I know it's only November but time flies and it won't be long until Christmas. I've been a bit slack with Christmas preparations and I really needed something to get us into the spirit of it all. A trip to Stockeld Park near Wetherby and their Christmas Adventure did the trick!
Stockeld Park is mainly outdoors and there are a few attractions to experience. From now until January, it is a Christmas Adventure. There is also a Summer Adventure, and a Halloween Adventure at other times of the year, as well as various special events.
We got day passes which allowed us unlimited entry to the maze, The Enchanted Forest, ice-skating, and Nordic skiing. Santa's Grotto is extra, from £7 to £9 each depending on which day you visit.
First up was Santa!! We got our ticket from the entrance desk - you are allocated a queue number to minimise your queueing time and there are monitors dotted around the park so you can see when your number is going to be called.
It was really quiet as we went before lunch and we walked right in to see the big man himself.
It was a lovely room, very cosy and Christmassy and Santa was very nice and not at all scary. Even the two-year olds who have never met Santa before were very much at home. They talked to him one-by-one about what they wanted for Christmas, and Santa told them all about his reindeer and asked them to leave out some carrots for them. Santa took his own photos using a little wire, and there really is only your family and Santa in the room. It's very personal. We had four children to meet him and we were in there about fifteen minutes - we weren't at all rushed.
The girls were very excited when they got their special present. Then we had a group photo. The photo wasn't great but we had to buy it as it's the twins first Santa visit, and it came out quickly. No complaints on the service! You could also take your own photos in there. This is the group shot that I took with my camera....
We waved goodbye to Santa and went to have our lunch - there are two cafes in the main building along with toilets and baby changing facilities, the gift shop, and a small indoor play area. We unwrapped our rather gorgeous Stockeld Park polar bear toys we got from Santa, and then went off to try out the ice-skating.
The ice-skating was ace! The older children (9 and 6) loved this. Skate hire was included in the day pass. They got about an hour on the ice rink, which had great views over the park's lake. They did really well and didn't fall over very much at all!
After this, we went to explore The Enchanted Forest. This is a forest walk on a fairy tale theme with some play parks en route. It took us over an hour to get round it all.
There were little houses with buttons to press, talking trees, laughing fairies, and a very scary witches house shaped like a hat. The two-year olds were enthralled by this bit and enjoyed setting off all the sounds and lights. They really loved the musical tree, and the little mushroom houses.
There are three parks - the first two are probably better for older children (four years and up) as my two-year olds found them a bit challenging. The last park, which is an ark theme was much better for the little ones. They were all soaking wet after a morning downpour but were soon dried off.
The walk was nice and long for little legs, and had views over the lake, which was lit up with festive lights. There were gorgeous fairy-lit sculptures all the way along the walk. I can imagine it would look very magical in the late afternoon and evening.
The artificial Nordic ski-path also goes the length of The Enchanted Forest, and this would be a good way to see it all with older children. You can exit at a couple of points on the way to have a play on one of the parks and such.
It was getting on a bit now and we were feeling the cold so we headed for the maze. It wasn't a huge maze so there wasn't the fear of getting lost. We enjoyed the street signs, and the attractions. We were in there less than half an hour but had a good look around.
Here are some more photos from our day.....
|Watching the ice-skating|
|Leaf collecting in The Enchanted Forest|
|Meeting a real life reindeer!|
|Meeting Pom Pom the polar bear|
Visit length - around two to five hours depending on what you want to do.
You can enter the attraction for free (car-parking is free too) and then just pay for what you want to do individually, which is great if you just want to visit the very nice Santa, or just ice-skate.
While The Enchanted Forest is great for young children, it's not a great surface for prams and pushchairs. Leave them in the car if you can. The pushchairs that is, not the children.
The ticket prices vary and are cheaper during the week, and get more expensive as you approach Christmas.
The cafe is nice but (as is customary) not cheap. We took our own food and used the indoor picnic tables. I don't know if you're supposed to do this, but we did anyway! The hot chocolates are very nice, and they do a smaller, cheaper children's one if you ask.
Exit is not through the gift shop, which is a welcome change. There looked like lots of fabulous Christmas things in there, and my purse is relieved I didn't venture too far inside.
To find it, you need sat nav, or a map - the park is on the A661 north of Wetherby. Take junction 45 off the A1(m). There are no brown signs off the A1 so take care.
For more information, please visit their website at The Christmas Adventure Stockeld Park
Disclosure - we were given day passes and free Santa visits to be able to do this review