Christmas at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Last week thanks to a fab networking event with #BrumBloggers, my family and I headed along to Birmingham Botanical Gardens for their Christmas Light Trail – the perfect festive event to kick start my countdown to Christmas. Not only was this a great way to start off the festivities but a great opportunity to meet some other local bloggers including Holly from Little Pickles Mom and Lauren from Sophie’s Nursery. As with any gathering with children involved, the conversation was someone restricted to half conversations, with most of our time being spent trying to keep our children within sight! 🙂
Despite the venue not being not far from Solihull, I had shamefully never actually been to the Botanical Gardens, and have always been keen to pay a visit, particularly now that Neve is walking and ready to embrace the world around her.
Thursday was probably the coldest day of the entire year, so cold that I actually went and bought myself a new coat, hat, scarf and gloves especially for the occasion (it was an investment… even the lady behind the till at John Lewis agreed). I got Erin wrapped up in multiple layers of clothes (tights under leggings, vests under tops) and Neve scooped into her oversized snow suit that made her resemble the Michelin man and we set off on our merry way.
We had been advised to take along a torch with us and so Erin was super excited to hold this on the journey in the car. Parking at the venue is limited, but we parked easily on a side street which was just a short walk from the venue.
On arrival we were greeted by a fantastic Victorian fairground, and Erin couldn’t wait to get on to the helter skelter and merry go round. The rides are an additional cost (£2 a ride) but as Neve had never been on one before, it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss to pop her in and let her experience her first ever fairground ride. She was a little perplexed at first, but after a few rotations it was amazing to watch her little excited face wave at me every time they went past! 🙂
After Mike had stuffed his face with a large chilli dog (available from the food stand at the entrance), and I’d polished off my classic hot dog with onions and lashings of red sauce, we headed off into the trail. I had no idea what to expect, but we really really enjoyed it.
The trail had everything from hanging lights, glowing baubles, large lanterns, candelabras with real flames, light tunnels, glittering reindeer and a field full of chasing lights to name but a few.
With the turn of every corner came a new theme, a new type of light and background classic music, and both the adults and children were totally in awe.
The trail is pushchair friendly (although we stupidly forgot ours), so Neve spent a lot of time wanting to walk and then changing her mind – Daddy therefore got the job of carrying her, and watching her reach out to try and touch the lights above.
Around half way through the trail we got to a pit stop where we enjoyed a hot drink and festive snack (stolen and gingerbread men) whilst Erin had a little play on the play area, with the novelty of being at the ‘park’ at night time too much of a temptation to resist.
We also got to meet Father Christmas – who was a little different and more Victorian in his dress code than the Father Christmas’s Erin was used to. I was a little worried that he might spook her a little, but if anything, she actually really liked the funny little double act between Father Christmas and his elf and stood completely in awe listening to every word. As we walked off she actually exclaimed “He was really funny” -so whilst he wasn’t what I would call a traditional Father Christmas (and actually not like the image on the website!) he was still a big hit with Erin.
One of my favourite parts of the evening was when we got to enjoy a hot marshmellow, toasting it ourselves over a warm and toasty fire. On such a cold night this was such a welcome treat, and with loads of flavours to chose from at £1.50 each, we all had one different. Erin absolutely loved her vanilla one, and skipped round happily chomping it off its stick! 🙂 I had orange and mango, whilst Mike went for raspberry and champagne.
The trail took just under an hour at a leisurely pace, and by the time we reached the café at the end, Neve was getting pretty tired and was keen to get to her bed.
Overall, we had a wonderful time at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens Christmas trail, and felt it was the perfect way to get into the festive sprit with the whole family. The trail is on at Birmingham Botanical Gardens until the 1st January 2018, and tickets are £10 for adults and £8 for children over 4. Children under 4 years are free of charge. TIckets can be purchased in advance on the website. Rides and refreshments are an additional charge.
*Disclosure – we were given a press pass to attend Birmingham Botanical Gardens Christmas Trail free of charge courtesy of #BrumBloggers. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*