Tuesday 10 December 2019

Visiting Santa At Oaktree Garden Centre.

A couple of years ago, we were very fortunate to visit Lapland UK to visit Father Christmas/Santa. Visiting Lapland UK not only made the kids feel like they were in the most magical place ever, but also me and my sister thought the same too, I'm not sure who was more excited to see Santa, the adults or the kids! Visiting such a place can leave high expectations for any other visit to Father Christmas, so we was on the hunt for somewhere just as good. Whilst looking for places to visit Santa, one name kept popping up, and that place kept getting recommended over and over again by so many different people - Oaktree Garden Centre.

Two very large outdoor garden reindeer decorations.

Oaktree Garden Centre is located in Bracknell, and funnily enough, was only around a 10-minute drive away from Lapland UK, which made the kids excited on the drive from Reading, as they recognised the roads and huge forest and knew they were going to see Santa! We explained in the car journey that we wasn't going to Lapland, but was still going to see Santa, and the kids couldn't contain their excitement!

When we arrived, we found car parking spaces very easily, a nice and pleasant surprise as another garden centre we often visit just a short journey down the road is a nightmare for parking, especially during this time of the year!

We arrived prior to our time slot, we gave ourselves plenty of time, as we expected to spend around 20-30 minutes looking for a car parking space! We were handed two drink tokens to exchange for a hot or cold drink at the outdoor cafe, which was a pleasant surprise. My sister got a coffee, whilst I opted for a hot chocolate, and then we purchased the children a small carton of juice each. After finishing our drinks, and a quick visit to the toilets it was time to enjoy our experience. 

Spud holds a ticket which enables him to visit Santa.

The children each received a sticker with their name on it, a wristband and a very exciting ticket enabling them to visit Santa! I have blurred out Spud's real name on both the ticket and the sticker.

Whilst waiting for our time slot, we got to walk around a small area decorated all Christmassy with lots of woodland animals. Spud was pleased to see lots of huskey's - as he loves dogs.

Children wait to enter enchanted doors at Oaktree Garden Centre.

In no time, all the children were called forward by one of Santa's elves, she needed help to push open the enchanted doors, and children of all ages and sizes was invited to help her on her mission.

We all walked through the enchanted doors and was greeted by another elf who told us all about what we had in store, the large room was full of Christmas decorations, including nutcrackers, old fashioned displays, Christmas tree's and to Spud's delight - sausage dogs!

Spud and his cousins decorating a cookie each in Mother Christmas' kitchen.

The first task on the children's list was to help Mother Christmas in her kitchen, Mother Christmas loves baking cookies for Santa and the elves, and the children were invited into her kitchen to decorate a 'cookie' themselves. Each child was given a cookie to decorate, along with a napkin and paper bag to put their finished cookie in. Bowls were on each tables for children to share, filled with chocolate sprinkles, normal sprinkles, ready to use icing, and mini marshmallows. Spud decorated his cookie with icing, normal sprinkles and mini marshmallows.

A photo collage showing three real reindeers at Oaktree Garden Centre in Bracknell.

Our next part of the experience was something that excited not just the children, but the adults too - well at least it did me! We got to see not one, not two but three reindeers! A talk was given on the reindeers by one of the elves, who told the children what they enjoy eating, leaving hints for what we can leave out on Christmas eve.

A packet of reindeer food from Oaktree Garden Centre in Bracknell.

When it was time to leave the reindeers, each child was given a packet of reindeer food to sprinkle outside on Christmas eve. This would not only help the reindeer find their way to our homes, but also double up as reindeer food for Rudolph and his friends.

Meeting Santa at Oaktree Garden Centre in Bracknell.

After visiting the reindeers, it was time to visit the big man himself! My sister and I booked our visit together, which meant the three children (Spud and his two cousins) all got to see santa together, however Santa was brilliant with addressing them all by their names, and asking them questions individually so no child was left out, and we were also able to get a photo of the children separately, well, my sister got a photo of her two boys together and I got one of Spud alone.

A reindeer plush teddy gifted from Santa at Oaktree Garden Centre.

Before we knew it our visiting time had came to an end, but not before Santa gifted the children a present each, telling them he would try his best to get some presents off their list when he visits on Christmas eve. All the children were gifted the same item, which is brilliant as it saves arguments and the feeling of being dissapointed if a child thought their present wasn't as good as another's. To Spud's pleasant surprise, the gift Santa had given him was a reindeer plush that resembled his favourite teddy brand - TY Beenie Boo's.

Overall I was happy with the experience, however I do feel it was a little expensive. It cost me £20 (£18 for children, £2 for adults) and that didn't include the photo costs, so around £30 for the visit, and then travelling cost on top, along with food and drink - it cost over £50 in total and I just feel like we could have done something more for the same expense.

I think once you've been to Lapland UK it's hard to beat such a magical experience, but the kids enjoyed themselves and the real reindeer was a bonus for me.

Jada x 


Post a Comment