This week, we were invited to see this year’s Christmas Grotto at Churchill Square Shopping Centre, Brighton, as well as pay a visit to see the Big Guy in Red himself.
We weren’t really planning on taking T to see another Father Christmas (mainly because we haven’t planned for the awkward more-than-one-Father-Christmas? questions) but when we found out what the theme for this year’s Grotto was I thought I’d take a chance with the potential questions and pay the centre a visit.
Celebrating 60 years of the Lego Brick, this year’s theme has diverted off course a little from the traditional grotto and instead has dedicated it to all things Lego – with the main Grotto and trail to Father Christmas made up of large Lego Bricks.
Located in the middle of the centre, it’s hard to miss the gigantic tree surrounded by actual bricks. When I first saw the grotto, I thought they may have been purpose built walls with lines on them to look like bricks, but when we got close to it and gave it a little touch we realised that the wall was an actual wall of Lego.
Arriving shortly before it opened at 2pm, it wasn’t long before Father Christmas arrived and we were greeted by one of his elves. All his elves have really funny names, and engage really well with the Children – making it a really personal experience. They also happily volunteered to take our photos and answer any questions – no matter how silly! In fact, the sillier the better.
Due to being one of the first few families into the grotto, the trail was really quiet. This allowed us time to have a look at the various Lego sculptures and play with the large bricks that were dotted around on the floor.
There were little elves, a lego Turkey, even the chance to play pin-the-tail on the Reindeer. There’s also lots of portraits made up of Lego dotted around on the walls.
A Relaxed Experience
Even during the busier times, such as at weekends, each family are given their own personal welcome and the time to visit each bit, however I would assume that it’s not long before another family come along. Therefore, I would suggest booking your visit during the week if you can as we had a really relaxed experience.
There are also Autism friendly hours throughout the month, which you can find here.
After T had exhausted looking at all the exhibits, it was time to meet Father Christmas. If you haven’t visited before, he’s located within the tree. T was a little shy at first, but as soon as Father Christmas offered his hand he relaxed, shook his hand, and started chatting away – which was an improvement in comparison to last time at Amberley where he was quite the mute!
After a lovely conversation with Father Christmas about being kind, train sets, and going to be early (yeah, right!) we then had our picture taken by another elf.
The whole experience was really special and you didn’t feel rushed to leave the grotto after. If T had taken a lot longer to look at things there would have been no issue with another family jumping ahead. The aisles themselves are also nice and wide – giving plenty of room for buggies and pushchairs (and multiple children!).
As we left, we were presented with our photo and a little gift from Father Christmas. This is also the time in which you pay. The cost of the grotto visit is £7 – which includes everything mentioned. I think this is really good value, and the change left over leaves you some money for a coffee! The whole visit took us around 30-40 minutes – including a chat with Father Christmas – but if your children are younger, or perhaps crawling around, it could take longer.
We had such a lovely time and will definitely look at visiting again next year. T didn’t mind seeing two Father Christmas’ (in fact, he didn’t even question it) and I enjoyed seeing Christmas in Lego form.
We were given complimentary tickets to see the Grotto in exchange for an honest review, however all thoughts, opinions, and images are our own.