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.

An Afternoon Tea Fit For A Funky Princess At sketch

After catching sight of a dogs bottom on the side of a building and a hopscotch area greeting you in the hallway I knew we had arrived at sketch and were going to be in for something a little different to your usual West End afternoon tea.This treat was going to give me and number three some much needed me time and with the look on her little face when we walked into the profusion of pink in the Parlor it would be a trip to remember.

We were shown to our seats by one of the georgous ladies in their bang on trend pink, cold shoulder dresses that bought a funky, relaxed edge to the formal tea.

In fact every element of the traditional afternoon tea was there with a quirky edge to it from the eclectic range of sandwiches and pastries served on fine bone china embellished with zany wording to the delicate pink soft furnishings sitting proudly inside walls blanketed with cool artwork.

There is a choice of a your usual tea with a whole host to chose from, champagne or non-alcoholic Bellini while the children get a choice of different juices.

The towers of sandwiches and cakes were bought over and I indulged in different breads filled with  amazing fillings such as coronation chicken, smoked salmon and tarragon cream and green asparagus with cucumber and ricotta to name a few.


Number three enjoyed avocado and tomato, mozerella and pesto panini, and traditional ham.


We had a taste of each other’s to make sure we weren’t missing out on anything and a few more were ordered as they are more than happy for you to swap or refill anything as you go through the afternoon.

Cakes and pastries galore filled our plates for me, with my favourites being the apricot and pistachio gateaux and the blueberry and liquorice tart.


The children’s pastries provided a more hands on approach and they get to fill their own selection of choux buns with scrumptious fillings.


Warm fruity scones with served with lashings of clotted cream and sticky sweet jams.

When we were nearly fit to burst and thought we had come to an end the piece de resistance arrived in the form of two beauties served from the trolley – a poppy and red currant choux and a raspberry, chocolate and hibiscus flower cake.

Barely able to move with a few leftovers stashed away beside us a lovely little surprise was given to number three in the form of the cuddly sketch bear named Pat!


Aside from the splender of our surroundings and the sumptuous food one of the biggest highlights for number three, and actually me too were the toilets!

Yes this may come as a surprise but they need to be seen to be believed. Brilliant white walls and sweeping staircases that lead you into a room with an eye catching, multicoloured glass ceiling and space aged, egg shaped pods that make up the toliet a themselves.

I don’t think I have ever known number three to need the toliet so much!

If you are looking for an afternoon tea with a difference that will feed your eyes and mind as well as your tummy then this is the place to be.

It is the perfect place to excite the adults and the children alike and it will be a place we will be visiting again to explore everything else they have to offer.

*we were asked along to sketch for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinions.

New Year Treat At Georgous Gerties

Choosing a Christmas present for my Mum and Dad is always tricky so my sister and I now club together to take them out for a treat rather than buy them a gift they will probably never use.

I wrote a post the other day on how depressing it is once all the Christmas and New Year celebrations have finished so we decided to take Mum and Dad for afternoon tea at Georgous Gerties in Dorking which is somewhere we’ve not tried before.

I arrived late as usual and Mum and Dad were already sitting with tea in hand inside the quaint tea rooms.  It has been decorated wonderfully with lots of vintage items and pretty bunting which is always a hit with me!

  
I have sampled many an afternoon tea in my time but I’ve never been somewhere that caters for the children specifically.  They had their very own cake stand of simple sandwiches, retro sweets, vegetable crudités and yummy crispy cakes.  They were over the moon to be made to feel so special.

   
 
Unfortunately I was at the wrong end of the table to get any pictures of the adults cake stands but I can ashore you they were full of the brim with tasty sandwiches, homemade cakes and delicious scones that I topped with way to much jam and cream!

  
While at the table I had a little nose at what else was on offer as it came out of the kitchen and there seemed to be a great looking selection of lots of other hot and cold food and a rather scrumptious looking milkshake.

Normally a setting like this makes me feel on edge with the children but the staff were great with them and a selection of toys nustled in the fireplace kept them amused.

   
 
Not only do they serve wonderful food there is also a selection of great gifts, an old fashioned sweet shop and a creative workshop offering classes that I’m going to be looking into for the future.

If you are looking for somewhere to celebrate a special occasion or simply somewhere to have something good to eat I would highly recommend popping along and seeing for yourselves.