There is no better way to start the Christmas countdown than with a trip to the Ness Santa Trail.
I had the great pleasure of taking my three year-old twins, Matthew and Thomas, along to the Santa Trail which is based in the beautiful grounds of the Beech Hill Hotel.
In previous years, I have avoided taking Matthew and Thomas to any of the various grottos or indeed the Santa Trail because they were a bit wary of the bearded man in red.
However, this year they are at an age where they are extremely excited about Christmas and have been bombarding us with questions about Santa for weeks.
So I decided to take them along to the Ness Santa Trail after hearing of the magical experience so many families had last year and we cetainly weren’t disappointed.
The trail begins in a waiting area where refreshments are on sale and the children can marvel at a family of polar bears.
A short time later we were led to the start of the trail and the beginning of the Shrek play.
This is an absolutely hilarious re-telling of the original Shrek film with a few twists and plenty of jokes in there for the adults too.
The actor playing Shrek is very funny, to say nothing of the actor taking on the role of Donkey who did a fantastic job of impersonating the fast talking, hyper, singing mule.
It was down to Shrek to lead us through the trail, past beautifully decorated Christmas trees, to the next stop where we would meet the character of Princess Fiona.
Shrek himself was only too happy to spend time talking to the children as he led us on to the next stop, to Santa’s house.
The adults were served refreshments by Mrs Claus as we waited for the kids to go into Santa.
Santa happily chatted to my boys about what they wanted for Christmas and was genuinely interested in listening to what they had to tell him.
The next stop, when we could eventually drag Matthew and Thomas away from Santa, was into the elves workshop. The boys could choose a toy for themselves and this created the biggest dilemma of the evening as the boys tried out practically every toy on offer.
The staff at Ness Santa Trail couldn’t have been more helpful and patient throughout, but particularly the person who was manning the elves workshop, who made sure the boys didn’t rush their decision.
After the Elves workshop it was on to see the reindeers. Matthew and Thomas spent plenty of time deciding which one was Rudolph and telling me and their dad how his nose only lights up when he is pulling Santa’s sleigh.
We had such a good time at the Ness Santa Trail and the boys thoroughly enjoyed it.
The Ness Santa Trail has given my family a truly magical start to Christmas and I will be making a date to take them again in years to come.