Last weekend we enjoyed a family trip to Shugborough Hall to meet Santa Claus.
The day had been planned by the grandparents and it was a lovely surprise to see the 3 cousins together again!
As is standard for our days out, the weather was suitably cold with a real chilly wind just to keep us on out toes, so we were all wrapped up!
We headed into the courtyard where we joined the rest of the family.
Firstly we spotted the little stable complete with nativity scene and real sheep! Fitting for us, as our little man is playing the role of sheep in his nativity play this year.
We had a quick scoot around the other areas of the courtyard – craft room, national trust shop and toilets(!) – incidentally lovely and warm in there compared to the outdoors – then waited for the half-hourly “snow”. The kids loved the “snowflakes” falling and Jacks face lit up when they fell onto his face, although, I have to say, Drayton Manor’s fake snow showers are rather more impressive!!
After the snow shower, we headed out on the “train” ride – just back and forth up the drive, it wasn’t too exciting, but the children enjoyed it!
At midday we headed into the Servant’s quarters, to have our visit with Santa.
Firstly you walk through the stables where all the carriages are decorated and plenty of christmas wrapped gifts are piled high. There was even a bucket full of carrots for Rudolph. Obviously convincing a 4 yr old that these presents are not for him wasn’t easy!
Then we went back outdoors, where there was a little teacup ride set up. Rachel and Jack were very excited, but their little cousin Zach, at only 2, was not convinced and didn’t want to have a go!
Next we went into the post room, where they all sat down nicely at the table to write their letters to Santa. Rachel wrote him a fairly long list – she was very thorough! Jacks list was somewhat simpler – Batman – with the b back to front, but I am sure Santa will understand! Even Zach “wrote” a letter. And Daddy popped one in the mailbox too – asking for a bigger house for all Rachel’s presents!
Once letters were posted, we headed back inside to meet Mrs Claus in the kitchen and stir the Christmas pudding mix! The kitchen table was laden with sweet treats for the elves – cute but a little bit tempting for kids and maybe it would have been a nice idea to have a few chocolate coins to hand out to the children as they came through – of course Jack was not happy he couldn’t eat them!
Then it was time to meet Santa.
Santa was lovely and looked very traditional. He asked the children’s ages and they were given age appropriate gifts.
The best part about this trip for me was the gifts. They were not given tacky toys that would break in 5 minutes or sweets, they each received an age-appropriate book. Rachel was so excited by her Roald Dahl – James and the Giant Peach (especially awesome as it is the edition that Auntie Sarah wrote the Blurb for!!). Jack, being a stroppy 4 yr old, was not too impressed with his copy of Dogger – incidentally one of my favourite books as a child – but after a little talking to by Daddy he came round and the first thing we did when we got home was to sit down and read it together.
After wandering through the rest of the servants quarters, including Santa’s bedroom and meeting the elves who made balloon models for the children, we headed back out and over to the tea rooms for some lunch. Lunch was nice, not much choice for children which was a shame and they really need to look at their pricing structure – who charges £2.08 for a cappuccino?!.
We enjoyed another “snow shower” and another train ride – this time a little warmer as we sat in the indoor carriage – before it was time to head off home.
All in all a nice day out and at £6 for adults and £9.50 for the children, it was a reasonably priced visit with Santa – especially considering the thoughtful gifts.