This year I am so excited for Christmas as it is the first year my little two (aged 3 & 4) have properly understood what Christmas is all about. They have already written their Christmas lists for Santa, they keep asking when we can put the Christmas tree up and they are amazed by the twinkling lights from the shopping centre decorations. They are so excited and each day they race downstairs in the morning asking if today is the day we can put our tree up. They truly believe in Father Christmas and the magic of Christmas and it is heartwarming to watch.
As a family we have a rule that the children only visit one Father Christmas each year, to make it that bit more magical for them. This year we have a lot going on in December as we have some major house renovations happening for the first two weeks of the month, meaning we won't have much time to enjoy festive festivities this December. So we decided to book the children in to see Santa early this year and on Saturday we went for afternoon tea with Santa at our local Wyevale garden centre in Gosforth (Peter Barrets to us locals).
We had attended afternoon tea with the Easter Bunny at Wyevale Gosforth a couple of years ago which the children really enjoyed, but we had never attended a Christmas event at the store and had no idea what to expect. We live just a five-minute drive from Wyevale Gosforth, which is located near the Gosforth Park Great Lime Road entrance and has plenty of free on-site parking.
As you can imagine the garden centre was all decorated for Christmas, much to my children's delight. The afternoon tea event was taking place in the restaurant towards the back of the centre, we were greeted at the entrance to the restaurant by Mrs Claus who was extremely welcoming and who the children took a real shine too. An area of the restaurant had been reserved for the event with tables with crackers on and a Christmas tree and an area ready for the children to meet Santa.
When booking the afternoon tea children get the choice of either a hot meal or a picnic box with cold items in (both priced at £10 per child), we decided to get the children the picnic boxes. The picnic boxes had a ham sandwich, packet of pom bears, some Jelly and a satsuma in, beakers of juice were already on the table waiting for the children. Adults can select either tea and cake (£4.50 per person) or an afternoon tea (£8 per person), we opted for the afternoon tea. Which consisted of two finger sandwiches each, a cheese and chutney and a turkey, stuffing, bacon and cranberry sauce one. It also came with a scone with creme and jam, 3 cakes each and a pot of tea, it was delicious and great value.
The food was already on the tables for us when we arrived, meaning the children (and us adults) could tuck in straight away. There was also colouring sheets and crayons on the tables for the children and they could decorate their own gingerbread men with everything they needed - icing pens, sprinkles and marshmallows on the table for them. Sophia (aged 4) really enjoyed decorating her gingerbread man and colouring in and both children were having such a lovely time.
After everyone had eating Mrs Claus called all the children to the front where she read them the classic children's story The Night Before Christmas and sang some songs with them. Every child, even the really young ones were captivated. Before long we could hear sleigh bells and Santa Claus himself had arrived, my little boy Jacob was so excited his whole face lit up. Santa said hello to every child before asking them to return to their tables with their families to finish colouring so he could speak to each child on their own.
As we had arrived at the event first we were the first family to be called to the front to speak to Santa, the children got to tell him what they would like to receive on Christmas day and we also got some great photos. Santa Claus was really lovely and he was brilliant with the children, asking if we had a chimney or a magic key and telling them where to leave a carrot for Rudolph. Jacob and Sophia truly believed he was real.
After speaking to Santa the children were shown to a table which was filled with a range of gifts and the children were able to pick whichever one they wanted, Jacob picked a toy tractor and Sophia an art set. They had quite a few of the same gifts so hopefully, children further down the queue to see Santa wouldn't miss out on the gift they wanted.
There were only five families at the event when we went so nobody had to wait very long to see Santa. My brother and his family also booked to come along with us and they were last to see Santa and his two girls (aged 2 and 5) did not have to wait long to see Santa and got gifts that they were happy with too.
After everyone had seen Santa it was time for us all to head home, the event lasted about an hour and a half and we all had a really lovely time. Santa and Mrs Claus were lovely and so good with the children, the children were entertained throughout and the food was delicious. It was such a lovely afternoon that I know for certain we will be rebooking again next year as I think it will be our new family Christmas tradition.
Afternoon Tea with Santa costs £10 per child, which included a hot or cold meal, biscuit decorating, stories a visit to Santa and a quality gift off Santa. Adult prices are £4.50 for tea/ coffee and cake or £8 for afternoon tea and I think it is amazing value for what you get. You can also book breakfast with Santa if you prefer and again this is priced at £10 per child and includes a cooked breakfast and all the activities we experienced, adults cost £8 for a cooked breakfast or £4.50 for tea/coffee and a pastry or bacon bap. You do need to prebook which you can do either online or in store, breakfast or afternoon tea with Santa will be running until the 24th December full details and bookings can be made at www.wyevalegardencentres.co.uk
Disclosure I was invited to afternoon tea with Santa free of charge for the purpose of this review, however, all opinions are my own.