Today we embarked on one of our most exciting adventures yet, a trip to see Santa Clause. In fairness, this is the first year that either of the kids had a notion of what was going on and I am so glad we made the trip to visit the incredible Santa experience at Bunratty Castle & Folk Park at home in Co.Clare. Needless to say Santa at Bunratty did not disappoint!
What we enjoyed
Overall the afternoon was magical from start to finish. From the moment we arrived to collect the tickets, there was an air of calm and not the usual hysteria and stress associated with your average Santa seeing experience. We had an appointed time slot of 12:00pm. We arrived at 11:45 and were led to a beautiful, festively decorated building with bouncing castles, snowy animal scenes, giant connect 4 and ‘elves’ and a giant Olaf to entertain the kids.
As Luke and Olly were playing, families were called to see Santa. We were called at 12:07pm and a friendly elf walked us through the folk park to Santa’s Grotto a short walk away. Here the elves were eager to take photos of us in the foyer of the grotto, with our phones and cameras. After less than 5 minutes we were led in to see Santa. He looked great and gave the kids lots of time to chat. At no time did we feel rushed and there was plenty of opportunity for photos that we took ourselves and with their photographer.
The main street of the folk park was lit with lights and strewn with beautiful wreaths, baubles and festive charm. Each of the buildings had different activities from stories to puppet shows, to games and of course the beautiful fairy trail. We met Olaf the snowman, Scrooge, Mrs.Clause, not to mention the elves and Santa himself. There were so many photo opportunities at times it was overwhelming.
Luke thoroughly enjoyed the fair grounds. The carousel and teacups, which stopped every minute or so to let new passengers on meaning there was no queue at any time. We enjoyed some warm mulled wines and mince pies by a turf fire whilst chatting to some friendly ‘locals’.
What surprised us?
The most pleasant surprise of all was how spacious and uncrowded the whole experience was. At no point did we queue for Santa, the shops or rides. The entire afternoon was carefree with zero stress which as far as I’m concerned, was priceless.
Santa at Bunratty was really well organised and the care and attention to detail that the staff show to visitors, big and small, is admirable.
The staff went above and beyond to be friendly, engaging, festive and fun, which made the experience all the more memorable. From random sing songs of Jingle Bells aboard the Polar Express to festive stories and jokes with Mrs. Clause’s brother, who of course is married to Scrooge’s sister! The characters and commitment to performance was heartwarming.
Why we will be returning next year
Without a doubt, the Santa at Bunratty experience will be a tradition we will be repeating for years to come. This experience is worth driving a couple of hours for. Watching Luke and Olly’s little faces light up with excitement again and again, was priceless. If I could use four words to describe this afternoon they would be: Stress Free Festive Bliss.
- Adults: €14
- Kids: €27
- Babies (under 1): €7
Handy things to note
- The polar express train ride cost €1 per person and was well worth doing.
- The professional photo was €13, with lots of extra additional packages available for various prices. There was no pressure to buy this though. The staff were really accommodating to us taking our own photos with Santa.
- Each of the kids got a great gift from Santa. Luke got a great ball and hard board book and Olly rubber ducks and a bath book.
- Each adult received a voucher for 1 mince pie and a mulled wine upon arrival.
- There is still some mid-week availability left for Santa at Bunratty 2017, I can attest that it well worth a visit! So check the website for availability and times.