Barton Square at The Trafford Centre was covered in The Snowman and The Snowdog images, and the little boys got quite excited straight away. They didn't know we were going inside later!
The intu Trafford Centre itself is always really beautifully decorated, and it's actually a lovely place to get into the festive spirit. Although it was Saturday morning during 'Black Friday weekend', it wasn't too busy, and we were able to stroll around without huge crowds.
We bagged a few bargains, had something to eat at the mini German Market and the boys had a ride on the gorgeous carousel (£2 per person) and then it was time to visit The Snowman and The Snowdog Grotto...
When you book - either online or in person, you are given a time to arrive. We discovered you are best to be there 10 minutes early or else you get caught up in the queue for the next timeslot, and if you are late then they may not be able to fit you in immediately.
We went into the huge tent fairly promptly on time, and the magic starts straightaway - animatronic penguins, icicles and fairy lights everywhere!
And then the curtain pulls back and you see why they're so strict on timings - everyone files into a small room to be introduced to the story of The Snowman and The Snowdog. Most of the children sat on mats at the front, and the adults sat on benches.
The film was only around 5 minutes, and in clips, and the 'Elf' chatted to the children throughout, asking questions and getting them excited.
Then you walk through a pathway with animated snowmen from The Snowman and The Snowdog. My children are familiar with the book and film, so they recognised some of the snowmen. It was beautifully done.
Into a larger area where actually we were waiting our turn to see Santa, but you'd barely realise. There are several desks with lights and special paper for the children to write their 'letters to Santa'...my 6 year old was on it straight away, our 4 year old isn't so great at writing, so he was a bit stumped...
One of Santa's Elves came and took us through another curtain, and asked the boys what their names and ages were. I understood what was going on, but actually Santa got it a little wrong, so it kind of failed a bit, but it made me and my partner giggle...
Best Santa photo I've ever had bar none. It's all in the eyes...
We nipped in Cadwaladers for a Festive Hot Drink (Praline Hot Chocolate which was just gorgeous!) and an Ice Cream Sundae before we left. I love it in there and have mentioned it before in one of my LEGO Discovery Centre posts. The prices are great, the quality excellent, and you could even get a child's cone for £1 in Summer!
A quick wave goodbye to the Singing Bears, and it was time to go home....
The presents that my children got from Santa were very well thought out, age-appropriate, and I noted that children seemed to get all kinds of different gifts, which was excellent. Santa seemed to have some free choice about which gifts he gave, which I really liked, and my lads were delighted with theirs.
The Snowman and The Snowdog Grotto is open to all ages. Tickets cost £4.50 per child which includes a gift and £2.50 per adult.
Opening times in December
Monday - Friday 9am - 9pm
Saturday 9am - 9pm
Sunday 9am - 7pm
Christmas Eve 9am – 5pm
Last admission time is 20 minutes before closing. A £2.50 transaction fee will be added to your order when booking online.
We were treated to our visit to Santa's The Snowman and The Snowdog Grotto, the ride on the carousel, and on this occasion our visit to Cadwaladers by intu Trafford Centre, who also gave my children some great The Snowman and The Snowdog goodies. This hasn't affected my review one bit though, it was lovely, it was very well done and we all thought it was magical. I definitely recommend it - especially if you have loved The Snowman since you were little like I have....I am totally having this Snowdog, just as soon as I prise it from my 4 year old....