The Christmas countdown has begun and Burston Garden Centre’s Christmas Grotto and Winter Wonderland Restaurant is open from Saturday 24th November to Monday 24th December 2018. I was invited to go along and see what festive treats Burston Garden Centre has in store this year.
Father Christmas Grotto
My first stop was Burston Garden Centre’s new grotto, home to Sprout the Reindeer and Father Christmas! At the entrance to the Father Christmas Grotto I was greeted by Snowdrop, a very friendly elf. Inside, the walkway was lined with snowy, twinkling Christmas trees and there was a photo-booth style frame and lots of festive props, so you can take some funny, family photos.
Then there was an area dedicated to making your own bag of reindeer food, which you can take home and sprinkle outside on Christmas Eve. Another jolly elf was on hand to help and there were recipe cards on all the tables to ensure the best mix of animal-friendly seeds and oats.
After making your own bag of reindeer food you can meet Sprout the Reindeer and sit on a beanbag to hear her tell a special story. Sprout’s story session adds a little Christmas magic before it’s time to visit Father Christmas in his cosy wooden chalet and take home a small gift.
If you’re going to visit the Christmas Grotto at Burston Garden Centre then it’s a good idea to book in advance online. Tickets are just £9.99 per child (adults charged at £1 each, which will be donated to the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young)*.
Winter Wonderland Restaurant
After a very exciting visit to see Father Christmas I went along to the Winter Wonderland Restaurant. This year at Burston Garden Centre you can book a Winter Wonderland Breakfast, Winter Wonderland Lunch or a Winter Wonderland Afternoon Tea. The tables were decorated with red tablecloths, paper snowflakes hung from above and the children’s afternoon tea arrived on a beautiful tiered cake stand.
The children’s afternoon tea is fantastic value for money and includes ham and cheese finger sandwiches, a cheese scone in the shape of a star, a Grinch fruit kebab (grape, strawberry and marshmallow), a chocolatey reindeer cupcake and a candy cane… all for £5.95. You can also choose orange juice, apple juice or milk, which comes in a cute mini milk bottle that looks like a snowman, complete with a pipe cleaner scarf! The grown-ups can enjoy a cinnamon and nutmeg sultana scone with clotted cream and jam and a choice of tea or coffee, or you can even upgrade and enjoy a glass of Prosecco!
Make sure you book in advance if you want to guarantee your festive Winter Wonderland Restaurant experience.
The Christmas Shop at Burston Garden Centre is full of decorations, lights and artificial Christmas trees. There’s a huge range of colour schemes to choose from and they stock some of my favourite baubles and decorations from Gisela Graham London.
There’s also a huge selection of real Christmas trees and throughout the display you can try to find the seven dwarfs who are hiding amongst the firs. Burston Garden Centre also have an attractive collection of fresh fir and berry wreaths, so you can visit Santa, enjoy a festive bite to eat and then choose your Christmas tree and a wreath for the door… all under one roof!
House Plants and Gifts
Back inside the main shop at Burston Garden Centre there were stunning displays of poinsettias and cyclamens, as well as festive flower arrangements. There was also an amazing range of reasonably priced gifts from hand creams and scented diffusers to wooden toys and games, non-alcoholic winter punch and cordial to traditional ale from local breweries.
Burston Garden Centre is packed with festive treats this year and I think it’s a great place to visit this Christmas.
Burston Garden Centre is open 9am to 6pm Monday to Saturday and 10.30am to 4.30pm on Sundays (doors open at 10am for browsing).
You’ll find Burston Garden Centre just off the M25 at Junction 21A, North Orbital Road, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL2 2DS.
*A booking fee of £1.50 per transaction applies to book the Christmas Grotto experience.
Don’t forget to arrive at least 10 minutes before your booked time at the Father Christmas Grotto, as Burston Garden Centre can not issue refunds for cancellations or late arrivals.
Disclosure: I visited as a guest of Burston Garden Centre and all information is correct at the time of publishing (November 2018). Images, words and opinions are my own.