The grotto was looking very festive with lots for children to see and investigate. There were lots of beautiful twinkling lights, reindeers, snowmen, elves, Christmas trees etc. It looked like a mini winter wonderland which Harlow particularly loved. She was so so excited to meet Santa.
When it's your turn to see Santa there's a lovely elf waiting to tell you what to do and the children get to knock on a little door at the side of his grotto and he shouts for you to enter. Adults can save themselves the squeeze and enter via the red velvet curtains. Inside Santa's Grotto is just so beautiful, a lot of effort has gone in to making it look so appealing and magical for children. Santa was really kind and spoke to the children for a good while, getting a photo with them and asking lots of questions. It was lovely to watch and the kids really got into it.
After chatting to Santa for a bit the children each received a gift and we exited the grotto to collect our photos from the elves. It was a really good experience and one which I'd happily take the kids to again. I particularity liked the fact that there's lots of different options to choose from when visiting Santa. You can go for a Visit & Gift for £4.50 or Visit & Photo for £4. There's also the option of having a Visit, Gift & Photo for £8 or a Family Visit (2 gifts, 1 photo) for £11. You can always add an extra child onto this for £4 and if Granny wants an extra photo that can be arranged at £3.50. So lots of different options to suit everyone.
Santa will be in his Grotto every weekend and even right up until 3pm on Christmas Eve but here's some timings and dates to help you get organised and book your own slot. The Grotto is open on the following; Fridays: (Dec only) 1pm – 5pm, Saturdays: 10am – 5pm, Sundays: 12pm – 4pm, Monday 23 Dec: 12pm – 4pm & Tuesday 24th Dec 11am – 3pm. So get booked up for this weekend coming and don't miss out as it's sure to be popular.
Now that our visit to see Santa was all done we headed to the shops! The husband took Harlow with him to get ideas on some gifts for me and I took Logan with me to get some ideas for the hubby. Whilst myself and Logan popped into Home Bargains first, the other two went along to Boots. Logan and I were really impressed with the selection of gifts in Home Bargains. There was a good selection to choose from but we tried to select things that the hubby would actually use. So what did we purchase? Well we bought a tube of swizzles sweet treats for 89p which has all the classics such as love hearts, refreshers etc. We bought a lovely Christmassy reed diffuser for the hubby to put in his en-suite. He quite likes smellies so he'll definitely use this. We got him a bottle of apple cider to enjoy and a jellybean air freshener for his car ha ha. It smells amazing and he'll totally appreciate it. All of that came to a fabulous £5.36! Not bad for our first purchases.
Next up we went to JD Sports. The hubby is a mad Nike trainer fan (he's got quite the collection) and they had loads in stock at amazing prices so I couldn't resist. Logan picked out a lovely grey pair for his Dad to wear and they were only £35!! Such a bargain. I'll definitely be back in future with prices like this. By now we had about £10 left in our budget so what better place to spend it than Poundland. It was Logan's suggestion and he was spot on as there's so much you can buy for so little pennies. We decided to go for a box of mint chocolates, some rosy apple boiled sweets which came in a lovely jar, bath salts to soothe all those aches and pains, some nice socks, some joke booger gummy sweets and a small caution poo sign for outside the toilet as a little joke. This all come to £7 and our total overall spend was £47.41, I was very pleased.
For their last stop they visited Clintons as Harlow wanted to buy me a card. She picked out a beautiful one along with a little candle and a sweet guardian angel Christmas tree decorations. This all came to £9.54 and the total amount spent overall was £40.14. For 12 different presents I think that's amazing. It just goes to show that Christmas doesn't have to cost the earth and you can still find some great bargains at the stores at The Mercat and on the high street.
We were all feeling very pleased with our purchases and a wee bit tired from shopping so we decided to head home and relax for the rest of the day. Everyone loved Santa's Grotto and very much enjoyed our shopping challenge. The Mercat Shopping Centre always have some fab family friendly events on throughout the year and I'm sure we'll get involved in them again. Remember to book your slot to see Santa in his Grotto very soon as I can see it being popular.
This is a collaborative post. All opinions are my own.