Santa's Christmas Cracker 18th Nov - 24th Dec (Closed Mondays)
Whitehouse Farm is transformed during the festive period - there is tinsel everywhere! Even the mice have been subjected to it and all of the staff from the animal handlers to the kiosk and cafe staff are dressed up as elves. This sets the tone for a very festive day out. On entry you are handed an itinerary. An example of a weekend itinerary is below but check out their facebook page or give them a call before you visit for an updated copy.
Santa will be in his grotto from approx 11am & Mrs Claus's Bakery is open from 11.15am
10.15 Animal Petting
10.45 Beastie Show
11.15 Elf School
11.45 Meet the Owls
12.15 Meerkat Feed & Talk
12.30 Elf School
1.00 Animal Petting
1.30 Beastie Show
1.45 Elf School
2.00 Meet the Owls
2.30 Meerkat Feed & Talk
3.00 Elf School
3.15 Animal Petting
First up, we enjoyed a walk around the smaller animals and reptiles and were helped by some elves to cuddle some bunnies.
Then it was straight into a mini-beast show! Yikes! We were very brave and held a cockroach and stick insect and we got very close to a boa constrictor and tarantula! The elf helpers provided lots of information and were happy to answer all of our questions.
Pretty soon we heard the chief-elf calling on his megaphone outside that elf school was about to start so we headed over the the picnic barn and enrolled. NB the picnic barn is indoors and a perfect place to enjoy your own picnic.
Our children (and us) found elf school hilarious and they were impressed with the magic tricks the chief elf had up his sleeve. Harry and Heidi were picked to help with one of the tricks and at the end of the 25 minute show all of the children in the audience received an elf graduation certificate which was a lovely little touch. Elf school ended with us all joining in singing Jingle bells - very festive!
After elf school we headed to Mrs Claus' bakery to decorate our own Christmas shortbread (additional £1 charge). We all picked a snowman and had fun decorating them with coloured icing, sprinkles, marshmallows and sweets. I liked the fact that you could leave your biscuits in the bakery to collect later which saves you having to carry them around the farm with you.
All of our activities so far had been indoors and we were keen to get some fresh air so we ventured over to the birds of prey area. Here a keeper was allowing people to hold various birds and was answering questions and telling us a little about each bird. In the summer the birds take part in flying displays but the keeper explained in Winter it is too cold for them to do this and they much prefer to just pop out for a short while each. The keeper was extremely knowledgable and his enthusiasm really came through.
We then went on a little hunt to try and find some Christmas animals and we found Santa's reindeer in the field and a donkey in the stable (along with a friendly goat that was freely wandering around).
Feeding the goats always provides lots of entertainment!
We were ready for a little break by this point so collected our decorated biscuits from the bakery and enjoyed them with a cup of hot chocolate each from the cafe. Just what we needed to warm through! This was followed by a quick run around the indoor soft play which was surprisingly quiet on the day of our visit and a ride on the outdoor toy tractors.
After our break, it was it was time to meet the main man himself. We headed towards the events barn which has been transformed into a miniature festive village. We were greeted by a beautiful snow fairy who ushered us to the mailroom where we all pulled up a chair and wrote our own letter to Santa. We then posted them in the special North Pole post box.
The snow fairy then greeted us in Santa's living room and took us through to meet him. A visit to Santa Claus is included in your admission and children will receive a free lollipop and magic reindeer dust. You can pay £3 per child extra to receive a gift if you'd like (we didn't and our children didn't realise). Santa was very friendly - you see him in family groups so the whole experience is very personalised. We had a laugh with him talking about minecraft and what his reindeers had been up to. We probably spent about 5 minutes chatting but could have spent longer if we'd wanted to - the experience wasn't rushed at all which was great.
We said goodbye to Santa and walked out through his toyshop which contained very amusing lists of the top gifts to buy this year plus 'naughty and nice' lists were clipped to the wall. There has clearly been a lot of time and thought put into the design of the experience.
We ended our day catching a ride around the farm in a very festive sleigh which was lots of fun and the perfect way to finish our experience.
As we left, we popped into the gift shop to be met by Mrs Claus who presented all of our children with their own personalised reply to the letter they had posted Santa earlier. Our children were over the moon.
We spent about four hours at Whitehouse farm and had such a lovely time. Everyone enjoyed it and the experience has been designed for all ages. Most of the attractions are indoors and it really is an attraction for all seasons. We loved how every part of the farm had been transformed to feel Christmassy - Christmas music was playing, there were festive specials in the cafe, there were elves walking around and absolutely everywhere had been decorated and transformed to feel festive. Children can even dress up and act out their own Christmas scenes in the barn.
Everything above is included in your admission to Whitehouse Farm unless stated. Entry is £9.50 for adults, £8.50 for children and under 2's are free. Family tickets are available at a discount. You pay once and can spend all day on the farm enjoying the various attractions at your leisure. So much effort has gone into making the farm a wonderful day out for your family this Christmas and I really would recommend.
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My 8 year old made his very own video of the animals around the farm. Check it out here.