Monday 19 November 2018

intu Trafford Centre Christmas! Toy Parade plus Alpine Village And Grotto review

Last Saturday we were guests of intu Trafford Centre to be among the first to experience their Christmas attractions - and to catch the 2nd ever Christmas Toy Parade. We all had an excellent day out and it really did put us into a festive mood.

Our day started super early for a Saturday, long before the shops in the centre opened. It gave me a chance to take photos before everyone arrived though - so bear that in mind when photos look empty of people - it was only 8.30am!

We were repaid for our early start with a breakfast of saucy beans and truffle mushrooms, sausage and bacon for breakfast (the Gentleman from Leon hovering over the table was utterly lovely - as was his food!). We then got to meet some of the stars getting ready for the parade later in the day.

My boys were particularly smitten by Tinky Winky. Seems nostalgia kicks in early these days!

Afterwards we had a couple of hours browsing and enjoying the decorations before the parade. I enjoyed it even more than last year. I felt there was always something to look at, despite a last minute technical failure meaning there was no big screen for the 11.30am parade.

The costumes were gorgeous and everyone looked as if they really were having an excellent time - the smiles on all of the cast were genuine. So lovely to see so many local people involved - the cast was immense!

There were LOADS of costumed characters - and they moved very well on the stage considering how little some of them could see, and the number of steps and inclines involved.

Highlights for me were the Breakdancing Juggling Elves - they were brilliant - Peter Rabbit deserving 'Dancer Of The Year' and Santa himself, suitably resplendent and jolly, and signing to the little girl in front of me.

LEGO minifigures can't go down stairs, as you will well know if you've also spent the last 6 years doing toy photography... A genuine medal for the people inside the LEGO costumes when they approached that big flight of stairs and attempted the first step and realised - and the members of staff who helped them down. Bravery beyond bravery.

The parade ended with a huge ensemble on stage and snow! The snow is so magical for the children. I picked as much up as I could and threw it over passed it on to those who weren't already under it. If I'm honest it's magical for me too. I love it.

Just look at him...bless.... Shouting "Bye Santa" at the top of his voice. I think I was too. There's still a little magic left...

After the Toy Parade it was outside to the Alpine Village. It's always seemed a bit of a cold and windswept afterthought at Barton Square, but it was absolutely thriving down by the main The Orient entrance. The atmosphere was relaxed and happy and the choice of food is really quite exciting.

Halloumi Fries and a Racklette for cheese-lovers, Chips with cheese, chips with beef, German sausage hotdogs, Yorkshire Pudding Roast Dinner Wraps and more - all cosy and warm with tables and benches, and safe raised open fires to stand round for the taller people.

At the far end is an amazing tepee with a bar and live music. He was really good too! These photos were taken early in the morning, but even at 1pm it was busy but not crowded inside.

After lunch we were booked in to see Santa. My boys are at the 'open denial' stage whereby they understand Christmas, but aren't prepared to admit that in public yet - just in case. It didn't matter though, they may as well have been 4 years old...

The grotto experience this year is Peter Rabbit and it was excellently done. Peter talks to the children and gives them a little background, and then there is a miniature door for them to sneak through into 'the woods'. There is also a full height door thankfully!

Mr Tod the fox is waiting next to invite everyone into his lair. He's cooking and so is Jemima Puddleduck next door. She's making gingerbread and every child can decorate one to take home in a little box.

Then it's off to see the big guy. Santa was lovely. He chatted to the kids and to us, made a few jokes and was everything you'd hope. He also requested Guinness and Chocolate Chip cookies this year from us - I won't be allowed to forget that.

You are allowed to take photos at the beginning of the grotto, but not once in with Santa, where a photo is taken for you. We bought a copy because it was a really nice photo and excellent quality. There are lots of different options available but we chose the block photo snowglobe with mini figures inside it for £12 - which is far more reasonable than school photos!

A lot of us find ourselves at the Trafford Centre over Christmas and I think they've really made a lovely effort this year and given visitors lots of reasons not to complain about going shopping...

The intu Trafford Centre is open every day from now until Christmas Eve and there are tons of events! You can find out more on the intu Trafford Centre Events Page...

The Trafford Centre's Peter Rabbit-inspired Grotto is open every day until Christmas Eve and tickets can be booked here, Children £8.50 (all children receive a gift - ours were lovely), Adults £5.50. It's wise to book in advance as it gets very busy at times.
The Alpine Village food is excellent quality and prices are not inexpensive, but probably fair. Halloumi Fries x 5 @ £5, Cheesy Chips @ £3.50, Doughnuts x 4 @ £3.50

We were given free entry to visit the Peter Rabbit Santa's Grotto, breakfast courtesy of Leon's and lunch at the Alpine Village, in return for an honest review.

1 comment:

  1. It really was such a fantastic day! The Traffoed Centre did themselves proud! So many fantastic Christmas activities, absolutely loved it!x


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