With the mercury plummeting and coming straight from swimming lessons I had the worst outcome in mind. Two over tired and hungry children usually spells disaster. This time though, we were headed to Belton House, our local National Trust estate, to meet Father Christmas.
Set in 1300 acres of beautiful park land with 300 fallow deer (reindeer that Father Christmas was obviously coming to collect from their holiday at Belton!) roaming, Belton is one of our favourite places to visit throughout the year. The adventure playground and indoor play facilities are one of the best we have visited. We’re totally spoilt being only 30 minutes away from the grounds.
We went to the same Father Christmas grotto at Belton last year Poppy’s best friend too but this year the National Trust staff had really gone the extra mile to make the experience extra special.
Entering the ticket office we were asked if the children would like to find the hidden surprises in the fab advent calendar wall. You can’t beat chocolate!
We then headed to the indoor play centre for some food and a quick play before heading to the grotto. It’s more suitable for older children as it’s pretty much a giant tree house/climbing frame with rope bridges, slides and it’s quite tricky to get up and down between the levels. But luckily they had provided Christmas cracker making equipment of card cracker, ribbons, felt tips, to keep the smaller ones entertained and the bigger ones entertained whilst eating!
Heading over to the grotto to meet the man himself, the excitement levels were high! We made our way through the beautifully decorated Estate Yard that is also the location for the really fantastic new Discovery Centre that provides craft activities for children from 11am – 3.30pm.
We were met by (a very convincing) Mrs Claus in her farmhouse kitchen where the girls decorated festive gingerbread biscuits.
Before heading through to meet Father Christmas himself!
So much effort had been gone to to decorate the room beautifully, even including a stained glass window, dressed fireplace and pictures on the walls. A huge improvement on last year…
The girls were given a present each which was surprisingly good! I won’t spoil the whole surprise by telling you what it was, I’ll just say that Poppy is really enjoying playing with it.
We then headed on to explore the rest of the courtyard activities and absorb the wonderful sight of the decorations coming into their own as the sun went down.
We came away feeling thoroughly festive and full to the brim with wonderful memories and festive cheer. The whole experience was better than expected, seamlessly run and executed and felt like good value for money. If you follow me on Instagram then you’ll know that Poppy was in no doubt whatsoever that she had met the real Father Christmas and was very reassured that the reindeer were now on their way back to the North pole after having a wonderful holiday at Belton House.
We’ll definitely be back to explore the Discovery centre more and the rest of the festive outdoor installations before the Christmas period ends.
Find out all the details about visiting Belton here.
This was in no way sponsored or gifted, just a fantastic experience that we wanted to share with you.