Snow, Santa, cookies and carols are just some of the highlights as a magical Winter Wonderland opens at Bunn Leisure in Selsey - and it's free to go for the day
REAL snow, ice skating, cookie decorating and a pantomime are just some of the festive activities on offer at Bunn Leisure this winter.
The holiday park, in Selsey, has thrown open its doors and is allowing day visitors to experience its Winter Wonderland for free.
There are fairground rides, an inflatable snow globe, carol singing, ice skating, Santa’s grotto and much more.
Business editor Kimberley Barber took a trip there with her daughter Rosanna and friends – here is what she thought.
So it’s not quite December and the weather has turned wintry. It’s freezing and it’s blowing a gale.
We’ve wrapped up warm and are first through the doors at Bunn Leisure’s White Horse Complex on Friday.
We're so early, staff are still putting the finishing touches to the decorations, which are plentiful and everywhere.
Twinkling fairy lights, light up polar bears, singing nutcracker soldiers, sleighs, sparkly penguins and plenty of tinsel. Not an inch has been missed.
Today we are accompanied by two two-year-olds, who instantly spot the soft play and we can relax for 10 minutes while they charge about, making the most of the colourful play area, slides and ball pits, while we warm up with a cup of tea.
The centre is exciting enough in normal times, with its arcade games, soft play and bowling alley, but we’ve come for the Winter Wonderland experience.
Our first pitstop is in the pottery centre, where we paint some Christmas decorations, plates and ornaments, and send them off to be fired.
The kids love getting messy and creative, and somehow their Christmas jumpers survive the carnage.
Christmas gifts for grandma sorted, we explore the outside. Usually an outdoor pool, it’s been transformed into an arctic scene, complete with artificial penguins and reindeers – made even more magical by a powerful snow cannon.
Christmas music plays and we are greeted by two fantastically dressed Elves, who lead the children in to see the big man himself.
It’s a new experience for the little ones, having been robbed of such joys last year, and they proceed with caution. After a bit of chat from Father Christmas, who knows lots of facts about our two, they warm up enough for a photo and a high five. Well done Santa.
Obviously there is only one Father Christmas in the world – and he’s on top form today. Pristine outfit, bushy beard and hearty laugh. Top work.
A present is eagerly unwrapped before we’ve even left the grotto, and before our photos have been printed off.
After a tour round the rest of the garden, and a look at the wonderful outdoor ice skating rink where little ones can be pushed on dolphins, and a look at the bumper cars, we are drawn to the tuk-tuk selling Bailey’s flavoured hot chocolate. Delicious.
Another parental pitstop is required to sample the produce – we note the deep fried Oreos for next time – before it’s inside to warm up and enjoy lunch in the Cafe Lido.
After lunch we are upstairs for a cookie decorating session, with piping bags in an array of colours, and an assortment of brightly-coloured toppings to chose from.
From there we are lucky enough to time the inflatable snow globe just right and get the place to ourselves, where the toddlers tear around, throwing snowballs at each other and bouncing about.
By the time we leave, the fairground has started up and the swing chairs, hot air balloon ride and an impressive carousel, one of the best we’ve ever seen, are in full swing.
There’s so much to do here, and lots of the activities are free to enjoy.
Others like the grotto (£10 per child) or the fairground (£10 for unlimited rides) you can book ahead at bunnleisure.co.uk/festive-activities
There is also a panto – Cinderella – being performed in the main theatre at weekends and evenings, and the local St Peter’s Church Choir will be carol singing on Saturday mornings.
There’s also a Christmas market being held, with all monies received going to the local Full Up community group that delivers hot meals to children and Friends of Medmerry School.
And donkey rides will be taking place every weekend.
There’s so much to do here, and with free parking it makes for a reasonably priced festive treat, we leave much more merrier than we enter.
The little ones are exhausted, they’ve had a fantastic day, and the mums are still salivating over the Bailey’s hot chocolate bombs.
I think we’ve finally found our Christmas spirit. Go check it out while you can.