Santa and the Perfect Christmas Tree at Clearwell Caves
This week we visited Clearwell Caves in the Forest of Dean. These are natural caves which have been mined for iron ore for thousands of years, however, we didn’t visit to learn more about the history of the area as from the end of November there is the opportunity to meet Santa in the caves.
What is great about visiting Santa at Clearwell Caves is that he is there every day. This meant that we could go during the week, on my day off and as a result it was fairly quiet (apart from a primary school visit which we just managed to get ahead of).
This was our first visit to the caves so I have no idea what they look like outside of the festive season, but I was amazed by how beautiful they were made to look at this time of year. The paths leading into the caves were decorated with lights, Christmas trees and other greenery, in addition to festive scenery.
We soon arrived at the grotto where Santa was waiting to see us. Freyja was happy to talk to Santa, answering his questions about whether she had been well-behaved and what she would like for Christmas, and also what Emily would like. Emily was very unsure about Santa, so stayed cuddled up to me, refusing to make eye contact with the main man. I felt like a child again when I was asked what I wanted for Christmas, and immediately answered with what any over-tired mother of two wants – some sleep. A very kind family behind us took our photo. I know I look the most excited about meeting Santa, but I think that I actually was. Especially if I get a good night’s sleep as my Christmas present.
Santa said the girls were then able to choose their gifts from his “gift shop” next to his grotto. They both chose dolls. Emily named hers “Baba” which is what she calls any doll, and Freyja named hers “Susan”. I’m not sure why “Susan”, but both dolls were clutched by two very happy girls for the rest of the walk through the caves.
The rest of the caves were devoted to the story of “The Perfect Christmas Tree”. This was told through beautifully presented scenes, accompanied by boards recounting the story along the path back through the cave. My photographs just don’t do justice to the time and care that must have gone into setting up all of these gorgeous dioramas.
In the story, the Tuppence Family find the perfect Christmas tree in the forest and struggle to get it home, with various characters trying different ways to get it back to their house.
Freyja and Susan looking at The Perfect Christmas Tree
The Tuppence Family discovering The Perfect Christmas Tree
The Tuppence Family try to pull The Perfect Christmas Tree up from the forest.
Tilly Tuppence builds a snowman
Using a hot air balloon to try to pull The Perfect Christmas Tree up
The Tuppence Family decide to have Christmas with The Perfect Christmas Tree in the forest
The Perfect Christmas Tree was a really magical journey through the caves and both girls, particularly Freyja, really enjoyed it. It really added to the experience, making it more than just a trip to see Santa.
The 2014 Christmas Fantasy at Clearwell Caves runs from 29th November to 24th December 2014, 10am-5pm, (10am-8pm on Fridays). ”The Perfect Christmas Tree” display just runs from 27th Dec 2014 to 4th Jan 2015. Entrance is £9 for adults and children over 2 years old – which includes a gift from Santa (for children under 14) and I paid an optional extra £4.50 for a gift from Santa to Emily.
I am keen to go back to the caves later on in the year now, and will definitely pay another visit with the girls next Christmas.