Tuesday, 4 December 2018

A Festive Day At Princesshay

This weekend, we took the boys out for a festive day of shopping at Princesshay in Exeter - with a special surprise in store!

Princesshay is one of my favourite places to shop and with the addition of new stores it just gets better - over the last couple of years it's become home to some of my favourite stores including MAC and Flying Tiger, and now there's even a brand new Oliver Bonas store too!

We spent the afternoon shopping for Christmas presents, with most of them being purchased at Debenhams, which has always been my go-to for unusual and beautiful gift sets for those difficult to buy for relatives, before taking the boys to the brand new Arctic Adventure!

The Arctic Adventure is a fantastic Christmas experience for children filled with festive photo props for the ideal family Christmas snap - the jolly helpers will assist your little ones in making their very own special Christmas snow globe baubles to take home, and there's colouring and cutting out to keep them entertained too.

The boys were already having loads of fun before they even realised just who resided in the log cabin at the back of the room...

It was of course Father Christmas!

We've seen quite a few Santas over the years and paid a pretty penny for many of our Grotto visits too , and I have to say, this experience was one of the best ones we've had - Santa was so friendly and chatty with the boys. He took plenty of time with them, asked them questions beyond the usual "What do you want for Christmas", and was very believable!

The grotto itself looked fantastic, and the staff were really helpful - offering to take family photos for us and making sure we were happy with them before we left.

We didn't feel at all rushed, it all felt relaxed and enjoyable.

What I really loved though, was the interactions I saw with other members of the pubic while we were there.

Sometimes I do wonder if we may get above average service when we visit somewhere to do a review, but when I saw a family try to come in after the grotto had closed I knew for sure that the great service and friendliness we experienced was genuine...as instead of turning the family away disappointed, Santa himself came out to greet the children and have a quick photo with them...despite the fact they were already closed! I thought that was really lovely.

After our day of shopping and Santa visits, we were all pretty hungry so we headed to Cafe Rouge for dinner.

Princesshay has lots of great options for dining, and Cafe Rouge has always been a personal favourite of mine.

Unfortunately after a long day, my little two were not in the best of moods when we arrived and I felt quite flustered at bringing two tantruming grumpy toddlers into a busy restaurant but the staff put me right at ease.

There were colouring packs on the table ready for them which was a big help, and the waitress was lovely with them.

The boys all had garlic bread for their starters which they really enjoyed, and Jon & I had the Port Salut & Caramelised Onion Souffle which was really tasty.

For their main courses, the little two had burgers and chips which they devoured with no complaints and Tyne opted for the Mac & Cheese which he said was delicious.

Jon chose the pork escalope which he thoroughly enjoyed, and I went for the Mushroom risotto which was very tasty and just the right amount too.

For dessert, the boys went for chocolate brownie with ice cream and they ate every bite.

I had the chocolate mousse which was rich and satisfying, while Jon had the bread and butter pudding which he really enjoyed.

The Prix Fixe set menu at Cafe Rouge is really reasonably priced, and the food is very tasty - the options available on the children's menu are great too with more imagination than most restaurants tend to offer.

We really enjoyed our evening here and will certainly return again for a fuss-free family meal in the future.

With full tummies, we took a leisurely stroll through Princesshay admiring the beautiful Christmas decor on our way back to the car.

If you're looking for the perfect destination to do your Christmas shopping this year, you really can't go wrong with Princesshay - it offers festive ambience, a fantastic range of stores and great dining options too - what more could you want!

The Arctic Adventure is open weekends only until 9th December, and visits to Santa are priced at £4 per child with a gift included.

To find out more, please visit www.princesshay.co.uk

*We were given free entry to the arctic adventure and a complimentary meal at Cafe Rouge along with a voucher to spend at Princesshay in return for a review of our day. All words and thoughts in this article are my own.

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