I had heard great things about the Winter Wonderland at Whitehouse Farm on various facebook groups, so I was really pleased when they got in touch to ask us to come along and see if for ourselves. Whitehouse Farm is a perfect for toddlers as there are so many things included in the entrance fee. Winter Wonderland falls into that category. There is no extra charge to visit Santa, write a letter to him (and receive a reply before you leave), join Elf school (available on weekends only), or to walk through the winter wonderland. The usual Whitehouse Farm attractions are all still on, some of them - like the tractor rides - have even been given a Christmas touch.
Winter Wonderland at White House Farm
We visited on a weekend when the whole shebang was on. If you are visiting on a weekday you can still meet Santa, see the wonderland, animals and pkayoark etc, but Elf School, biscuit decorating and tractor rides are only available on weekends.
My favourite thing about this visit to Whitehouse Farm was how magical it all felt. Every single member of staff from the people at the entrance, animal handlers and staff in the cafe, were dressed as Elves. It felt like a really special day as there was something Christmassy everywhere you looked.
You start the Winter Wonderland from the main shop. Whitehouse Farm opens at 10am, with Winter Wonderland opening between 11-11:30am. Winter Wonderland and Santa visits aren’t bookable, you just turn up and join the queue. Normally I prefer somewhere it is possible to book a timeslot as waiting around with kids can be pretty naff, but it has been really well planned so that there were quite a few activities to keep kids interested while they were waiting. From speaking with staff there are also quite a few quieter times during the day when you wouldn’t need to wait at all. Nearly all of the pre-bookable Santa visits I’ve seen are fully booked now anyway, so I’m so pleased I can tell you about such a great one, where you didn’t need to book months in advance.
After walking down the glitziest hallway, we were greeted with a huge sleigh, full of wrapped presents which made for a perfect photo opportunity. A Christmas Fairy was on hand to direct us to where we could write a letter to Santa. We were first in the queue so could move through this area at our own pace, but its a good area to linger if there are a few people in front of you. We moved to the next room which was set out like the North Pole Post Office, it was a great set up with loads of different things to see, and my two enjoyed posting their letter in the post box. Not one to miss out on the fun, I posted my own too.
Next we walked through Mrs Claus’s living room which was another area you could look around if there was a longer waiting time. Then it was time to see Santa himself. This Santa was without question the best Santa I have ever seen. He had a real beard, was in a super deluxe Christmassy outfit and was in a beautiful spacious grotto. He was so friendly and very chatty, asking the kids questions, and telling them loads of things about how the reindeers fly, and how he gets into homes if they don’t have a chimney. He was so so lovely, and one of the big selling points about Whitehouse Farm for me. I checked with the staff, and this same Santa is working at Whitehouse Farm everyday until Christmas Eve, so you don’t need to worry about getting a less special one if you are thinking about taking a trip.
Everyone who visits will get a bag of magic hay which the kids were told to leave out on Christmas Eve night, and a lollipop. You can choose to upgrade your visit if you would like your child to receive a gift. This option was £4 and the gifts we got were good value. My little boy got a boxed bug jigsaw, which I would expect to be at least £6 if I saw it in a shop, and my little girl got a white lamb teddy which she loved even after she fell on her face in the afternoon and it ended up totally dirty. There is no hard sell to upgrade your trip with a present, and because the children all receive a lolly and the magic hay I don’t think they would even notice if they didn’t get a present.
After chatting with Santa for about five minutes we headed the rest of the way through the Winter Wonderland where there were various North Pole scenes to look at. It was really well done, and there were loads of things to see.
Another highlight for us was Elf School, which was an Elf magic show which lasted about half an hour. The Elf who was performing was brilliant and had all of the kids in stitches. He had a touch of the panto about his performance with lots of phrases for the kids to shout back to him, and loads of slapstick. My two were transfixed the whole time! A few kids were chosen to help the Elf with various tricks, and all of the children who watched got an Elf School certificate (which weirdly the only photo we have of it is Daddy Sprog looking very pleased with it.)
The final Winter Wonderland activity was a tractor ride, which was driven by an Elf. The tractor had been decorated and the driver Elf was so friendly. These rides were timed throughout the day, and lasted about 10 minutes. We loved our little trip and my little boy even asked to go on a second time. Kids were invited to sit on the tractor afterwards.
As well as the Winter Wonderland activities, the usual Whitehouse Farm entertainment was on offer. Including feeding the goats, and meeting cows, alpacas (or are the llamas I never know? My little boy was adamant they were camels), ponys, horses, meerkats and pigs.
One of my favourite things about Whitehouse Farm is the petting sessions which are held throughout the day. We went to the 3pm session and were the only ones there (the farm was almost deserted at this time so I think it’s a good idea to plan to visit Santa at the end of the trip if you want to avoid queues.) We got to hold a skinny pig which are my fave animals that they have, their little bald faces are so cute. We also got to stroke the biggest rabbit I’ve ever seen.
The brilliant thing about Whitehouse Farm is that they have so many activities to do included in the entrance fee. My kids loved the park, and we spent most of our time there. It also took much bribing to finally get them off the bouncy castles and trampolines. We didn’t spend much time in the soft play, but I’m sure this would have been much more popular if the weather hadn’t been so dry. Unpictured is the go kart track which my two were too young for which I sneaked a go on while they were distracted in the park. My little boy adored his ride on the motorised cars which we paid £1 for.
Another reason I love Whitehouse Farm is that they provide a warm and comfortable spot to eat a picnic if you choose to bring one. The picnic barn is heated, has highchairs to use and even has a sandpit for the kids to play in. Daytrips can be so expensive, so I think its great that this option is available. On this trip though we ate in the cafe where there is a really big range of hot and cold foods to choose from and a large kids menu. We went for the Sunday Dinner which was huge, and we both enjoyed it. The kids are obsessed with beans so had sausages, chips and beans from the kids menu.
We were at Whitehouse Farm from 11am-3:30pm and had a great day out. Despite being there on a weekend it didn’t ever feel busy or overcrowded and we could go at our own pace. We could have stayed until the very end but were freezing by that point. It goes without saying, but wrap up warm with lots of layers of you are going. Naturally everyone hopes for a dry day, but most of the activities are undercover (apart from the trampolines/bouncy castles/frisky golf/play park) and they do have the soft play which is a great place to run for cover if it does start to rain.
If you are still on the look out for a Santa visit or are just thinking about a festive day out then I would massively recommend Whitehouse Farm.
Its open every day apart from Monday. Weekdays (excluding Monday) they open 10am-4pm. Weekends open 10am-5pm. They are even open Christmas Eve!
Prices (including everything in this post apart from motorised motorbike £1, biscuit decorating £1.75 and present from Santa £4)
Children 2 and over: £8.95
Children under 2: FREE
For all info about Santa’s Winter Wonderland and Whitehouse Farm click <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.whitehousefarmcentre.co.uk/">here.</a>
I’m making a pretty bold claim here that this is the best Santa I’ve seen. Have you been? Do you agree? Does anyone have any other great Santa’s who don’t need to be pre-booked to recommend?
Disclaimer: We were given complimentary entry to Whitehouse Farm but all views are my own.