Father Christmas at Bow Garden Centre in Crediton

We were invited along to Bow Garden Centre in Crediton to visit Father Christmas and his Elves in the Winter Wonderland. So Lynsay and her family, dug out the Christmas jumpers and embraced the Christmas spirit.



We arrived in good time at 11.40am (our slot was for Midday, we were asked to arrive five minutes early).

Rachael greeted us and escorted us over to the grotto, and the children got a ten minute play in the well equipped soft play area situated inside the Riverside Café.

We entered the grotto at midday, the room was dressed with a mass of Christmas decorations, including giant inflatable snowman and Father Christmas.


Included within the admittance price were two activities:

Cookie decorating

The children were all given a biscuit, sprinkles and a icing tube. I thought the boy might struggle as he’s only 5, but his biscuit turned out well.

Making snow

This was a favourite for my Three, they spent ages rippling their hands through the snow they had made. They enjoyed it that much that we purchased some “magic snow” from the shop for £1,99 after our visit.

Reindeer food prep

We also had the opportunity to make reindeer food to take away for Christmas Eve for an extra 50p per Child. My Three all really enjoyed this, usually we buy our Reindeer food.

Colouring sheets and crayons were available for smaller Children.


Meeting the big man

After making the Reindeer food it was time for the Children to Visit Father Christmas, to get to his grotto, you had to go down a slide which took you directly to him, I must admit I was a little disappointed when I realised the slide was for Children only and I had to go through the curtain.

Santa was most definitely the bestFather Christmas I have seen for a few years and obviously loves his job! He had his work cut out with my three though, they challenged every word he said.

He asked them what they would like for Christmas, the boy said; “Lego”. “Oh I’m sure I can manage that” FC replied.

Then he asked middle Child what she would like….”I want a real drum kit”, at this point maybe Santa saw the look of horror on my face? – Personally, I think he knows how loud they are! So he replied “well I think you need to have some drum lessons first before you get a drum kit” Good answer FC! Eldest Child asked for “artist pencils” …”oh yes, of course as you love drawing”.

Father Christmas asked if the Children would be leaving anything out for him on Christmas Eve “OH YES” they all shouted…”Mince Pies and Milk and Carrots for the Reindeer”. To which FC replied; “not too many or I won’t fit down the Chimney!” Erin looked really puzzled and said “we live in a new build, we don’t have a chimney”… Hats off to the big man for his quick response of “oh yes I forgot, I used a magic key last year”.

Before you depart the grotto, you have a few photographs taken with the man himself, you can purchase these  as well as other photograph gifts from the booth and take home immediately.


Santa’s Gifts

The children really loved their gifts and I was surprised in the quality, the girls received a diary, notebook and pen set and the boy received a pull string propelled helicopter with flashing lights.


Waterside Café

After our visit we decided to grab a drink at the Waterside Café, drinks were reasonable priced, and the Staff were really happy and accommodating, which seems to be a rarity these days. After our drinks we strolled around outside (which is kept immaculately). The pond caught the eldest’s eye, the Koi Carp were huge!!! The biggest we have seen; the average age is 12 years old and they must have been as big as 24 inches.!

The Garden Centre boasts a huge range of Plants and Flowers of all variety, sheds and storage solutions and a lovely gift/ornamental section which is filled up with some great Christmas present ideas.

Dogs are welcome to the garden centre but not in the Waterside Café.


In Summary

We all had a magical time, FC was realistic and bought the Magic of Christmas alive for my three. The car journey back was enjoyable, listening to them giggling and talking about being on the nice list and what a great day they had.


Disclaimer: We were invited along for an honest review, but all opinions are ours.

About the Author: Lynsey Hill

Originally from Essex, Lynsey moved to Starcross, Devon with her Husband in 2001. She loves Exeter and currently lives in Newton Abbot with her husband, their Three Children, Cheeky the hamster and Slither the African land snail.

Lynsey is passionate about living a frugal lifestyle and passing on her tips and knowledge to the future generations through her blog Optimum Frugal

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