New Year’s Eve changes significantly when you have children. Whilst they are young it’s difficult to go out celebrating late unless you have babysitters. There are ways to celebrate with the children by creating your own family friendly New Year’s Eve.

Family friendly new year's eve

Family Friendly New Year’s Eve

Have an early New Year’s celebration

Why wait until midnight? Instead celebrate alongside another country with the children, as they move into the New Year. Samoa is one of the first places, turning to midnight at 10am London time. With Australia, New Zealand, China and India all moving into the New Year across the day.

Legoland do this at their resort by celebrating New Year’s at Kid Standard Time (KST). They put on a firework display at 9.30pm GMT especially for families.

Play a Netflix New Year’s Eve Countdown film

In December Netflix release a number of animated movies which countdown to midnight. Simply search ‘countdown’ or ‘New Year’s Eve countdown’ to find the latest releases.

If your still feeling Christmassy you could alternatively watch a Christmas film on one of the streaming channels article here..

Attend a family friendly New Year’s Eve Party

Across the country more and more places are putting on family New Year’s Eve parties.

They are sometimes run in the middle of the day or earlier in the night and include meals, entertainment, music and fun.

Some examples of family friendly parties are both. Look up hotels in your local area for closer options.

Cardiff Cantref Centre in South Wales runs a party for families.

Casey’s Venue Telford kick off their family friendly party at 6pm.

Chessington World of Adventure run their own party including a meal and entertainment.

Take the family to a New Years Day parade

Rather than take the children out on the 31st December save your celebrations for January 1st.

In London there is the annual New Year’s Day parade. Starting in Piccadilly from midday and ending at 3.30pm in Parliament Street.

Hopefully these have given you some ideas to enjoy with your family. Happy New Year to you all.

My daughters and I recently attended Willows Activity Farm Santa Spectacular. This is an annual event run in the week’s prior to Christmas at Willows Activity Farm. If you’ve never heard of the farm see my review here.

This is my review on the Christmas event, based on my own personal experience.

Willows Activity Farm Santa Spectacular Review

What is it?

The Willows Activity Farm Santa Spectacular is a full day out of festive fun for all the family.

It runs from November 22-December 24 2017. They are open from 10.00am to 5.30pm (last admission 4.30pm), on some days they will be open from 9am ( 9, 10, 16, 17, 21-24 Dec).

Whats included?

This is the list of all the activities based on the 2017 event:

  • Meet Santa and receive a golden key – after which children can choose one of the hundreds of gifts. Piled from floor to ceiling to take home in the Toy Shop.
  • Create-a-Cuddle workshop – children can make their own reindeer cuddly toy to take home along with a naming certificate and special gift box.
  • Attend Elf Academy – learn some of the basics on becoming one of Santa’s elves. Including how to tiptoe like an Elf and the important letters of the Elf-a-bet.
  • Watch a 3D film – pop your glasses on and take off on a 3D adventure with Santa in a 3D film.
  • Watch a Christmas show – including Christmas Storytime, our Elf Sing-a-Long and special Nativity performances featuring farmyard animals.
  • Write a letter to Santa – pop it in our post box to receive a free reply delivered to your home.
  • Iceskate – Glide around the synthetic ice rink with ice skates available to fit all sizes.
  • Tristan the Runaway Tractor – take a ride around the festive wood.
  • Animals – Meet Mischka, Santa’s reindeer and all the other Farmyard animals.

There is also an Elf Passport to complete, a chance to take part in Snowball Shootout,  Festive Funfair Rides, Peter Rabbit Adventure Playground™ and soft play.

How much is it?

Prices vary across the event, getting more expensive the closer you get to Christmas. Check specific days for prices, but they come in around £35 for children and £20 for adults. Under 2s are free as long as they’re not joining in meeting Santa and the cuddle workshop.

Best Bits

We really loved this event, and thought it was truly magical. It made for a really wonderful day for the whole family.

We enjoyed all of the activities but our two favourites were:

  • Meeting Santa – I have never been to a more beautiful and festive Santa’s grotto before. Our santa was excellent and professional. My daughter was a little scared of him, but he was so patient and kind to her it really made her day. The children getting to choose their own gifts was a nice touch as the gifts then felt extra special.
  • Create-a-cuddle workshop – My daughter was over the moon to get her hands on her own reindeer, choosing the reindeer’s heart was a great touch.

The thing that really shone out for me across the day was how professional and friendly the staff were at Willows Activity Farm. Everyone you come in contact with is pleasant, helpful and happy, which made our day that touch more special.

What could be better?

The ice skating was great fun for my toddler, but as an adult I found it almost impossible to stand up on. I have been ice skating on real ice many times and I found this synthetic floor to be far more slippery. In the end I went on with just my socks on so I could at least push round my daughter without falling over.

Overview

As you can see from my review, we really loved this event at the farm. At first I was a little bit put off by the price, but after attending I now think it was actually good value. You can access to all the activities, the children get to take home a gift from Santa, a stuffed reindeer and reindeer food and you also get a letter back from Santa.

The Santa’s grotto was so magical I want to go back again next year, it will absolutely be my go to for a Santa visit come 2018.

We recently went to visit Willows Activity Farm based in St. Albans. My daughters both love animals so we love to seek out new places to see them. This is a Willows Activity Farm review based on their normal calendar, which runs across the majority of the year.

Willows Activity Farm Review

What and where is it?

Willows Activity Farm is family friendly farm based just in outside North London. The farm is full day out for everyone, but is mostly suitable for younger children.

There is plenty of free parking on the farm, which only tends to get really busy during the summer holidays.

How much is it?

Depending on the time of year it costs approx £12 for adults and £14 for children (under 2s are free). You can save money on tickets by buying them the day before online.

For the price you get access to almost everything in the farm including:

  • soft play
  • tractor rides
  • live shows
  • playgrounds
  • bouncy castles
  • rides
  • maze

Best Bits

As a mum the best thing for me about the farm, is that the majority of activities/rides are included within the price. This means you don’t have to deal with any arguments with the kids, asking to spend more money on expensive extras.

For my toddler the best bits about the farm were:

  • The animals – as you would expect with a farm there are plenty of animals to see, there are areas to pet smaller animals like rabbits, animal feeding areas and there is even areas to watch animals track race.
  • The live shows – throughout the day there are several live shows preformed by Petter Rabbit and his friends, my daughter loved singing and dancing along.
  • The Peter Rabbit adventure playground – a relatively new addition to the farm, it is a beautifully designed play area for all children.
  • The soft play – there is a wonderful soft play area situated next to the cafe, this means you can pick a spot to eat and the kids can run around.

What could be better?

The cafe does get busy at lunch time and could probably be bigger. You need to get there in plenty of time to secure a spot.

The toilets are very well designed and suitable for children, however there could be a few more of them around the park. My experience of going with young toddlers is they always need the toilet when you’re not near one!

Overview

We loved visiting Willow Activity Farm and recently returned to attend their Christmas Spectacular event, review can be found here.

We think it’s a wonderful day trip for younger children. It’s particularly good for children aged 2 to 8 who would get the most from the playgrounds and live shows. In my opinion its one of the best overall farms for a full day trip and definitely worth a visit at any time of year.

I hope you enjoyed my Willows Activity Farm review, see here my review on Peppa Pig World.

During the summer we took my two daughters to visit Peppa Pig World. It was our first time visiting there as both of our girls are Peppa mad. This is my Peppa Pig World Review, all opinions are my own and this is based on our personal experience.

Peppa Pig World

What and where is it?

Peppa Pig World is part of Paultons Park based in the New Forest, England. Paultons Park is a theme park in its own right with over 70 rides. Peppa Pig World sits inside the theme park as a distinct area.

If your never heard of Peppa Pig I’m not sure where you have been! You can discover more about this pink pig and her friends here.

Peppa Pig World contains rides, life-size figurines, food outlets, a gift shop and a chance to meet your favourite characters.

How much is it?

Depending on when you go it costs just under £20 a head to get into the whole park. It’s the same price for adults and children.

Children under a metre in height go in free but this is with shoes on. As a warning they are super strict on it so if you child is bang on a metre you will have to pay.

The total cost for a whole family can be a bit off putting, but you do get a lot for you money if you maximise a full day there.

Best Bits

The best bit for me as an adult was watching the amazement in my daughters eyes. She honestly couldn’t contain her excitement from being there.

In my toddlers opinion the best bits were the rides and getting to meet Peppa and George.

Our favourite rides were Grandpa Pigs Boat Trip, George’s Dinosaur Adventure and Peppa Pig’s Balloon Ride. All the rides are suitable for toddlers and some are even ok for babies which makes Peppa Pig World very inclusive.

Peppa and George have set times to come out so you can meet them. You can queue up to have a short meet and greet and take photos. They also walk around Peppa Pig World so the children can wave and talk to their favourite characters. This was wonderful for the little ones.

Not to be forgotten is the rest of Paultons Park! We were so glad we didn’t spend the whole day just in Peppa Pig World as the park has lots of other areas to it. There are the gardens and lake,  birds and animals, the lost Kingdom (dinosaur theme area) and plenty of other rides.

With my toddler we thought we would be limited to only Peppa Pig World but she was able to go on many more including the Raging River Login Flume, Seal Falls, Digger Ride and the traditional carousel.

She loved the log flume so much we ended up going on it 6 times!

What could be better?

We went after the school summer holidays on a weekday and Peppa Pig World was still busy.  We had to queue for everything including the rides and meet and greet. Toddlers and queuing do not mix so be prepared to find other things to keep them occupied.

Typically for a theme park the food choices were rather limited. In the majority of outlets choice was generally between burger or hotdogs with chips.

Overview

Peppa Pig World and Paultons Park makes for a wonderful day trip with the children. It is a brilliant for Peppa Pig fans, but I’m sure those who aren’t would get a lot from it as well.

We are planning on going again next year, as my almost three-year old still talks about her day seeing Peppa.

I hope this Peppa Pig World Review has been helpful for you, thanks for reading.

Squires Garden Centre Christmas Circus reviewToday I took my girls with their cousin to the Squires Garden Centre to see the Christmas Circus. This is my own personal Squires Garden Centre Christmas Circus review.

The show is running across Christmas and then post-Christmas is followed by a traditional circus up until New Year.

Squires is a national chain of garden centres, running for about 80 years. They sell plants, garden equipment and also gifts.

Squires Garden Centre Christmas Circus Review

What is it?

I’d never heard of a Christmas circus either. As my daughters are under three they have never been to a circus before so I thought that this sounded like an interesting event to go to.

As the circus is aimed at young children the acts are kept quiet tame. In Stanmore where we attended they had balancing, juggling, aerial and comedy acts.

All of our children aged 6, 2 and 10 months seemed to enjoy the show. Laughing, gasping and clapping along which is all you could hope for really.

In reality there is little to do with Christmas within the acts, just a few nods to the season such as Christmas music and some snow themed equipment. However it doesn’t really matter there is  Christmas atmosphere as you sit in the cold wrapped up in layers!

The show last about an hour which is enough for the young children and the adults. For myself I found the acts cheesy at times, but they were pitched at the right level for young children to enjoy most.

What’s included?

Meeting Santa at Squires

Tickets include entrance for the circus and the hours performance, followed by a very brief meet and greet with Santa and a small gift.

Extras you can buy when there are snacks such as popcorn and candy floss, and toys such as glow sticks.

Where is it on?

Squires has a number of Garden Centres across the U.K. and the following branches are holding the Christmas Circus:

Badshot Lea – Hosted by Ringmaster Attila Endresz with Billy the clown. Featuring new jaw-dropping acts: Aerial umbrella & rope, Bounce juggling, Cube manipulation, Gym ball acrobatics, Mind-blowing illusions and The Incredible Mr Slinky.

Shepperton – Hosted by Ringmaster Laci Schlinlof with clowns Bumble & Picolo. Featuring new jaw-dropping acts: Ariel cube, Knife throwing, Trapeze, Bubble fantasy, Slack-wire balancing and Juggling.

Stanmore – Hosted by Ringmaster Chris Balthrop with Andrea the clown. Featuring new jaw-dropping acts: Aerial skills, Aerial cube, Uni-cycling, Juggling, Rola rola balancing and Rolling globes.

Washington – Hosted by Ringmaster Ross with Pip the clown. Featuring new jaw-dropping acts: Ariel straps, Rola rola balancing, Juggling, Bounce juggling on drums and Ariel ropes.

Is it worth it?

If you are looking for a fun experience for the children this is great one to choose. It’s a cheesy, funny and enjoyable family friendly experience. At £12 a ticket it won’t break the bank too much.

However if you were looking for a more immersive Christmas experience, there are other events on around the UK which would offer this better. If you are based in North West London look at my other post on what to do in Harrow and surrounding area this Christmas. Hopefully that will give you some inspiration during the festive period.