Ok, I’ll admit it, last year I forgot to book anywhere to go and see Father Christmas. I’m normally pretty good at all that stuff, but the year just seemed to run away with me. I’d see all the other parents on Facebook booking theirs in October and I’d decide they were mental. Then I’d try and book one in November and they’re all sold out. Maybe not so mental after all… I’d also started on my new hobby of budgeting for everything (also known as being really tight!) so this is what happened….
We have a merlin annual pass each, so I logged on to book a visit to Legoland, as we do most years. In my new budgeting/tight mindset, it suddenly seemed ridiculous to me to spend £100 just to go and visit Father Christmas. This is on top of the £500 we’ve already spent on passes. I think for the kids, fine, it’s good value. They get even more Lego to fill my house to make me even more depressed, and have a great day out. What do the grown ups get though? A day spent in the freezing sodding cold, and a free coffee. For £25? No thanks 😂
So while I was browsing, I happened to notice that warwick castle has released some time slots to pre-book their stories with Santa. Better still, it was free! (With our Merlin passes obviously) Amazing. I just had to sell it to the kids that they wouldn’t be visiting their Mecca of Legoland, and we were all set. I’m not going to lie, there were tears. Of disappointment from the kids, and of joy from me, I’ve come to hate Legoland a little bit 😂 and Warwick is an actual castle, there’s nothing more fun that that surely?
Thankfully the weather was good, it’s nearly all outside, and I can’t see it being as much fun dragging round whinging and soggy children. I’m not one of those parents that remembers things like waterproofs and wellies for a day out. I don’t think we even own waterproofs. There might be a crusty old pac-a-mac in my car somewhere…
We started with the Horrible Histories maze, perfect for my 2 gore lovers. It’s not really one you can get properly lost in, like I do at Longleat every bloody time, but it’s good fun, with little bits of history dotted around, stamps to collect, and activities at each stop.
The bird of prey show was great. The boy is a bit of a twitcher, as in he birdwatches, he doesn’t just fidget around, so he was in his element. The kraken obviously needed a pee as soon as it started, which I conveniently didn’t hear until the Mister huffed that he’d take her. The boy and I enjoyed the show, and the peace, immensely though.
Then we got mugged so that they could have a go at shooting a couple of arrows. I can’t remember how much it was now, a few pounds for a couple of arrows, and I suppose as the rest of the day was free, I shouldn’t moan really. I will moan about how long it bloody took though, we only had a couple of families in the queue in front of us, but we queued for half an hour. Half an hour of watching feral children around us swing on absolutely anything they could, culminating in my husband having an argument with the boy behind who insisted on digging his feet into the newly turfed, fenced off lawn. That was fun. My 2 for a change, were angels (or at least their versions of angels, they haven’t quite got halos). Probably because I told them that if they put one foot out of line then they wouldn’t be going to see the big man at the end of the day…I love Christmas time for that. There’s always the fear of getting coal in your stocking.
I say fear, this year someone asked the kraken what she was getting for Christmas and she replied “I’m getting coal, and I’m actually kind of ok with that.” threats don’t normally work with that one. She gives zero shits about anything.
Anyway, archery done, we headed to the castle proper. There’s a tower. A tall tower. And you can climb it. I hate heights, and I hate climbing stuff, and I hate exercise. This was not how I wanted to spend my day. But the kraken insisted. I thought I’d got away with it when I persuaded the boy to go to the dungeons, leaving her to go up with her dad. The boy is a massive fanny though and chickened out when we got to the entrance. So now we all had to go up the sodding tower. Holy Mary mother of God, I actually thought I was going to die 😂 I panic breathe because I’m climbing higher and higher, and my years of misspent youth smoking and damaging my lungs really doesn’t help. By the time I get to the top, I’m a hot mess. Strangers are actually asking me if I’m ok 😂 of course I’m not fucking ok, I’ve just climbed 4 million bloody steps to somewhere I have a mortal fear of! Worst thing ever. I’m told the view is amazing though. I wouldn’t know, I crawled across the floor like a wounded dog, and refused to leave the middle section or go near the edge. The route down was definitely much more enjoyable.
It was finally time for the main event. Stories with Santa. I’ve seen a lot of Father Christmases in my time, but I have to say, I think this is actually the real deal. After a little reading of the night before Christmas, we were shown through to a beautifully decorated room, and there was was, sat in the middle in all his glory. The children (I think there were around 15 in our group) sat round him, and the adults stood at the back. You of course had those parents there that had to shove their kid to the front, and then stand in front of every other person just so that they could see and take pictures. The ‘I’m alright jack, fuck everyone else’ type. They don’t bother me, I’ve got elbows, and I use them. We secured a good spot, and relaxed in the warm to listen to his stories. There wasn’t a peep out of the children for the whole time we were in there, which was about 15 minutes. A quick photo session (they have a professional photographer but they don’t mind you taking your own) and that’s it. Magic done for another year.
We had a quick look round the castle, but we were running out of time to start the drive home, so doing a strategic swerve of the gift shop, we made our way back to the car. I recovered from my epic climb, the kraken had a nap, and the heavens opened just as we got on the M40.
We’ll definitely be heading back to Warwick castle in the summer this year, they’ve got loads more activities, and I’m fairly certain we’ll be going back to visit Father Christmas again, although, sadly it will be with just one believer, and one sceptical secondary school boy 😢