I always like to book one special Christmas event for the children – one where they can get to meet Father Christmas whilst doing other activities, and generally having a magical day out. This year, we booked tickets for A Winter’s Tail at Chessington World of Adventures. It was our first time visiting Chessington at Christmas and we loved it. Here are some of the things we loved:
1) The Gruffalo’s Child story time
The Gruffalo’s Child is a favourite with my girls. They both enjoyed sitting and listening to the story at the start of our day out. I thought at first it was just a straight reading of the story. However, once the staff had finished reading the story, they were great at interacting with the children by getting them to guess the animal footprints and pretend to be various characters from the story. There was an opportunity to meet the Gruffalo and have our photo taken with him after the story had finished.
2) Meeting Father Christmas
We were met by Robin the Elf at the entrance to Santa’s Grotto. He led us through the snowy forest to the hut where Father Christmas was waiting. He greeted the girls, asked them what they wanted for Christmas and reminded them to leave a mince pie and carrot out on Christmas Eve. Jessica and Sophie were so thrilled at getting to see Father Christmas. They also got to choose a gift to take home. Jessica picked out a Gruffalo notebook and Sophie chose a cuddly toy penguin.
I loved the fact that trees hid the other huts in the forest. Hubby and I could see them, but the girls couldn’t. A few of them had been visible as we waited in the queue but they had signs on the back showing that they were the “Elves’ Workshop” or the “Wrapping Room.” Even if the girls had spotted them on their journey through the snowy forest, we would have had no difficulty in convincing them that there was only one hut with Santa waiting!
The only downside to meeting Father Christmas was the long queue to get to the entrance to Santa’s Grotto. Although we had timed tickets, we still queued for around half an hour before we were able to go and see Father Christmas. It would have also been nice if the photo was included in our ticket. That said, we were able to take our own photos so there was less pressure to buy the official one.
3) Decorating a Gruffalo-themed cookie in the Gruffalo’s Kitchen
Decorating a cookie in the Gruffalo’s Kitchen is included in the entry ticket for children. There were several different gingerbread cookies available to choose from – each featuring one of the characters from the Gruffalo. Jessica chose the Gruffalo and Sophie chose the Mouse. We were given coloured icing tubes to decorate them.
I loved the fact that this was very relaxed and unhurried. We found a table in the Gruffalo’s Kitchen and the girls took their time decorating their cookies before eating them. Hubby and I enjoyed a hot chocolate and a snowman gingerbread cookie in the meantime (which was included in the adult entry ticket).
4) Getting to go on rides with minimal queuing
The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure is always a favourite with my girls. It’s quite a popular ride and the queues are often fairly long. However, because the park was much quieter for the Winter’s Tail event, the queues tended to be much shorter. We only waited a couple of minutes before we got to go on the Gruffalo River Ride Adventure. With the exception of the Tiny Truckers ride, which had a 30-minute queue when we went on it, we didn’t queue for longer than five minutes for any ride.
5) Seeing the animals in the zoo and Sealife Centre
The girls loved the monkey walkthrough where they got to see marmosets and monkeys up close. We also loved seeing meerkats, zebras and ostriches at the Wanyama Village and Reserve as well as getting to see lions, tigers and gorillas at the Trail of the Kings. There were a few animal meet and greets and opportunities to see feeds throughout the day too.
The girls always enjoy visiting the Sealife Centre too. They loved being able to gently stroke a starfish and always get very excited when they spot “Nemo” and “Dory.”
6) The little details which made it magical
It’s the little details that help make a Christmas event like this magical. I loved the Gruffalo-themed snowman that we spotted on our arrival at Chessington and the helpful elves at Santa’s Grotto and the Gruffalo’s Kitchen. The most magical moment was when it started to “snow” as we waited to meet the Gruffalo after listening to the Gruffalo’s Child story. The girls were absolutely thrilled that It was snowing – and they could see the “snowflakes” settling on their coats and in their hair.
Thank you, Chessington World of Adventures, for a magical festive family day out. We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
I am a Chessington Blogger Ambassador, I was given a Chessington Annual Pass to do this review with my family and I was not paid to do this post. If anyone would like to confirm any details in the post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org