One of the highlights of my calendar is having breakfast or tea with Father Christmas at Wyevale Garden Centre. It marks the start of the festive season and gives Freddy his first taste of Christmas festivities with the family. We were invited to breakfast on November 28th, starting at nine in the morning, and so myself, Ian, Freddy and Kezia headed off bright and early to the garden centre at Bridgemere.
A section of the restaurant is reserved for the breakfast and tea experiences and is decorated beautifully, complete with Santa's grotto surrounded by hundreds of quality gifts for the children to pick from. It looks really inviting!
We arrived to see the long tables laid with activity placemats, name stickers, crackers and a bag of chocolate coins for the children. We were able to help ourselves to hot drinks or juice, before having hot toast brought to the table. A counter allowed us to collect our cooked breakfasts, freshly served up by friendly staff wearing Christmas hats and jumpers. Other members of staff dressed as elves were on hand to help children back to their seats and to assist in any way they could. Christmas songs played and the atmosphere in the room was great!
We tucked into our veggie breakfasts: scrambled egg, hash browns and beans for the kids and fried egg, fried bread, mushrooms, tomatoes and beans for the adults. The food was good, hot and filling. The helpful elves were on hand to collect rubbish and dirty plates, keeping everything tidy on the tables.
After the food was eaten, the children were greeted by Dorothy, the green witch and Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz who mingled with the guests. Children were given a Christmas tree gingerbread biscuit, a bag of icing and three little pots containing marshmallows, hundreds and thousands and chocolate buttons. Freddy had loads of fun decorating his biscuit and even more fun eating it!
Before Santa's arrival, the staff got everyone singing a host of Christmas carols together, which was really nice. Then the children had to shout for Santa, who burst into the room much to everyone's delight.
Children were taken up to Santa one family at a time and given the opportunity to have a chat and pose for photographs. He was a kindly, traditional Santa who put the children at ease and was very accommodating posing for numerous photos. He encouraged Kezia to come for a chat, which she secretly loved! After reminding the children to leave out a mince pie and carrot on Christmas Eve, the children were invited to pick a gift. Getting to choose what they want is a really nice touch. Freddy had his eye on a geology set, where you get to dig crystal gems from a lump of 'rock'. Kezia picked a cuddly toy cow, who she named Larry.
The experience lasts for around an hour and a quarter and is priced at £7.99 for adults and £9.99 for children. This includes the hot breakfasts, drinks, gifts for the kids plus the gingerbread decorating. An adult lighter option of a baked pastry with coffee is £3.99. The constant attention and entertainment from the staff was really enthusiastic and kept a party atmosphere going. The organisation was excellent.
I really recommend this as a festive family treat. Afterwards you can explore the garden centre, which at this time of year is resplendent in wonderful Christmasness!
In addition to the Breakfast with Santa experience, there is a tea with Santa option. Children can have a hot tea with squash or a cold 'My Picnic' tea for £9.99, while adults have a festive sandwich, a mince pie and a sweet treat with tea or coffee for £7.99 or a slice of cake and a hot drink for £3.99.
Breakfast and Tea with Father Christmas is available until Christmas Eve.
Visit the website for dates and availability and book tickets for your nearest Wyevale Garden Centre. Book before December 6th and get £1 off all kids' tickets. www.wyevalegardencentres.co.uk/breakfast-or-tea-with-father-christmas.