It’s that magical time of year again, CHRISTMAS! It was time to head to the Santa Spectacular at Willows Farm, this year we decided to go with friends & let them experience the magic with us.
We decided to pre-book our tickets to get them cheaper so it made the price a little less damaging to the bank account, it cost £33.75 for myself & Bryson to get in & see Santa! When you truly think about it its not expensive at all, however, I can see that it would be far too expensive for a big family of four or more people.
We managed to pick a day that ended up being THE BEST day weather wise for a long time, we arrived & managed to get parked in the gravel carpark (YAY for traction on my car).
I decided on the buggy as I’d been ill for the week & had no energy to carry B around! Good shout as he ended up wanting to be in it a fair bit. We met our friends at the entry gate, we couldn’t wait to get in & experience the Santa Spectacular.
It was such a beautiful day so we decided to spend our morning outside while the weather was good, you know how quickly the weather can turn! H decided to head to the carousel & have little ride, B decided it wasn’t for him so spectated & waved at the sidelines. These rides are FREE so you can go on them as many times as you wish & you don’t have to pay, B didn’t fancy them but hey, he will one day!
We spent a good hour or two outside exploring, the boys absolutely loved it & I didn’t mind it either as it was quite warm in the sun. We played on the zipline, explored in the sand & checked out the super cool digger slides.
Willows outside space is FANTASTIC, even better in the summer when the bouncy castles are out! However even in the winter there is plenty to do outside playground wise, as long of course as its dry.
We decided to head inside to visit the JCB little learners area, this is a place the kids can have a fabulous time on JCB ride on diggers! B is yet to understand pedals & is far too big for the push along ride ons but hey, the kid tried his hardest.
This area is HEATED! It was so warm & comfortable that I ended up taking my coat off.
You can spend a fair time in here & its great fun, perfect for when the weather is bad! Inside this area is also the ‘ice rink’ sadly B isn’t interested in it yet but when he is I genuinely can’t wait to take him on for his first go, hmm maybe trip would probably have been a more apt word to use there!
Over the tannoy we heard that Mishka, the Malamute, was going to be available for a meet & greet in 10 minutes. That was it, I was off like a shot, much to the disgust of B who isn’t a massive dog fan.
We arrived early & I eagerly awaited to arrival of Mishka, she was bang on time & I was so excited to see her. B on the other hand was in tears begging for a fairy cake. I ended up giving in but in the process Mishka got a whiff of B’s cake & got a little excited, WHOOOPS!
The talk about Mishka was exceptionally interesting & it was fabulous to learn that Mishka’s favourite food was carrots. After the talk you were able to get your picture taken with Mishka & I jumped at the chance. B wasn’t overly keen but I wanted to have the memory for him when he’s older, we eventually got a few pictures & some utter beauts at that.
After meeting Mishka we decided to walk down to the undercover barn to see a few of the animals, as its winter the animals that are usually outdoors are hidden away. The best way to see a range of animals is to look in the ‘barn’. I got to stroke a beautiful horse & B just cried the whole time as he didn’t want to meet any animals!
Before B cut it short I got to see Goats, Pigs, Guinea Pigs, Rabbits & a fabulous Reindeer called ‘BATMAN’. I was soon notified by both B & H that he ‘WASN’T BATMAN’, yes they both did shout & whinge that the reindeer couldn’t be Batman!
I was beginning to not be able to feel my feet (make sure to wear lovely thick socks) so we ended up heading over to visit Santa. Willows go to quite the effort with the whole Christmas experience, from the elf passport you can have stamped at various places around Willows to the lovely walkthrough to Santa’s Grotto. As far as I could see the Grotto was no different from last year but it was still fantastic.
You walk through from the JCB Little Learners/ Ice rink to the Grotto, theres numerous little bits to look at & the displays they’ve set up are fabulous. I think these can be appreciated more when there’s queues to get in to see Santa.
It just so happened that we walked straight through to visit Santa, it was a weekday & there appeared to only be one Santa on, our friends went first & we went in about 5 to 10 minutes later.
B had long since decided he didn’t want to visit Santa, I managed to get him in by promising cake! B was less scared of this Santa but was still a tiny bit hesitant. Santa managed to win him around & by the end of the chat after he was presented with a key for Santa’s toy shop he was chatting away! Even going so far as to pop his head back round the corner to say bye a few times.
Come to think of it we even managed to have a rather good picture taken of us. YAY!
Off we popped with our key to Santa’s Toy shop, once there we were greeted by a very energetic, exceptionally excitable Elf!
So excitable was she that B was utterly confused & distracted, bless her though she played the part very well.
The room was set up differently from last year & we found choosing a toy harder than we did the year before, I personally don’t feel the choice was as good as last year but B still managed to find a big box of cars which he gripped for dear life for the rest of our stay.
After choosing a toy it was time to see our pictures with Santa, images are taken by one of Willow’s on site businesses. As a model whose done plenty of professional shoots I can neither recommend or whinge about their images. I am totally indifferent to the quality BUT I have to get them as memories for B when he grows up.
They are also exceptionally over priced, put it this way you won’t get much change out of a £20 note. As I stated before I buy them for the memories, however if it wasn’t for that I wouldn’t pay as I do think they are over priced for what they are.
You don’t have to buy them & to be fair to them they aren’t hard sell. Its a take it or leave it sell.
Once we’d got our pictures we decided to head into the Cotton Tail Village, Willow’s have recently gone into partnership with ‘Peter Rabbit’ so now everything is Peter Rabbit themed.
B usually avoids this place but this time he decided he really wanted to explore & explore he did, we ended up spending about half an hour to an hour in here.
Its a fabulous little area for kids to do some role play, B & H both really enjoyed their little trip in here. I also thought it was rather cool myself.
After we’d had our fill of Cotton Tail Village we decided to ‘Create A Cuddle’, last year you could ‘build a bear’ this year you made a husky puppy! I much preferred the toy this year & B thoroughly enjoyed making his puppy ‘Betty’.
When you pay at the beginning you are given two tokens, 1 to visit Santa & the other to ‘create a cuddle’. We handed over our create a cuddle token & we were given our empty Husky, filling & a choice of love heart to go inside our Husky.
B chose a green heart & off we went to an empty table to fill our ‘betty’, last year B refused to build the bear but this year he was so excited to join in.
We had great fun filling up our Husky till it was round & plump, it was beautiful to see B actually joining in!
I can imagine this activity being hectic when busy but thankfully it was lovely & quiet in there.
In the same area as the ‘create-a-cuddle’ is the Arts & Crafts area, B was really into it this year & he made a rather funky wooden Christmas decoration. He has since grown to hate it & will throw it away at every given moment, I also made a decoration which I am actually quite proud of haha!
You can also write to Santa in this area & do other crafty bits, its a fab place for some time out but it is quite small.
We loved our little break from walking around & enjoyed getting crafty.
Over the tannoy we heard that the 3D sleigh ride would be starting in 10 minutes so we decided to head over & check it out.
I’m not one for 3D movies due to issues with my inner ear however I managed to rock this one out for B’s sake, let me just say if you’re cold head on over to the 3D sleigh ride as its heated inside the marquee!
The room was pretty empty with only one other family in there, we got to really enjoy the mini movie. B kept his 3D glasses on far longer than I expected & he sat for the entire time & watched, it was quite adorable when he went to grab something that had ‘come out of the screen’. I was a very proud momma with how well he behaved & how interested in the movie he was.
This is definitely an activity I recommend heading to.
Although we didn’t get to go this year I can also highly recommend the Nativity Story, I regret not going this year but B was still recovering from being ill & was shattered by this time.
B wanted one last play on the outside playground before we left, he decided to try & learn how to balance. Lets just say he didn’t quite manage but he certainly tried his best.
B then noticed that his friend was trying out a big swing, in his infinite wisdom he decided to help push H on the swing & didn’t move out the way in time & ended up on his butt after being hit by the swing.
We then decided it was time to head home, we didn’t manage to find anything in the gift shop for B but I managed to get a beautiful bobble hat which I am so in love with!
We all has such a lovely time & I can’t complain about the experience, except that the price of entry (without the discount) & images are astronomical.
I made a little video of our day at Willow’s Activity Farm, make sure to check it out:
This years recommendations
•Wear wellies if theres been bad weather, I made this huge mistake the first time I went & nearly completely ruined a good pair of dolly shoes.
•Be prepared to spend a lot of money, either make sure you practice your “no’s” to your little ones or save up before hand.
•Bring a picnic to save money on food, there are plenty of area’s where you can consume your food!
•Plan ahead, check out Willow’s site to see when certain activities are on.
•Bring a change of clothing for your child/children. B slipped a few times & theres always mud around even on the driest of days.
•Wear warm clothing, this recent weather makes it super cold. If you want to truly experience all Willow’s has to offer the make sure you have a jumper on, wooly socks & a warm coat!