We were invited to Chill Factore for the second year running and like last year I only told the children we were going on an adventure, not where we were going. Imogen had worked it out because a) we went last year at a similar time and b) I packed gloves. Elizabeth had discounted it as a possibility because I had called it a ‘Surprise’ and it wouldn’t be a surprise to do something we have done before therefore it couldn’t be Chill Factore!
Some pictures of us in the car:
Oona with her pigtails and her pink sparkly wellies!
Imogen with her headphones on and Leon peeping!
Elizabeth, all excited and slightly cross-eyed!
I made them leave their coats in the car so we had less to carry (one of my bug-bears from last year) and the poor little monkeys were freeeezing and excited too! We ran inside and found a magical Christmassy kingdom!
The thing is: I have to come clean. You know we got the tickets to this in exchange for our review, right? We are supposed to review our experience and I’m sure that Chill Factore are hoping we might say nice things but I only tell the truth of our experiences. So I will now tell you about our utterly BRILLIANT day.
You walk in and it’s kind of massive. It’s all echoey and a bit like a huge shopping centre. It was pretty busy and dark but filled with Christmas lights and tinsel and all kinds of snowy loveliness. I was told they were at full capacity, it being a Peppa Pig day (they are busier apparently) yet somehow things seemed quite calm.
I have to apologise from the off for the MASSIVE date on some of my pictures. I thought it was an ace idea to add dates to the pictures on my new camera obviously so I could identify when things happened…I didn’t factor in the fact that they look crap. I’m so sorry, I won’t do it again. Hang on……there! I just turned it off.
Massive date…even more massive beautiful Christmas trees with beautiful children in front of it
We were extremely chuffed to accidentally discover the ticket machine! It saved us a fifteen minute queue for tickets, I just had to key in the order number (which was on the email on my phone) and tadaaaah! printed tickets, Santa queue here we come! The kids were so really really excited to be there, you can tell by their faces in these pictures. It is a seriously brilliant day out and they knew what was coming!
Of course Oona didn’t know what was coming, and was pretty calm. The other kids were telling her over and over she would be playing in the snow and she would see Father Christmas
The kids took my camera and ran off to the front of the queue. They were supposed to take pictures of all the tables laid out by Chill Factore staff for the littlies to play with if they got bored in the queue… there was a wendy house and jigsaws, blocks, colouring books…but they just wanted to watch a climbing lesson and take selfies standing on the festive red couch! So sorry Chill Factore, I don’t have pictures of your lovely boredom busting resources! Thing is though, we didn’t need them. We were only queueing for 20 minutes. At the beginning of the queue the lady suggested we go get kitted up for the snow prior to seeing Santa but being a seasoned Santa-queuer (last year it was a couple of hours) I declined and we stayed in our civvy clothes and got our snow gear on after!
We then got to see the Big Man himself. His little cabin was warm, and all decked out with the big chair, the presents, the fire, the decorations, the tree…and it was HIM. I know it! He knew just what to say to the kids, he laughed and joked with Paul and I whilst bantering with the kids about what music they liked and what they’d like for presents, whether they’d been good… we forgot the queue outside and felt like we were the only family in the whole place and that Father Christmas adored our kids. His beard was real, his hug was real, his warmth was real. We left and closed the door and Paul went back in to shake his hand. That’s how much we loved him. Later, when we got in the car I tried to ring the manager to thank him personally. That’s how much we loved him. We couldn’t get through so I rang the next day and was on the phone to the poor receptionist for twenty minutes talking about the sheer magic that was the Chill Factore grotto. That’s how much we loved him. Seriously. Miracle on 34th Street. That’s all I’m saying.
And then there was SNOW!
We had to get kitted out first:
First it’s the jackets and pants man at the first desk. You can buy socks and gloves there as well if you need them.
Next it’s boots. Leon couldn’t get his on! ha ha!! Oona’s feet are too small for their smallest boots so I brought her wellies.
Oona and I left Mini Moose land after about 20 minutes. She accidentally kicked her boots off and got wet socks so we got our kit off, handed it in, left the key to the locker for Paul with the lady on the desk and went to Costa! On the way back we came across Miss Peppa Pig herself and bagged a quick picture, Oona was delighted!
Oona’s Santa gifts
Oona missed her Daddy. Paul and the big kids met us for a brew and we caught up on each other’s adventures.
Elizabeth is excited that she got a fountain pen from Santa! Imogen got a pen set and Leon received a plaster of paris set.
I have to say our experience at the Chill Factore Santa’s Snow Kingdom was totally brilliant. Father Christmas was wonderful, the snow play was brilliant and even the gifts were well thought out. Considering we went on a day that they were at full capacity, it was so very well managed you couldn’t tell. I would honestly recommend it. We thought it was incredible.
PS Thanks Chill Factore.