Painshill Park Santa 2012

Painshill Park Santa 2012

Tickets went on sale in mid-October and sold out in a couple of days – Santa in The Grotto at Painshill Park is quite the hit – and there’s been a lot of parents who’ve been with their children and found it magical.

We had our turn yesterday; a drive to Cobham and some lunch at Strada and some heavy rain (so make sure to have wellies with you and take umbrellas and waterproofs), and we got to Painshill Park for just after 5pm. It takes twenty minutes to walk from the entrance to The Grotto where there’s a large white tent serving refreshments, where your number is called. We gave ourselves a lot of time, mainly to allow for H being a bit slower than us, but also as we wanted to look in the shop.

This year we went a bit later than before – and felt as if there were less lights – not that it spoilt anything – just remember to take a torch!

On arriving at the holding tent we got ourselves some Mulled wine (priced at around £2.80ish, it’s cash-only there too) and waited our turn – which came around quickly. We had an activity book, mulled wine, scarves, hats, gloves and cameras to try to pack up – as well as getting H to Santa. (so take a small backpack – something you can put everything in that’ll keep it dry!).

The Grotto at night at Painshill Park

You can’t beat the Painshill Santa – he looks like a proper one too, and H was at ease immediately, telling him what she’d like for Christmas and how she’d been mostly good. This year, despite H being 3 I went for the 4-6 age range for presents, as we felt last year’s was a bit too young for her – which was a smart move as she got a fabulous pair of fairy wings which she’s so pleased with.

It started to rain again, much lighter so we made our way back – be aware, there’s no shelter (apart from the tent) so you’re going to get wet if rain is due. Luckily it didn’t take too long and once back at the entrance we could wait for a very short while.

With all the rain the car park was really muddy – so another one to look out for – but otherwise this was an amazing Santa trip yet again, wonderfully done, and a really fun afternoon too!

Painshill Park is in Cobham, their website is here, and throughout January you can go there on a Wednesday for free.

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Santa at Painshill Park

We’re regular visitors to the wonderful Painshill Park in Cobham, and for the first time yesterday we visited to take H to see Father Christmas.

Santa at Painshill Park

We got tickets for 4pm (the earliest you can go on a weekday), just as the sun was setting and the fairy lights were coming on – the park looked beautiful, and it’s definitely something worth experiencing at that time of day if the weather is good.

You enter the park the usual way, and take the disabled/step free route towards The Grotto which is signposted with random Santas along the way. A 20 minute walk when your little one is in a buggy is probably more like a 25-30 one when your toddler wants to walk – so leave plenty of time!

You get to a large tent next to the big lake, and wait your turn – you’re checked in with a number and an age appropriate card for the present, and there’s refreshments available (mulled wine!) – though these are at an extra cost.

We waited for a very short time (we were number 6), and took a short walk from the tent into the grotto, where Santa was waiting on his sleigh, shook H’s hand and asked all the right questions. H told him she wanted “a baby octopus” and looked a bit disappointed when she realised her present wasn’t one..

Actually, the only criticism I’d say was the present H got was really young for her – but she was happy with it, and actually, the Santa was excellent, so that far outweighs anything else.

The setting of The Grotto for Santa was fabulous – it looks gorgeous inside and isn’t too cold (it was a chilly night), though worth bearing in mind you can’t take buggies in there, as there’s five or six steps as you leave the grotto to get back onto the island – there is buggy storage outside the main tent though.

It was a lovely smoothly run experience (thank you elves!), also helped by H being given a present which had an activity book in it which she sat and coloured in while we waited. I would defintely come back next year, plus heading back to the car park (now with toddler in buggy as she wanted to open her present) in the dark with all the lights was lovely.

Highly recommended!