THE sun may have been shining, it might have been a little too warm for a Christmas jumper and coat, and yes, it was still November, but the magic of Christmas certainly arrived in Horndean.
A large crowd had gathered to watch the arrival of Father Christmas on Saturday morning, including my son Eddie, my partner Tom and I.
And the big man didn’t disappoint with his entourage, which included the usual suspects of elves and reindeer, but also a real-life unicorn.
A brass band played Christmas carols, while scores of people made their way past Keydell’s incredible selection of Christmas decorations, to the grotto and formed an orderly queue to see Santa.
Once inside, Santa’s grotto has all the good things you’d expect - a fireplace, atmospheric lighting, plush chairs and Christmas tree - and Father Christmas had his best outfit on, ready to meet all the children and hear their Christmas desires.
After meeting Father Christmas, we could pick a toy from a vast selection of great quality items in the Elves Workshop - and some of the gifts by themselves would cost you £10 alone, making the ticket incredibly good value.
We opt for a plush winter teddy, one that Eddie had already eyed up on Father Christmas’s table in his grotto.
There’s also a professional photographer on hand to capture that special moment, which you can buy afterwards.
On leaving Santa’s Grotto we made our way round the Woodland Walk, which is included for the child and two adults in the grotto entrance fee.
There’s a huge number of twinkling displays, such as woodland creatures, elves working on toys, polar bears, husky dogs, and a Keydell Express train, perfect for a picture stop.
At the end of the walk, there are two reindeer, who look happy and healthy - I’m told they live on the summer on the family’s nearby farm, so they know that they are taken care of properly all year round.
We have a great time as there's so much to explore and take in, especially for the little ones. There’s every type of Christmas display you can think of - yes, there really is a Christmas pirate ship too.
We have a great family trip out, and it’s really started us thinking about Christmas and what’s to come.
And of course a visit to Keydell wouldn’t be complete without buying a few winter bedding plants too.
Tickets for Santa’s Grotto cost £13 and include a gift and entry to the Woodland Walk.
Woodland Walk tickets cost £2.80 adults, and £1.80 for children.
To book or for more information go to keydellnursuries.co.uk