If you follow what we’re up to on Facebook, Twitter or here on our website, you might have seen that we’ve had a couple of encounters with Santa in York already this festive season. Don’t worry – we haven’t developed a weird Father Christmas fetish, nor are we trying to spoil our kids by taking them to everything we can get a ticket to. Nope, it’s just that we get asked a lot about the best things to do in York with kids at Christmas (and during the rest of the year for that matter) and we want to be able to give the best advice from our own experiences.With that mission in mind, we scooted off to town after school and nursery today to see how Father Christmas at King’s Square shapes up. This is a new event from popular chocolate attraction, York’s CHOCOLATE Story, that we were keen to try out.
After battling the weekend crowds to Barley Hall’s fantastic Father Christmas event, we decided to head to King’s Square on a weekday afternoon in the hope that we wouldn’t need to queue (the children’s patience is low at the best of times, but after school it’s practically non-existent). Our instincts were right, and we walked straight into Santa’s Grotto, a wooden chalet outside the Chocolate Story which has been suitably decked out in twinkling lights and glittery decorations. We were greeted by a friendly chap in a fetching Christmas jumper who set us up at a craft table with an arty activity: the kids could design their own chocolate bar and have it entered into a competition if they like. Our two eldest (5 and 3) got stuck into drawing and designing but only for a couple of minutes as it was then time to go through to Father Christmas’s study to meet the man himself.
Our 3 year old has a bit of a phobia of Father Christmas, generally resorting to hiding behind our legs and/or shouting quite a lot, but not this time. This Santa was a jolly chap, less old-school than some we’ve met and far less scary as a result. He remembered the kids’ names and had a good chat with them, which is no mean feat. After a bit of quizzing about what they’d like to find in their stockings and a chocolate (which cheered the shouting 1 year old up no end), we had a photo taken with Father Christmas. The children then got to turn a gold handle to make a box appear on a special conveyor belt. Inside the box was a great little present for each child – something to keep and something to eat (no spoilers: I won’t tell you what it was in case you go). We also got a copy of the photo to take home with us – it’s really quite funny and one for the family album (but possibly not for our Facebook page!).
We had a lovely time visiting Father Christmas in King’s Square. The whole experience was very warm and welcoming and we certainly left feeling much more festive than we’d arrived. By going at a quieter time we avoided the usual stresses of having to wait, which was a definite bonus. Although it meant we were in and out quickly, everyone was happy and there was no time for anyone to start complaining (always a consideration with three small children to juggle). As you can’t book, this is a good option if you fancy just dropping in on a whim while you’re Christmas shopping or en route to a pantomime or to meet friends. It’s a welcome addition to York’s Father Christmas scene that’ll be around for a long time to come.
Meet Father Christmas at King’s Square, York – 19th November to 24th December 2015 – £9.95 child/siblings £7.95 – no booking required (first come, first served) – visit the Facebook page for more details
Thank you very much to York’s CHOCOLATE Story for inviting us along to meet Father Christmas in King’s Square. As always, our reviews are independent and we won’t recommend anything that we haven’t enjoyed.