intu Lakeside | Christmas Village

We was invited to visit Santa's grotto at intu Lakeside tonight, having been last year we was excited to come back again this year and visit Santa again. We was pleasantly surprised at how much better the Christmas village was this year, it was a lot bigger with more rides and the most exciting bit was the under cover ice skating! Although this is for age 4 and over so it wasn't something we was able to enjoy this time, but we definitely will with Isla next year. Tickets to see Santa cost £6 per child, and you can book a slot here.

Inside the grotto is a buggy area for you to leave your pushchair while you enjoy your visit, there is always a elf on guard to keep them safe. We was given two tokens to play the first game on the wall and found that around the grotto was lots of interacting games and things for the children to do as well as funny mirrors which made the wait time much more enjoyable both for us parents and the children too.

This gingerbread one was the children's favourite, you had to push the buttons and his eyes would go all funny and it would make a silly noise which the children loved. I think they found this the best bit of the whole grotto, they were giggling so much about it.

Over in this corner was a wishing station, you made a wish into the little speaker and pushed the button, a light then flew from the speaker all around the tree and up to a light that said message received! This was such a lovely touch and the elves really made the experience by explaining it all and telling Isla that Santa had now received her wish. There was also a naughty or nice station and this also got sent to Santa, luckily both children are on the Nice list.

Here is our photo from meeting Santa! Not the best as you can see, both children were very poorly, tired and hungry so we didn't get off to the best start. Archie was taking it all in though and didn't cry at all, he even managed to give Santa a high five. Santa was so lovely to talk to, we didn't feel rushed at all, he asked the children questions, what they wanted and after the photo was taken he gave them both a present. The photo cost £7 which is more expensive than last year, but it was definitely a memory I wanted to show them both so we decided to buy it. There was also lots of packages for you to get key rings and even snow globes too.

After coming out from the Grotto we decided to let the kids have a go on a ride each, you have to buy tokens from the hut and these cost £1 per token, children rides were 2 tokens each, bumper cars were 3, you could also purchase tickets for ice skating here too. There was plenty of rides to choose from, as well as a giant snow globe, trampolines and rides suited more for older children and adults.

The under cover ice skating looked so magical and a pretty good size too, I think this is the perfect addition to the Christmas village for 2016, it really adds to the experience and makes you feel all festive. I am unsure of the prices but they will be easy to find when booking online for a slot, we will definitely be returning for this child free!

These are the presents the children got from Santa, I was rather surprised as last year they got books which we loved, but I wasn't expecting Playmobil! Isla and Archie were over the moon with their new presents and have played with them ever since opening them. I think this makes the £6 price to see Santa well worth it, as normally you would expect a cheap toy that wouldn't get played with, so well done intu Lakeside for the improvement since last year on the Christmas village!

The Christmas Village is located at Car Park 3 | Outside House Of Fraser and is open from 12th November - 01st January.

*We was given complimentary tickets in exchange for a honest review.

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