It is probably a little early for us to have had our first visit to Santa already but I am so glad I took up this opportunity to visit Chill Factore in Manchester to do just that! Chill Factore was easy to find with plenty of free parking for your visit. It is close to the Trafford Centre so you’re in an area with plenty to keep you busy, although I was quite surprised by how much there is to see and do at Chill Factore itself!
On our arrival we were offered a “have a go” session on the climbing wall. Staff ensured everyone was securely attached to the rope and wearing safety helmets, I quickly offered to go on photography duty! I do not think I am as brave as hubbie and my boys. I was impressed hubbie went as far as ringing the bell at the very top of the wall and it was nice to see both my boys giving it a try.
Visits to Santa are cherished moments for my boys, but Chill Factore went that step further. The grotto is reached by a wooden path, which is set in a “garden” of real snow. My boys were in their element; they were making snowballs, darting around in the snow letting off squeals of excitement before they made their way to Santa.
Normally you cannot take your own pictures within the grotto, you can however purchase a photograph to remember your visit. As this facility was not working at the time we were allowed to take our own photograph and Santa even let me get in on the action!
We had also been given an opportunity to try our hand at tubing. Youngest refused outright but eldest was keen to see what it was all about. He picked out one of the rubber rings, headed up the ramp and then whizzed down the slope, I was so proud he just got stuck in to the activity! I tried it out myself, but ended up going down backwards, typically my son at 6 does a much better job than his mummy! I think it’s a fun activity well worth a try! I like that boots and helmets are provided to ensure the activity is carried out safely.
But some children will probably enjoy the snowplay more especially if they are still quite young. It is a real treat getting to play in the snow; we rarely have any snow where we live. So even the thrills of tubing could not keep eldest away from the snowplay section for long!
The staff were very friendly and the grotto elves and Santa in particular were very good with the children, making their visit seem all that more special and memorable, one elf taught them the knock for entering the grotto and they enjoyed practising that.
I like keeping the magic of Christmas alive and visits to places like this help prolong that wonderful age of believers! I do not want my children to grow up to quickly and taking them to a land of snow to meet Santa, where the garden has penguin lights and reindeer soft toys will be a treasured moment in our lives forever.
We had another welcome bonus our visit coincided with a special appearance from Peppa Pig. For selected weekends either Peppa Pig or Tree Fu Tom will be available for picture opportunities or cuddles, making a visit even more worthwhile.
Head to the website to book your visit and see the prices for all the activities. The grotto is open every weekend and then daily from December until Christmas eve, just make sure you wrap up warm and do not forget your gloves!