Leading up to the festive period, garden centres put on an impressive show. A tremendous array of decorations, incredibly well thought out Christmas displays and a general happy atmosphere engulfs you when you visit them from November onwards.

Wyevale in Crawley is no different. As soon as my wife, my 2-year-old daughter and I stepped in to the garden centre for a festive breakfast with Santa and his elves, we were greeted with a lovely Christmas scene.

“Barbara Missmoos”

My daughter excitedly shouted when she caught glimpse of a Father Christmas teddy, on our way to the breakfast area.

We sat down inside the beautifully decked out café where all tables were given the Winter makeover. We were immediately offered teas and coffees; little ones were given crayons to keep them busy. It wasn’t crowded; there were just the right amount of families present. This helped keep the atmosphere quietly enjoyable with light Christmas background music thrown in for good measure.

We were served our breakfast by joyfully happy elves. All seemed to be school age teenagers earning some pocket money. Every one of them was smiling and putting in 100% effort into everything they did. I had a full English breakfast – all the trimmings (inclusive of black pudding), my wife opted for the mini breakfast (croissant), and our daughter tucked in to a small human’s fry-up! She polished that off within minutes. As did I.


Once the plates were cleared away, the little ones were given a Christmas themed biscuit to decorate….and eat. Straight in to her bulging belly!

And then it was time for the grand finale. The moment the little ones had waited patiently for. Everyone was asked to congregate next to Father Christmas’ chair. I was carrying my daughter as she gets a little nervous around the bearded fella. He appeared out of nowhere, fresh from the North Pole and somehow managing to avoid the Southernrail strikes.

He walked closer to us, my daughter’s whole body tensed up and she grabbed me, but was equally intrigued by him. He said hello to her and waved; she abruptly looked away from him and toward the window. As he walked off toward his chair, I asked her to wave at him. She gave him the cutest wave I have ever seen her do.


Everyone was subsequently asked to return to their tables and wait to be called up to see Santa. As is usual with us, our visit to Santa was over in world record quick time. The toys on offer for the children were of high standard and were available (unwrapped), to choose after meeting with the great man. Who, by the way, was dressed to impress.

All in all, a very pleasant experience to take your little one along to, to enjoy some quality, happy, festive, family time together.


–Visit Wyevale’s website for future events around their nationwide garden centres–