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FAQs

How will Santa’s Winter Woodland run this year?

Your family will take a magical journey from the Elf School, through the Enchanted Forest, ending at Santa’s Grotto, meeting lots of Santa’s elves along the way.

We’ve made some changes so that you can still enjoy a magical Christmas experience, whilst keeping safe. You will start indoors with other families, remaining socially distanced on tables for approximately half an hour. You’ll then head outdoors and move through the rest of the experience at your own pace as a family. Some of our elves will still be leading activities for you to complete, and you can simply enjoy playing in the Enchanted Woodland Relam. Your children will be amazed when you visit Santa as a family bubble in his grotto and he knows all about them and what they want for Christmas!

How long will Santa’s Winter Woodland last?

You’ll move through Santa’s Winter Woodland at your own pace, but we anticipate you’ll want to spend 1.5 – 2 hours with us.

How will Enchanted Forest Playschool run this year?

Enchanted Forest Playschool is an opportunity for little ones to play in our Enchanted Woodland and to meet Santa himself! You’ll visit West Boldon Lodge for 1 hour and there will be a selection of crafts and games for you to do at your leisure, or you can simply wander and explore in our Woodland Realm, designed especially for pre-schoolers. You’ll have a 10 minute slot to visit Santa, who’ll amaze your little one when he knows them and gives them a gift.

What age children are your activities suitable for?

Enchanted Forest Playschool is most suitable for pre-school children age 1+.

Santa’s Winter Woodland is most suitable for ages 4-10. Younger children are welcome to attend Santa’s Winter Woodland but may not be able to engage fully with all that the experience has to offer. If your child is older than 10 and still believes, they’re likely to still enjoy the magic of the experience. Non-believing older siblings can still help make the event magical for younger brothers and sisters.

Babes in arms come for free.

How much do tickets cost?

Tickets for Enchanted Forest Playschool cost £10 per child and £2 per adult. A discount is available for families who receive means-tested benefits.

Tickets for Santa’s Winter Woodland start at £14 per adult and £16 per child on 4th & 5th December, increasing to £16 per adult and £18 per child on 11th & 12th December, and £18 per adult and £20 per child on 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st & 22nd December. A discount is available for families who receive means-tested benefits.

Do you offer a discount for concessions and families with a low income?

We are currently offering 1/4 off for concessions. This is available to anyone receiving means tested benefits or PIP, for example anyone in receipt of Universal Credit, Pension Credit, or Housing Benefit. You may be required to provide evidence of your eligibility on check in.

To receive the discount, enter the code “25OFF” at the checkout for a 25% discount.

Do I need a ticket for my baby?

Babes in arms do not need a ticket for any of our events if they are not taking part. If you want your baby to be able to take part in any of the activities or receive a gift from Santa then you must purchase a Child’s ticket for them.

Why do adults have to pay for Santa’s Winter Woodland?

Santa’s Winter Woodland is run by the charity Groundwork. We receive no core government funding and rely on grants and paying visitors to stay open. Santa’s Winter Woodland costs a lot to put on and we have to charge for adults and children in order to cover the costs of the event. Any profit is re-invested in other community events throughout the year.

Most of the cost is for staffing, and past visitors tell us that generally adults enjoy the magical experience as much as children. The price for adults is lower than the price for children as adults do not get the same amount of resources as children, however adults do receive a Santa hat, hot chocolate and marshmallows.

What are you doing to reduce the risk from coronavirus?

We have carried out a risk assessment to ensure that our Christmas activities are Covid-safe. We are following and implementing government guidelines around social distancing (families and staff must remain 2m apart at all times), face coverings, ventilation, and cleaning.

We have reduced visitor numbers and you’ll move around as a family rather than a large group. We have a thorough cleaning policy in place, and much of the activity is outdoors. You must wash or sanitise your hands on arrival at West Boldon Lodge and there are hand-washing and sanitising stations around the site.

You can view our Covid-19 site rules and risk assessment at https://tiny.cc/wblcovid

What if I need to self-isolate?

You must not visit West Boldon Lodge if you have been told by Public Health England / Test and Trace to self-isolate, or if you or anyone in your household is displaying any of the following symptoms: new persistent cough, shortness of breath, high temperature, or loss or change to sense of taste or smell.

If this is the case, please contact us as soon as possible and we will re-list your tickets. If they re-sell, we will offer you a full refund. If they do not re-sell, we will offer a voucher to re-book for another date or an alternative event at West Boldon Lodge in the future.

Will I need to wear a face mask?

Yes, Anyone over the age of 11 must wear a face covering when moving about indoors unless exempt for reasons relating to mental or physical health or disability. We encourage you to wear a face covering outdoors when communicating with others.

What should I wear? Can I come in fancy dress?

You are very welcome to come in elf/Christmas costume, but please consider comfort and safety as a priority. Much of your time will be spent outdoors, so you should come dressed for the weather, including warm, waterproof clothing and footwear as appropriate. There will be a campfire at our Christmas events, so please also be aware of the flammability of any fancy dress.

Will any activities be outdoors?

Yes, the whole hour of Enchanted Forest Playschool will be outside, and likely at least an hour at Santa’s Winter Woodland will be spent outside. There will be some sheltered areas, but also a fair amount of time in open woodland or paths.

The Lodge will be open to use toilets, baby change, breast feeding, or for other essential use throughout all our Christmas activities, but there will be no indoor space for play or shelter, except for around 30 minutes indoors at the start of Santa’s Winter Woodland.

What happens if the weather is bad?

The activities will go ahead as planned in most weather conditions. Please check the forecast and come dressed appropriately with warm and waterproof clothes and footwear and/or an umbrella as necessary.

In limited circumstances such as high winds or storms, it may be unsafe for our Christmas activities to go ahead and we would need to cancel your booking.

What’s your cancellation policy?

If you are unable to make your visit, let us know as soon as possible and we will re-list your tickets. If they re-sell, we will offer you a full refund. If they do not re-sell, we will offer a voucher to re-book for another date, but no refund.

If we have to cancel for any reason, we will offer a refund or a voucher to re-book for another date or alternative event. These must be claimed within 30 days of the date the event was due to take place.

Any donations made at the time of booking (on top of your ticket cost) are non-refundable.

Can I buy food and drink on site?

There won’t be any food or drink on sale at West Boldon Lodge and there is nowhere for eating lunches. You’re welcome to bring a snack to enjoy during your visit, and you will be provided with a small cup of hot chocolate and a marshmallow to toast. Please let us know of any dietary requirements at the time of booking.

What do I need to bring with me?

If attending from mid-afternoon please bring a torch as it can quickly drop dark in the woods by 4:30pm or earlier. You do not need to bring any tickets. Please dress appropriately for the weather.

Where are my tickets?

To reduce our environmental impact, we don’t issue tickets. When you book your spaces, you will receive a confirmation email. You’re then on our booking system and simply need to state your name at reception on arrival.

Why do you need to know details about my child?

One of the things that makes our Christmas activities extra special is that Santa knows about your child from his Naughty and Nice book. The information you provide (name, age, facts and present) are given to Santa so he can wow each and every child by knowing something about them and having a personal conversation. It helps even sceptical children to keep believing!

If you do not know the details at the time of booking, you can email us at westboldonlodge@groundwork.org.uk at any stage up to 48 hours before your visit to update the information. If you contact us with less than 48 hours’ notice, we cannot guarantee Santa will have the up to date information. If you do not provide any information, Santa will simply ask your child what they would like for Christmas.

The names provided are also used so a personalised Santa hat “uniform” will be waiting for you on arrival.

What if I don’t know what my child is getting for Christmas yet?

If you do not know this at the time of booking, you can email us at westboldonlodge@groundwork.org.uk at any stage up to 48 hours before your visit to provide us with this information. If you contact us with less than 48 hours’ notice, we cannot guarantee Santa will have the up to date information. If you do not provide any information, Santa will simply ask your child what they would like for Christmas.

How will you use my data?

Your names and information about your children will be used to personalise your visit. Your email address will be used to contact you with useful information before the event and to collect feedback after the event. Your email address and phone number will be used to contact you if we have to cancel or make any changes to your booking. We will only contact you for marketing purposes if you ticked the box saying you’d like to be added to our mailing list. Your postcode will be anonymised and used to monitor our reach.

Your name and contact details will be passed on to Public Health England / NHS Test and Trace if required in the event of any potential outbreak of coronavirus.

How do I get to West Boldon Lodge?

There is car parking on site, with limited spaces available on a first-come, first-served basis. We recommend taking public transport or travelling by bike if possible.

Do not use just the postcode in sat navs as it often does not bring you to the right place. Please be aware that there are ongoing roadworks including potential road closures on the A19, adjacent to West Boldon Lodge. For directions visit https://tiny.cc/findwbl.

Are you recruiting staff?

We will be recruiting temporary staff or delivery partners. For full details please see Groundwork’s recruitment page.