We visited Santa at the Harrods Grotto last year too and I think it’s already become a bit of a family tradition to go every year! Arjun was only 6 months last year and it’s hard to believe a year has passed by already!
We decided to also book the afternoon tea this year as we’ve not tried the Harrods afternoon tea before and also Arjun would be able to enjoy it with us.
Our slot to meet Santa was booked for 12.30 and afternoon tea was at 1.30 – a little bit later than Arjun’s usual lunch time but he had a quick pouch before going in meet Santa to tie him over till lunch.
You’re required to queue up at the designated time slot to meet Santa so if you do go earlier, be prepared to have to kill time (and spend money!) whilst waiting. We ended up getting there about half an hour earlier so walked around. It was really warm and Arjun doesn’t take too kindly to the heat so got frustrated after a little while.
Thankfully, by the time we were queuing, he was in much better spirits. There are several little games for children to play – they had the same last year but we didn’t get to enjoy any of them as Arjun was too small to play.
This year they had a presents sorting game which Arjun absoltueloy loved (it was similar to basketball for him!). He didn’t want to move from this game but the staff were super friendly and patient and were more than happy to have him which was really nice.
The second was a scale for children (and parents) to stand on which indicates whether you’ve been a good girl/boy this year to report back to Santa. Arjun didn’t really know what was going on here but was happy to stand on it.
If you’re after a grotto that has lots of reindeers and the traditional niceties like letter writing to Santa, this isn’t that place but the games and decor kept Arjun really entertained till it came to our turn to meet Santa. I’m not sure older kids would be as entertained.
There are two places that pictures get taken, one on a scene setter – last year’s was a sleigh, and this years were large boxes infront of a festive backdrop. I personally preferred last years. The second is with Santa.
We got in to meet Santa and were immediately impressed by the fact that Santa is now bi-lingual! He greeted us with “Satsriakal tusi teek ho” (hello and “how are you” in Punjabi) and Arjun immediately warmed to him! I was a bit apprehensive about how he’d react to Santa – he was super happy last year but this year I knew he’d be more aware and you often hear of children reacting to Santa badly. But Arjun loved him. Perhaps as he’s used to long beards from his granddaddies.
Santa asked Arjun what he’d like for Christmas, to which Arjun jumped off and walked towards the fireplace and pointed towards a little mouse figurine – lucky for Santa as the gift was a jingle box with a picture of a mouse on one side! How’s that for luck!? In addition to the jingle box, his little toy satchel included a giant chocolate coin and a badge which he refused to part with!
We then went to view our pictures – they didn’t come out great (only one of each where we’re all looking at the camera!) but we purchased two for our keepsake. It took a while for them to process due to some issue or another with the till which resulted in a very grumpy and hungry Arjun!
We then headed to The Georgian for afternoon tea. I love how spacious and open the setting is here. Everything is also super fancy although not the same extent as the afternoon tea at The Dorchester. It’s a lot more casual and the spread of food isn’t as great. However, it was all yummy. Arjun really enjoyed a plain scone and my favourite thing was the chocolate brownie – the best I’ve ever tasted!
After Harrods, we spontaneously decided to head to Winter Wonderland. We’d parked our car at the Cadogan Place NCP car park where we bagged an absolute bargin by booking in advance as it was on offer from £80 for the whole day to £10! The location of the car park is central to Hyde Park and Harrods so Winter Wonderland was a short distance away and we were all in a good mood!
Again, we’d visited here last year but we’d booked the grotto a lot later in the month and closer to Christmas which meant Winter Wonderland was absolutely rammed! This year it was a lot more enjoyable for several reasons. Firstly because it wasn’t so chaotic and you could actually enjoy walking around without bumping in to others. Secondly Arjun could enjoy it this year as he’s a lot more aware of his surroundings.
I was so excited to take him to Santa Land given he’d appreciate it more this year than last! He got to enjoy two rides (one he went on twice!), got to meet Santa again (wow twice in one day!) and he got gifted his favorite thing ever – STICKERS!
I was also impressed by the increase in vegetarian food available this year – I’m not sure if we missed it all last year due to the rush or if there is a genuine increase in presence of veggie food but I was gutted that I’d just eaten and couldn’t enjoy all the yummy stuff they had!