Showing posts with label England. Show all posts
Showing posts with label England. Show all posts

Monday, 20 June 2022

Dates For Your Diary - Deva Fest Returns to Chester Lakes for 2022

Deva Fest returns to Chester Lakes this August and the event is packed with fabulous family-friendly festival fun. The three-day music, food and lifestyle festival takes place from the 12th to 14th August 2022 and organisers are promising it will be bigger and better than ever with a wealth of activities taking place on the main Deva Fest site.

From tiny ones to teenagers, there is something to appeal to youngsters of all ages across the festival weekend including funfair rides, pirates and parades, fancy dress competitions, mesmerising mermaids, mini raves and an unforgettable journey across the universe.

Meanwhile a special family weekend camping ticket, including entrance to the festival, costs just £349.50 for up to two adults and two children aged five to 17 - a brilliant 20 percent saving on normal prices.

The Deva Fest fairground will be open across the whole three days boasting free rides including a Ferris wheel, dodgems, waltzers and a Go Gator mini coaster for littlest festivalgoers.

Mermaid Cove is a new attraction for 2022, featuring amazing aquatic acrobatics from mermaids and mermen in a 10-metre-long tank - Europe's largest. There will be bubble discos and meet-and-greets, games and interactive fun. Alternatively, swap the deep sea for the skies with the help of Wrexham's brilliant Xplore Science Discovery Centre which will be on hand across the whole weekend. Lift off on a galactic trip across the universe in the planetarium, stopping at the Sun, Moon and fascinating planets along the way. Along with the special Star Dome there will be science discovery shows, demonstrations and out-of-this world experiments to take part in. 

Laughter Tots will be at the festival over all three days providing messy, craft and sensory play activities for babies and little ones. And Stagecoach Chester will be nurturing the talent of the future by offering free drama, dance and song workshops for four to 18-year-olds. 

Friday 12th August is Old School Dance Anthems day, and while adults can relive their youth to the sound of Symphonic Ibiza and Sonique, mums and dads can also introduce youngsters to their Ibiza youth with a special I'm a Little Raver family rave.

It's Pirate Day returns on Saturday 13th August and there's plenty to shiver the timbers for young and old with parades, swashbuckling street performers and piratical fancy dress with pieces of eight prizes for festivalgoers in the best Jack (or Jackie) Sparrow outfit. Chester's Mid-Summer Watch Parade team will oversee the walking of the planks and other pirate shenanigans, along with a craft workshop, 6ft long live pirate art, photo art and a walkabout.

All the family-focused events and attractions are part of the Deva Fest Difference which also includes free parking and a daily £1 shuttle bus to and from the Chester Lakes site from as far afield as Wrexham, Chester and Ellesmere Port.

The weekend line-up of top talent and household names includes headliners Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Heather Small, singer-songwriter and pop-rap princess Betty Boo, Scouting for Girls and Dodgy. They will play on the main stage, which is located inside a big top, meaning the music will go on whatever the weather, while a second, open-air, stage will host a mixture of up-and-coming bands, DJs and local talent.

Deva Fest 2022 also features the Deva Laughs comedy tent, the brand new Gin and Prosecco Festival, a bespoke selection of high-quality food and drink options including bars run by Chester's own Liquor and Co, and some of the best festival conveniences around as well as an NCT Chester breastfeeding and changing tent. Festivalgoers are also being offered a huge range of camping options within the Chester Lakes complex, with pitches for tents, camper vans, caravans and RVs all just a stone's throw from the Deva Fest action.

Deva Fest will take place across the weekend of Friday 12th August, Saturday 13th August, and Sunday 14th August 2022 at Chester Lakes in Dodleston, three miles from Chester city centre. The weekend programme will start on the Friday (12th August) with Old School Dance Anthems Day, headlined by Symphonic Ibiza and top hitmaker Sonique.

Returning to headline after their triumphant performance in 2019, Symphonic Ibiza will once again thrill the crowds with dance classics. DJ Andy Joyce will be joined by a full symphony orchestra conducted by Steve Etherington to ensure that Symphonic Ibiza transforms fans back to the White Isle.

The line-up also includes Brit Award-winning singer, musician and DJ Sonique, along with Dream Frequency, Bingo Bango, Dave Graham and Chester DJs Geddes and Gioia.

Saturday 13th August is Pirate Day. The event, headlined by platinum-selling and lockdown Kitchen Disco queen - Sophie Ellis-Bextor and M-People's Heather Small, will feature a host of pirate themed activities and entertainment.

Singer-songwriter Betty Boo, and Chester singing duo Belle Voci also appear along with the Pirate Day Ball with Trix, Shola Ama and The Old Time Sailors.

Meanwhile Deva Fest 2022 will close on Sunday 14th August with a headline set from festival favourites, Brit Award-winning Scouting for Girls and rock band Dodgy.

Once again Deva Fest will offer quality food and drink vendors, who will be hand-picked by Taste Cheshire to ensure locally produced tasty offerings and treats are available. 

You can also make a holiday weekend of it with camping weekend tickets also available with toilet and shower facilities. New, extended camping options with full facilities are available at The Meadow and Wild Woodland campsites with the event still having space for campervans and caravans as well as tents. Full camping details, prices and availability are on the website.

For more information on Deva Fest or to book tickets, you can visit the Deva Fest website or their social media pages on the following channels:

Website - www.devafest.co.uk

Facebook - @DevaFestUK

Twitter - @DevaFestUK

Listing Details

Event - Deva Fest 2022

Venue - Chester Lakes, Church Road, Chester, CH4 9LQ

Times - Noon til 11pm each day.

Tickets - For the latest ticket prices visit the Deva Fest website at www.devafest.co.uk.

*Disclaimer - This blog post is written based on a press release kindly provided by BEA. The details provided are believed to be correct at the time of writing but are subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the event's own website, in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Friday, 8 November 2019

A Family Day Out at Fantasy Island - A Review

During the October half term, we travelled to the East Coast and spent a week in the county of Lincolnshire. We were really pleased to find so much to do in the area and enjoyed some fantastic days out as a family including a visit to Fantasy Island in Ingoldmells,Skegness.

The weekend prior had brought torrential rain, so we were a little worried that our day could end up rather wet, but luckily the weather was on our side and we were able to enjoy everything that Fantasy Island had to offer, both indoors and outdoors!

We were staying approximately 45 minutes away at Tattershall Lakes Country Park and it was a really simple drive to the attraction. On our arrival we found the car park easily and there were plenty of spaces for visitors. It cost £6 to park all day which we thought was a really reasonable price.

My children's eyes lit up with excitement as they saw the huge rollercoasters reaching towards the sky, whilst Riley was really keen to find out what was inside the large pyramid building. We therefore made our way over to the main entrance at the pyramid to obtain our wristbands and begin our day.


Fantasy Island has over 30 rides to enjoy as well as being home to Ingoldmells Market, which is Europe's largest seven day market. There is also a huge arcade which uses a state of the art i-card that brings a contactless system to the attraction.

Entry to Fantasy Island is free of charge, so you then have the choice of paying on a ride by ride basis, or you can purchase a Ride All Day wristband which offers great value for money. We loved the fact that it was free entry as this meant that my parents could also join us for the day, as although they are unable to go on the rides, they could enjoy watching their grandchildren have fun without having to pay an excessive amount for entry.

The wristbands vary in price depending on the time of the season, but if you purchase them in advance online, you can also get a 10% discount. Online bookings can only be made up until midnight on the night before the visit, so make sure you book in plenty of time if you want to take advantage of the online discount. Opening times vary throughout the year, so to check the most up to date information on wristbands and opening, you can visit their website here.


Once we all had our wristbands ready, it was simply a case of deciding where to go first. We had noticed on arrival that the queues for the larger rides were quite small, so thought it would make sense to take advantage of this, so we made our way towards The Milennium. This is a huge purple and green rollercoaster which stands at 150ft in height and travels at up to 55.9 mph. There are also two loops which my husband and daughter said were fantastic!

Our next ride was The Odyssey which travels at 62mph and has plenty of inversions as well as a vertical loop. It is certainly not for the faint hearted, but my husband and daughter thought it was brilliant and the boys and I watched safely from the ground as they zoomed past at speed.

With the two main thrill rides out of the way, we enjoyed the rest of them at a more leisurely pace and my children would choose between them which ride to go on next. My youngest son enjoys the more simpler rides, but his elder brother always goes on them with him which I think is lovely. Riley thought that the Bouncing Bugs were hilarious and he also really enjoyed the Bizzy Dizzy Beez.


As the day got progressively colder we made our way into the pyramid and enjoyed some of the rides that were on offer inside. The range of attractions was fantastic and there was so much to see and do. Our wristbands included a game of crazy golf which was absolutely brilliant, with a dinosaur theme. We are all really competitive so this was great to have a fun family competition. The 18 holes are spread across two floors and the whole area seemed really clean and well maintained. I was convinced that I had won, especially as I had got two holes in one, so admittedly I was really disappointed at the end to find that my husband had beaten me by two points - he always wins!


My favourite family ride was the Seaquarium which we thought was a fantastic facility to have inside the pyramid building. It was really good fun with lots to see and Riley enjoyed pointing out various fish and figures amongst the displays. Every ride we went on seemed immaculately maintained which not only made them look great in appearance, but also offered reassurance that the rides were really safe too.

In addition to the rides, there were also some shows on throughout the day which provided entertainment. As we were visiting over the Halloween period, the shows had a spooky theme and there were leaflets that provided the show times. This made it easy to keep track of where you needed to be and when.


The arcade was very popular with my children and they really liked the I-Card system. We have used something similar to this only once before and that was in Florida, so it was great to see this modern technology making its way over to the UK. One thing that stood out to me about the arcade was just how clean all the areas were. Also if we ever needed any assistance obtaining our 2p machine prizes, we could always find a member of staff with ease, who would happily help. Like most arcades you can win tickets whilst playing on the machines, which can then be exchanged for prizes. At Fantasy Island there is no need to carry a huge mound of tickets around with you, as just like the cash, your tickets are automatically added to your I-Card which makes things so much easier. My children enjoyed exchanging their tickets for prizes and there was a good selection on offer in the prize shop. They were all happy with their choices and came away with some small toys and sweets.


There were plenty of dining options to choose from on site and we found the prices of the food to be very reasonable. We had taken a picnic for lunch, so utilised one of the many picnic benches located around the site to eat our sandwiches. Later in the day though, we all opted for some burgers and chips which were delicious and the children enjoyed some slush drinks which were only £1 each. Throughout our visit we also purchased both hot and cold drinks and we were very pleased with the service received at each vendor that we used.

We ended our day with a visit to the high ropes course. My only minor complaint here was the length of time that it took for a turn, as there is no time limit in place. It therefore works on a one off, one on basis which meant that my children waited 50 minutes before two people left the course. It would perhaps be better to impose 20 minute sessions to ensure that guests don't have to wait too long to have a go. Once they were up on the course though they really enjoyed it and it was fun watching them complete the challenges on the climb. It is a great facility to have and all in the comfort of the warmth inside, so no need to worry about weather spoiling the enjoyment.


Overall we each agreed that Fantasy Island is a great day out for the whole family and felt that the prices were really reasonable and fair. My daughter said that it was one of her favourite attractions that we have visited as she liked the variation of rides and facilities that were available. There was a great choice of rides to suit all ages and I felt that the wristbands offered excellent value for money. As well as the rides we were able to enjoy crazy golf, bowling, arcade games, plenty of food options and even a large market, which meant that we were able to have a non-stop day packed full of fun. We would absolutely recommend Fantasy Island to others and we will definitely be returning next year!


Fantasy Island

Address - Sea Lane, Ingoldmells, Skegness, PE25 1RH
Website - www.fantasyislandresort.co.uk
Facebook - facebook.com/fantasyislanduk
Twitter - @fantasyislanduk
Instagram - fantasyislanduk


*Disclaimer - We were provided with 4 x complimentary wristbands for the purpose of writing an honest review of our experience. I also purchased an additional wristband, £30 arcade credit and food at my own expense. Opinions and photographs are my own unless stated otherwise.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Our Visit to Enginuity - A Review

You may have read our recent blog post regarding a trip to Blists Hill Victorian Town, which is a great place to visit for some family fun. However, located just ten minutes down the road, another of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums, called Enginuity, also provides a great learning experience for families of all ages. Therefore whilst in the area, we travelled the short distance to Coalbrookdale, to see what Enginuity was all about.

This museum is great for some hands-on activities, as well as a great place to get creative and test out your design skills. There are plenty of experiments, puzzles and learning opportunities as you make your way around the attraction, which really makes learning fun and exciting.

On arrival we found there to be a large car park, so we were able to find a spot with ease and then had a short walk over to the entrance. You can see the majority of the displays as you arrive in reception, so my children immediately spotted some activities that they wanted to try.


The first activity Ben wanted to try was all about electrical energy. There were numerous different objects that can be found in most households and you needed to try and power them by spinning the handles fast enough to create energy. Each appliance required a different amount of energy and you could select a number from 1 to 8 to take up the challenge. Items included a radio, blender and even a television. Ben found this really interesting and kept trying to see how long he could keep an item working for.


Another favourite with all my children was the large water dam, which provided plenty of opportunities for water play, as well as a series of challenges. Ben particularly liked the area where you needed to shoot water from the pipe into an adjacent bucket, which would then gradually fill up with enough water to make it tip. The challenges also encouraged my children to work together in different areas, which they all found really enjoyable.


We all loved how interactive the majority of the exhibits were and 'The Boiler' seemed very popular with guests, including my son Riley. He loved putting the fuel ( plastic balls) into the boiler and then turning the wheel to create the energy and make the balls flow.


Riley's favourite activity was to build an arch, where you had to connect foam blocks together to make a freestanding arch. It was a little tricky and it did take three of us to complete this successfully. I will also be honest and say that the arch fell down literally two seconds after this photo was taken! I was quite annoyed with myself though that I hadn't noticed that the number 5 blocks were the wrong way round.


Just behind this arch, was an indoor soft play area for toddlers, which I thought was a great idea as it gave smaller children somewhere safe to play that was nice and quiet and away from the busier activities.

My daughter's favourite challenge was to try and build an earthquake proof tower, where using the materials provided you had to create a building capable of withstanding a simulated earthquake. The boards would remain still whilst you were creating, then once you were confident that your creation was finished, you simply pressed a button and the boards would begin to move from side to side. Despite Emma's best efforts, her building fell quite quickly and she became quite determined to make something that was strong enough.

After we had tried all the exhibits that were downstairs, we made our way up towards the mezzanine floor. As we walked towards the steps, there was a really interesting display of genuine Robot Wars vehicles, along with a video that showed them in action. My children had never heard of the programme before, so they enjoyed watching the display and having a good look around the robots.

On the Mezzanine floor there were more informative exhibits as opposed to hands on activities, so we took some time to read through some of the information that was on display. Riley particularly enjoyed the drawing area where there was a challenge to design a carrot powered rabbit vehicle for a bunny to travel around in. There were some clips on the board so that you could add your creation to the display and Riley loved having a look through everyone elses ideas and designing his own. All the tables were neat and very well laid out, so he enjoyed sitting there for a while so that he could draw and colour in his rabbit-mobile.


One really good aspect of this attraction is that it is very accessible. The majority of activities are all located on the ground floor and there is a large amount of space between each one, making it suitable for prams or wheelchairs. The mezzanine floor is also served by a lift if required.

Overall we really enjoyed our visit to Enginuity and I felt that the exhibits were suitable for the whole family to enjoy and not just the children. This meant that we were able to join in and have fun with our kids and help them solve some of the challenges. It was great to see them reading the information that was provided on the exhibits, which ensured that they were also learning whilst having fun with the experiments.

We visited for two hours, which was just the right amount of time to try out everything without rushing. We also combined our visit with a trip to Blists Hill Victorian Town in the morning, which meant that we had a full day out together as opposed to just a couple of hours and I felt that this worked really well. There was plenty to see and do and any staff that we came across were also really helpful. As well as being a fun place to visit for a couple of hours, I can also imagine that this is a great place to visit with schools or clubs, as it is ideal for an educational trip.

I also believe that Enginuity is currently undergoing a redevelopment of the site and are adding some new exhibits, so we look forward to visiting again in the future and seeing the changes that have taken place.

To find out more about Enginuity or any of the other Ironbridge Gorge Museums, you can visit their website or social media pages on the following channels:

Address - Enginuity, 10 Wellington Road, Coalbrookdale, Telford, TF8 7DX
Website - https://www.ironbridge.org.uk/explore/enginuity/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/theironbridgegorgemuseums
Twitter - @blistshill


*Disclaimer - We were provided with complimentary admission for the purpose of writing an honest review of our visit. Our visit took place at the beginning of May 2019 and as Enginuity is currently undergoing some changes, it does mean that exhibits may vary in the future from those featured in our review.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Revisiting the Wonderful Blists Hill Victorian Town - A Review

Blists Hill is a beautiful replica of a small industrial town, that genuinely makes you feel as though you have travelled back in time. It is jam packed full of interesting exhibits, informative demonstrations and plenty of activities for families to join in with. It is a marvellous representation of the Victorian community, which makes it a fun and educational day out for visitors of all ages.

It is part of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums and we have very fond memories of our last visit to this attraction two years ago. We therefore decided to pay a return visit to this wonderful site, so that we could write an up to date review of the Blists Hill Victorian Town for our readers.

On the bank holiday Monday, we set off on the journey from our home in North Wales to Telford in Shropshire, which is a 90 minute drive. It was an easy journey that took us along some picturesque routes in parts, albeit with plenty of roundabouts, but we made good time and arrived at our destination for 11am. We followed the directions provided on the sat nav, however it was well sign posted from the main roads. Owing to it's popularity, there was a queue to enter the attraction, but visitors were attended to quickly and attentively. This ensured that no-one had to wait for too long before being able to enter and travel back in time to the Victorian era.


As we entered the street, my children immediately remembered the bank, so they insisted on a quick visit to exchange some of their coins. You can step inside the bank and swap modern day currency for older coins and then use these to purchase items in the shops. If you have any left over at the end of the day, you simply swap them back over before you leave. We think that this is such a fun idea and it really gets visitors thinking about the difference in value from years gone by. It is also interesting being able to compare the old style bank with today's modern facilities.

Located nearby was the chemist, which also features a small dental surgery inside. If you have a fear of the dentist, then Victorian dentistry would definitely not be for you, as there were a vast range of weird and scary looking instruments in use. The chemist displayed a vast collection of potions and lotions with bottles of all shapes and sizes. There were also some soaps and toiletries that were available for purchase which smelt really nice.


As we made our way along the street we searched inside the open shops and buildings. We found the post office interesting and there was a man sat outside making rugs and talking to visitors as they walked past. A beautiful horse was being led through the streets and Riley was looking forward to seeing more of the horses and other animals later in the day.

My children were very excited to visit the sweet shop again, which was definitely one of their highlights from our previous trip. There was a great range of sweets to choose from and you could choose to pay in new or old money, with the price list displaying both options.


Opposite the sweet shop is a wonderful photography suite which was my personal favourite from our last trip. Unfortunately we were on quite a tight schedule on this day, so decided to give this a miss on this occasion, but if you are a first time visitor, then it is definitely something not to be missed and provides you with a wonderful keepsake from your trip to Blists Hill.

For a very reasonable charge, you can dress up in Victorian clothing and have a picture portrait taken of you in traditional style. There is a large dressing room where you can select the clothes that you would like to wear, along with guidance and suggestions from a member of staff. Once everyone is dressed up, then you are taken through to a studio to have your picture taken against a traditional Victorian backdrop. Here is an image of my son Ben getting ready for his photo from our visit two years ago.


We continued our exploration around the site, before Ben requested a trip to the Doctor's house. As we entered, we were greeted by a lovely lady who welcomed us into the home and also then proceeded to talk to my children about activities that they may have done in Victorian times. Riley was very interested to learn more about flower pressing and he was shown how to do it, so that he could try it himself in the future.

We had a look in the waiting room and wondered how doctors managed appointments back then, prior to computers and modern technology.

Just past the surgery were some lovely farm animals, including pigs and chickens. Riley absolutely loves pigs, so he stood watching and talking to them for a while, before we proceeded to walk down the hill and past the G R Morton Ironworks.


Located at the bottom of this hill is a traditional funfair that both children and adults can enjoy, with a selection of fairground rides and stalls. There is an additional charge for these, but it is not overpriced and a go on the carousel costs only £1.50. In addition to the carousel there was also a swing roundabout, traditional swing boats and a coconut shy, making it a great place to stop and enjoy some Victorian fun. There are also some picnic benches and seating nearby, so it is also the ideal picnic area, with plenty to see and do.

Opposite the fairground is the old school house, where the very strict Mr Stern teaches his lessons. Visitors can attend the school at a time specified on the day and form an orderly queue outside before entering the classroom. When we arrived the queue was already very long, so we decided to walk round to the viewing windows instead, where you can see and hear everything that is going on inside. My children watched in amazement as visitors came in and took their seats, whilst Mr Stern shouted at them to be quiet and to hurry up so lesson could begin. The class then began by singing the hymn 'All Things Bright and Beautiful' under his watchful eye.


Ben said that Mr Stern was quite scary and was glad that he wasn't his real teacher, but he also found it really interesting how everyone immediately listened and behaved. We continued to watch the lesson for some time, before Riley asked if we could go and see the big boat, which he had remembered from our previous visit. We therefore made our way across to the big building, just a bit further down the path.

This purpose built building, houses what is believed to be the last known surviving Lower Severn Trow, which would have previously transported cargo along the River Severn. There is plenty of information and facts to read about the boat, along with a video that can be watched prior to climbing the stairs to the walkway. This allows visitors to get a marvellous view of the boat from all angles including a birds eye view from above. Both of my boys really love exploring boats, so they found this part of the attraction really interesting.


By this point we had started to get a little hungry, so we walked back up the hill to the towns main street to enjoy some fish and chips. I will be honest when I say that these are the nicest fish and chips that I have ever tasted and were absolutely delicious, cooked using the traditional method of beef dripping. We couldn't find any picnic benches available in the beer garden located next door, so we took our food over to some well placed rocks by the river and sat there whilst we enjoyed our food.

The Ironbridge Gorge Museums recommend that you allow at least three hours for your visit and I would definitely agree, although you could spend much longer there if you decided to take part in all of the activities and demonstrations which are available. The fairground is seasonal so only operates in the summer months, but there is also plenty of other things to see and do for the remainder of the year.

During our visit there was the opportunity to take part in some traditional maypole dancing, try out some candle dipping, ride in a horse and cart, experience the fun of the fair, enjoy a lesson with Mr Stern and also witness a good old sing song in the local pub.

The shops are full of interesting items as well as staff on hand to tell you more about how life would have been in the Victorian period. In the pharmacy you can learn all about the lotions and potions that were used, whilst in the bakery you can view them preparing bread for sale (which you can also buy once it is ready).


Overall we had a fantastic time and it is somewhere that I am sure we will return to again in the future. It is an attraction that is suitable for all ages and I love that fact that both times we have visited it has been a different experience and we have learnt something new. Days out as a family are often fun, but Blists Hill also has that educational element that all my children find really interesting.

There is no shortage of things to see and do and I particularly like how friendly and helpful the staff are around the town. Blists Hill Victorian Town has a wonderful atmosphere and a real feeling of authenticity. I would therefore happily recommend this attraction to families looking for a fun and informative day out together.

Attraction Details

You can find out more about Blists Hill Victorian Town by visiting their website or social media pages, which can be found on the following channels:

Address: Blists Hill Victorian Town, Legges Way, Madeley, Telford, TF7 5UD.
Website: https://www.ironbridge.org.uk/explore/blists-hill-victorian-town/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theironbridgegorgemuseums
Twitter: https://twitter.com/blistshill

Entry prices are as follows:

Adult Entry - £18.50
60+  - £13.50
Child with Gift Aid - £11.50

You can also purchase Annual Passport Tickets which includes admission to all 10 Ironbridge Gorge museums for 12 months. Further details on these can be found here.

Opening Times: The attraction is open 7 days a week from 10am til 4:30pm from 25th March to 29th September 2019.


*Disclaimer - We were provided with complimentary entry to the attraction for the purpose of writing an honest review of our experience. Opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. Prices/dates/opening times correct at time of writing but are of course subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the attractions own website prior to visiting, in order to obtain the most up to date information.




Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Breakfast with Santa at Bridgemere Garden Centre, Nantwich - A Review

Last weekend we were delighted to be attending our first Christmas event of the year at the Wyevale Bridgemere Garden Centre, located in Nantwich, Cheshire. We have plenty of fun activities planned for the next few weeks, but what better way to begin our celebrations, than with a visit to see Father Christmas and the chance to enjoy Wyevale's Breakfast with Santa experience!

Having previously attended Bridgemere last year to review their Santa's Grotto experience, we were very excited to be invited back to enjoy this wonderful Breakfast with Santa event and find out exactly what it was all about. Although we have seen these kind of events advertised before, this was the first time that we had tried something a little different to a normal grotto and so we were all intrigued as to how it would work and whether it would be as much fun as it sounded.

Bridgemere Garden Centre is located in Nantwich and there are plenty of signs from the main roads helping to direct the way. As returning customers we already had a good idea of how to get there and so the drive was really simple and took us approximately 45 minutes from our home in North Wales.

On arrival we made our way to the main entrance and walked along the path through the outdoor garden centre area. I absolutely loved some of the creativity in the displays and before we had even reached the restaurant, we had all decided that we wanted to have a good look around after our meal and enjoy a little festive shopping. This Robin display was one of my favourites and I thought that the prices were really reasonable too.


As we entered the indoor shopping area, Riley spotted this wonderful polar bear display pictured below, which was absolutely beautiful. The large polar bear and baby bear also moved which really set the scene for this stunning winter toy arrangement.

We had arrived in plenty of time for our Breakfast With Santa, however we had become distracted by all of the lovely plants and gifts for sale. We soon noticed that we only had five more minutes to spare, so we quickly made our way over the restaurant.


We were a little unsure as to where we should go initially as we saw two signs for restaurants, but a quick chat with one of the helpful staff, soon led us to the correct place and we were greeted by a friendly lady who checked our name off a list and guided us to our seats. My children had asked whether we would have to sit with "strangers" meaning other families on the same table, and whilst the tables were arranged in three long rows, there was plenty of space left between each family, so that you had your own table area to enjoy your breakfast. This meant that there was no feeling of being too cramped in, or being in earshot of anyone elses conversations. We felt that the tables had been arranged perfectly and whilst everyone had their own space, the fact that the tables were joined together also gave the appearance of a celebratory feast, which we thought worked well.

The tables were neatly arranged with cutlery, crackers and colour in placemats for the children. There was also a Christmas card in the centre of each seating area for the attending families. We were immediately impressed with the set up of the event and took the opportunity to take some pictures of the lovely surroundings whilst waiting for the other guests to arrive.

The room had been decorated beautifully and was adorned with festive lights, a stunning Christmas Tree and a wonderful sleigh that was full to the brim with presents. There was a seating area with blankets and cushions, which we guessed would be where the children could meet Santa. It looked really cosy and a nice place to enjoy a sit down and have a chat.


We were invited to help ourselves to some refreshments, with tea and coffee available for the adults and unlimited squash for the children. A member of staff then came round and brought some toast to our table with both white and wholegrain choices available.

Once all of the families had arrived then the breakfast commenced and we were very much looking forward to our meal. There was a little bit of confusion to begin with as the tables either side of us had their sausage sandwiches served to them, but we then also noticed a queue forming at the opposite side of the room, so we were unsure as to whether we needed to collect our breakfast or if it would be brought to us. We spoke with a lovely member of staff who explained that guests who had purchased a cooked breakfast would be called up table by table to collect their meal which answered our question.


Whilst we waited for it to be our turn, Riley spent some time looking at all of the toys that had been displayed within the sleigh. He noticed a few things that he really liked the look of and was wondering if he had enough pocket money with him to buy one of the games that he really wanted. We had no idea at the time that children would have the opportunity to choose one of these toys following their meeting with Santa.


It was soon our turn to collect our meals and the food looked absolutely delicious. The lady serving asked each of the children if there was anything that they didn't like and offered them the opportunity to select something else which I thought was a great idea. One of my children doesn't like scrambled eggs, so rather than miss out on an item of food he was able to choose an additional sausage instead. We were told to help ourselves to sauces and once we were sat down a member of staff came round with more toast. We had a selection of white and wholegrain and both sets were toasted just right.

The food was absolutely delicious and just the right portion size for my children. The sausages and bacon were really good quality and the eggs were perfect with a nice runny yolk to dip the toast in. We all pulled our crackers and put on our party hats, whilst telling some Christmas jokes as we ate our meal.

Once we had finished a lovely lady called Emma came round and brought the children some snowman shaped biscuits, along with edible confetti and an icing tube. This meant that the children attending the breakfast could all create their own biscuit, exactly how they wanted to and with their own unique design. Whilst they were decorating, Emma spoke to each of my children individually asking their name, what their interests were and what they would be asking Santa for as a Christmas gift this year. I don't often highlight a particular member of staff but she was absolutely wonderful with the children. My youngest son Riley can be very shy at times, but he immediately chatted away with her and even offered to sing her a song. The way that she engaged with the children was really lovely to see and it definitely added to our experience.


Riley practiced a few times laying out the snowflakes in different formations before applying the green icing gel. Eventually he decided to use the confetti for the hat, scarf and buttons and he was delighted with the end result. As he had just eaten a large breakfast he didn't want to eat his biscuit straight away, so Emma kindly went and got some takeaway boxes for us and the children placed their biscuits in them to take away and enjoy later.


Of course Breakfast with Santa would not be complete without a visit from the main man himself and the Bridgemere Father Christmas was superb. At no point were children rushed to finish their meeting with Santa and Riley was with him for a good five minutes talking all about his Christmas list. I thought that the way it was organised worked really well and seeing such a huge smile on Riley's face throughout the conversation was priceless.


Riley told Santa all about his school and that he and his friends have been practising for the Christmas concert. He also told him about his favourite things to do outside of school and the shows that he loves to watch. There was no awkward silence during the chat and Santa seemed really enthusiastic and keen to hear more and I genuinely think that Riley could have carried on talking for hours!


Once Riley's time with Santa was over, he was told that he could go and select a gift from the huge sleigh that we had noticed earlier. I was quite shocked when I heard this, as the presents were really good quality items and there was plenty of choice to suit children of all ages. Riley selected a large jigsaw puzzle which also doubled up as a finding game, so once you have built it, you need to spot certain items and see if you can find them all.

It was Ben's turn next to visit Santa and again Ben told Santa about the things that he had asked for this Christmas. When Ben revealed that had asked for Fifa 19, Santa asked him which football team he supported and quite proudly he replied with Manchester City. This resulted in Santa sharing a little secret with Ben as he whispered his favourite football team in his ear too!

Lastly my 12 year old daughter visited Santa and although she is no longer a believer, this did not stop her from enjoying the experience. I felt that Santa was great with the kids and was able to easily adapt his conversation to suit the age of the child. All three of my children really enjoyed the Breakfast with Santa experience and we were able to create some lovely memories that will definitely stay with us in the future.


After leaving our Breakfast with Santa, we decided to have another look at all the displays as well as enjoy some Christmas shopping. I absolutely loved this unicorn display below and I could have literally spent thousands buying all of the items that I saw. Sadly these beautiful unicorns were beyond my budget and so we settled on purchasing some new baubles for our tree to add to our collection.


My husband gave each of our children £5 and told them that they could pick a bauble of their choice, which they were all really excited about. There was just so many to choose from and I adored this entire selection of white and silver decorations. They each had a good look around and Ben decided on a selection of Silver Car baubles which were in a pack of three. Riley opted for a personalised Santa bauble with his name on, along with a flashing Reindeer bauble where the nose would flash and light up. Lastly Emma chose a personalised snowflake bauble along with a flashing Father Christmas one and we were all really pleased with their choices.


After selecting our new baubles, we decided to have a look around the gift areas. Again these were all displayed beautifully and every shelf looked immaculate. The staff clearly work hard to make sure that all the products are displayed neatly and this definitely helps with the shopping experience. There was such a wide range of gifts to choose from and the food and drink gift sets were wonderful with something to suit all tastes.




Overall we had an absolutely wonderful time at Wyevale's Bridgemere Garden Centre and the Breakfast with Santa experience was fantastic. I believe that it offers exceptional value for money, as well as being a lovely variation to the traditional grotto experience. It is perfect for families looking for something a little bit different, as well as being an event that the whole family can enjoy together. The food was delicious and the staff were so friendly and welcoming that it made the setting a really enjoyable place to be and I wouldn't hesitate to return again in the future.

Attraction details

Attraction - Wyevale Breakfast with Santa 2018
Address - We attended Bridgemere Garden World, Bridgemere, Nantwich, CW5 7QB, however this experience is available at numerous other Wyevale Garden Centre's. Further details can be found here:
Cost - Child's Breakfast £10.95, Adult's Breakfast £8.50, Adult's Mini Breakfast £5.00
Dates - Various dates and times are available.
Times - Opening times vary, so please check their booking page for availability here: Tickets
Website - Wyevale Garden Centres
Twitter - @WyevaleGC
Facebook - Bridgemere - A Wyevale Garden Centre

As an alternative to Breakfast with Santa, Wyevale also offer Tea with Santa, where children can enjoy a choice of hot meals or a selection of 4 items from the Little Diggers Picnic Range for £10.95. At the same time accompanying adults can enjoy a festive afternoon tea with St Clements Cake, Blackberry Pavlova, Mini Macarons, festive iced fruit cake, plus cranberry and cinnamon scones with clotted cream and jams along with fresh finger sandwiches for only £8.50. A mini tea consisting of tea/coffee, a slice of festive cake or traybake, plus a bowl of seasonal soup with crusty bread or cheese scone is also available for only £5. Further details on both the Breakfast or Tea with Santa events can be found here: Breakfast or Tea with Santa


Disclaimer: We were invited to Bridgemere Garden Centre as guests of Wyevale for the purpose of writing an honest review of our experience.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Our Family Adventure at Sandy Meadows with John Fowler Holidays - Part Two!

You may remember that back in October we visited Sandy Meadows Lodge Park, which is a fabulous holiday park owned by John Fowler Holidays. The holiday park is situated at Brean, Somerset in a lovely coastal location. We stayed in a stunning four bedroom lodge and we were overwhelmed by what a brilliant time we all had.

Due to the fact that there was so much to do, both on site and with nearby attractions, we decided that one week just wasn't enough. Therefore a couple of weeks ago we returned back to Sandy Meadows to enjoy some more John Fowler holiday fun!

On the day of our holiday, we set off early in the morning and stopped at a Beefeater for a buffet breakfast along the way. After a bit of a lengthy drive, we arrived just before lunch and pulled up excitedly outside reception. Just like the previous year, we received a friendly welcome and were told that our lodge was actually ready early and so we could check in straight away. This was great news as it meant that after a long drive, we had no waiting around and could go straight to our lodge to unpack and enjoy some lunch and a rest.



We decided to stay in the 4 bedroom platinum hot tub lodge again. There are now a few of these on the site due to recent expansion, but we were very pleased to have the same one that we had visited previously. I really liked the location as it was so quiet and peaceful, with a nice outlook over the field in front. The hot tub also had reed screening all around it, which meant that because we were not overlooked, our family had lots of privacy when spending time either in the hot tub, or on the decking.


Just like our first visit, the accommodation was fantastic. The lodge was so spacious and clean, with plenty of room for all the family. The great thing about the lodges is that there are no tiny cramped twin rooms like you get in some caravans and instead each room has ample storage, comfy beds and they even had space for the kids to play. I am also reliably informed by the children that it is great for a good game of hide and seek as there are plenty of places to hide!

The outside decking area is just so relaxing and is a great place to enjoy a good book, a glass of wine, or some family games on the table outside. There is a sliding patio door that opens out onto the decking which means that you can come and go out of the lodge with ease, making it perfect for some alfresco dining in the spring and summer months.

The hot tub is brilliant and was enjoyed by all of us. It is very private so it offers a great place to relax as a family, as well as being lots of fun. There is a list of rules on the decking gate and in addition to this, the chemical levels are checked twice a day to ensure that the water is safe and also at the correct temperature. We thought that this safety conscious attitude was fantastic and it was great to see that the company made guests well-being a priority.

There was one slight problem in the kitchen of the lodge on arrival where something was broken. I rang reception and made them aware of this and someone came to the accommodation in less than twenty minutes. This member of staff then quickly replaced the item and apologised for the inconvenience. Simple things like this can happen and go unnoticed until reported by guests, so I am not surprised that it was missed by the cleaners initially. I never judge a company based on problems, but more on how they resolve them and I am pleased to say that we were extremely impressed with the sites pro-activeness and speed in getting the matter sorted. Well done!


Before long we were unpacked and enjoying our holiday. We had a walk around the park and read the entertainment guide for the week so that we were aware of what was on in the show bar throughout the week. There was certainly plenty of entertainment to choose from and we ended up visiting Dunes every night of our stay to enjoy the kids club and bingo games.

The evening entertainment was definitely one of our favourite things at the holiday park and the Dune Show Bar was located a short walk away on the adjacent Sandy Glade site. You could drive over there and park outside, or alternatively enjoy a five minute walk through the park, which is what we chose to do. The entertainment team work so hard to ensure that guests of all ages have a great time enjoying the activities which range from the kids club to bingo and family game show night to cabaret. There was something on every evening, which made sure that there was always something fun for us to do as a family.

Riley's favourite Stripey was Kelsey and he absolutely loved dancing and singing along with her at the Foxy Club. Usually Riley can be quite shy and reserved, but Kelsey's positive energy, cheery attitude and constant smile, made Riley feel really comfortable around her. The other Stripey's were fantastic too, each of them taking it in turns to take on a different role each night whether it be djing, bingo calling, or dressing up as the mascots. They were also great at getting everyone involved on the dance floor (even the parents)!


John Fowler Holidays actually have five mascots who are Freddy the Fox, Kenny the Badger, Trixie the Bunny, Cheffy the Chef and Paxo the Chicken. The costumes were brilliant and there was an opportunity every night to have your photo taken with them. I really like the fact that you could take the photos yourself, so there was no extra charge for a mascot photo. Riley loved meeting all the mascots and we managed to take some brilliant pictures that will be going into his memory box.


We all loved the bingo games and throughout the week we managed one cash prize win of £30 in the adults bingo and each of my children all won a game each (much to my relief) in the kids game. The prizes for the kids bingo are pre-determined based on the sales amount for the evening and so the prizes vary for each game. We managed to win a Foxy Club soft blanket with all the characters on, a Trixie Bunny keyring, flashing minion eyes and some finger puppets. If you aren't lucky enough to win though, then you can buy some Foxy Club merchandise in the Foxy Shop which stocks plenty of soft toys and character products. We bought a couple of items to add to Riley's collection and found the prices to be very reasonable.

Across the road from Dunes is a well stocked shop and a small cafe called Chef's Corner. We enjoyed a meal in there together on one night of our stay prior to heading to the bingo and found the food to be very tasty and fairly priced. The menu isn't huge, but does feature plenty of comfort food dishes and family favourites. My husband enjoyed the Steak & Kidney Pie with Chips & Gravy and said that it was delicious. You can also purchase take away food from here that is allowed to be consumed in Dunes, so you can enjoy a meal whilst watching the entertainment if you would prefer.


Other facilities on site include an indoor heated swimming pool. In addition to swimming, there are also some indoor water activities held in there for an extra charge which include water walking zorbs, aqua gliders and pool kayaks. To the rear of the pool building there is also an outdoor park which is a good size with plenty of equipment to play on. It was too far from our lodge to allow the children to go on their own, but they enjoyed some time here in an evening on the way to the clubhouse.


Although there is plenty to keep you entertained onsite, we do enjoy having days out and there is certainly no shortage of places to visit in the area. In our last review we mentioned that we had visited Puxton Park, Bristol Zoo, Wookey Hole Caves and the Helicopter Museum. This time we wanted to try some new attractions, so we ventured to Crealy Adventure Park, Noah's Ark Farm Park and Fleet Air Arm Museum. We also enjoyed a day at nearby Weston-Super-Mare where we had a pleasant time walking along the golden sandy beach.



Overall we had an amazing time at Sandy Meadows in Brean, Somerset. We very rarely return to the same place twice, yet I feel like I could happily return here again and again. There is so much to do in the area that there is certainly no chance of getting bored and the lodge accommodation provides you with a luxurious place to relax and enjoy your holiday. Would we return for a third time? Absolutely!

We will also be uploaded a video of our stay in the next couple of days, so watch this space!

About John Fowler Holidays

John Fowler Holidays have been established for over 60 years and their aim is to provide families with a wonderful UK holiday that includes comfortable accommodation, an action packed entertainment programme and on-site facilities.

They have holiday parks throughout the South West of England in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, offering a range of accommodation options including chalets, caravans and luxury lodges. Some sites also have facilities for camping and touring.

If you would like to obtain further information on Sandy Meadows, or learn more about their other parks located in the South West of England, then you can find more information on their website, or social media channels which can be found here:

Website: John Fowler Holidays
Facebook: John Fowler Holiday Parks
Twitter: @JohnFowlerHols
Instagram: @johnfowlerholidays
YouTube: John Fowler Holidays


Disclaimer: This is a collaboration post and we paid a discounted press rate for our stay. All opinions and photographs are my own unless stated otherwise.