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Best place to visit Santa - North Surrey/SW London

(13 Posts)
snowgirl1 Wed 12-Aug-15 13:55:49

Does anyone have any suggestions on where's good to visit Santa in North Surrey/SW London? And if you know when tickets go on sale that would be really helpful.

We've been to the Father Christmas at Chessington Garden Centre for the last couple of years and it is good, but I'd like to try somewhere different.

I looked into Father Christmas at Painshill Park last year, but it was all booked up when I looked, so I'm starting early this year!

BooChunky Wed 12-Aug-15 15:50:14

I was coming on to say Chessington Garden Centre wink

We went to painshill park the year before last and I was completely underwhelmed. It was a freezing cold (very long and not pram friendly) walk through a dark park, to a gusty dirty marquee full of people drinking tea out of styrofoam and cold children with snotty faces (my children included!)... Then we were called, ushered in to see Santa (the crystal grotto looked beautiful, but we got about two seconds to look at it) and ushered out again just as quickly for the freezing walk back.

snowgirl1 Wed 12-Aug-15 16:07:18

Thanks Boochunky maybe we'll stick to Chessington Garden Centre after all!

Emmab515 Wed 12-Aug-15 16:37:08

We went to chessington garden centre in 2013 but last year went to here www.crockfordbridgefarm.co.uk/surrey-farm-shop/father-christmas-santa-secret-forest.htm It was so lovely walking through the forest on a cold winters morning and we meet Santa in a warm log cabin.

This year we think we might go to chessington world of adventures as they do a winter trail and you can also visit the zoo but tickets are not on sale yet so will see how much they are smile

messystressy Wed 12-Aug-15 17:45:55

I went to Chesington for two years, and they had two different themes. Last year was just all characters all jumbled up together again, so also looking for somewhere different. Plus I hate the movie at the start! Bah humbug and all that! Love the garden centre though, and much more effort than other places I have been.

forago Wed 12-Aug-15 17:48:41

we finally got tobgo to painshill park last year after years of trying and I also thought it was crappy. wouldn't bother again.

we've also done the bluebell railway a few times which is very good, if a little hectic.

AuditAngel Wed 12-Aug-15 18:13:43

I think it depends on what you are looking for. 3 years ago we went to Osterley Park House, FC was set up in the stables below the house, lovely traditional gifts (wooden and tin toys varying depending on age) plus a Christmas fair.

The following year we wanted a repeat, but FC wasn't available the last weekend before Christmas and DH was working the previous weekend, so we tried Ham House instead. We were lucky with the weather, and followed the nature trail in the gardens before visiting FC. We preferred Osterley to Ham.

Last year we went to Legoland. Very expensive even with annual passes. Only part of the park was open, and didn't include the biggest rides for DS who was then 10. We didn't take our usual picnic as it was cold and I wanted a break indoors for a hot meal. DH didn't fancy the burger place, so we had a full 3 course meal each in the castle restaurant which is normally rotisserie chicken. We all loved it. We also really liked the Elves workshop which included the chance to do a letter for FC, colour in Christmas cards and ice gingerbread men. All these activities were free. We also all got a hot drink.

We would definitely go again. Gifts were a Lego set (Obviously) but current ones, I think value around £10.

Also, I had booked tickets for a Sunday, then DD1 was given a prt in a pantomime and she was in the Sunday shows. They couldn't swap my tickets to another day, but cancelled the ones we had booked, gave a full refund and allowed me to make a booking for an alternative date (via the website). I was very impressed by this as it wasn't in their T&C's

We would definitely go again.

MissLurkalot Wed 12-Aug-15 19:03:52

We went to Chessington last year.. We met our extended family there, so was mainly a meet up plus the Santa.

Barely any rides were opened, in fact it was practically closed. The zoo was more like a farm and was very small. They barely had anywhere open to eat, only a handful of eateries were open and the queues were long. However... We did eat at the pizza buffet and it was lush. There was a Gruffalo show that was unexpected and really really lovely. Santa was based in his log cabin (summer house) and although it wasn't a trail as such.. Once we were all in there, he was wonderful and really made a fuss of the kids. I would recommend it and would possibly go again this year.. But might go for Legoland instead, was just put off by the price of Legoland.

snowgirl1 Wed 12-Aug-15 20:46:01

Thank you everyone. Sounds like Painshill Park isn't worth it - which is a shame as the crystal grotto could be really special.

Crockford Bridge Farm sounds nice, as does Osterley Park House and the Bluebell Railway.

I think I'll leave Lego land and Chessington until DD is a little bit older (she's be coming up to 4 this Christmas).

Do Kew Gardens do a Father Christmas? I wanted to go to their lights thing last year but couldn't find a day that worked for us.

Thanks again for all the suggestions

milkmilklemonade12 Thu 13-Aug-15 19:21:05

I think we are also doing Chessington, although yes the movie at the front is real <head desk> stuff wink

I've also not heard good things about Painshill Park.

I think we'll stick with Chessington for now!

JassyRadlett Thu 13-Aug-15 19:37:46

We did Kew a few years ago - lovely but kids went through in a group rather than 1:1 with FC.

snowgirl1 Fri 14-Aug-15 11:45:05

Thanks Jassy and milk. Decisions, decisions - a group visit to FC at Kew might not be a bad thing for DD as I think she'll be too shy to go near him.

AuditAngel Fri 14-Aug-15 14:54:19

To see FC at LEGOLAND you queue by the castle on a wooden bridge, then an elf comes and collects you and leads you through a forest of Christmas trees. There are loads of cabins (arranged in a semi circle with the "forest" in the centre , but the DC won't be able to see other cabins (DH is shorter than me, he couldn't see them, I could only see when standing on the steps), although they may see more elves, but on their way out to collect another family.

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