Christmas really is my favorite time of year.
For the first time I got to bring my niece (7) and nephew (6) to see Santa at Westport House. As I work in the world of retail at the moment I don’t usually have the privilege of bringing them off at the weekend, as needless to say this is our busiest time.
I’m here writing a blog about my experience at Westport House Winter Wonderland and I am truly finding it hard to find the right words, because after my day at Winter Wonderland, I am simply speechless.
I’ve seen pop up grottos at various supermarkets and shopping centers over the years and I always had in the back of my mind that it’s a bit of a money racket. Lets be honest, a man in a cheap red jacket, a poor cotton beard and a pillow up his top is usually what great’s you. NOT ANYMORE, Westport House really have set a standard that Fr Christmas himself would find it hard to beat.
Westport House is only 30 minutes away from my home, so I’m lucky in that regard, but after a 30minute drive its like arriving at The North Pole. The only thing we were missing on the day was snow.
On arrival a big fuss is made at the front door from Santa’s Elves and each child is given a name tag. You are handed a timetable for the day and full list of things to do in the house.
We started at the Gingerbread Man Workshop and what a great start to the day.
It’s a real interactive workshop and the elf really did pull out all the stops for our group. He interacts with the entire group, from adults to kids and everyone gets a task. From a parent/guardian perspective it’s fantastic because the kids don’t get a second to be idle from the minute they walk in to the room. At one stage he had everyone standing up and running on the spot. I won’t tell you anymore……
Next it was time to go and see the man himself, SANTA. His Elf Holly Leafa escorted us in to the room and Santa was fast asleep in his chair, then all at once the kids had to shout “Merry Christmas Santa” and Santa jumped up with such a fright. It really was a hair standing moment, like something from a Christmas Movie. I come from an entertainment background and spent many years as a booking agent and event planner, and never in my life have I seen a Santa like this one. The only way to describe it is “THE REAL SANTA IS STAYING AT WESTPORT HOUSE”. The Santa to put all other Santa’s to shame, with a REAL long white beard and long white hair to match. I’m not going to spoil the surprise anymore but this Santa’s Grotto will leave you full of Christmas Joy and smiling from ear to ear for the rest of the season. Each child got a present, we collected our professional photos and Santa told us to give a message to Mrs Claus, so we made our way to her next.
Storytime with Mrs Claus. The Best just got better, you couldn’t have the real Santa experience without the real Mrs Claus experience and it was just that. Every room you walk in to at Westport House just gets better than the last. Real attention to detail and they left no stone unturned when decorating this magnificent house. Mrs Claus makes you feel at home straight away and reads some wonderful stories to the kids. We were lucky enough to hear some real life stories from The North Pole too.
We took a break and went to the Old Kitchen Café. Again I’m always a little weary of coffee shops in Airports and Tourist Attractions as they have a tendency to be a little expensive. We were invited to help ourselves to Mulled Wine and the kids got a free juice. I have to say everything looked and tasted so delicious and the best part is, it was reasonably priced. The value for money continued from the front door, right through to the Café for the adults. I was delighted.
Then it was time to make something special for the Christmas Table. A Yule Tide Log. Again a very interactive workshop and the elves are fantastic with the kids, real professionals. The kids get as much foliage as they like and get to decorate the log whatever way they like. Such a great idea and it will be lovely to have something hand made by the kids on the table this Christmas.
The kids then got their face painted and we went on the Train. Thank god the weather was good to us and the sun came out. The train ride is a fantastic way to end the day and all along the track there are loads of surprises to keep the kids entertained.
How much does Winter Wonderland cost?
Babies under 1 year old go FREE for their first Christmas. (www.WestportHouse.ie)
- €10 for infants (children under 2 years – a small gift is included)
- €25 for children (aged 2 years and up – a small gift is included!)
- €10 for adults (aged 16 years and up)
What is included in my ticket?
- Visit with Santa (you’ll see Santa as part of a group) including a small gift
- Face painting
- Free juice
- Storytime with Mrs Claus
- Ride on the Westport House Express Train (lakeside loop)
- Make your own Yuletide Log
- Decorate your own Gingerbread Man
- Christmas Wish Tree – Westport House will donate €1 per family to Mayo Roscommon Hospice
- Singsong and dancing with the Elves in the Large Dining Room
Oh and free Mulled wine for Mammy and Daddy if you wish.
If you want my advice, kids or no kids, Westport House this Christmas is a must and don’t forget to put on your best Christmas Jumper and join in the festive spirt. Soak up the atmosphere and festive decoration of the stunning 18th century house.
The views expressed above are 100% my own and I have NOT received compensation in exchange for writing this blog, nor was I asked by Westport House to write this blog.