On 1st December Luggwoods open to the public and I have to start by saying that whoever secures tickets is absolutely in for a treat. It is, by far, the best Santa Experience we have ever been to. Little man is only 3 and a half but this wonderful world of blogging has afforded us the luxury of visiting a lot of these experiences. Something we have been really humbled by. We were invited to visit Luggwoods free of charge, but all opinions are completely my own.
The invite to Luggwoods was particularly special to me because it’s in my home town of Saggart. What are the chances that the best Santa Experience would be a five minute drive from where I went to school? I had no idea that right beside us lay the most beautiful and enchanting forest. It is literally like something out of a book. A fairytale experience that captures the magic of Christmas in all the right ways. Everything from the lighting to the saw dust on the floor is perfectly placed to give you that warm fuzzy feeling. It’s magic – there is no other word for it.
There’s a train, a barn, a lovely Mrs Claus, musical performances, a reindeer, letter writing, hot chocolate and of course the man himself. What more could you want? Let’s start with the train shall we? We arrived a couple of minutes early and the waiting area was really comfortable. The really unique thing about Luggwoods is that the drive itself is so lovely. As soon as you hit Saggart (just off the Naas Road) you are literally driving up the hills surrounded by woods. When you enter Luggwoods the carpark alone has the charm that really sets you up for the experience to come. It feels like you are in a woodland – because you are. It’s so completely authentic. As we waited for our train slot there was face painting, a map that older children seemed to love and the most attentive and genuinely brilliant staff you possibly wish for. Then came the walk to the train. This was one of my favourite parts. The “train” is almost like an old school bus which is pulled by a tractor. I realize this is a bizarre sentence but trust me when I say that it is utterly charming. We absolutely loved it. The train journey involved songs, phonecalls to Santa from princesses, a spotting of the Grinch, fairies, games and naturally we all saved Christmas. It was brilliant!
We went at 7pm so it was dark. I have to say I’d recommend this if possible. I’d like to see it during the day because the Woodland would be entirely different but there is something so beautiful about the plethora of twinkly lights. There is also a stunning view of the Dublin lights which kind of took my breath away if I’m honest.
I don’t want to give the experience away but I really want to touch on the fact that at no point did this experience drag. 1 hour and 45 minutes passed from when we left our car to when we returned after the experience. I didn’t notice a single minute passing. But more importantly, neither did my three year old. The experence is really well thought out. There is no long wait and potential for children to become bored or frustrated. They’ve given everything really careful thought. While we waited to be called for Santa we chatted to The Elf On The Shelf. This girl is an absolute credit to the experience. She chatted to the kids and happily posed for photographs. It was one of the cutest parts of the experience.
I think this says it all really, but seeing Santa felt like a bonus at Luggwoods. By the time we were called we had seen and done so much. Spirits were so high and there was an amazing atmosphere. Seeing Santa felt like the cherry on top.
And the Santa. Oh the SANTA. He was absolutely amazing. And I don’t say that lightly. He was such a lovely man. Real beard. AMAZING with the kids and I welled up listening to my little man talking to the man in red. When Santa asked him where he was from he confidently replied “from play school”.It was one of those moments I dreamt about when I was pregnant. You can pay for a photo with Santa or you can take one with your phone. If possible I would recommend forking out for the professional one though because the quality is amazing. It works out at €10 for one or €15 for two.
And the cherry on top of the experience? It doesn’t end when you see Santa. The really clever thing about Luggwoods is that they’ve used the space and time so wisely. When you have visited Santa and you wait for everyone else in your group (with the same train time) to do the same you get to experience the last part of the experience. Another room which basically feels like a kiddy disco. Think Elves doing the Cha Cha Slide. Think a giant chalk board and a ball pit for toddlers. Think tea, coffee and REALLY good hot chocolate. It’s seamless. Before you know it everyone is happily skipping back on to the train to return back to where they started.
10/10 for Luggwoods from our family. I cannot imagine anything topping this experience and I genuinely cannot wait to return next year.
Luggwoods opens to the public on Friday 1st December and is a ticketed event. You can buy your tickets here.
Luggwoods have also put together a host of Extra Sensory Friendly and Wheelchair Accessible Events. Some are sold out but there are tickets available for 14th December (Extra Sensory Friendly Event) and December 2nd and 14th (Wheelchair Friendly Event).
Tickets prices are as follows – €19 per child and €13.50 per adult (children under 1 go free). It would have cost our family €51.50 which we would have paid without hesitation. €70 if we include a photo and a coffee/treat. It is absolutely 100% beyond worth that money.
Professional photos and hot drinks/seasonal snacks come in at an extra charge but we would have happily bought the photo too given the quality. The coffee is also delightful. Actual lattes, flat whites and cappucchinos etc. These things make a big difference to us parents.
After the experience we visited The Lemongrass Restaurant in Citywest Hotel. It’s just a 5 minute drive from Luggwoods and is one of my favourite restaurants in Dublin. Consistently amazing food and service. They also have a really lovely Children’s Menu. I always order the same thing because it’s SO good. Nasi Goreng and then Spanish Icecream for dessert (just trust me on this one). Their chocolate is also to die for!
If you would prefer fast food there is a Mc Donalds, KFC and Eddie Rockets a five minute drive away too (at Citywest Shopping Centre)
For more information you can visit http://luggwoods.ie/
If you are going to do one Christmas Experience this year, let it be Luggwoods. You’ll thank me later!
We vlogged out experience at Luggwoods. You can check it out on Youtube here.