The West Lodge Farm Park Christmas Experience… what a way to kick off Christmas!
If you’re looking for a festive day out with the family that’s fun for both kids and adults, look no further…!
We’ve been to West Lodge several times before and loved it every time, whatever the season. From live lambing through to spooky tractor rides, the team at West Lodge know how to host events for families that are engaging and fun, and the Christmas Experience was no different!
Another beauty of West Lodge is that the weather doesn’t stop the fun – there is so much to do both indoors and outdoors, that you’ll always be sure to find something to do. December 1st was bright and sunny but definitely a very “cold and frosty morning”, so we bundled up the kids and headed down for what was a very fun and festive day.
The twinkly trees
When you arrive, you’re given special glasses to take with you as you walk through the corridor of twinkly trees. The glasses make the trees look even more magical, and you really feel like you’re stepping into something magical, with all the “snow”-covered trees!
As beautiful as it was, this was the only bit Lily was nervous about as the last time we had been down this corridor, there were ghosts and skeletons hiding in the trees for Halloween, but once she knew it was fine, she enjoyed it on the second lap through! At the end there are the cutest little goats who want to say hello too.
The Elf School
Elf School was the bit Lily was most looking forward to, and she definitely wasn’t disappointed. Our slot was at 10am, and the farm park opens at 9.30am, so by the time we had checked in, were given our “passports” and twinkly glasses, and made our way to the grotto area, we didn’t have long to wait to go in.
When you first arrive you’re given a little bag by the elves to make some reindeer food to take home with you for Christmas, as well as some card to make a card with. The sideboards are at different heights so even the smaller children can do it themselves, which was lovely.
You’re then led into a separate room in your group booking where all the children stand on spots on the floor and then chant what the elves are reading out. Most of the children were too young to read it themselves, but they loved following along, and especially turning themselves into elves too with their own elf hat and rosy cheeks. You get your passport stamped here too to show you’ve made your reindeer food and turned into an elf!
You then head in to a separate area of the grotto (it looks small from the outside but the whole room had been transformed and was huge inside!), where the children then get to see Santa. The room is beautifully decorated and the children sit on wooden benches where he asks them questions and has a chat with them.
The elves were also really good to help a little with children who were a bit upset, such as giving a little toy to a toddler to distract him for a bit, which was lovely.
You then get to meet Santa individually and get your photos taken with him. He gives every child a gold coin to take to the workshop and choose a toy.
Once they’ve chosen their toy, they can put their coin through the slot in the box, and get their passport stamped again.
The heated indoor play barn
The little ones were ready for a drink and a snack by then, and we were ready for a coffee too, so we head across to the giant indoor play barn. It was lovely and warm and the kids happily disappeared inside the wooden tree play area while we kept an eye on them from the cafe.
We arrived at around 11:15 and managed to get 2 wooden benches for our group (4 adults, 4 kids and a baby), but then it did start getting busier towards lunch so I’d advise getting there earlier.
If you want to enjoy lunch though you can head next door to the restaurant for hot meals or to the ice cream parlour for a hog roast too, where there was plenty of space.
Food can also be brought back into the play barn from the other eating areas which is good to add some variety, or there are a select few menu options as well as sandwiches or kids’ lunch packs in the play barn cafe.
A firm favourite with the adults were festive cider-glazed pigs in blankets!! The staff were also really friendly and helpful which was lovely.
The farm & pig races
After lunch and a play, we head into the farm. The kids enjoyed playing in the outdoor play area, seeing the animals on the farm, as well as in the cuddle corner. At select times through the day you can also meet animals in the covered-over cuddle corner, however we missed this at this time as were always doing something else!
We did head for a bit of festive pig racing, which was probably one of the highlights of the visit for the adults too! The pigs had festive toys strapped to their backs, and then raced their way around the track to get their lunch.
It was really funny, and usually you place your bets and the winners get a treat, but because they lost the tickets, everyone was a winner and everyone got some treats! 🙂
If you want to read more about the farm activities, you can check out our review from our last visit!
The Story Maze
The Story Maze is themed each month – this month is The Snowman, with fake snow sprayed on all the trees and walls, snowman scarfs around the trees, and a special clue.
To get a stamp on your festive passport, you need to find the clue in the middle of the maze, and head back to the shop with your clue to get the stamp. The maze is suitable for all ages and isn’t challenging, so the little ones enjoyed it!
The final stamp and the final festive visit of our day was the Nativity. It looked quite chaotic at the start and we were wondering if to head off before it started, but we stuck around, and are so glad we did!
The Nativity is in a barn, filled with donkeys and goats. Children are encouraged to join in and participate. When you come in you’re all given song sheets for 4 nativity songs and some jingle bells for the kids, then you all sit on the wooden benches in the barn. It is quite a squeeze but it doesn’t last long, and is all fun!
Children are then selected for different roles, depending on who puts their hand up the quickest. Note to parents: if your kid is one of those kids (like mine!) who love to get involved with everything, don’t let them sit on the front corner bench as they’ll never be seen behind those getting dressed up! Thankfully, I saved her kicking off, by lifting her up on my knee from a higher bench and she was picked to be the twinkling star – her day was totally made! (*phew!!*)
They are then led through 3 “scenes” of the nativity, and all get a chance to say something down the microphone, before they’re all revealed in the nativity scene on the stage.
Throughout, you also sing the songs as a crowd, jingle your bells, and generally feel all festive! I won’t spoil the surprise at the end, but the nativity is really worth it, especially if your kid likes to get involved in everything!!
We had a really lovely day at the West Lodge Rural Centre Christmas Experience and not much wonder it gets booked up fast – there’s always plenty to do for all ages, no matter what you and your family enjoy about Christmas.
Massive thanks to the always-friendly team at West Lodge for another wonderful day out, and for setting the standard for festive adventures!
Tips for visiting with families
- All the activities take place in barns, so wrap up warm and wear your wellies!
- Turn up at the Elf School at the start of your timeslot – we thought we had to be there earlier but it was just to the Elf School area and you get to enjoy the twinkly trees and other areas of the farm before/after your experience
- Head to the toilets before you go to the Elf School for your timeslot as you’ll probably have to head out to visit there if you need it during the experience.
- There are facilities for toilets, disabled toilets and baby changing
For more on the Christmas Experience at West Lodge Farm park, click here
For our full review of the farm park, all the other activities on offer, as well as tips for visiting the farm, click here.
Please note, I’ve done my best not to include people at the event who were not part of our group. If you would like any photos removed, please do let me know and I’ll immediately take them down.