Mummy Diaries | Feeling Festive with Peter Rabbit & Friends at the Centre:mk

Christmas lights and small train ride at centre:mkThis year has certainly been a strange one, but it’s good that one thing has remained – and that is, Father Christmas visits. We’ve taken Alfie to the shopping centre before to get those festive feels, but the last couple of years, everything has been quite samey. Thankfully, this year was different – with a Peter Rabbit themed adventure.

I used to love the Beatrix Potter books as a child, and even had the Mrs Tiggy Winkle dining set. Alfie loves the modern-day version of Peter Rabbit on CBeebies and he has all the books – so as soon as I found out it was on, I made sure we booked our place. Our visit worked out quite nicely with the changes to the lockdown measures. The experience was meant to start in the middle of November, but of course that got pushed to early December instead – our slot was on December 5th.

Our time was 2:10pm and being a weekend, the shopping centre was so busy. We made it just in time – and was on the experience with three other families, ensuring we could adhere to social distancing measures at all times, even when queuing. When it came to actually visit Father Christmas, it was one family at a time – but stickers marked our waiting points.

First of all, we met Peter Rabbit and his elf friend, who I think was called North Pole. We were in Peter’s underground burrow. He had a beautiful Christmas tree decorated with carrots and loads of small fir trees all over the ceiling. We sang ‘We Wish you a Merry Christmas’ and then found a secret burrow/door, which led to loads of tunnels. Peter ushered the children through the tunnel, while the adults walked around – I was so tempted to follow Alfie through the tunnel, but none of the other adults did.

Small boy going through tunnel in Peter Rabbit themed experience
The tunnels led to Mrs Tiggy-Winkle’s kitchen, and she was dressed in her pinny, hard at work at her stove. She said she had been baking Christmas biscuits, and now came the time to decorate them. We all took our place at one of the tables, sitting on stools, while each child was given two gingerbread elves biscuits, a tube of green icing and some red sugar balls for decorating. It kept Alfie occupied for a few minutes anyway – until I took over! He decided eating the decorations was more fun than icing the biscuits, so I was left to be creative – and loved it!

It was at this point that Squirrel Nutkin reared his head, and he was a cheeky chappy, getting up to all sorts of mischief. He kept shaking his bushy tail at everyone and made the children laugh at his jokes. Except Alfie, he was completely oblivious as to what was going on.

Then we made our way out of the kitchen, with our biscuits in a striped paper bag, to meet Father Christmas. As it was one family at a time, there was a short wait, but it was okay as Mr Tod kept us company. The sly fox was up to his old tricks, bur rather than wanting to eat rabbits, he wanted our biscuits! Ironically, Alfie did offer to share his. He also got one of the dads singing, and even played some games with the children while we waited… so not quite as mean as the Mr Tod on the TV!

And after all that excitement, it was time for the main event – Father Christmas. He was sat on his sleigh, while there was a bench in the middle, where the children could sit for the photo opportunity. We were asked if we wanted to get in, and I certainly did not fancy that with a facemask on, so let Alfie have his moment. He didn’t really talk to Father Christmas much, other than to say he wanted a “Paw Patrol orange dinosaur” with some prompting. The present he received we decided to save for Christmas Day, even though he’s got loads of presents.

There was no obligation to buy the photograph that was taken, and I have to say, they were quite expensive. The photo in just a standard cardboard mount was £8, so it was almost worth upgrading to one of the decorative items, or even paying for a bundle of goodies. We upgraded to the photo frame, which was £12. I have to say, I don’t know if it was the lighting or the printing, but the quality isn’t great – it looked loads better on-screen!

Train made out of lights, as part of a Christmas display
After that, we did the train ride, which is priced at £2 per person. You go around the track once, and it’s exactly the same as previous years, just with some different decorations. There were five carriages, so it was one family per carriage. Between each ride, there was a wait while everything was sanitised, and as numbers were limited, the wait was longer than usual. I would highly recommend pre-booking tickets though, as the queue for tickets was longer than the queue for the train itself.

It’s also worth pointing out, there’s the usual helter skelter and carousel, as well as the small Christmas market. We didn’t buy anything, but I’m always tempted by the cheese (and I’m not even a cheese person!).

We had a great time, and I’m already looking forward to next year’s experience.

Love, Lucy xx

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