Friday 5 December 2014

The Snowman and The Snowdog Grotto at intu Trafford Centre, Manchester

Last weekend we were treated to a fabulous day out courtesy of intu Trafford Centre and The Snowman And The Snowdog Santa's Grotto. Our day started quite early as we decided it would be good to do a bit of shopping before our timeslot at 1.30pm.

The intu Trafford Centre The Snowman and The Snowdog Christmas Grotto

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 The Snowman and The Snowdog Christmas Grotto review

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.

The intu Trafford Centre in Manchester Christmas decorations

The intu Trafford Centre in Manchester Christmas nativity scene

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...

The intu Trafford Centre in Manchester carousel in Barton Square

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.

The intu Trafford Centre in Manchester Snowman and The Snowdog Grotto

We went into the huge tent fairly promptly on time, and the magic starts straightaway - animatronic penguins, icicles and fairy lights everywhere! 

The intu Trafford Centre in Manchester Snowman and The Snowdog Grotto entrance

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 intu Trafford Centre in Manchester Snowman and The Snowdog Grotto movie

The film was only around 5 minutes, and in clips, and the 'Elf' chatted to the children throughout, asking questions and getting them excited.
The Snowman And The Snowdog Frenchman with garlic

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. 
The Snowman And THe Snowdog Animatronic animated Snowmen

The intu Trafford Centre in Manchester Snowman and The Snowdog Grotto letter to Santa

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' 6 year old was on it straight away, our 4 year old isn't so great at writing, so he was a bit stumped...

Trafford Centre Manchester Snowman and The Snowdog Grotto letter to Santa

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...

Hilarious Santa Photo at Trafford Centre in Manchester UK

Best Santa photo I've ever had bar none. It's all in the eyes...

Close up of hilarious Santa photo

Santa was in fact on very good form, and a lovely chap - as were all of the staff we met. Some of the Elves were very funny and really made my children giggle. The dark-haired male Elf who printed our photo has definitely found his vocation.

Ice Cream Sundae at Cadwaladers in Barton Square, Trafford Centre

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!

Cadwaladers Praline Hot Chocolate Festive Hot Drink

A quick wave goodbye to the Singing Bears, and it was time to go home....

intu Trafford Centre Singing Bears

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.

Ace gifts from Santa

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....

The Snowman And The Snowdog Soft Toy and Book with CD


  1. Oh wow! This looks fantastic! I'm coming to Manchester in january for a weekend with a couple of friends and looking forward to my first Trafford Centre experience! x

    1. I'm not much of a shopper, but I don'tmind the Trafford Centre at all - and half the time I can just go and play in the LEGO Discovery Centre or the LEGO Discovery Centre shop! :D

  2. Love the setting. My kids both of them love Snowdog, they would love to go there! The price is so reasonable too.

    1. I think the price is very reasonable, I'll certainly take my 2 little ones again :)

  3. Looks like the boys had fun and the grotto looks amazing - just a shame it is based at the Trafford Centre :( That picture... best picture ever!! :) xx

    1. It is the best picture ever, I'm so pleased with it - one for when he's 18! :D

  4. Aww they must alternate between elf and Billy's mum :) my boys both got space putty and loved it - and Ted loved it too ;)

    1. I'm disappointed we didn't get Billy's Mum, but the Elf was very good and had I not compared I'd never have known! I'll be going back next year for sure :)

  5. This looks fab! I'll need to mention it to my sister since they stay closer to there than we do LOL.

    1. It is fab, really nicely done and breaks up an afternoon's shopping very nicely :)

  6. This looks absolutely lovely. My daughter loves the film, and both of my kids have their own hand-knitted snowdogs, so they'd love this! Glad you all enjoyed it x

    1. Hand-knitted Snowdogs sound so lovely! I have to admit I have nicked ours - it's on my chest of drawers in the bedroom. I'll give it back if he asks (but only out of guilt :D )

  7. This sounds like a really magical Santa visit and that photo is just priceless!


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