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Winter Wonderland at Chafford Gorges

One of the best Father Christmas experiences you can give your children.

Each Christmas one of the things you either do or see being done is the "meet Santa experience". It's a bit of a poser for some as one wonders if your child will find the experience terrifying or elating. We can confirm that having experienced all the major ones in Grays, Lakeside and Bluewater the best one you can give your child but quite some distance in this area is at the Thurrock Nature reserve in Chafford. You need to book and shell out £6 a child (which is actually a bargain compared to what some charge) but it's well organised, the participants all totally committed and delightful, and it's the sort of experience where even the parents come out of it glowing happy and wanting to go again. Thurrock nature reserve is of course a beguiling and wonderful place anyway so everyone should have been there at least once, but in this instant you enter the café reception area, give your name and get handed your tickets, you then sit excitedly waiting to be called by two of Santa's helpers, from here you are led into the private garden area which has been done up to look like Narnia, actually better than Narnia with much snow effects, a carpet of crisp winter leaves, perfect illumination, in the surrounding trees and of course Santa's sleigh and a kind of pre-audience with the head Elf, all dressed to perfection and playing the role as if an Oscar depended on it. With anticipation nicely built you then move on to Santa's grotto, a wonderfully consistent decorated little shed, again beautifully lit and with the most charming and articulate Santa you will ever meet. When he talks in a calm soft and friendly manner and with that ability to make all being addressed as if they are the only person in the room, and that instantly has the children pinning to stay longer. Then as you leave with your little bag of treats in hand you will hear Santa Ho Ho Ho'ing still. A reminder if it was needed to book again for next year. You won't need to remind yourself because your children will be doing it for you. It's simply great.

Postcode: RM16 6RG (Chafford Gorges Visitors Centre)
See also: Chafford Gorges Nature Park

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