Christmas can be a stressful time of year for families and business alike. Getting all the decorations up, ensuring everyone has enough to eat.
Imagine then creating Christmas on a grand scale-1000 acres scale at Tatton Park in Cheshire.
To prepare for the festive season, Tatton elves wrap over 5000 gifts for visiting children. The mansion holds 3,500 bulbs of twinkling bulbs-lighting the way for visitors and two tonnes of holly and greenery from the gardens are used to decorate the whole of the estate and it is truly breath taking.
The theme in the Mansion this year is the 12 Days of Christmas and visitors can learn of the imagery and meaning behind one of our best loved Christmas carols.
There is shopping and dining in the Stableyard and you can buy local produce in the Housekeeper’s Store.
It really felt like Christmas when we visited. I think due to the heritage look of the buildings and the period dress of many of the people who work there.
At over 400 years old, the estate takes you back to how Christmas used to be-and should still be.
It was a bitterly cold day when we visited which, I think actually added to the festive feel.
We obviously headed straight for the farm and I couldn’t wait to see the reindeer and I thought the children would adore them too.
It seems they both fell in love with the two donkeys we saw as we walked in.
As we walked up the lane to the farm, we could hear a brass band playing carols and I actually squealed inside. There were vintage looking fairy lights on the old buildings and, on entering the farm yard, my children were truly in their element.
You can take the kids out of the farm and all that.
Chickens pecked around our feet. There were cows, reindeer, beautiful Clysdale horses, goats, sheep and pigs.
G is fearless with animals and was quite happy patting the horses noses as they bent down to investigate the small boy talking to them.
There were fairground rides and street-style entertainers and it was a joyous Christmassy atmosphere.
The big man himself was situated in a marquee at the top of the farm yard and a lovely, French entertainer played a little guitar type instrument and we all sang Jingle Bells as we waited to see Father Christmas.
The children then had their faces painted by an elf before it was our turn.
We have been to see several Father Christmases over the yeas and the one at Tatton was one of the most friendly we have encountered. He remembered the children’s names and even had the baby on his knee which, in our politically-correct society is a most welcomed rarity.
The only downside to the marquee was that the grotto was quite dark so make sure you take a big camera with you complete with industrial flash if you want any treasured photos.
We made do with photos before and after seeing Santa.
We had a warm drink and a mince pie in a little tea room at the farm as the children had a look at what Father Christmas had given to them.
We exited the farm through a lovely farm-themed gift shop where this farmer’s wife could simply not resist some sheep-themed merchandise and G had a lie down on the floor tantrum over a toy tractor.
Thee really is something for everyone at Tatton Park this Christmas (and all year round). It is the most magical place and we cannot wait to visit again.
Please visit tattonpark.gov.uk/christmas to find out the whole season of events because there is much more than I have written about and you will not be disappointed.
*We were invited to Tattton Park for the purpose of this review but all opinions (and feral farm kids) are my own.