A few weeks ago I got to review Marwell Wildlife as part of the Britains Best Days Out feature by Money Supermarket.
We had a fantastic time and when they invited us to return to see Christmas at Marwell we couldn’t say no!
Christmas at Marwell runs from 24th November until 24th December and you are required to book in advance – hurry though as slots are filling up fast!!
We chose to visit Marwell during the day to give us a chance to re-visit all the animals, although they are doing evening visits where you are transported to Marwell House from the entrance via the Gingerbread Express.
We arrived just before 11am and our Santa visit wasn’t booked until midday, so we took advantage of the sunshine and visited some of our favourite animals, some of which we didn’t see on our last visit which was cold and damp – like the Cheetah.
Just before Midday we headed for Marwell Hall which was looking lovely with a few decorations outside. They had a large marquee outside where we could leave the pushchair and then we headed inside into the warm. When we arrived at Marwell the children we given passports to collect stamps, so they eagerly clutched these as we went inside.
Just inside the door, we turned left and joined the elves in their magical toy factory, where we sat on colourful soft cubes were warmed up with a glass of Mulled Wine (or Ribena for the children) and a Mince Pie. The Elves were led by head Elf – Jingle, who made sure everyone was comfortable and the children had the stamps in their passports.
Eliza and Isaac were fascinated by all the wonderful colours and sparkly decorations and I wanted to take Fluffy (the bear) home.
Once everyone had arrived, we heard a lady calling and turned to see Mrs Claus (or Mrs C as she called herself). She beckoned us into her parlour, where she introduced herself and asked a few of the children and parents what they wanted for Christmas. Shortly after, she sat down and read the children the story of Pinocchio, with a helpful Elf operating a Pinocchio puppet and I was surprised that all the children sat entranced from beginning to end!
When the story was finished we proceeded into the kitchen where we decorated our own Christmas cookies, which was great fun. Again like all the rooms before, it was beautifully decorated and I wish I could have taken some if the displays home.
Once we had finished decorating our cookies, we were called by name to see the big man himself. There were not many people on each sitting, so we didn’t didn’t have too long to wait, even as one of the last to go in. It gave us a bit of time to chat to the Elves and admire the decorations.
When we were called through, we were led through a green maze with toys and fairy lights dotted here and there, before being taken in to meet Santa.
Santa was warm and friendly and knew each child by name. Eliza at 21 months, wasn’t sure but Isaac had a good chat with him and Kian enjoyed it too. Children up to the age of 14 get presents so Abbey didn’t get one, but she enjoyed seeing the little ones face light up. It is a shame that Callan couldn’t come as I adore this photo and it would be perfect if he was in it too!!
The presents were age appropriate and good value. Eliza got a board book about animals and a wooden jigsaw, Isaac got a JCB set and Kian got a YoYo and a Metal Kit aeroplane. The YoYo caused much amusement for the rest of the day and I am pleased to say that Mummy hasn’t lost the knack (I didn’t gloat much – honest).
After saying our goodbyes, we went in another room with more elves, Pickle the Penguin and a huge Christmas tree. They had a colouring table and a tombola, but sadly we didn’t win anything and then we headed off to see some more animals.
We had a really fantastic time, and the best thing about the experience was that we could make a full day of it, as entry to the zoo is included.
For more information on Christmas at Marwell, see their website
, visit their facebook
page or follow them on twitter.