Hatton Country World Enchanted Christmas

Yesterday we took a little trip to Warwickshire to take in the Enchanted Christmas experience at Hatton Country World. Hatton is a place I have never visited, so we were all very excited at checking out Christmas in the beautiful countryside. I have to say, we had the most wonderful time.

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Hatton is both a child friendly attraction, and a gorgeous shopping village that is full of interesting independent stores. Yesterday, there was also a Christmas market that was stocking everything from jewellery to vintage cake stands. Hatton is set in rolling countryside, and makes the most of this with different activities set out across lots of fields, from mini assault courses to a JCB yard full of mini ride on trucks and complete with petrol pumps. There are also lots of different parks, including a sand pit full of large diggers and trucks that Joe loved, and also plenty of animals scattered around the place, from farm animals, to Alpaca’s and birds of prey. There is so much to see and do.

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Of course, being Christmas time, the big attraction at Hatton at the moment is the Enchanted Christmas features, which have a beautiful grotto at their centre piece. The grotto is busy and there are queues, so I would recommend heading to the grotto early on in your visit when the queues are much shorter. The grotto itself is very pretty, filled with polar bears, a snow-covered bi-plane that fascinated all the children waiting to see Santa, and a variety of penguins, elves and Christmas trees. It is also snowing in the grotto which is another nice touch.

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The visit to Santa itself is rather brief, but Santa is friendly and jovial, and addresses all children by their name. What makes this experience different from others is that the children are given a key to Santa’s toy shop and are then allowed to choose their own presents from Santa’s toy shop. The toys are a decent standard – Joe chose a magic kit and was really pleased with it, and all the other children were having a great time perusing the toys, the choice is good and is suitable for all ages.

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There are lots of other nods to Christmas all around the park. There are Christmas stories in the very festive ‘Scales and tales area’, whilst the guinea pig world is now a mini winter wonderland (another of Joe’s favourites). The animal feeding area was popular, but I was so overwhelmed to see a baby lamb being born- a totally unreal experience that basically made my day. There were also different shows throughout the day in the theatre including magic and puppet shows, these made a nice respite from the gloriously bright, but oh so cold day.

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We finished our day with a look around the shopping village and market, where we were able to buy some beautiful pieces, from Gisela Graham Christmas decorations, to a vintage cake stand. We also enjoyed tried some local sausages and delicious fudge (and yes, some of the fudge then came home.). A trip for mulled wine at the tea room rounded off a pretty wonderful day for all.

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Can’t believe I didn’t get the disco ball!

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LLoyd Loom chair – love!

To find out more about the Enchanted Christmas at Hatton, click here.

*We were sent free tickets in return for a honest review.

The prettiest Grotto in Birmingham opens at House of Fraser

The most beautiful grotto in the Midands opened today in House of Fraser, Birmingham, promising to bring magic and festive cheer to all who visit. The House of Fraser grotto is run by the Harry Moseley Charity #HHHO (Help Harry Help Others) with all proceeds from admission tickets helping to raise vital funds. We were lucky enough to be invited along on Tuesday for a preview and promptly fell in love with the whole experience.

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The Grotto, which features a very realistic Santa who seems fresh from Miracle on 34th Street, is preceded by a magical Christmas village display, complete with animated penguins and Reindeers. There are house frontages where you can glimpse through the windows and take a look at Santa’s workshop, bedroom, and even the ‘Rackhams’ emporium – a lovely blast from the past for many.

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Photograph credit Jas Sansi

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Friendly elves and pixies chat to the children as they wait to see Santa, also performing tricks and posing for photographs. The mood is perfectly judged for excited children, with things to keep them occupied both before and after seeing the man in red, including grotto will be packed with activities for children to enjoy whilst waiting to meet Santa, including a colouring competition and Santa’s cinema, showing that new festive favourite, Frozen.

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The visit to Santa is just lovely. The elves ensure that Santa knows the names of the children beforehand, so they are greeted personally. The presents are lovely quality, with Joe receiving a dinosaur book that he was really pleased with, and Renee my niece loving her monkey glove puppet. You can also purchase a photographic souvenir too.

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The #HHHO grotto at House of Fraser will be open from 10am – 5pm (Monday – Saturday) and 11am – 4pm on (Sundays) from 29 November – 24 December.  Tickets cost £5 per child and  can be purchased from any of the Homewear and  Childrenswear till points in store.

*With thanks to Kim Stephens from Marketing Birmingham and Georgina Moseley for the lovely invitation.