Santa’s House visit at Acacia Hall, Dartford

Right, before you read this and roll your eyes at me for posting about something that happened last weekend that won’t be bookable again until next year, let me explain. You need to plan ahead, right? So let me tell you all about our trip to Santa’s House so you can pop it on the calendar ready for next year!

Santa’s House is something organised by my local council, where they run a Christmas experience in a listed building that’s normally closed to the public and open it to local children for one day. I wanted to up the festive ante, as we haven’t been able to put our Christmas tree up yet and also wanted to have a look around the house, as we’ve walked our dog round there for years and have always peeked in the windows but never actually got a proper look inside.

We booked our slot on the website (quick, mind as they sold out really fast) and received some snazzy invites through the post a few weeks before. On the day, we pootled down to Acacia House and went through a very Christmassy lobby (where my mum immediately started sticking her head through random doors as she’d waited a long time to nose around this place) and into a side room where a crowd of children were decorating Santa Stop Here signs.

Disclaimer: in the photos, Elliot looks like he’s having a whale of a time. And he did, eventually. It took me quite a while to prise him out of my shoulder as he was very overwhelmed when we first got there as there was a lot going on but he eventually warmed up to the idea and started to colour in with me.

(I literally was not able to take a single photograph as every time I touched my handbag Elliot was convinced I was going to leave and started howling at me so there’s a mixture of photos by my Nan and Mum here.)

Then, we moved into a room where Santa’s Magician was performing some tricks, which had the kids howling with laughter and even grumpy Elliot cracked a smile. It was classic slapstick magic tricks, and he even had the parents giggling at some points. After that, we went upstairs (again, my mum was in and out of any door she could open, she was getting her money’s worth out of this house!)

After going up the main staircase, which felt very important, albeit a bit like a slightly lower budget version of Downton Abbey that’s a bit more 70’s. We went into a room that was officially one of my worst nightmares. It was absolutely full of balloons, and had elves handing out party rings and chocolate fingers whilst we waited to go see the big man himself. To be fair to the elves, they tried to keep the children entertained by reading them a story but…you give 15 6 year olds chocolate mini rolls and expect them to stay still?! Good luck. It turned into a competition of who can hold the most balloons, and they kept popping on the Christmas tree spines. It was stressful but they all loved it!

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After hanging around in this room, watching children down blackcurrant squash and pop balloons, we went into a darker room that was really cute, actually. It was Santa’s Post Room and was basically a glorified waiting room, but you could take some cute pictures (if your child would let you do anything other than hold his hand, which mine didn’t) and the children could talk to the elves and get excited for their chat with the big man himself.

We then went in to see Father Christmas, and he was lovely. He chatted with the children well and Elliot even spoke with him a little, which was great considering the night before Elliot had confirmed he didn’t want to ever see Father Christmas again because he might eat him (??) and he didn’t want any presents yet as it’s not Christmas. 😐 Luckily, Santa was REALLY good with him and Elliot accepted some presents. Unfortunately wouldn’t get close enough for a photo, but it was still good to see him being so brave nonetheless.

Then we left the room, thanked the elves and made our way home again. Overall, we were in there for about 45 minutes, maybe, and for the ticket price of £7, that’s not too bad. I really appreciate that my local council does things like this for local children and would definitely recommend if you’re local and want to go see Santa in somewhere that isn’t a garden centre.

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