Santa Spectacular at Willows Farm

As days out with the kids go, Willows Farm in St.Albans, Hertfordshire is truly hard to beat.

I know I write about it all the time (I think I’m their biggest fan), but at the moment they have a great Christmas event running that you simply can’t afford to miss!

It’s their annual Santa Spectacular and we went along last week to see what was on offer in terms of festivities and fun for the kids!

My little H wasn’t feeling too well so he stayed home and I took my Girl with me and the other twin, O.

The first area we were taken to was Santa’s Grotto 🙂

willows farm christmas

Now, having four children, it’s fair to see I’ve been in a few Santa’s Grotto’s in my time and some are very obviously better than others, but this was in a whole other league.

The excitement started to build as soon as we turned the corner and into the ‘land’ of Father Christmas. There were cute little Elf houses and shops that led into the queuing area which grew darker, more mysterious and magical as we went along. Each time we moved down the queue there was another Christmas scene to see. Each one so sweet and beautiful. My children (and me) loved this. There was a distinct Christmassy smell in here too and Elves came along intermittently to keep the kids entertained.

My Girl with my friend Ruth’s lovely children waiting in line! 

Santa’s living room itself was very spacious which was another plus point. Quite often, whole families are squeezed into the tiniest rooms where you couldn’t even swing a cat and usually everyone gets hot and bothered. Nice and relaxed here.

For the first time ever too, O actually went quite close to Father Christmas. Usually he hides behind me while his sister sits next to Father Christmas and gets the present for him! This time, O ACTUALLY shook Santa’s hand! Yes, he got THAT close to him! This was a real milestone!

willows farm chtistmas

Beforehand, the children were given a special token to take to Father Christmas and give to him in exchange for a golden key. O was ever so excited about this and really did give the whole experience that extra bit of magic. The golden key was to grant them entry into Santa’s very special toy shop where they could CHOOSE ANY GIFT they wanted! The look on their little faces when we entered the shop and they saw the hundreds of toys was priceless!

Just look at all those toys!

They took a while, but they were happy with their choices. My Girl picked this little monkey and O choose a fab art set. 

From here we went to the bear workshop where the children handed another special bear token in exchange for a bear. Similar in concept to the actual Build a Bear shops, they had to stuff it, chose a little heart to go inside and make a wish! Very cute. We all thought this was a lovely addition to the Christmas event, the children absolutely loved it and the bears are great quality, super soft and cuddly.

willows farm

Ice skating was next on the agenda. For smaller children the skates fitted on over their actual shoes/boots and had two blades, making it much easier for them to stay upright on the slippery surface, which isn’t real ice by the way, but feels real! O took to it straight away, he actually found it much easier than real ice so he was very happy…. able to go off on his own skating around. However, it gave me a false sense of security thinking I too would find it easier. Not so, I found this fake ice surface to be much trickier to stay upright on! Sliding all over the place…. Ruth was the same! We had to stick to the polar bear skating aids! 😉

Hunger got the better of us at this point, so after a quick go on the ride on Diggers that are a favourite at Willows all year round, the kids wanted to go into the soft play area and eat!

The soft play is a welcome retreat from the cold, we grabbed a seat and plonked ourselves down while the kids (who never seem to tire) ran off to do some climbing! The food is lovely in here with choices from jacket potatoes, paninis, pasta, salads etc… so we ordered as much as we could eat! The is another cafe that sells hot food like chips, nuggets etc which we ordered too and brought over here!

Ruth had her Mum with her who is very lovely and the three of us chatted happily for ages while the kids played. We could’ve spent the rest of the day nattering away but there was still lots to fit in so we decided to head outside again to the FarmYard area to see some animals!

willows farmThe kids love this bit, holding the tiny animals, feeding the bigger ones and getting to meet a real reindeer!

Riding on the Tristan the Tractor is a highlight of a trip to Willows Farm…..

The kids played outside for a while, well, as long as we could take the howling cold wind, then we headed back inside for some cream teas and more nattering!

Of course, we stayed all day long and had a marvelous time as usual but we did miss the little Christmas panto and nativity show which was a shame! The Christmas daily schedule is jam packed with must see’s and must do’s so make sure you plan your day if you visit!

Such great value for a whole day out, with everything included once inside… the grotto, the choose-your-own present, bear making, soft play, animals, little fairground rides….. there’s not many places to go with kids these days that offer that!

Willows Farm’s Santa Spectacular is open daily until 24th December!

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