This weekend, we went along to an Afternoon Tea with Santa experience at our nearest Wyevale Garden Centre which is Jack's Patch in Bishopsteignton.
Having never visited the garden centre for lunch before, we weren't too sure of what to expect and of course dining anywhere with 3 children under 4 can be a daunting prospect as there is always the worry that the children may get bored and start to act up or the concern that the venue may not be overly child friendly.
But I needn't have worried, the staff attending to us during the Santa experience were lovely and couldn't have been more friendly both to us and to the children - the elf really made an effort to chat to all of the kiddies, and get them excited about the arrival of Santa.
When we arrived we were seen to our table which decorated in a lovely festive fashion with Christmas Crackers, much to the delight of my 3 year old son who immediately pulled every one of them and adorned us all with paper party hats!
There was grown up cutlery ready for us, and plastic cutlery and cups for the children along with a big jug full of juice for the kids which I thought was fantastic as I get really fed up of the kids draining their drinks really quickly and having to buy more...the juice jug was a godsend!
The children's place settings were colouring-in ones and there was a packet of crayons ready for each of them, which kept them occupied until the food arrived - which really took no time at all, just 5 minutes or so from us sitting down if that!
The childrens meals also arrived on child friendly plastic plates which is something I really appreciate as it alleviates any concern about broken dishes!
We ordered one chicken nuggets and chips, and one sausage and chips both with peas - both meals were very good sizes that would easily fill a 10 year old, and the quality of both was excellent - the chicken nuggets in particular were really tasty and the meat inside was proper chicken breast. The sausages also looked great quality and were not greasy as they often can be.
The kids were both really happy with their meals and polished off every bit.
Myself and Jon had gone for the afternoon tea, and this was a real treat!
Served on a traditional afternoon tea platter,it consisted of two sandwiches each - turkey breast and cranberry, and cheese and onion - both were absolutely delicious, very fresh and the turkey used was proper turkey not the usual thin watery sandwich turkey at all!
There was a festive scone each served with jam and clotted cream - cream tea's are a favourite of mine so I was delighted to see this, and it didn't disappoint - the festive scones with their hint of spice and almond flakes were utterly delicious!
We also had a yummy mini mince pie each, a slice of lemon meringue and some delightful macaroons..I'm not normally a fan of macaroons at all I have to say, but these were absolutely delicious and I ate 3 out of the 4 of them...whoops!
Our afternoon tea was also served with coffee, but as is always the case with little ones...neither of us got chance to drink these while they were warm!
Santa came along to say Hello as we were eating, and took time to visit everybodys table and have a little chat with the children which was really lovely.
As you can see from Noah's reaction, he was quite awe-struck - and Sailor was quite excited too!
After our food, the children were given a biscuit each to decorate - the elf started to take the kids off one by one to see Santa who was now waiting in his grotto, so the biscuits were a great distraction for the children who were waiting.
The decorating kits contained an easy to use icing bag, some chocolate drops, mini marshmallows and sprinkles and both boys had a lot of fun decorating their snowmen biscuits.
Once they were done there was still some time to kill as we were last from our group to go through to see Santa, so Jon took Tyne and Noah off to the handy Soft Play area which the kids really enjoyed!
Then it was our turn to see Santa, so the elf walked us along the short distance to Santa's grotto which was a lovely little snowy area...the children got to sit on his lap and Santa really took time to chat to them, we didn't feel at all rushed even when Tyne really lingered and Noah tried to single handedly destroy the grotto!
After their chat, Santa invited the children to choose a gift each from his display...instead of the gifts being wrapped the Grotto had shelves full of toys for the children to choose from, which I thought was a lovely idea - unfortunately it does mean that children tend to dither and HAVE to look in detail at every single option available, so it took us a while to decide and actually leave but Santa and his elf were very patient!
Tyne chose a large fire engine, and Noah chose some farm animals - the quality of the gifts was quite good, not the best I've seen available in Grottos but certainly not the worst either!
All in all we had a really lovely afternoon at Wyevale, and left feeling really festive and in the Christmas spirit - the children really enjoyed themselves and myself and Jon felt very full of yummy cakes!!
The afternoon tea or breakfast with Santa experiences run up to and including Christmas Eve, Afternoon tea with Santa is priced at £9.99 per child and this includes dinner, biscuit making and a visit to Santa with a gift - adult options start from £3.99.
We thought the value for money here was absolutely fantastic, especially when you consider the prices you pay to visit some Grottos alone - we paid £1 less to visit a Grotto last week which didn't include any food, so I really don't think Wyevale can be beaten on price!
To find out more, please visit www.wyevalegardencentres.co.uk/breakfast-or-tea-with-father-christmas
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