My Top Five Places For Snowdrop Hunting In Surrey

One of the biggest things I love about the UK are our changing seasons. 

I may moan continually about the amount of cold weather we have here but once those first signs of Spring start to show I get super excited about the warmer weather we have to look forward to, and start plans for when we are going to get out and enjoy the longer days and the glimmers of sunshine.

For me one of the first signs that Spring is on its way is the arrival of the pretty snowdrops and here are my top five places to go and enjoy them for the short time they are around.

Gatton Park, Reigate

We took a trip to Gatton Park the other day as always were really pleased with the display of snowdrops and pretty yellow aconites that cover the banks and are scattered throughout the stunning Japanesse gardens.

There are often activities put on for the children too. We didn’t see any on our trip last week but enjoyed some snowdrop related crafts last year.

Painshill, Cobham

Painshill is a favourite destination for us at Christmas time but is also very special at this time of year.

You can take in the sights of the beaufiful spring flowers whist visiting the stunning crystal grotto and gothic towers that Painshill is so rightly famous for.

Wisley, Woking

The snowdrops at Wisley cover a few different areas and are a beautiful sight to see.

Whist you are there a trip to the butterflies is a must, as well as taking in the sights of the vast, gorgeously cultivated gardens.

Polsden Lacey, Great Bookham

The magnificent home and gardens of Polsden Lacey make the perfect home for a beautiful trail of snowdrops that line Lime Walk all the way from the reception to the grounds at the back of the house.

A trip to the adventure playground is also well worth a visit!

Winkworth Arboretum, Godalming

Another National Trust favourite for snowdrop hunting is Winkworth Arboretum that hosts thousands of varieties covering the beautiful grounds that are perfect for exploring at this time of year.    


Finding New Places To Explore:Chipstead Mead Playground

I have come to the conclusion that I am allergic to being indoors!

I literally go stir crazy being at home and am always looking for new places to get out and about with the children.

My Dad had been out on his bike and came across a new playground in Chipstead Village so we went along to check it out today.

It was still thick with frost when we arrived and we spend a good while shooting pebbles across the frozen pond.


Tucked away just behind the pond is a lovely new playground with beautiful wooden equipment that I would say is most suited to under 10’s although there is a cool looking zip wire and a pretty high climbing frame that would be good for older children too.


We stayed for a good while checking everything out and number five throughly enjoyed climbing, swinging and running around.


We stopped for a while and hid away in one the little hideaways to have a little bit of coffee shop role play before heading home to warm up with a proper coffee!


This was a great little find for us and we will be back for some more exploring very soon.

Peppa Pig’s Surprise:Review

For me Christmas and the theatre go hand in hand and if you feel the same as me and want to take your family from as little as babes in arms then I trip to see Peppa Pig’s Surprise at thePhoenix Theatre is a must.

Walking into a sea of toddlers hop, skipping and jumping around the theatre with flashing lights in hand I knew this was gong to be a noisy affair!

The lights then dimmed and the familiar sound of the Peppa Pig theme tune came from the stage and the audience was silenced apart form a few gasps of delight.

Peppa and George have a new friend called Daisy who is a bubbly character with an infectious smile who helps to keep the children engaged throught the whole show.


Peppa and George spend the whole show going about their everyday tasks whist wondering what their big surprise is going to be.

There is plenty of muddy puddle jumping and even a chance to sing along to a Peppa classic – The Bing Bong Song.

The show is extremely interactive with singing, bubbles to catch and plenty off water to dodge!


The ever changing scenes keep things at a fast pass for restless eyes with an underwater neon one being a firm favourite.

Although the storyline is not based around Christmas there is a really lovely festive treat at the end that I won’t spoil for you.

Peppa Pig’s Surprise brings you over an hour of thrills and spills and allows a huge favourite TV character to come to life in front of your eyes.

*we were given tickets for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinions.

A Wintery Escape To The Frosted Fairground At Dreamland 

We first visited Dreamland over the summer and knew that it’s retro feel and rustic, seaside charm were always going to bring us back.

I did however always consider it to be a summertime trip and had never really considered going during the winter months until we were asked to go along last weekend to visit their Frosted Fairground.


We were greeted with fairy lights and candy canes that dressed the theme park and super happy elves that were all injecting a massive Christmassy feeling into everyone.

The children were itching to get to the rides and even my moody teen had a smile put onto his face when he saw what they had to offer.


They jumped on and off all of the vintage rides from the classic helterskelter to the hurricane jets and super cute classic cars.


It may have been super cold but I think it added to the atmosphere and with the adrenaline flowing through the little ones they didn’t mind one bit.


For a break from the thrill seeking we took a trip to visit Santa and his elves in his grotto.

This wasn’t your usual run of the mill trip with a quick present and a photo. The children were unlisted as Santa’s helpers and got to make some food for the reindeers, sort out a problem with the very important toy maker and sing some festive songs to really get them into the mood.


The children were really excited to get into to see the main man himself…well apart from number five who stayed firmly  inside my coat!


Santa was really friendly and sat for a good while talking to the children about their Christmas wishes.

We didn’t want our day to end so we went back to take in the atmosphere while grabbing some candy floss and a hot chocolate and listening to the Christmas hits were playing around the park.

 

For us this was the perfect Christmas trip with plenty to keep the kids amused and wear them out on while still having a really Christmassy feel.

There is plenty of food to chose from either outside while you are on the go or you can take a break inside and warm yourself up.

You could even have a spin around the roller disco if that takes your fancy.


Dreamland is free to enter which is a huge pull to me as it allows my parents to come along who love to watch the children play but don’t really have any want to join in on the rides and this is normally something they will still have to pay to do in many places. 

Wristbands can be purchased that allow you to ride all day which I always find the best way with fairgrounds as their are no disappointed faces when you have to say no!
We dragged our day out until the bitter end until and are looking forward to a trip back at the beginning of January to keep away those after Christmas blues!

*we were given tickets for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

The Snowman:Review

I don’t know one person that doesn’t know and love the story of The Snowman by Raymond Briggs.

It has been a Christmas favourite since I was a child and I have passed the love of it down to all my own children.

When I was asked along to the Peacock Theatre to see this classic on stage I had high hopes for what I was going to see, but also hoped it wouldn’t ruin the magic of the tale by swaying to far from the original storyline.

We walked into the theatre and sat down in front of the stage that was covered with a projection of continually falling snow that caught the eyes of the children immediately.

The orchestra then kicked in, the curtains raised and so the story began.

The first half was the ever familiar story of the little boy who excitedly catches sight of the snow falling and hop, skips and jumps into the garden to create his very own snowman that magically comes to life in the dark of night.

The snowman is welcomed inside by the boy and the pair get up to lots of mischief from dressing the snowman up in his parents clothes to riding a motorbike round the garage whilst trying not to wake his sleeping parents.

All of this is performed beautifully and had my youngest two transfixed on the stage.

The first half finished with the Snowman taking his friend by the hand and flying him into the sky to the classic sound of ‘Walking In The Air’ which had the audience enthralled and excited for what was to come next.

The second half was padded out a little with the journey to the party at the North Pole incepted with a battle between the Snowman and the evil Jack Frost who is trying to capture the beautiful Ice Princess.

The upbeat second half is full of excitement and lots of humour added by the chucklesome Father Christmas and his super cute reindeers.

This two hour long ballet kept my attention lacking youngest two mesmerised and the look of wonder in their eyes completely melted my heart.

This quintessentially British story has been bought to life in a truly magical way and is the absolute epitome of Christmas.

  *we were given tickets for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinion.

Father Christmas At The London Transport Museum

For as long as I can remember a trip to Covent Garden at Christmas has been a must.

I love the beautiful lights, the majestic tree, browsing the many shops and having a cheeky glass of mulled wine.

I do however hang my head in shame at the fact I’ve never taken the children to the London Transpost Museum.

So when we were asked to come along and visit Fathet Christmas there I was more than happy to take the children to see the main man himself whilst checking out what the museum has to offer.

We arrived a little early so got the chance to have a look round the museum out for a while whilst finding clues on the Elf Trail sheet we were given.

The children immediately scampered off to climb aboard real life buses and trains, pretend to drive a tube train in a fantastic simulator and really got into character by donning some fabulous outfits.

To be honest they had to be prized away when it was time to head over to Father Christmas as the museum is such a hive of activity.

We were greeted with a beaming smile from a train driver whos hat was festively wrapped with fairy lights and was standing amongst Christmas trees and a snow covered floor.

There was a matter of minutes to wait before we were shown through but we still managed to have a quick play with the huge train set that was there to occupy busy fingers and a big box of festive hats were delved into to really get into the festive spirit! 

Father Christmas was sat in his throne with this sleigh stacked with presents resting next to him.

He gave the children a very warm welcome and even managed to coax number five out from under my coat for five minutes!

The children couldn’t wait to unwrap there pressies that were fittingly wrapped in lovely London transport style paper.

The boys were both over the moon with their trains and number three couldn’t wait to get her snap watch on!

The fun didn’t end there for us as we headed over to the ‘All Aboard Family Playzone’  the children played for well over an hour in a fantastic area filled with a small soft play area for tiny ones, small scale buses and taxi to climb in and drive and train sets that the boys were very taken with.

The last pit stop for us was the shop on the way out.

I’m never a fan of shops attached to museums as the selections are normally limited, lack thought and are over priced.

I was however more than plesently surprised with the shop here – even if you weren’t visiting the museum I would highly recommend a peruse of this gift shop as it was stacked with so many different, well priced gifts that I could have got so many great buys that I know would have been very welcome under our tree!

 My favourite items though had to be the beautiful and very different Christmas decorations that I would have loved to have purchased if my husband’s beady eyes hadn’t have been on me!

Having a trip to Father Christmas here offers you much more than just that as the museum itself has so much to offer.

If you have little ones that love transport and would love a Father Christmas trip based round that then this is the perfect place to go.

He is only there for a limited time so get booking your place now before he head back home on the northern Line North Pole Express.

My Top Festive Days Out

I start planning for Christmas as soon as the children go back to school after the holidays in September!

Yes I know that is completely bonkers but it really is my favourite time of year and I like to squeeze as much as I can into the month of December as possible.

I have put together a list of some of my favourite days out that you might like to try for yourselves, and a couple that I am due to visit over the next few weeks so keep an eye out for what I think!

Father Christmas At Painshill


This is top of my list as it is the most magical Father Christmas I have ever seen.

You walk though the beautiful grounds of Painshill in Cobham, Surrey that is bought to life with pretty lights leading you to the crystal grotto to find Father Christmas himself.

You can enjoy a mince pie and a warm mulled wine while you wait to be taken in to the most stunning setting I’ve ever seen.

There are still a few spaces left for weekday visits but this is a must to book early.

Christmas Afternoon Tea At sketch


During the summer I had a trip to sketch to try out their afternoon tea and were blown away by the whole experience.

The food and surroundings were equally as wonderful and the quirkiness of it all was a big hit with the both of us.

Christmas has now got the restaurant in a big way and the entrance alone is something worth going to see. 

The Snowman


A couple of weeks ago we went to see the fabulous ballet of The Snowman. I will have a full post up on this very soon, but all I will say is if you want to introduce your children to the wonders of ballet of simply want to witness what I can only describe as the epitome of Christmas in a beautifully performed show then this needs to be seen.

Bocketts Farm


Bocketts is my favourite farm in Surrey and Christmas brings an extra sparkle to it.

You can still walk around feeding the animals, watching the pig races and taking a tractor ride but you also have the opportunity to visit Father Christmas in his hay barn and take part in fun extra activities the farm has put on for the festive season.

Southbank


It wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to Southbank for me.

The hustle and bustle of the London crowds mixed with Christmas markets, fairground rides and skating always gives me such a Christmassy feeling inside.


Hobbledown 


A couple of days ago I took number five along for lunch with Santa at Hobbledown where he got to meet Santa, decorate a gingerbread man and have his lunch.

This is unfortunately only on for a limited time and how now finished but there is still plenty going on and a trip to Santa who by the way always has a fabulous outfit would be a lovely day out. 

Chessington World Of Adventures

Winters Tail at Chessington is a really lovely day out that we have done many times.

A selection of rides are open to enjoy as well as the Sealife centre, Santa is there to visit and each year there are different activities to try.

If you want to make it a really special trip then an overnight stay in the hotel would make it a wonderful Christmas treat.

Priory Farm


Priory Farm is fabulous at anytime of year and at this time of year their famous discovery walk takes on a Christmas theme, there is a little train ride on the visit to Santa, the shop is stacked full of wonderful food, gifts and decorations and the cafe is a must stop for outstanding eats.

London Tranport Museum


Now this is a place that I would not associate Christmas with but we have been invited along this weekend to visit Santa as he finishes his journey on the Noth Pole Express. 

As well as this the children can take part in a quiz as you wander around the museum.

It sounds like something very different and a transport fans dream! I can’t wait to let you know how it goes.

Afternoon Tea On B-Bus


Imagine being able to eat a yummy afternoon tea sitting on an old routemaster bus whilst taking in the sights of London.

This is exactly what the B-Bus has to offer and I will be sampling this for myself soon. 

This really sounds like the most wonderful way to spend a Christmas afternoon.

I would love to know if you try any of these places out and what you think about them.