Every year I look into where is best to take the children to see Santa. Every year somebody tells me to go to Stewart’s garden centre and every year I inevitably have left it too late to book for right before Christmas. Last year my mum and I ended up taking the kids to a local garden centre to us, Plowmans. They had a little grotto, which you got to via a train ride. As Cameron loves trains it was a pretty good choice. The experience was fairly good so this year, having not been able to get into Stewart’s again, I decided to go back to Plowmans.
This year the train ride wasn’t offered due to maintenance, they hope to have it back for 2016. Instead they have breakfast with Santa followed by the circus. At £10 for adults and £7 for children it sat around the mid-price mark for Santa visits so I booked it a couple of weeks ago for yesterday, to kick start the final few days before Christmas and celebrate the children’s end of school/nursery year.
We arrived at 8.30 and were shown through to the cafe where we had a short wait to have a photo taken with Santa, so far so standard Santa visit. A professional shot was taken but we were also able to take our own photos.
We then were seated in the cafe area at a reserved table with crackers and Christmas decorations, where we were offered drinks- hot or cold. Although I don’t drink hot drinks, the hot chocolate that my aunt and two cousins had looked really good with marshmallows to top it off.
During the breakfast, which was a full English, Santa walked around the room making sure to interact with all the children and adults alike. He had a couple of jokes with my mum and aunt. I honestly found him to be one of the best Santas I have seen.
Towards the end of the breakfast, Santa brought round a goody bag box for the children, filled with a cake, some sweets, a colouring in Christmas card and some crayons as well as another cracker. We thought this was the gift but in fact following this, Santa and his elves also gave out a present from under the tree for each of the children. The gifts were really nice and were age appropriate. Carly got a tiger hand puppet, Cameron got a thunder cats action figure and my cousin Spencer got a crayola set.
After breakfast we headed over to the circus, which was on site. There was candy floss for sale but this wasn’t pushed on us and was reasonably priced at £1.50 for a stick and £2.50 for a bag. The show started after a short wait and, although it was a low budget affair with the staff members doubling up as circus acts, it was enjoyable enough and made the kids laugh and kept them entertained for half an hour or so.
Following the circus, we went back in to look at our photo with Santa and, after purchasing two prints for £6 in total (buy one, get the second half price), we also noticed they were offering children the chance to hold a bird of prey and mini owl free of charge. The kids all had a go, even Carly who I didn’t think would be allowed to, being only three.
Cameron had heard a train so we headed outside and saw that they had a mini outdoor steam train. We assumed it would be an additional cost, but it was also free, simply asking for a small donation to help with the running costs. The train went round a track three times, providing a nice little ride for the children, who loved it. On exit from the train, the children were offered a packet of sweets.
My mum, aunt and I couldn’t believe how good value the morning had been. For the ticket price we felt we had received more than our money’s worth and the children had had a fantastic, enjoyable morning with plenty of gifts and activities to kick start the magic of Christmas. They all loved meeting Santa and we have plenty of photos for them to look back on and remember the visit.
I could not recommend Plowmans more for all those in the Bournemouth/Poole/Ferndown area. Plowmans can be found just past The Curlew, on the way to Bournemouth Airport.