Last weekend Santa Claus came to Swindon, my sister (Ashely), nephew (Maxx) and I were lucky enough to meet him when we visited the fantastic free event at the Orbital Retail Park.
When we arrived at the Orbital, Maxx was eager to spot the red bus and it didn’t take him long. Nestled in the corner of the shopping centre were a small collection of festive red huts, a twinkling Christmas tree and a red double-decker bus where a special guest was awaiting our visit.
After finding a parking space we followed the sound of Christmas music and excited children towards the snow-speckled pavements where Santa’s Christmas Bus awaited. As we were looking around the huts it started to rain but even the good old British weather couldn’t dampen the festive mood and we were quickly handed an umbrella by one of Santa’s helpers.
The first thing Maxx wanted to do was get his face painted so we headed to the face painting hut. There were two ladies doing the face painting and it didn’t take long before it was Maxx’s turn. There was a selection of different Christmas themed designs for children to choose from including an elf, snowman and Santa which is the design Maxx chose. The face painting was a fun experience and the lady painting was very friendly and spoke to Maxx throughout which was lovely.
With a freshly painted face, we headed to join the queue to meet Santa. As we waited in the queue we were greeted by a friendly elf who advised us how long the queue time was and also gave all of the children a lovely chocolate treat to enjoy while we waited. As we were queuing we were lucky enough to also enjoy some carol singing from a group of children and then we got a glimpse of Santa who came outside to greet the carol singers.
No sooner had the carol singing ended than it was our turn to board Santa’s Christmas Bus. We were first seated downstairs at a table which had a selection of craft items for children to decorate a postcard to Father Christmas and write their Christmas list. Maxx wasted no time in getting stuck in with the glitter and glue to create his own Christmas wish list postcard to show Santa.
The bus was decorated with tinsel, baubles and Christmas ornaments and you couldn’t help but feel happy and festive onboard with the children getting stuck into the Christmas crafts and chattering away excitedly. After glueing, drawing and a few shakes of glitter the Christmas postcard was complete and we moved to the front of the bus to sit on the benches and wait for our turn to head upstairs.
After a short wait we were ushered upstairs where we met an elf and waiting at the end of the bus on a plush red seat was none other than Father Christmas. Maxx was so excited to speak to him and went straight over to sit down and show Santa the elf that he had been sent this year. They had a lovely long chat about Christmas, elves and what he would like for Christmas and it was nice that so much time was taken to speak to and listen to him. We also got the opportunity for all of us to take a photo with Santa which we couldn’t turn down!
Everywhere was decorated to create a truly festive feel and it worked because every child stepping off the bus was beaming from ear to ear and the adults were all getting into the festive spirit too.
The Santa’s Christmas Bus event was such an enjoyable experience and a lovely start to the festive season. I just hope Santa has enough time to visit Swindon again next year.