Last weekend we had the pleasure of visiting Tulleys Farm, in Sussex for an amazing and magical Christmas experience. Heidi at Southern Mummy blog suggested that we take the kids and it was one of the best days we’ve had as a family. Here’s what happened:
Upon arrival the farm looked beautiful and festive, with a red ribbon around the entrance cabin. You sign in with the helper elves and are given a booklet for each child. Inside is a map, a list of the major attractions there, which they stamp as you visit each of them, and an elf hunt at the back. Dotted around the farm were various pictures of elves with a number, you fill in the number next to each elf name. There was a camp fire burning which smelt amazing, reindeer, and various little rides for the kids to go on (costing extra). Around the farm were staff dressed up as elves who were clearly having a lot of fun, and very jovial. There was also ‘Scruffles The Scarecrow’ greeting the children and wandering around the farm.
Elves’ Secret Forest
Surrounded by ‘snow’ covered trees draped with beautiful lighting, the elves’ secret forest was my favourite section. The scene was slightly spoiled by everyone looking a bit strange wearing special effect glasses, but to be honest that just added to the fun. Through the glasses you see every light with a little snowman or Father Christmas shape. I tried to get them on Lily but they were too big, although she loved the woods even without them. Her face was a picture of amazement and you really feel the magic through the children’s eyes.
Perhaps one for the slightly older children (4-6 years ish) there was a fun show with two ‘elves’ and some puppets. Based around a moral story, the importance of being nice to one another, it was a nice addition to the day. Lily sat still and watched the whole thing so it must have appealed to her! My only criticism was the tent we were in kept dripping water on us all, probably caused by condensation, it wasn’t a major problem just a little annoying!
Santa’s Sleigh Ride
We had to book our sleigh ride in advance and chose the midday slot. A group of you are led by elves and climb aboard a “sleigh” (cart pulled by a tractor) on a picturesque journey leading to a cabin. Once there we were told by a friendly elf that Father Christmas was inside but asleep, so we had to creep in quietly. When we were inside the children all had to wake him up by shouting “Wake up Santa!”. He then told the children a story and invited them all up one by one or in a group to sit with him and have a photo taken. When they sat with him he gave them each a star which was later part of the build a bear section.
Teddy Bear Workshop & Toy Shop
This section led on from the visit to Santa. The children each gave an elf their star and chose a toy. They then helped to stuff the toy, inserting a little silk heart after giving it a kiss. They had the optional extras of a sound, some clothes and a house. We chose a sound which cost £3 although if you don’t want any extras the bear itself is free on its own. The star from Father Christmas is then tied around the toys’ neck. Lily loves hers and has named it Pinky!
There are various Christmassy stalls with food around the farm, including mulled wine, kettle corn, and chocolate kebabs, as well as hotdogs, burgers, chips etc. Lily and Fin had children’s meals which went down well, the rest of us had chips and burgers. The food wasn’t too expensive and it was perfectly tasty for what it was.
Another one of my favourite parts of the day, this was an opportunity for the children to put on aprons and decorate gingerbread men with Mrs Claus. She led the children from the front of the room on what to do, and they were given icing, marshmallows and smarties to decorate with. Lily and Fin both enjoyed it and ended up putting icing on some rather dodgy areas on the gingerbread men, much to the amusement of their dads!!
Reindeer Food Making
In another wooden cabin the children are able to make reindeer food. There were various bowls with dried sweetcorn, wheat, oats etc that the children can scoop in to a bag, which was tied up by an elf with a pretty ribbon and label to leave for Rudolph on Christmas Eve.
Letter to Santa
Our final stop of the day was Santa’s post office. The children were given a template to fill in stating their name, whether they had been good or naughty, and what they want for Christmas. Lily and Fin were both slightly young for this bit as they aren’t writing yet, but they had good fun scribbling on it whilst Heidi and I filled in the details. They then posted their letters. We were surreptitiously given letters to put under their pillows that night in response from Father Christmas.
We had a fantastic day at Tulleys Farm. It was magical from start to finish and it’s clear a lot of effort has been made to ensure all the children go away feeling happy, Lily and Fin certainly did! I haven’t been to many Christmas events in the past, but this is going to take some beating. Age range I would say 18 months up until an any age where they still believe in Father Christmas. It was great fun and although I think it was pretty much fully booked it didn’t feel overcrowded or squashed at any point. My tips: Wrap up really warm as it is freezing walking around outside, extra socks for sure! Take a camera as there are so many photo opportunities. Take cash as it is difficult with card as the stalls do not accept it. Anti-bacteria wipes-the portaloos were a bit rough around the edges.
What a magical day.