This is our review of the Harrods Christmas Grotto 2016. Our first visit to the Harrods Christmas Grotto was in 2013 and we enjoyed the experience so much we have made it a family tradition to visit each year.
We feel as a family it is the perfect way to start the festive season, as well as an opportunity to make special memories that will last forever.
The girls are always so excited to see Father Christmas at Harrods, it is one of the very best Christmas grotto’s in the country.
Our 2016 Harrods Christmas Grotto Experience:
Each year the grotto has a dedicated theme and this year was no different and was called a ‘ Very British Fairy Tale’.
Your first glimpse of this wonderful grotto is when you step off the escalator on the fourth floor, and the girls excitement was contagious as we were all really looking forward to the experience this year.
All of the staff were in character and we were welcomed by a friendly elf at check-in. She interacted well with the girls and they had to say a magic password to enter the Ice Kingdom.
What was great this year was the special entrance for children. They had to crawl through a small doorway and slide down into the grotto which looked so much fun. Unfortunately for grown-ups there was no slide to enter just a magic door that opened into the world of a ‘Very British Fairy Tale’.
Once inside the theme is magical, it was like stepping onto the set of a Christmas movie. As we walked through the glass tunnel snow fell around you.
Around the first corner the girls met a funny elf who asked their names and spoke to another elf through the bobble on his hat. All staff as part of the performance joked with the children, pretending to get their names mixed up.
What is always great about the Harrods Christmas experience is the activities they can take part in as they explore this magical world on their way to meet Father Christmas. It’s these little details that make this grotto just magical.
Activities this year involved singing Rudolph the red nose reindeer before trying to guess the name of Father Christmas’s tenth reindeer.
There were many photo opportunities along the way and the whole family got involved in picking an item such a Father Christmas beard, carrot, coal, elf hat etc to add to the fun of the photo.
There was a giant igloo to explore complete with giant cuddly polar bears and a tunnel of lights to walk through before meeting Father Christmas in his frozen grotto.
This pre Santa area is a good size and although each booked session was a sell out it did not feel as though there were too many children in the area. This is down to the planning and organisation that the Harrods team put into this event.
As you enter the frozen grotto, Father Christmas welcomes the girls by name and the look on their faces was just priceless. This adds to the realism and the wow factor of the grotto.
The girls had a good chat with Father Christmas about what they have been doing (a lot of which he knows already based on the information we provided at booking) and we were in the room chatting with him for over 10 minutes and at no point did we feel rushed.
After telling Father Christmas what they wanted for Christmas they were given this year’s gift. This was a blue drawstring bag which has a personalised label for Chloe who is 8 which contained a Harrods journal, badge and large chocolate coin. For Holly who is 5 she received a pale blue drawstring bag containing a dice game in a velvet pouch, badge and chocolate coin.
An added extra touch this year was heart-warming. Father Christmas gave the children a snowflake to hang on the wishing tree at the exit of the grotto.
As you leave the grotto there is a photo collection point. We paid £13.50 for our photo which make lovely gifts for grandparents. You also have a digital copy of your photos included.
Cost and Booking
The grotto opens at the beginning of November and runs until Christmas Eve and over the years the Harrods Christmas Grotto has grown in popularity.
Slots come out in September for bookings for Harrods Rewards Members (which is free to join) and it can be very difficult to get a slot at the grotto. However, if you are lucky it will be an experience that your children will remember forever!
To book the grotto costs just £10 per child, however you get the money back on your Harrods reward card to spend in store (apart from the grotto photos).
As far as grotto’s go its no surprise that this one is a sell out every year it is one of the very best in the country. It was a really great experience and one that the children still talk about.
However if you are looking for THE best Christmas experience in the UK then I would also thoroughly recommend LaplandUK (you can read our review here)
After the grotto experience we spent a few hours in Harrods and the Toy Department on the 3rd floor which was one of the best we have visited. It is on a grand scale and there are chances to have your nails painted, glitter tattoos and to check out lots of the new toys that were out for Christmas that we haven’t seen before.
They had battery powered cars that cost more than an average family car and large stuffed animals that cost thousands but this is Harrods after all. The children’s book section in Harrods was very good with a great range of books, many of which you do not find elsewhere and lots of good ideas for Christmas presents.
We always like to buy a Christmas souvenir for the tree and there are plenty to choose from their excellent Christmas department at Harrods.