On November 20th Leaplish Waterside Park hosted the first festive event of the season to launch their family-based Winter Wonderland. Despite the cold, Mrs Wifey and I wrapped up warm and headed into the forest to welcome Father Christmas.
We arrived at Leaplish and went straight to the gift shop to check out the winter goodies. With the shelves filled with elegant Christmas decorations and sweets it was like walking into a scene from Elf the movie.
We then headed to the large marquee where the main event was taking place. An announcement came over the speaker to say Father Christmas and Mrs Christmas had arrived. Yey!
Just then a group of reindeer came trotting towards us pulling the big man himself with Mrs Christmas bouncing alongside the sleigh. Elves ran up and down the crowd announcing “He’s here, he’s really here!” The crowd followed the sleigh and Father Christmas was soon engulfed as organisers encouraged everyone into the marquee.
Inside, the room was set out with tables and bales of straw to sit on, a beautiful winter display in one corner, a HUGE sleigh and a brass band playing carols. Even Scrooge himself would have found it difficult not to feel a little festive at this point. We were told Father Christmas had to leave as he had a lot of children to see the following day so needed lots of sleep. Mrs Christmas stayed, along with the elves as we continued with more carol singing.
Next we were shown how to make a Christingle, a festive decoration originating from Germany. You can learn more about Christingles with a step-by-step guide to making your own right here.
The evening ended with a final Christmas carol, mulled wine and mince pies. As we were leaving I got chatting with Mrs Christmas who told me some secrets about Father Christmas. I swore an oath of secrecy but let’s just say I know exactly who is on the naughty list this year!
To top off the evening we enjoyed a delicious hot chocolate in The Boat Inn Restaurant.
Overall the event was a great way to begin the Christmas season. If you are local and have children I would definitely recommend for next year. If like us, you don’t have kids, it is still worth attending if you are looking for some festive fun. The only downside for me was that the sleigh whizzed past us too fast so I only got a glimpse of Father Christmas. Inside the marquee was a little bit chaotic and I struggled to find a seat as everyone was reserving them for family. If you have trouble standing take your own fold out chair or wheelchair.
Free events can be a little lacklustre but this one was full of activity and a hit with both children and grown-ups alike.
Value – 10/10 It’s free after all
Fun – 8/10 Lots of Christmas spirit
Accessibility – 6/10 Too chaotic if you have wobbly legs or medical equipment and it was difficult finding a seat.
Overall – 8/10 Could have done with a tad more organisation in the marquee and Fathers Christmas’s arrival was a bit rushed. However, definitely a winner for a free Christmas event to get you in the mood.