Santa’s grotto is now open for 2014!
The Winter Wonderland at Baytree Garden Centre is perhaps the best-known Christmas grotto in the region. I know parents who have been taking their kids for the past 10 years. I’ve been the last two years, and I imagine I’ll probably go again next year. So, is it worth the hype?
What’s there to love?
It’s really Christmas-y. I think the grotto is really well done. Personally, I don’t think it is over-the-top. But I am a bit of a sucker for all-singing and all-dancing Christmas displays. It’s all under cover and from the moment you walk in, it does feel Christmas-y with lots of decorated trees, low lighting and fake snow.
Kids love it. If the amount of times Little Miss said ‘wow’ is anything to go by – kids really enjoy it. There’s a little train ride to start with, which goes round and round in a loop four or five times. Then there’s lots of cute displays – some even move and talk. There are polar bears fishing, snowmen singing, Santa’s workshop and more.
Real reindeer and Christmas decs. There’s more to see at Baytree once you’ve been through the Winter Wonderland – there’s real reindeer which you can feed carrots, and of course, inside all the decorations and light displays.
Here’s some of my favourite pictures from this year…
What’s there not to love?
Queues. I have heard of people going on weekends closer to Christmas and queueing for one or two hours. I experienced no queues the two times I have been – both times were Thursday afternoons beginning of December. I think Winter Wonderland is brilliant – but not 1-hour-queue-brilliant. The Baytree website even says to avoid weekends in December.
Is it as good as it used to be? I’ve only been twice, and as already mentioned, I’m a bit of a sucker for these things, so I really enjoyed it. But I have heard people say it’s not as good as it used to be – you’ll have to ask me in 10 years time!
If you’ve never been before, it’s really worth a visit. It certainly put me in the festive spirit – how can singing polar bears not have that effect!? Just plan your timings – personally, I don’t think it is worth queueing over an hour for (especially with a toddler).
All the important bits
Baytree Garden Centre is located off the A151 just east of Spalding (on the road to Holbeach). Use postcode PE12 6JU.
There is plenty of free car parking out the front of the garden centre.
To see Santa, receive a present and a real tree is £9.00. Accompanying adults and children £1.50. To enjoy Winter Wonderland, but not see Santa is just £1.50. Seeing the real reindeer and Christmas displays inside is free.
Eating and drinking
There is a fully catered restaurant, the Hop-In restaurant, which offers hot meals as well as lighter bites and snacks. There is also a new café situated near the entrance in the garden centre, which does lighter bites, cakes and tea and coffee. I can recommend the carrot cake!
There are quite a few toilets on site. Not all have baby changing facilities, just ask the staff to point you in the right direction!