The rip-off Winter ‘Blunderland’ of Grotty Grottos is upon us

LAURENCE LLEWELYN-BOWEN: Created the Magical Journey.

YOU can tell Christmas isn’t far off when the annual ‘families ripped off by unscrupulous and entirely predictable seasonal Winter Wonderland theme-park extravaganza’ is upon us. 

This is like Groundhog Day, yet another year, yet another traditional Christmas fiasco. For the past few years problems at these Winter Wonderland events have been highlighted by the media and still people fork out to stand in long queues in ‘boggy’ fields to see dodgy Santas in tacky outfits and donkeys sporting cardboard antlers expecting the experience to be some sort of Disneyland. Why?

You’ll recall ‘The Magical Journey’ attraction created by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen at the UK’s Belfry Golf Club promising ‘the most amazing Christmas experience that Planet Earth has ever seen’ was temporarily cancelled in 2014 following a barrage of complaints from angry parents and children left in tears to find hour-long queues for swearing Santas and chav elves. 

A so-called Winter Wonderland in Milton Keynes was cancelled in 2013 after a deluge of complaints of Santas ‘dressed in outfits from Poundland’ and smoking elves, while in 2008 at Lapland New Forest ‘Santa got attacked and an elf got smacked in the face and pushed into a pram.’ All helping to put the grot into grotto!

This year, the Bakewell Winter Wonderland was branded a ‘shambles’ on opening last month after complaints visitors were forced to walk through muddy fields only to find… no Santa. 

The glitter dust included pitiful stalls, non-existent reindeer, Santa’s Grotto still under construction – plus two-hour queues to meet Santa when he eventually turned up. 

This happens every year. But if held in November in sodden fields, what sort of magical Christmas treat do you realistically expect? 

Why not instead look in the local paper for any German markets or other special events nearby. There’s probably more fun to be had at a local church’s Christmas Fayre than at these ‘blunderlands.’

So, in conclusion, you get to a ‘Winter Wonderland’ entrance, look inside, see an absolute ‘shambles’… and still pay to enter? Mugs? Gullible? Daft? Answers on a postcard to: ‘Santa, North Pole.’

Nora Johnson’s psychological/suspense crime thrillers ‘No Way Back,’ ‘Landscape of Lies,’ ‘Retribution,’ ‘Soul Stealer,’ ‘The De Clerambault Code’ ( available from Amazon in paperback/ eBook (€0.99;£0.99) and iBookstore. All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity. 

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    • roy león

      19 December 2016 • 10:22

      Family just returned from the Thursford Christmas fair. (Norfolk)
      Outstanding, full value for money and an example to all other efforts
      Not to be missed.


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