When most Christmas events were cancelled this year, last weekend, we were lucky enough to visit Chessington World of Aventures; Winter's Tail. Priced between £20 and £35 for pass holders, a pre-booked ticket is required for entry. There is lots of extra entertainment for the festive season including the Wild Christmas Panto and Father Christmas' Grotto. Though pass holders have to pay an upcharge, we think that it is definitely worth the price from all of the extra Christmas activities available.
When entering the park, you are greeted by a roaming team of elves and Mrs Christmas. "Elf and Safety" are around to ensure that everyone is safe and keeping distance. Throughout the day, two roaming teams visit different locations throughout the park, with special performances with Mrs Christmas. The sets were filled with Christmas songs and interactions with the crowds, spreading festive cheer.
Father Christmas' Grotto was first on the list, with our time slot booked at 12 o'clock. Through the queue line, it is themed with various animal statues, filled with Christmas decorations and snow. As you get to the main attraction, you are greeted by the elves and shown to Father Christmas' hut through a maze of tall trees, covered in snow. When meeting Father Christmas, safety precautions have been put into place, with masks being worn and a stool for children to sit on to take a photo. Children can receive a golden ticket from Father Christmas himself, if you're on the nice list, to redeem a gift from the Toy Workshop.
The Toy Workshop is covered with decorations and photo opportunities. Showing children how the toys are made by the elves and a special toy shoot to collect your chosen present from the elves. If you're lucky enough to receive a golden ticket, the available gifts are; a toy reindeer or polar bear, Chessington top trump cards and a Chessington note pad.
Filled with instagrammable photo opportunities, the Magical Christmas Kitchen follows the story of the elves cooking some cookies with an interesting recipe, including minced beef. The interactive walk-through is filled with Christmas trees and gingerbread men. As you wander through, the elves will encourage you to help make the cookies with them as you go through, using lots of Christmas magic.
The best way to watch a pantomime this year? Outside! The Wild Christmas Panto encompasses everything there is to love about a pantomime. Throughout, audience participation is encouraged with the classic "we'll have to do it again then" and waving when the bad guy is behind. The story is simplistic and easy to follow, using lots of costume changes and of course a special appearance from the Gruafflo at the end.
The event was very well planned, with decorations throughout the park and extra 'elf' and safety measures put in place. The special touches from the team, including the hidden crakers with prizes inside and the free hot drink and snack for the adults, made the event even more special. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at this year's Winter's Tail and can't wait to come back and experience the event again.