For the second year in a row now, Tulleys Christmas Experience has blown us away! Tulleys Farm is situated in Crawley, West Sussex and is renowned worldwide for unique experiences for families, adults and groups. One of these is the Tulleys Christmas Experience, set within the beautiful woodland grounds of Tulleys Farm. Where you and your family can enjoy a magical and unique Christmas experience where there is something for everyone too. We once again visited last weekend with the lovely Beth, from A Blonde and a Baby and her lovely little family. Here’s what we got up to:
We booked our tickets well in advance online.I’m guessing you can buy your tickets on the day in person but the chances are the sleigh rides (you choose your time slot) may be sold out. They were quite limited already when we booked back in October! This option is great actually as it keeps the queues to a complete minimum. Take your printed ticket to the counter and you get given your guidebook and Sleigh ride tickets. Once inside it all looks very festive. All the staff are dressed as elves. I even heard one couple asking an elf if she was a ‘nurse’ earlier in the year. I loved her reply of ‘I am an elf all year‘ just in case any little ears were listening!
The Children are given a little lesson is decorating gingerbread men like the North pole Elves do by Mrs Claus and her helper. The children pop on an apron and are given a gingerbread man, icing, marshmallows and smarties. Mrs Claus tells a little story and guides the children before going around and checking out the finished designs. The children can then tuck their gingerbread man in his sleeping bag and take them away.
This was new for this year. I didn’t actually pay much attention as Emmie decided she needed a feed at this point. The cinema is inside and it was freezing outside so I took the opportunity to give her a quick meal. However, what I did see, the 3D was quite good and it kept the kids entertained for 10 minutes!
Santa’s Sleigh Ride & Storytime with Santa
The sleigh rides are booked in advance. The Elves lead a small group of you onto the sleigh, a festively decorated cart pulled along by a tractor. It’s a short ride through the woodland to Santa’s little cabin. While on board, the chatty elves check if children are on the nice list and if any adults are on the naughty list! Once at the cabin, the children are told Santa has fallen asleep so they have to creep in quietly and sit down. Once all seated, Santa wakes up and tells the children a lovely little story. The cabin is wonderfully decorated and Santa looks and acts the part so well. At the end of the story, the children are invited up to sit with Santa and are given a star which they exchange for a gift at the build a bear workshop. This Santa is the best I’ve seen!
Build a Bear Workshop
After Santa’s story time you can take the star presented to your child to the Build a bear workshop. There are so many styles to choose from, some for boys, some for girls and some neutral. This year Finlay decided to go for the cutest, softest reindeer. The children can then pick a little coloured heart to go inside and are given a bag of stuffing. The Elves are busy helping the children put everything together. The bear is included in the ticket price but you can pay for little extras like sounds and clothes. I was really impressed with the quality, once finished the little star is tied to the toy. Finlay loves his and has called his reindeer Flyus!
Reindeer Food Making
In another little station, the children can make a little bag of reindeer food. There are several bowls filled with oats, wheat, sweetcorn etc. The children fill up their bag and the elves tie it up really pretty with the cutest little verse attached for the children to read out as they leave out the food on Christmas Eve. I love that it’s all natural so the wildlife gets some nibbles healthy nibbles in the process!
Magical Elf Forest
A beautiful indoor walkthrough filled with a forest of real Christmas Tree’s decorated with snow and lights everywhere. It smells gorgeous in here with the scent of pine. It’s so magical with all the pretty lights as you follow the trail. Scattered about are little Xmas scenes. This isn’t the only magic though. Put on your special glasses and all the lights turn into Santa, snowmen or snowflakes!
Santa’s Post House
The children sit outside the very festively designed post house and are given a letter template for Santa. They have to pop in their name, whether they think they have been good or a little bit naughty, what they would like for Xmas and then sign it off. While the children are busy doing this, the elves pass the adults a lovely little response letter from Santa for you to pop under their pillows for the morning. Once the letters are written, you can walk through the gorgeous decorated post house where there are lots of photo opportunities (just make sure your cameras on the right setting as it’s low light, mine wasn’t). At the end, you will find the post box to the North pole!
The puppet shows are every 40 minutes, set under a big tent. It’s a great time to just sit and relax with a warm cuppa for 20 minutes while the kids sit and listen. The puppet shows are really funny and engaging with lots of banter and singing. At the end, they even let loose with some fake snow from the tent top which all the children loved!
As well as the main activities, there are a number of other little things to do in the day. There are a few fairground rides. You need to pay extra for these but they are not too badly priced. At regular intervals throughout the day, the keepers give talks where you can learn all about Santa’s reindeer. There’s the Christmas Shop which sells beautiful Christmas themed gifts. I can’t forget the famous Tulleys Singing Chicken’s sit back and listen to them serenade you with Christmas carols! New for this year is the Tulleys Ice Rink, this again is an additional cost and it’s probably best to book in advance. I almost forgot the Elf hunt. On your guide book is a list of elves, find them hidden around the farm and note down their number. When your done you can collect a prize!
There’s plenty of food and drink on site. I am not cheap, but in the grand scheme of things, I wouldn’t say it’s too expensive. There’s a lot of variety. You have your typical chips and burger, chicken, sausage etc. Then there’s a Bavarian Grill, a Traditional Carvery and an Alpine Bar. There are lots of sweet treats from pick N mix to Waffles and Donuts. Normally we would take our own picnic at an event like this. However as it’s a winter event and freezing, it’s good to get some nice warm food down you!
If you’re looking for a great festive day out with the family where the children can have storytime with and meet Santa, then I thoroughly recommend a visit to Tulley Christmas Event. There’s so much to do, you can make a whole day of it with prices starting at £14 for Children and £8 for adults, you really won’t be disappointed!