Saturday, 5 December 2015

A Day Out At Martin Mere Wetland Centre - with a Giant LEGO Trail and Sail With Santa

This Winter Martin Mere Wetland Centre is host to a collection of 10 new exhibits - and they won't be needing a new enclosure because they're giant models of birds and other creatures you might find at Martin Mere which are built from LEGO.

Through weekends in December Santa will also be in residence on his own island, and children actually ride a boat out to meet him!

Sail with Santa and LEGO animal trail Martin Mere Burscough

We went along last weekend to see the giant LEGO creatures, and to 'Sail With Santa' ourselves. Children who see Santa also get a gift, a letter to Santa and a reply and a Christmas craft activity. We started with our craft activity - making glittery Christmas Tree decorations.

Martin Mere christmas craft activities

We were first as we were there very early in the day. The room is massive, and the crafts were well-stocked. There were also lots of other Christmas crafts that any child can take part in for a small fee.

Martin Mere christmas craft activities
Martin Mere christmas craft bauble star activities

Then it was time to see Santa, and a boat trip over to Santa's Island (powered by some lovely elves) with 1 adult per child allowed to join on the boat.

Martin Mere christmas Sail with Santa

Martin Mere christmas Sail with Santa Review

If you use a wheelchair you can take the boat trip, and the island is also easily accessible by bridge - which is how you get back. Martin Mere has a mosaic of flat tarmac paths, so is great for wheelchair users and pushchairs, but there are gates between each pen, so bring a friend and make them open and shut them for you.

Now it was time to do some bird-watching. Martin Mere plays host to an immense range of birds and other wildlife throughout the year, and caters for everyone, from the professional or expert amateur, to my 5 year old boy, who can recognise robins, ducks, geese and swans and has never used proper grown up binoculars before.

Martin Mere Wetland Centre Binoculars for children

We were of course there to see some very special birds - we were there to follow the LEGO Trail which has just arrived. The boys loved spotting the life size and giant wildlife, and telling us how many bricks and hours each took to make!

Martin Mere Wetland Centre Giant LEGO trail Swan

The swan was may favourite, with it's giant majestic wings. They are beautifully made, the techniques are gorgeous - it's incredibly hard to create something so large and elegant, yet strong enough to hold it's own weight.

Martin Mere Wetland Centre Giant LEGO trail Red Breasted Goose

There are even opportunities to see, and get close to, some of the actual wildlife recreated in the models.

Martin Mere Wetland Centre Giant LEGO trail Flamingo

Naturally the otters weren't playing outside - it's a standing joke in our house that they are a mythical creature! The LEGO otter was easy to find though...

Martin Mere Wetland Centre Giant LEGO trail birds Otter

The weather was seasonably cold and very wet - but actually even when you are a long way from the main buildings, there are so many hides everywhere at Martin Mere that you can have a break from the weather whenever you fancy.

We found the Dragonfly - that's the trickiest to find. There are clues above in case you get as confused looking as we did...

There is water everywhere at Martin Mere and some of it (usually walled) is very deep, so if your smaller children are free roamers or runners, keep a close eye or a hand on them.

Martin Mere is huge, incredibly well-kept and spotlessly clean. It really was a gorgeous place to visit, but if you go you really have to take a walk across to the Harrier Hide. A stunning Harrier-shaped hide with an amazing entranceway, and what really is an open air Wetlands Museum, with artifacts and information about what has been found hidden in the water and mud.

We had lunch before we left, and for around £6.00 each we had a children's hot meal, children's bucket meal, or a sandwich and chips, plus a hot or cold drink. There was loads of variety on offer, and it was all fairly priced and looked home-made and tasty with good quality ingredients and a great view...

One of the highlights for my children was the elves having a break. My 5 year old especially couldn't take his eyes off them, and was impeccably behaved while he ate...he clearly thought they were taking notes...

Exit through the gift shop - but as you do, take a look at the Limited Edition LEGO Wetland Animals sets. Genuine LEGO, and lovely models. They vary in price depending on size, from £10 for the 42 piece Chris The Crane, to £15.50 for the 116 piece Emily The Emperor Dragonfly.

Santa will be on his island every Saturday and Sunday in the run up to Christmas. Sail With Santa  boat ride, Santa visit, gift, Christmas craft and a letter to Santa with a reply costs £8 per child.

The giant LEGO brick animal trail will be at Martin Mere until January 31st and at weekends you can pre-book a LEGO workshop, where for £8.50 you can build your own duckling!

A day's entry to Martin Mere is £12.20 per adult, £8.95 concessions, £5.90 for a young person and a family ticket is £32.50. Children under 4 are free.
Annual Membership of Martin Mere is a minimum donation of £45 per adult, £22 per young person, £34 concessions, joint adults £68, and a family with 2 adults is £79. This means that by visiting just 3 times in a year a family will save money with annual membership.

Martin Mere is huge, it's gorgeous, and I understand why everyone who knew where we were going spoke fondly about Martin Mere. We will definitely be back - it was gorgeous in the rain, so I want to see it in better weather and with a picnic and blankets!

Our day out was given to us free of charge for review.


  1. Sounds like a great day out and it is such a different Santa visit too! Looks like you all had a great time.

    1. We really did Tami, it was a lovely chilled day - even with all the rain! :D


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