We were very lucky to be invited to see Santa in his Grotto on real snow at the Xscape centre in Braehead, Glasgow. It's a bit far for us for where we may usually go to see Santa but we thought it would be fun to go somewhere different and to go somewhere we hadn't been to in awhile.
We had a busy itinerary for the day. We were invited to visit the Gambado soft play inside the Xscape centre before meeting Santa and then having lunch in the newly refurbished Bar Varia. We were then going to the Christmas log house to do some bauble decorating and some Christmas card colouring.
The Gambado soft play is really handy for where it is...just across
the road from the Xscape centre is the Braehead shopping centre. Had I
thought about it beforehand, I could have left Husband and the kids in soft play
for an hour and a half whilst I went and got some Christmas shopping! No boredom,
no tears and no fights...and that's just from Husband.
We have been to Gambado soft play before so we knew what to expect, except it had been done up since we were last there. It's a really excellent soft play. The toddler area is completely separate and all enclosed from the older children's area, so you don't have to worry about lively 5+ year olds taking over the toddler slides. I loved the little dress-up/role-play area with the little kitchen and tables and chairs. There are also go-karts for the kids and free wi-fi for the adults.
There are plenty of seating areas and a cafe for refreshments. Miss C had a lot of fun going up and down the slides and playing on the foot piano. Wee Z was more interested in exploring and firing balls in the ball area. As we were getting ready to leave, Miss C spotted Peppa Pig saying hello to the children in the toddler area. She didn't want to pose for a photo with Peppa though but I thought that was a fun touch to bring a character out, especially on a Sunday.
We were booked to see Santa at 11:30am. We headed to the snow centre to be taken on to the snow to see Santa in his Grotto. The kids were wrapped up in hats, scarves and wellies as it was really, really cold. In the waiting area, the kids were able to sit and write a letter to Santa which they could take down to the Grotto with them, however Wee Z and Miss C were more interested in watching the skiers out on the ski slopes.
We didn't have to wait too long to go and see Santa. The Elves took us down in groups and we got to spend about 2 minutes with Santa which was fine. Santa, who is one of the best Santas I have ever seen for looks-wise, was very funny and very easy for the kids to talk too. We had a photograph with Santa, (which we paid £3 for) collected our stockings with presents inside and then got to sledge down the slope back to the snow centre! Well, I didn't sledge but the kids and Husband did. They had great fun. It wasn't a big "all singing, all dancing" Grotto, however Husband and I both agreed that this was one of the best Grottos we have been too, especially because it was on the snow.
We had lunch at the Bar Varia which has excellent views of the ski slopes. The kids loved watching all the skiers going passed and it made for an excellent distraction whilst we waited on our food. The menu was good - a German theme to it. I ordered an Aberdeen Angus burger whilst Husband had a venison burger. The kids wanted pizza and chips! The food was with us within 10 minutes and was really tasty. I loved the side salad with the vinaigrette! Husband devoured his venison burger whilst Miss C stole half of my burger to eat. We finished up with a hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows to share. It was lush and just perfect to warm up with after the cold snow.
After lunch, we headed down to the centre of Xscape where there was a Christmas log cabin. The kids were able to decorate a Christmas bauble which they could bring home or hang on the trees in the log cabin. They also got to colour in Christmas cards that the staff would post for them, free of charge, if they wanted to send them to someone special. There was also a game of "throw the ball through the snowman" which Wee Z managed to score 30 points on and Miss C scored 40 points on. The best bit about the Christmas log cabin is that it is completely free so if you were waiting for a table at one of the many restaurants, you could take the kids over and keep them amused for 10 minutes.
The staff were all really friendly and helpful and the kids had a great time. They were very lucky too as they got to see Santa THREE times. After the Grotto, he walked through the Bar Varia and recognised Wee Z and Miss C and stopped to talk to them and then in the Christmas log cabin, he waved to Miss C as he went back up the escalator to his Grotto!
We had a lot of fun at Xscape and would definitely go back to the Santa's Grotto next year! The kids are still buzzing from seeing Santa in the snow!
We were invited to spend the day at Xscape Braehead. We received our soft play entry, visit to Santa and lunch as part of a review. The opinions expressed are my own.