Parents blast dismal ‘wonderland’ where Santa’s beard kept falling off
THEY had taken their children to what was billed as an ‘enchanting’ Christmas experience at a ‘stunning’ location. Instead, families who spent nearly £60 to meet Santa at Reindeer Lodge said they were met with a sea of mud surrounding a ‘dismal’ grotto – and a Father Christmas whose beard kept falling off. Adverts for the attraction on a farm near Mold, Flintshire, had shown a winter wonderland, while its website promised ‘enchanted woodland walks’, an ‘adorable reindeer herd’, a ‘fun elf stage show’ and an ‘amazing Santa’s Grotto’. The reality, however, began with a ‘woodland walk’ that one visitor called ‘a dangerously steep hardcore path with bits of old masonry and tree stumps next to it’. Parents complained that they were then faced with a site described by one, Anthony Littler, as ‘mud with some more mud, rubble, wires and diggers’. He said the elf show was ‘so bad it was funny’, while Santa’s beard fell off in front of his children. Rachel Shannon said the ‘amazing’ grotto was ‘a cold dark room’ with no decorations apart from a Christmas tree, while Tom Starkie’s family also found Santa’s beard wouldn’t stay on – which made for a ‘very awkward conversation’ with a five-year-old. Some families said that at £15.95 for a child ticket and £12.95 for an adult they had been ripped off. Reindeer Lodge manager Ed Brisbourne said there were ‘a few things we didn’t get right’ but the site would be spruced up before reopening on Saturday. He said that out of ‘thousands’ of visitors only 34 families complained, and that the rubble-strewn access track had been fixed, turf laid over the quagmire and garlands added to the grotto. ‘All our paths are immaculate,’ he added.