The annual visit to Father Christmas has changed a lot since I was little. In my day (the 80s in case you’re wondering), visiting Father Christmas involved a drop in visit at the local shopping centre while you were there buying Christmas presents. These days, most places require advance booking (or in the case of Harrods this year, a special invitation), take hours and cost a day’s wages. Every year I say “I’m not going to spend much this year” but this always changes when I think “They aren’t little for long”. Over the years we’ve done a few different things but last years visit to the Gulliver’s Land Santa Sleepover was really awesome so I thought I’d share it. This isn’t a sponsored post, I was just so impressed that I wanted to spread the word.
Why The Gulliver’s Land Santa Sleepover was Appealing
I’d heard of Gulliver’s Land Theme Park in Milton Keynes before and fancied visiting because it was only just over an hour way from. When I saw their “Gulliver’s Land Santa Sleepover” advertised I thought I’d check it out. I was immediately enthusiastic as the description just seemed to christmassy. The itinerary includes, one nights stay in one of the themed cabins (basically glamping), a festive evening meal, evening entertainment, breakfast the next day, a visit to Father Christmas, access to some of the rides, a Christmas show and a Christmas parade. I was imagining a huge price tag but when I looked I was pleasantly surprised. The price for a mid December weekend was £199. Given that our local Zoo would have worked out at over £120 for the four of us it looked like excellent value so we decided to book.
The Gulliver’s Land Indoor Splash Park
My children love water and there is an indoor splash park at Gulliver’s land so we decided to arrive a bit early and spend an hour there before we checked in. Depending on the age of your children (mine were 5 and 7) you don’t actually have to get wet if you don’t want to. The whole place is enclosed and there is a dry area running along one side so you can keep an eye on them from there. If they are younger and need closer supervision you can just take your shoes off and walk around the splash park and (try to) avoid getting splashed! My kids loved the place, as well as the splash zone there were water slides which my oldest really enjoyed. I’d definitely recommend a visit if you’re doing the Gulliver’s Land Santa Sleepover.
The accomadation for the Sleepover
Once everyone was dried off we went to check in. The friendly staff took all of our details then got us booked in for dinner and breakfast before walking us to our cabin. Gulliver’s Land has lots of different types of themed accommodation including dinosaur, JCB, beach and jungle. We were staying in a Wild West themed cabin. The cabins have a patio at the front where visitors can BBQ in the summer months.
Inside it is tiny but really well thought out. There are bunk beds for the kids and a bench sofa that turns in to a double bed for the grown ups. Our cabin slept 4 but they do have bigger accommodation. There was a small toilet/shower/wet room plus a tiny kitchen area with a kettle, fridge and microwave. There was also a wall mounted heater, very important given there was snow on the ground!
The Evening Entertainment
When we arrived in the dining room there was a lovely festive atmosphere. All the tables had Christmas table cloths and crackers and there were plenty of Christmas decorations. The food was fine, nothing particularly special but a bit like good canteen food. After dinner we headed upstairs for the disco, which was a bit like a children’s party. It was very busy so we ended up sitting on the floor but the kids had fun.
After the disco everyone then got their coats on headed outside for some carol singing. Song sheets were passed around and after a bit of encouragement everyone joined in. The fire pit was then lit and everyone was given a stick and a marshmallow to toast. The adults were freezing but as usual the kids didn’t seem to care. The final part of the Santa Sleepover evening entertainment was milk and cookies back in the dining room. While the kids enjoyed them they put on bedtime stories DVD.
We then headed back to our cabin for the actual Sleepover. I was worried we’d be cold, I’d intended to bring extra blankets but forgotten however we were all toasty warm in the night although getting up in the morning was pretty chilly!
Breakfast was back in the dining room. There was a buffet full English breakfast as well as cereals plus juices and tea or coffee. It was all at good “greasy spoon” standard. We checked out after breakfast and headed to the theme park which was a 5 minute walk.
Visiting Father Christmas
We had to queue for about 20 minutes to see Santa but we were queueing in the winter wonderland walk through so the kids were entertained. Santa himself was lovely and chatted happily to the children without making us feel rushed. After that we were able to go in to the toy shop to choose a toy. The selection was very big, certainly something for everyone and the quality of items was good. Girl Child chose a soft toy cat and Boy Child chose (yet another) gun.
The rest of the day should have been theme park rides, the Christmas show and parade. Unfortunately Boy Child wasn’t feeling well so we only managed a couple of rides before deciding we’d better head home.
The Gulliver’s Land Santa Sleepover – 2.0
So all in all we loved our Gulliver’s Land Santa Sleepover. So much so that I’ve just booked again for this year. We’re going for a mid week break this time (as soon as the children break up from school) so there is slightly less evening entertainment and no Christmas parade but it’s an even bigger bargain at on £99. Looking at the website it looks like they’ve mad a few changes this year. Breakfast in now sausage patties and hash browns on brioche buns (will be a bit of a problem for us as Girl Child will only eat the bun). I also can’t see carol singing on the itinerary this year, possibility due to lack of enthusiasm last year!
This will be the first time we’ve gone to see Santa at the same place twice. Every time I started looking at other options they didn’t seem as fun and no way near as good value. In the end I asked the kids if they wanted to go back. The answer was a resounding yes and as long as they are happy I’m happy.
Top Tips for the Gulliver’s Land Santa Sleepover
- Consider arriving early and visiting the splash park.
- If you want to eat early try to check in fairly early as you’ll have more choice of dinner slots.
- Some people may feel the cold more than us so you might want to take a few extra blankets.
- The cabins have fridges so if you like fresh milk in your tea or coffee, take a pint with so you don’t have to use the UHT cartons.
- It’s very cold on the rides so take plenty of layers to wear.