The Grotto is situated in the Barton Square area of the Trafford Centre which has had a fabulous festive make over this winter. The singing bears are back and amoung the sparkling lights is a beautiful Victorian carousel. We arrived a little early for our booking so decided to have a ride on this first. It was a lovey start to our day and the children didn't want to get off, at just £2 per person i'd recommend it as a fun addition to your Grotto visit.
After watching the singing bears for a few minutes we walked over to the marque that housed the Grotto, the decorations were really sweet so we posed for some pictures with the Snowman and Snowdog outside before being met by some helpful staff dressed in traditional Scandinavian costume.
We had been booked in for a 1pm timeslot and arrived about quarter to, while we waited the children chatted to the helpers who were really friendly and enjoyed telling them all about the animated penguins that decorated the foyer.
When our time came, we were led into a viewing room with a large screen where we were greeted by Billy's mum who led a lovely interactive story session that concluded with a clip of the Snowman and the snowdog annimation Both Children were transfixed and really enjoyed this. As we visited on a Sunday the grotto was fully booked so I did find this room a little crowded but that is to be expected and i'm told it's a lot quieter during the week.
Following on from this we were led out into a corridor of Snowmen dressed in costumes from around the globe, Again we had to queue for a short while but it gave us a chance to talk to the children about the different costumes and take some pictures.
At the end of this corridor we were led into a small room with a big red postbox and the children were provided with paper and pencils and encouraged to write (or draw) their letter to Santa and then post it, both of mine got very excited about posting their letters in Santa's special postbox!
Now we were ready to see the big man in red! We were led to one of four sets of curtains which were drawn to reveal a beautifully decorated space and a very Jolly Father Christmas sitting there who greeted the children cheerfully by name, he had a brief chat with them about their Christmas list and then invited them to pose for a photo (a stool was helpfully provided for my youngest). Before we left each child was presented with a gift, Ben was given an alarm clock and Elizabeth an activity book.
At the end we were given the opportunity to view the photographs and a selection of packages were available to purchase at reasonable prices. Overall we were there for just under an hour but were thoroughly entertained throughout.
Admission to the Snowman and Snowdog Grotto is £4.50 per child including a gift and £2.50 for adults. It's open from 9am to 9pm Monday to Saturday and 9am to 7pm on Sundays. You can book online at www.bookfatherchristmas.co.uk/intutrafford but do be aware there is a £2.50 booking fee.
Overall I found the experience lovely and great value for the price. I found it to be a bit crowded in places but you do have to expect that in a popular shopping area just before Christmas. The children loved the decoration of the Grotto and I felt the Snowman and Snowdog animation made it so much more than just a visit to Father Christmas! I would recommend it if you are looking for a Grotto visit that the whole family will enjoy.
We completed our day with a visit to Cadwalenders Ice Cream Parlour for some lunch which is a few steps away from the Marque where the grotto is housed.
We were invited to enjoy this experience as guests of the Trafford Centre.