Daddy was supposed to be taking both Grandsons to this but couldn’t at the last minute, which is why I got involved. Three year old Grandson didn’t want to go. After his experience on the Santa Special at Keighley and Worth Valley (read review) he was fretting there might be people dressed up as bears or Rudolf. He was saying he was going to sit in the car.
The Pink Pig Farm is a local organic farm with shop and restaurant as well as a farm trail and play areas for children. It was raining steadily when we arrived and even the sheep in the far field were looking fed up.
We were the first and reported to the restaurant where the procedure for the morning was explained. I asked about bears or Rudolf and got a defensive response that there was Santa and an elf. The atmosphere lightened when I said that’s a relief and explained why. Grandson began to relax too.
We had a long wait until everyone arrived and things began. The price of £10 per child included a breakfast for the child with a trip to see Father Christmas and a present. Daughter just paid for the three year old as the one year old was an ‘observer’. Adults could buy drinks or food. Having just had breakfast we didn’t bother. The breakfast at £7.99 looked huge and seemed popular.
A large section of the restaurant had been closed and a long table laid up for the children’s breakfast. They were expecting 25 although not everyone turned up. There was a Christmas tree but otherwise little effort to decorate the room. A DVD of Christmas music was playing. Fortunately there was a small children’s corner with a selection of books which occupied Grandson until things began.
There was a cheap cracker with tacky small present. A breakfast of two small sausages, scrambled egg, rasher of bacon and baked beans was served with well watered fruit juice. At 10am, Number One grandson wasn’t very hungry but Number Two who has hollow legs finished it off. A spare plate and spoon were readily supplied when we asked.
The group was then split into two. Half stayed in the room to do some colouring (a photocopied picture of a snowman on A4) while the rest went to see Father Christmas. The groups then swapped over.
I was pleased we managed to get in the first group as by now Number One, who dislikes a lot of noise and children, was wanting to go home. We trooped outside and into an outside room to see Father Christmas. It was very cold in spite of a small electric fan heater. We sat on wooden benches round the side of the room. Father Christmas was in a rocking chair beside a pretend chimney with a photo of Rudolf. Again there was a half hearted attempt to decorate the room. Sacks had been put on the floor which were a trip hazard. The elf read the story of "the Night Before Christmas" but it was a lack lustre reading. There is a skill in reading aloud to a large group and the elf didn’t have it. Each of the children went up to see Father Christmas and was given a small present, paper colour coded pink for the girls and blue for the boys.
Actually the present was unisex and very disappointing. There was a small activity book on poor quality paper that looked as if it had been bought as part of a bumper pack from the local market, a rather peculiar small purple duck (is it meant to be a bath toy?), a cockerel finger puppet and two chocolate coins.
We didn’t bother with the colouring and left after seeing Father Christmas.
All in all we were not impressed. It had an amateurish feel and the present let it down very badly. It would have been better if the colouring activity had been provided at the start to occupy children as they arrived.
There was no attempt to sing Christmas songs with the children (daughter thought this had been mentioned on the web site but all references to Father Christmas have now been removed so I can’t check this out). This is a pity as with a bit of effort and thought, plus a couple of extra elves, this could easily have been done.
This is not an activity we’ll be doing again next year.
The restaurant has a good reputation locally and was busy when we left.
We had a quick look round the shop which had a selection of quite expensive food type gifts. The meat counter was a major disappointment. The beef was unappetising and had that pale pink washed out look of meat that has not been hung long enough. The pork did look better, but even so looked a bit sad. Prices seemed expensive too. We wouldn’t bother with this again.
Overall I felt this is a place that has a high opinion of itself which may not be justified. We haven’t been round the farm adventure trail (£4.10 for adults and over twos) but think there may be better elsewhere.