When we moved to Bristol one of the things I was genuinely worrying about was the change in our traditions, especially at Christmas. Christmas Eve gingerbread house construction with my best friends and their smalls, freezing cold walks on the beach, sneaking out for too many shandies with friends. Our visit to Father Christmas was one tradition we were set to.

Every year since TI’s been big enough to know what it’s all about we’ve been to visit Father Christmas at The Eden Project, we absolutely love it and had no idea how to come close this year. But we definitely managed it!

I was contacted by the lovely Lizzie at Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park who invited us to the Christmas Experience to meet Father Christmas, and we loved every minute of it!

We weren’t booked in for our journey to the North Pole until 5pm so we spent the day playing and exploring the park. We were super lucky with the weather and there’s loads to do. I made a beeline for the massive outdoor obstacle course (obviously) and swiftly made Ava cry by dragging her up a ladder, then trying to get her back down it. Then again by sending her flying a little too fast on the zip-wire. I got over excited…

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There’s a whole menagerie of animals. Matt lost his mind at the Alpacas (‘OH MY GOD LOOK AT HIS TEETH!!’), the pigs (‘THEY’RE JUST SO BIG!!’), and – obviously – the foxes (‘OH MY GOOOOOD!!’). Yes, he’s been to a farm before. This happens every time, it’s nice that he’s happy.

There’s a mini train which was amazing and hilarious in equal measure, as well as a tractor train covered in fairy lights, pumping out the Christmas tunes!

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After some lunch we hit up the indoor soft-play. Which is big enough for plenty of fun, but not so big its full to the brim. We all know the worst thing about soft-play is other people…

This was, or course, another opportunity for me and Matt to act like children. The best thing about having kids is the drop slides. Hands down.

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The Christmas Experience includes loads more extras than a usual trip to the park, and the Christmas area is absolutely beautiful. We didn’t head in until the sun had started going down, and I’m really glad, it looked so magical all lit up.

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There’s a whole bunch of activities to do before or after you meet the Big Man himself; crafts, gingerbread decorating, meeting Donner and Blitzen, glice skating (ice skating without the ice, I know, mind-blowing!), fairground rides, letter writing, a lollipop shop and of course hot chocolate (or mulled wine if you’re sensible).

Meeting Father Christmas himself wasn’t done small either, you’re not just nipping round for a quick chat. The whole journey takes around 90 minutes and involves a very exciting trip with an elf, a whole lot of festive cheer, a helpful penguin, a bit of Nigella, and some extra-special feathers. I don’t want to give too much away as it’s much better when it comes as a surprise. It’s not what you expect, I’ll tell you that much!

All the elves were wonderful and made it fun, funny, and exciting. There was a very shy little girl in our group and they did an amazing job of getting her involved too, which should be commended. Both Mrs and Father Christmas were great too! The looks in the little eyes as they spoke to them were amazing!

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We really did have the most amazing day and we’ll definitely be back next year to explore and play again (I’ve also heard some great things about their fright-nights…) as we loved every minute.

It’s priced at £35 for children (with all the Christmassy activities included as well as their gift), and £25 per adult. I’m aware this is a higher price-point, however with everything that’s included I’d say it’s completely reasonable and worth it and was a lot more magical than a garden centre Santa. Especially for the slightly older kids. There are still some tickets left for next week so if you’re quick and fancy getting extra festive you can book here.

We had an amazing day and I might even admit to finally feeling a bit festive…

(Some more photos of our day and me acting like a child below)

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[This day out was gifted by Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park, all opinions are my own and represent my opinions of the event]

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