Free festive fun at Carr Gate garden centre

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For some family festive fun, head to Wyevale Garden Centre at Carr Gate in Wakefield.

I found myself there last weekend with my five-year-old daughter Lucy last, writes Gemma Jimmison.

First up, was a Christmas storytime session. One of Santa’s elves gathered the children together for a cosy session reading festive tales about Santa in the North Pole. It was a great start to getting in the Christmas spirit ahead of seeing the man himself.

Lucy was then transformed into a beautiful butterfly, thanks to the free face painting.

The painter was excellent, and really put the extra effort into making youngsters look spectacular, with glitter, stencils, gems and an array of colours.

Lucy also took a trip through the winter wonderland to Santa’s Grotto (£10 per child including a gift).

The children get the chance to plant a bean in a pot of glittery strands, which is a nice touch. The very friendly elf told Lucy that if she had been good then Santa’s magic would turn the bean into a mini Christmas tree (it did, phew, she’s on the good list!). She also had plenty of time to talk to Santa and was given a little wrapped gift to take home.

Lucy had a lovely time at the centre, for what really was minimal cost.

There’s also a range of other free activities including reindeer food making and donkey rides along with paid for sessions, such as Christmas trees for sale and the chance to enjoy a festive lunch, or breakfast or tea with Santa.

The free activities are as follows:

Enjoy reindeer food making (11am-1pm), face painting (noon to 3pm) and gift ideas (2-4pm) on December 9, and a treasure hunt (11am-1pm) face painting (noon to 3pm) and crafts (2-4pm) on December 10.

On December 16, there’s reindeer food making (10am to noon), donkey rides, (11am to 2pm) and a Christmas treasure hunt (2pm to 4pm), while on December 17, people can get Christmas gift ideas (11am to 1pm), have a donkey ride (11am to 2pm) and enjoy Christmas story time (2pm to 4pm).

On December 23, the activities are Christmas wreath making (11am to 1pm), face painting (noon to 3pm), and homemade gift ideas (2pm to 4pm. There’s a children’s craft activity (11am to 1pm), face painting (noon to 3pm) and story time (1pm to 3pm) on Christmas Eve, December 24.

Visit for more information.