21 November to 31 December 2015
Reviewed by Emma Booth
Me and my friend were lucky enough to take our two kids aged 4 and 5 to see the preview of the traditional Christmas Circus with Santa’s Grotto at Squire’s Garden Centre in Washington.
I’ve never visited this garden centre and was surprised to hear of the garden centre putting on such a big event for Christmas. The centre was very easy to find and was well signposted been just off the A24. There was plenty of free parking and driving in you can see the big top with the box office right next to it. With the kids jumping up and down with excitement we were shown into the tent where we waited for five or 10 minutes, here you can buy sweets and refreshments to enjoy while you watch the show.
When we took our seats the kids were amazed by the beautiful lights hanging down round the stage, it’s fairly small so where ever you sit you get a good view we sat at the back and thought we had brilliant seats. The story centres on Twiglet who’s supposed to be going to sleep so that Santa will come but he is so excited he just can’t fall sleep. He then shows the audience what presents he’s put under the tree for his friends and asks if the people in the back can see what the present is and you’re supposed to shout back “no “so he puts the present in a big box you say the magic words and hey presto out jumps one of the four fantastic acts. This is the way the story continues until Twiglet finally falls asleep and nearly misses Santa.
Our kids, and every other kid we saw, were transfixed from start to finish. They loved the silly humour and loved shouting out and joining in; I think their favourite act was the fire juggling. My daughter asked if it was real fire and couldn’t believe it when I told her it was. Towards the end they play some great Christmas tunes and encourage everyone to get up and dance as we all follow them around the back to where Santa’s Grotto is. My daughter is a little scared of Santa so was pleased that she didn’t have to see him up close as there are some helpers giving out presents and Santa is there to meet those that want to see him. This left us all in a great Christmassy mood and we all had a great time
This was more of a panto and circus combination rather than just the circus and it took a little while to get started into story but the acts were brilliant faultless. The presents were decent they ranged from puzzles to mould and paint animals and more not a cheap soft toy insight. There is so much else to see and do here you could almost make a day out of it, there’s animals to see, a cafe, soft play, pottery painting, Christmas displays and more. The staff were always helpful and very polite with plenty of staff around if you needed someone. I think some adults might not find the circus thrilling enough but for the look on the kid’s faces the excitement and happiness it gives them there is no doubt it’s worth every penny.
Tickets cost from £10 to £14.
For more information or to book tickets visit www.squiresgardencentres.co.uk/circus.
Squire’s Garden Centre, London Road, Washington, West Sussex, RH20 3BP