Father Christmas in the Crystal Grotto

December 21, 2013

PODcast IMG_1773When we visited the follies of Painshill Park, we heard you could meet Father Christmas in the Crystal Grotto.

It’s the latest of their follies to be restored and its quite extraordinary. Stalactites hang from the ceiling and the walls sparkle with crystals. Hundreds of thousands of them were used to re-create it.

The Crystal Grotto seemed a great location for POD to meet Father Christmas for the first time. Or so we thought. POD has continually believed all Father Christmas does is fish. When we asked what PODcast IMG_1831else he does, her response was “nothing, he just fishes”.

Taking her views into account, we headed for the Crystal Grotto with an open mind. Painshill Park is an elegant 18th century landscape garden – described as a magical wonderland with hidden surprises.

The route to the Crystal Grotto was fabulous and specifically designed for kids. POD was delighted when she saw an elf carrying a barrow load of presents – she loved pretending to be one too. Father Christmas signs were used to show the way and POD enjoyed chatting to them. One even got a cuddle!

PODcast IMG_1808The Chinese Bridge looked wonderful decorated with lights and we could see the Wishing Well tent over the other side of the Serpentine Lake. Once we crossed the bridge we could also spotted two reindeer made of lights and the path leading to the Wishing Well tent.

The Crystal Grotto itself looked even more incredible than usual with its fairy lights and Christmas tree. Father Christmas sat on a red leather chair surrounded by presents.

POD was so excited she ran round talking and pointing for a minute hardly able to take it all in. When she PODcast IMG_1814spotted the man himself, it was coupled with “look Mummy there’s Father Christmas”.

Having composed herself, when he asked what she’d like for Christmas she requested a scooter and a blue balloon. After receiving a present and capturing a photo, we were quickly moved on to make way for the next child.

We left via the usual entrance tunnel which looked amazing with its path all lit up. What an astonishing experience for POD, seeing Father Christmas for the first time in a Crystal Grotto.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


  • Reply jo December 21, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    aaahh I’m glad you had a lovely time! It’s our favourite place to see Santa, can’t believe I didn’t get round to it this year, it really is magical isn’t it?

    Are you near Carshalton? We’ve got Reindeer at the Woodcote Nurseries which are free to see – there’s three or four of them too!

    • Reply Charly Dove December 21, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      Wow Woodcote Nurseries sound fabulous. We’re in Guildford so I’m sure we’re not that far away. It was fabulous at the crystal grotto – would have loved more time to take photos!

      • Reply jo December 22, 2013 at 8:34 am

        it is lovely, we’re lucky having it so close. I’m thinking of maybe going to Bocketts Farm today to see Santa as you don’t need to pre-book so we might stand a chance, and that looks pretty fab too!

        All my photos there come out blurry, I just have to keep going back 😉 My friend had a much better camera and got a lovely shot of H a couple of years ago, it’d have made a lovely Christmas Card!!

  • Reply Coombe Mill - Fiona December 21, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    What a wonderful first meeting for Pod – it couldn’t have gone better! They seem to have outdone themselves creating such a wonderful winter wonderland for all to enjoy. Thanks for linking up and sharing with Country Kids.

    • Reply Charly Dove December 21, 2013 at 5:33 pm

      Thank you Fiona, it really was wonderful. She wasn’t 100% sure what to make of Father Christmas but did come round – she liked the tree and all the presents too 🙂

  • Reply Dean December 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    This looks so magical! What a lovely place to visit Father Christmas! 🙂 And POD is such a brave girl, she wasn’t even afraid of him 🙂 T burst into tears when she first met him. Hahaha. Ooh it’s almost her birthday, how exciting! Anyway, hope you guys have a lovely Christmas/Birthday and happy New Year as well, from my little family to yours 🙂

    • Reply Charly Dove December 21, 2013 at 5:38 pm

      Thank you Dean, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas too! Not sure POD got the opportunity to be scared when she saw Father Christmas – it was all very quick! She still thinks he just fishes LOL 🙂

  • Reply Jaime Oliver December 21, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    wow Charly this place looks amazing!! its stunning! xx

  • Reply Christine December 21, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    That Crystal Grotto looks amazing! Sadly my kids are a little old for Father Christmas visits now, enjoy it while you can!

    • Reply Charly Dove December 21, 2013 at 5:39 pm

      Thank you Christine – hopefully she’ll really enjoy it this year 🙂

  • Reply Sara (@mumturnedmom) December 21, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    I loved the photos of the grotto before, but with the lights and the tree it looks even more magical. What a wonderful place for POD to meet Santa for the first time xx

    • Reply Charly Dove December 21, 2013 at 8:36 pm

      It looked incredible Sara – wish I’d been able to take more photographs. The main part of the grotto looked amazing. Relieved POD enjoyed herself 🙂

  • Reply Kriss MacDonald December 21, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Such stunning photos of the crystal grotto. Really a magical place for POD to meet Santa for the first time!

  • Reply Nell@PigeonPairandMe December 21, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    POD doesn’t look massively impressed in every photo – the love him/terrified of him Santa dichotomy! Sounds as though she did really well, though. Gorgeous coat, btw!

    • Reply Charly Dove December 22, 2013 at 10:18 am

      POD has a wealth of facial expressions! She wasn’t very impressed that I took a photo of her with Father Christmas although I had to catch her beforehand! She never poses for photographs normally 🙂

  • Reply Katie December 22, 2013 at 12:03 am

    The crystal grotto looks fantastic with the lights! Magical! What a memory to have!

    • Reply Charly Dove December 22, 2013 at 10:22 am

      Thank you Katie – I think it was a good introduction for her. At least she didn’t ask Father Christmas if he fishes!

  • Reply Mammasaurus December 22, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Ahhh she looks so happy and not at all phased by Father Christmas (mine won’t go near him!) Happy festive photos – best wishes for Crimbo and PODs birthday to you oh lovely lady.

    I am tending my tree well you’ll be glad to hear x

    • Reply Charly Dove December 22, 2013 at 10:57 am

      It was a great experience for her – she really wasn’t phased at all. That was the closest she got to him though! Have a wonderful Christmas too – glad the tree is doing well 🙂

  • Reply LauraCYMFT December 22, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Looks like a fab Grotto!

  • Reply Mary @over40andamumtoone December 22, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    Sounds wonderful, truly magical #CountryKids

  • Reply PODcast | What's The Story? | 23rd December 2013 December 23, 2013 at 6:02 am

    […] This week we bring you a post about POD’s first visit to see Father Christmas – in a Crystal Grotto. […]

  • Reply The Reading Residence December 23, 2013 at 6:39 am

    Wow, such an amazing grotto – looks magical x

    • Reply Charly Dove December 23, 2013 at 11:05 am

      Thank you Jocelyn, it really was fabulous 🙂

  • Reply Afra December 23, 2013 at 8:24 am

    It sounds like a lovely experience. Hope you have a happy Christmas. Thanks for running such a lovely linky.

    • Reply Charly Dove December 23, 2013 at 11:06 am

      It was good fun Afra. Have a great Christmas too and thank you for joining 🙂

  • Reply Iona@redpeffer December 23, 2013 at 8:25 am

    That really does look magical and very special. Definitely one to remember.

    • Reply Charly Dove December 23, 2013 at 11:07 am

      It was a great experience for POD and it looked beautiful 🙂

  • Reply suzanne3childrenandit December 23, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Wowee, must have been magical for her! When we went (about 4 years ago) I don’t remember seeing this but they did do it very well. I wonder if any other ‘visiting Father christmas’ experience will compare?! x

    • Reply Charly Dove December 23, 2013 at 11:08 am

      It was great Suzanne, you must go back and see what they’ve done. It re-opened in the Summer I think. It was a great experience for POD, she took it in her stride although enjoyed that initial run around!

  • Reply Notmyyearoff December 23, 2013 at 9:22 am

    It looks so amazing and you can see proper effort has gone into it. I never knew Santa fishes 🙂

    • Reply Charly Dove December 23, 2013 at 11:10 am

      Apparently all he does is fish according to POD! Hopefully she thinks otherwise when her presents appear 🙂

  • Reply sarah December 23, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    how magical! love her requests!!

    • Reply Charly Dove December 27, 2013 at 12:46 pm

      Thank you Sarah – she got them too. A scooter and a blue balloon 🙂

  • Reply Sarah MumofThree World December 27, 2013 at 8:26 am

    That looks so beautiful! What an experience for POD’s first meeting with Father Christmas. Hope you all had a lovely Christmas and especially that POD have a lovely birthday.

    • Reply Charly Dove December 27, 2013 at 12:51 pm

      Thank you Sarah – it looked wonderful. Would have loved to have taken more photographs. Lovely Christmas thanks and POD enjoyed her birthday too 🙂

  • Reply adayindadslife December 29, 2013 at 9:42 am

    So glad you all had so much fun visiting Santa especially being PODS first visit. The park sounds so lovely and magical too.

  • Reply PODcast | A slow toy birthday and Christmas January 4, 2014 at 10:40 am

    […] our recent visit to see Father Christmas in a crystal grotto, POD did begin to believe he might do more than just fish. She wasn’t convinced […]

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