I’m sure they’d be easy to make? We wandered round in a group to Mother Christmas’ Kitchen.
The grown-ups definitely made quite a lot of noise in this room which I thought was totally unfair on the children trying to enjoy the experience, but it’s a smaller barn set out like a kitchen and the children sat on benches to listen to Mother Christmas. This section gets the children and adults involved in singing before heading off to decorate gingerbread men.
It was a little disappointing to find that they hadn’t put out enough gingerbread men or aprons for the amount of children booked in. We had to wait a while to be given ours and the whole thing felt a bit like a free for all rampage towards gingerbread men.
The girls were initially upset by the ordeal but as soon as they were given their biscuits to decorate, they loved it as it involves sweeties and eating biscuits. What more could a child wish for?
With gingerbread men in tow, we headed through to see Father Christmas. It’s another barn with a seating area. The Elves which accompanied us the entire experience, made a good effort to entertain us whilst waiting. They had the children dancing at the front.
Our wait has usually been quite short but this time we had been waiting for at least half an hour. There weren’t many families left after us and the girls had become restless and a bit chilly. I was quite grateful that there was a little toilet hidden inside that could be used too.
Visiting Father Christmas is the very best part of this year’s adventure in my opinion. This part never changes in the sense that it’s just brilliant each and every year. Father Christmas takes his time with his visitors, he engages in a welcoming and warm conversation.
Even Elsa who has never spoken to a Santa before said a few words happily and even smiled for the photo. He did tell Eva that he has been known to bring a dog for Christmas, so she’s now very excited that this year could be the year she finds a Chihuahua in her stocking. Freya seemed in awe of the big man too!
The last two stops for The Father Christmas Experience is Elf Ville and the Toy Shop.
Elf Ville has changed this year, there is now a much greater choice of cuddly toys to stuff and I love that! All three of my girls picked something different. I think I’ve said it every year that it annoys me that you have to pay extra for clothing considering the initial entrance price to the experience, but it sort of comes with the territory.
You are given a Snowie (elf money) each that can be exchanged for a gift in the toy shop. This year’s selection seemed much better than previous years but it’s still the usual dolls, ponies, art and crafts and cars kind of toys. The girls love it every year.
Whilst they were choosing I headed in to buy our photo. They offer a digital copy, mounting options and things like keychains. I paid £10 for a digital copy of the photo.
The entire Father Christmas Experience lasted about two and a half hours. The time really flies when you are immersed in the action and we all had a lovely time. It did have more faults than previous years, but I don’t think this affected our enjoyment of the day. I just have other years to compare to now and am probably a bit snobby.
We decided to head into the soft play to warm up and fill our tummies with delicious food. Then we explored the rest of Marsh Farm.
As always, we had a lovely time at Marsh Farm and I would honestly recommend booking this Christmas experience. It’s a day out rather than a quick grotto visit and I will still sit and say it’s the best we’ve been to. I hope you enjoy my video from our day out.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.