Wednesday, 14 December 2016

A VISIT TO MANCHESTER WINTER WONDERLAND

A couple of days ago we were invited to the launch night of Manchester Winter Wonderland and oh my goodness, it was absolutely amazing. I was really struggling to get into the festive spirit this year but Winter Wonderland has completely changed that for me. I tried my best to take some photos while we were there but 1) Freya was so tired, bless her, and was therefore being just a teeny tiny bit demanding and 2) I was just taking in my surroundings and living in the moment. Everything was so Christmassy and exciting. It genuinely made me feel like a little girl who was all excited for santa to visit again. 

 

If you haven't heard of Manchester Winter Wonderland before, it is the UK's largest indoor Christmas Theme Park and is based at Event City. There is free parking with hundreds of spaces, but please be aware that Event City is right next door to the Trafford Centre so expect the roads surrounding to be busy, especially on the weekends, and be sure to leave your home with plenty of time to spare. Our usual drive to the Trafford Centre is only 30 minutes but because of problems on the motorway and congestion as we approached Event City, it actually took us 50 minutes to get to our destination. And that was on a Monday evening! 

 

With over 50 rides and attractions all under one roof, there was plenty for us to be getting on with at our visit. I actually snapped this photo to use as a guide whilst we were walking around so we didn't miss anything exciting, haha! We didn't really pay much attention to the rides as Freya is far too small for the large majority of them but the noise and lights coming from them really added to the festive feel, even for people like us who went nowhere them. 

 

We stayed for a little over two hours and our first stop was for a big dirty burger. I love coming to attractions like this because the food, albeit pricey, is always so, so good. Not the best if you're watching your weight (does anyone really do that in December?) but amazing all the same. The usual choices of burgers, hotdogs and chips were available but there wasn't a great deal of choice for children of Freya's age. I wish I'd taken her some snacks because she ended up with a hotdog which obviously isn't the best choice for a one year old, but oh well. It is Christmas! 

 

Once we all had sufficiently filled tummies, we attempted to sit down and watch the Basil Brush show. I say attempted because Freya did not make this easy. I used to love watching Basil Brush growing up so I was really looking forward to sitting back and reminiscing while he was on stage, unfortunately Freya wasn't into the whole idea of sitting on someone's lap and staying still, so we gave up and let her have a crawl around away from the main stage just a couple of minutes after he appeared. She was quite enamoured with him to begin with though so I did manage to get this super cute photo of her walking towards him. 

 
   

Next up was a visit to see Father Christmas! This was Freya's first visit to Santa and she absolutely loved him. There was a bit of a wait when we joined the queue and it took us about 15 minutes to get to the main man, but we did get to wander through Mr and Mrs Clause's house and see just how beautiful it is. I'm actually quite jealous of the bedroom...how gorgeous is that bed!! Freya wasn't too keen on Mrs Clause and was much more interested in trying to throw her newspaper across the kitchen or crying her eyes out because she was so tired. Because of her pretty rubbish mood, after a quick photo stop we very swiftly moved on and left Mrs Clause with the nice children. 

 

Lastly, on our way out of the venue, we snuck into the Christmas Circus to watch the acts before we made our way home. I'll be honest here, I wasn't hugely impressed with the standard of the acts but I think it was mostly because I'm an adult because the children in room absolutely loved it, and Freya kept being drawn in too so it wasn't all that bad! 

On our way out of Winter Wonderland we spotted a little fenced in area that we wished we'd seen on our way in. A baby chill out area! It was a genius idea. A little patch of land for them to call their own, filled with beanbags and toys and ride on cars and soft, fluffy rugs. We let Freya have a little five minute play but she was far too tired by this point (around 9.20pm) to fully enjoy it so we left pretty sharpish to avoid a meltdown. 
 

As a family we had such a lovely night at the launch of Manchester Winter Wonderland and I'm sure we'll be making this a Christmas tradition and taking Freya for years to come, but I do think Freya was perhaps a little too young to fully enjoy it this year. If she was another 6 or so months older I think she'd have been in her absolute element with the sounds and the lights, but if your children are around 2-3+ (the most suitable age for this in my opinion) they'll have an absolute whale of a time. 

We'd like to say a big thank you to Manchester Winter Wonderland for our invitation to their launch night and for really marking the start of our festive period. Winter Wonderland will be at Event City, Manchester until the 1st January 2017 and tickets cost £18.50 (plus £1.50 booking fee) and under 3's go free.

I hope you're able to make the visit and experience some of the magic that Manchester Winter Wonderland has to offer! 

Thanks for reading, 

Grace x