Santa's Grotto at The Rainforest Cafe  - London

Santa's Grotto at The Rainforest Cafe - London

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Last Christmas, and the Christmas before in fact, we tried out a few Christmas Grotto experiences.

I won't lie, they didn't all go according to plan.

Tears, tantrums (we have the expensive photo to prove it) and also car sickness meant an adorable Christmas treat quickly turned into a stressful morning.

But here we are with two little girls, a year older and our eldest starting to recognise that Father Christmas is a 'thing' and he may be worth paying attention to.

This year we were kindly offered the opportunity to try the Santa's Grotto at The Rainforest Cafe. 

For those who may not know, The Rainforest Cafe is a themed restaurant just off Leicester Square in London.

Stepping away from the hustle and bustle of central London and down the stairs you're greeted with a colourful, jungle-themed restaurant, lifesized animatronic elephants, large fish tanks, gorillas, parrots and every fifteen minutes or so, the sound of a rainforest storm.

Throw into the mix Santa/Father Christmas and his cosy grotto and you're onto a winner.

What's really nice about this grotto is that it's more personal than others we have been to.

After booking online, the cafe sends you a questionnaire asking you to fill out specific details - what your child wants for Christmas, who they will be spending it with etc.  

When we entered the grotto, Father Christmas casually dropped these nuggets of information into the conversation which made for a really special experience.

He took the time to chat to the girls and it didn't feel like we were being rushed.

So what's included in the price? A meeting and chat with Santa in his grotto, a bag of treats (a book and large toy - worth about £30), a two course-meal and a drink in the restaurant afterwards. Extras not included are the photo packages and any meals or drinks for adults.

Now a heads up: this won't be the cheapest grotto in town - you pay central London prices to dine at the cafe and for the experience, but our girls LOVED it. 

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Stepping into the restaurant afterwards and soaking up the atmosphere was a fantastic way to end a lovely treat. The gift shop is an experience in itself with a talking tree, lifesized crocodile (who occasionally wakes up) and baskets and baskets of toys and games.

The grotto is open until Christmas Eve. Tickets are £40 per child (adults don't need tickets) and are available from here or by calling the Cafe direct on 020 7434 3111.

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