On Saturday whilst visiting family, we thought it would be nice to visit Father Christmas with Emily’s cousin Mya, hopefully making the overall experience of the first visit, a little less scary. We decided on visiting Santa Claus at the Treaty Centre in Hounslow, South West London. The last time I visited Santa here with my sister was years ago when we were very little. For as little as £4.50 you get a little time slot to meet Father Christmas, his elves, have a photo opportunity moment and receive a present for your age group. Overall, personally the experience was a little off, mainly due to the organisation of said elves, but for a first time visit, it wasn’t too bad.
What you should know
It’s not a grotto
The Treaty Centre website states you’ll be visiting Santa’s grotto, it’s not, it’s more his front garden, draped in fake snow, plopped in front of Schuh and Ernest Jones. If you want privacy with your Santa experience, you don’t get it here.
Buying a ticket doesn’t make any difference
I booked a ticket for Emily and Mya a week before the visit as it was mentioned it would be busy and we were guaranteed a slot. We did get a slot but we were met with rude parents, pushing and shoving and a very keen assistant to hurry us along.
Father Christmas was really nice
He was really sweet, very chatty and took interest in both Mya and Emily. Mya felt at ease as she excitedly answered every question he asked. Emily wasn’t sure at any moment with the whole scenario. Santa, had tried in a few occasions to get Emily interested but she clung to me like a baby koala.
They let you take photos on your phone
You don’t have to buy any of the merchandise on offer. You can of course just use your phone if you want. Personally a photo with Santa for £20 seems a little extreme, so do it yourself, for a lot less.
There are different toys for different age groups
Mya got a Star Wars Prince Laila Angry Bird toy which had some pink in the design, so she was happy. As for Emily she received a Christmas pop-up book that she preferred only 1 out of the 10 pages, which brought lots of giggles and fascination.
If you want a full Father Christmas, grotto, reindeer and snow experience, you won’t get it here. There are a few other places in South West London that have Father Christmas, but a lot don’t have amen advanced booking system and are usually a first come, first served basis. This isn’t all bad if you have patient kids!
You can book to see Father Christmas in Hounslow here.