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Best Christmas experience for kids?

  • 16-11-2014 5:07pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,490 monflat


    Hi all.
    Looking for people's reviews and recommendations of where to visit the big man.

    Rathwood I've heard have mixed reviews some loved it some thought it was not great.

    We went to castlecomer discovery park last year on the train also. It was nice would like somewhere different this year around 1 hrs journey from kk or laois. In either direction!
    Children are 4 2 and a small baby who will have to tag along!


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 756 ✭✭✭ rsl1976


    This is in Dublin if you want to travel. 1st year its on so don't know how good it is www.christmaskingdom.ie


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,591 ✭✭✭ screamer


    Moonflat, we've been to the discovery park in Castlecomer and thought it was good, great Santa, lots of time for the kids

    I'd highly recommend Santas magical Trail at the Clannard Court Hotel in Athy, it is wonderful and beats the pants off Rathwood, which is IMHO overrated at this stage. I think the link is Santasmagicaltrail.com

    We're off to Imagine at Fota Island this year, not going till Dec 22nd, but will post up about it when we're done.

    I love going somewhere different every year.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,490 monflat


    Thanks for the replys it's nice to go somewhere different as santa does not last too long!


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 64 ✭✭✭ peteroregan


    We're also taking our little one to Imagine. We went to believe last year and loved it so I'm hoping it will be just as good while slightly different.

    Our friends go to Rathwood every year and rave about it but we went to the Halloween train with them this year and I honestly wasn't too impressed so I wouldn't be driving all the way from Cobh again for anything up there.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,591 ✭✭✭ screamer


    @Peteroregan, what was believe like last year, I read there was a real snow covered forest trail to Santa's grotto.... I think that Franc is not running it this year, so I sure hope they do a good job without him.

    We've been to a few different places and here's how I'd rate them:

    1. Clanard Court Santas magical trail (4/5)- Athy
    Pros: Lots and lots for the kids to do, really nicely done in the hotel with lovely attention to detail, and minimal outdoor time. Small groups at separate intervals.
    Cons: Long wait time in the foyer to get going, and Santa part wasn't great, it's a pity as all he needs is a nicer cabin and a helper or 2. This was perhaps the most disappointing part.
    Would we go again? YES


    2. Castlecomer Discovery Park (4/5)- Castlecomer
    Pros: One of the best Santas, lots of time for the kids, nice buildings, nice surroundings and a great café. The bell tower was great, Mrs Claus very nice and in the stone building, felt very authentic. Decent Present, Train is impressive when all lit up at night.
    Cons: First outdoor part is in temporary tents, but the activities the kids enjoyed. The train ride is too bumpy through the woods as the paths need some new gravel, and there's little to actually see, plus roof was leaking. Train looks great, it's a nice photo Op.
    Would we go again? YES


    3. Rathwood (3/5)- Tullow
    Pros: Nice atmosphere in the shop part with everyone waiting in line.
    The train is about the best part, walking through the woods is nice. The Santa is nice, when you can finally get in to see him.
    Cons: Waiting too long in the cabin with little for the kids to do. This experience has the least to do of all the Santa visits we've done.
    Cabin needs some updating, has great potential, but it's not quite there yet.
    Would we go again? NO


    Hope that helps a bit, I'll update for Imagine at Fota once we've been, but won't be till late December...


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 481 ✭✭ Deenie123


    Stopped in here today on my way home. Got there just after it opened, had to give it a mention on here. It's really great and worth a trip, especially if you have little ones. I'd say around 3.30 onwards is a good time to go there, would look great in the dark. Whole play centre for the kids as well as amusements like chairoplanes and bumper cars for the adults. Think they'll have a circus going by next weekend.

    http://christmaskingdom.ie/

    Much, much better than the market on the Green!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,435 ✭✭✭ skippy15


    Have booked into Rathdrum but am thinking of visiting here also- minus the santa. be good to hear a few reviews from people whether worth it as an extra day out


  • Registered Users Posts: 3 DeegoJnr


    CHRISTMAS KINGDOM - ST ANNE'S PARK, RAHENY.

    DO NOT WASTE YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY!!
    We paid €50 for myself, my husband and 2 kids. After being opened a week, they can't organise what way the train ride goes, the post office is a tent where you're served cold hot chocolate and cold mulled wine.
    Mrs Clause then, who is very good and interacts with the kids. The moving crib is a flying visit past a few animals and then onto the REAL reindeer, who weren't there!!!!!
    Through another few rooms full of bits and bobs, all thrown together, pretty dark in these rooms so some kids had a melt down. Then you meet Santa, who is lovely however, I paid a lot of money and expected a photo of my children with Santa, not a load of kids thrown in, as I'm sure the other parents felt the same. My 3 year old son got a toy off Santa, when he opened IT WAS BROKEN and my 9 year old daughter got a toy for a 3 year old, even though you have to give them your child's age when booking!!, what was the point of that, very very poor.
    Over priced, not organised properly, they are trying but IT IS A RIP OFF. Spend your money somewhere else.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,182 Cory Proud Chemist


    I went today and found it very good. We went on the train at 10, the elf on the train told stories about Santa and sang songs with the kids, then to lovely warm post office to write the letters, the elves were very good with the kids. Mrs. Clause was great and read 2 stories and the kids loved the hot chocolate. Then we went to the animals, nice boy there to tell kids about the animals and let them pet them.

    I was disappointed that the reindeer weren't there but the kids didn't seem to mind. Going through magic street was unecessary and my 1 year old was getting cranky at this stage.

    Santa was very good with them and all the gifts were good, blocks for 1 year old, craft sets for older kids which they spent over an hour on this evening. we got two photos, I don't know if we were supposed to?

    After we had mini donuts(€3) and hot mulled apple cider with a free shot of whiskey(€2). Then we went to the inflatable village (€6 per child) and stayed about 2 hours ( I think there was supposed to be a time limit of an hour though).

    For lunch we shared ham and cheese croissants (3.50) and soup and bread (3.50) from a French bakery stall near the gates as nothing else in the chalets appealed to us.

    Then we let them go on two amusements each (€2) per child, then to the playground for an hour.
    All in all we spent 7 hours there and €100 on 2 adults and 4 children. Yes I agree that is expensive , but we got a lot more than other places we have been to in the past and we got a full day.

    We were lucky it was bright and dry, it would not be as fun in the rain. Also I think our children were the right age group (1 to 6).

    If they were 10 I don't think I would bring them, but maybe go on the train and to the stalls and amusements in the evening time instead as the lights are gorgeous.


  • Registered Users Posts: 337 ✭✭ Straylight


    Is this only open at the weekend?


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 481 ✭✭ Deenie123


    Yea, Fridays through to Sundays. Apparantly Sunday is busiest so might be best for atmosphere?


  • Registered Users Posts: 470 ✭✭ Mr.McLovin


    Looking to bring my 4 year old to see Santa, had St. Annes Park, Causey Farm and Palmerstown house on the short list

    has anybody been to these? and if so would you recommend it

    thanks! :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,591 ✭✭✭ screamer


    Palmerstown House- I believe this is the first year of Santa there, so I don't think you'll get any reviews yet.

    Causey Farm- not been myself but friends of mine have. Review is that is was amazing, Santa comes down the chimney to surprise the kids. Worth visiting.

    There are videos on youtube too for Causey at Christmas check them out.

    Yes, as you can see, I am a Christmas Baby at heart.


  • Administrators, Computer Games Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 54,407 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭ Mr E


    Went to Fota Imagine yesterday with my brother, nephew (8) and niece (6). They absolutely loved it. What a fantastic experience.

    The whole thing is at least 90 minutes long and very interactive. The kids get to find out how 'good' they were during the year, they get to fix toy making machines in the elves workshop, they get to see how things are parcelled, the naughty/nice list is checked to see if they are on it (great fun), they get a great train ride through the woods (complete with singalong), they'll see talking trees, they get to help Mrs. Clause do some baking, they get hot chocolate with marshmallows, they get to do a drawing for Santa, they'll meet a princess in the forest, and then they get to meet the man himself (and get a pretty decent present out of it too).

    The photo with Santa was worth it too - they take a few shots, you pick your favourite and they properly crop it, adjust the colour etc. to make it look as good as possible.

    The whole thing ran like a well oiled machine and the kids were never bored (neither were the adults!). Got some great photos along the way too, so bring your camera.

    The look on the kids' faces (and their reaction to different things) made it totally worth it. :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,591 ✭✭✭ screamer


    Mr E, sounds amazing, can I ask, do they have snow this year, and how much of it is outside? We're booked for Dec 22nd, and going by the weather section, it's gonna be nasty.


  • Administrators, Computer Games Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 54,407 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭ Mr E


    The snow that I saw was fake - it's realistic looking, but you know it's fake when you touch it (or when it's thrown at you by an 8 year old) :)

    Apart from a few areas, it's used sparingly.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,591 ✭✭✭ screamer


    :-( Miserable, was hoping for a really impressive winter wonderland.....


  • Administrators, Computer Games Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 54,407 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭ Mr E


    Ah it's still fantastic. :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,591 ✭✭✭ screamer


    screamer wrote: »
    @Peteroregan, what was believe like last year, I read there was a real snow covered forest trail to Santa's grotto.... I think that Franc is not running it this year, so I sure hope they do a good job without him.

    We've been to a few different places and here's how I'd rate them:

    1. Clanard Court Santas magical trail (4/5)- Athy
    Pros: Lots and lots for the kids to do, really nicely done in the hotel with lovely attention to detail, and minimal outdoor time. Small groups at separate intervals.
    Cons: Long wait time in the foyer to get going, and Santa part wasn't great, it's a pity as all he needs is a nicer cabin and a helper or 2. This was perhaps the most disappointing part.
    Would we go again? YES


    2. Castlecomer Discovery Park (4/5)- Castlecomer
    Pros: One of the best Santas, lots of time for the kids, nice buildings, nice surroundings and a great café. The bell tower was great, Mrs Claus very nice and in the stone building, felt very authentic. Decent Present, Train is impressive when all lit up at night.
    Cons: First outdoor part is in temporary tents, but the activities the kids enjoyed. The train ride is too bumpy through the woods as the paths need some new gravel, and there's little to actually see, plus roof was leaking. Train looks great, it's a nice photo Op.
    Would we go again? YES


    3. Rathwood (3/5)- Tullow
    Pros: Nice atmosphere in the shop part with everyone waiting in line.
    The train is about the best part, walking through the woods is nice. The Santa is nice, when you can finally get in to see him.
    Cons: Waiting too long in the cabin with little for the kids to do. This experience has the least to do of all the Santa visits we've done.
    Cabin needs some updating, has great potential, but it's not quite there yet.
    Would we go again? NO


    Hope that helps a bit, I'll update for Imagine at Fota once we've been, but won't be till late December...

    4. Imagine - Cork at Fota Island Resort Hotel (3/5)
    Pros: The woodland trail is magical, with atmosphere and lighting, and the train is fun although only 5 minutes max, and the photo is nice to have.
    Cons: BADLY ORGANISED, and this shows right through the "experience", no atmosphere at all, turning up on time and told, actually ordered to come back at exactly the time shown. The 4 interactions inside are not co-ordinated meaning that we ended up with about 70 people held in a small area with nothing to do, waiting for the trains. The look of horror on chip elf's face when the previous area shunted yet another crowd through was telling, she actually shook her head, wide eyed saying NOOOOO to the previous elf, as there was no more room for anyone, but they shunted them through anyway. The kids and the adults were bored here in this holding pen, with nothing to do but wait. Onto the train which was good, the mrs claus and cabin were mediocre. They missed us off the list for the enchanted woodland, and we had to ask to be added back on, that was sorted out fairly quickly though. The Santa was rubbish, 2 minutes at best, sarcastic enough too, and my 6 year old turned to me and said, well that wasn't the real santa anyways.......
    Would we go again? NOPE, imagine that.


  • Hosted Moderators Posts: 22,600 ✭✭✭✭ beertons


    I know a good few that went to the one in Palmerstown House and they all said it was excellent. I'll definitely go there next year.


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  • Administrators, Computer Games Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 54,407 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭ Mr E


    Ah shame, screamer. I guess different peoples' mileage may vary. My niece and nephew loved it (and so did my brother and I).


  • Registered Users Posts: 232 ✭✭ JanaMay


    Hi all,

    I'm looking for a good Christmas/Santy day out to take 3 children (3,5 and 9) to within an hour or so drive from Dublin. I heard great things about Clannard Court, mixed reviews about St Anne's Park, Rathwood and Causey Farm. Has anybody got any reccommendations? I know it's only September but I don't want to leave it too late to book something.

    Thanks!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,737 Glitzgirl


    rsl1976 wrote: »
    This is in Dublin if you want to travel. 1st year its on so don't know how good it is www.christmaskingdom.ie

    I went to this last year and was not impressed at all. Granted I think it was they first year they did it but I won't be going again. Place to leave the buggies was outside in a mucky field with a make shift cover up while you were waiting on train. The santa pictures didn turn out the best red cheap cloth background meant that santa literally blended into background in the pictures. Overall wasn't happy with it. Hope it improves as it has Hugh potential !


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,737 Glitzgirl


    Have booked the clanard santa trail as I have heard great reviews from it. I think i already posted about it before but they do a great package on staying over definitely doing this when my toddler is a little bit older. Think they have dinner with the elves and next morning breakfast and go help wake up the animals. Can't wait to go this year !


  • Hosted Moderators Posts: 22,600 ✭✭✭✭ beertons


    I booked Santa's house express last night. It's fairly full already . It's in Palmerstown House, just outside Naas.


  • Registered Users Posts: 232 ✭✭ JanaMay


    beertons wrote: »
    I booked Santa's house express last night. It's fairly full already . It's in Palmerstown House, just outside Naas.

    Looks really good, and close to Dublin too. Have you been there before? I'm torn between this and Clannard Court at the moment!


  • Hosted Moderators Posts: 22,600 ✭✭✭✭ beertons


    I haven't been, but a lot of my neighbours have. They said its deadly.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,130 ✭✭✭ RentDayBlues


    We've booked Airfield, but it's quite expensive €70 for 2 adults and 2 kids. But it's close to home and withy a 3 and 2 year old travelling too far isn't always ideal, lots of time for that in years to come

    My friend went last year and said it was good, I know they won't be disappointed if it isn't, I will!

    Only 11 weeks until we meet the man himself


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,916 ✭✭✭ kitten_k


    We have Amber Springs booked. Looking forward to it.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,753 ✭✭✭ touts


    Anyone know what Winterval in Waterford is like?


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