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Money-saving advice for parents worried about unaffordable Christmas events in cost of living crisis

Worried parents have taken to social media to stress their concerns ahead of what they fear will be an expensive Christmas.

Christmas at the National Adventure Farm
Christmas at the National Adventure Farm

A Facebook group whose members discuss Christmas events and ideas has seen complaints about ticket prices for the region's best annual events.

Members of Midsmas – Christmas in the Midlands - which has a following of more than 20,000 people, have been discussing whether some of the best and most popular festive events are worth the money amid the cost of living crisis.

For children, a meet-and-greet with Santa in the 'North Pole' is a memory that will stay with them for a long time – and for parents too – but complaints have been made about the ticket prices becoming more expensive as the years go on. For many, a family day out at Christmas is "unaffordable".

One post by mum Samantha Nelson read: "Just went on to book tickets for the National Forest Adventure Farm North Pole adventure. I must admit I wasn't prepared for the cost!

"I'm completely not sure what to do for the best now. Is it that good that it's worth the money?

"It will cost us up over £200 with petrol included. It would be the most expensive thing we've booked to date and I'm just not sure if it's worth it?"

Another parent, Faye Clark, said that although the price for the adventure farm has gone up, it was a "magical experience" that she would go back to.

She wrote: "We did it last year, two adults and two children, and paid roughly £130-140, so it has gone up, the booking fee is outrageous!

"It was so very magical for us and that was our main event and it was so well thought-out, around two and a half hours of going through the village and games, etc, then we went around the farm and indoor play.

"We definitely spent the whole day there, equally there are a lot of things to do that are a bit cheaper."

Another group member, Julie Hankey, said: "Shocking price. They ought to be ashamed of themselves considering the cost of living costs."

Staff at the popular Adventure Farm have confirmed that ticket prices have only seen a minor increase of around £2–£5, and the booking fee is £1.50 as opposed to £7.50.

A spokesperson for the family–run business said: "We are incredibly proud of our Christmas event 'North Pole Adventure', and always ensure that the experience and quality of our event is nothing but the best.

"In order to maintain the exceptional standard of the event as well as adjusting to multiple rising business costs, we have had to slightly increase our ticket prices.

"Please note, we have taken every measure possible to do this at a minimum, in the range of a £2-5 increase per ticket. With this and our sliding range of pricing, we really hope we can accommodate a range of budgets, as we very much appreciate that for many this year has been financially challenging."

Severn Valley Railway's well-loved Christmas experiences have seen a minimal extra cost added to its ticket prices since last year, increasing by around £3-7.

Lesley Carr, head of marketing and communications at Severn Valley Railway (SVR) said: "We work really hard to keep our price increase to an absolute minimum. Like all businesses, we are facing increased costs across the board to put on these special experiences, and try our best to not pass on those costs because we know families are struggling.

"The events that we are producing are extremely high quality, and we have thought very carefully to make them a special experience for families to make memories."

The railway's Enchanted Express service will include the voice of Dame Julie Walters reading a tale and narrating the journey, as well as a troop of costume characters on board the steam train including Santa Claus himself, who will be handing out gifts to the children. Tickets start at £158 for a family of four.

Christmas at Severn Valley Railway

Wolverhampton's money-saving mum, Amy Grayland, who writes a column for the Star, has shared some tips on how to have a special, yet affordable, Christmas day out.

She said: "One of the best ways to save on seeing Santa is that sometimes Scout groups (or similar) put on a free Santa sleigh that drives round the roads with a donation bucket so you can donate what you can afford.

"It's still magical and the kids get so excited hearing him come up the road on his sleigh. It may be worth people asking on their local Facebook, Whatsapp groups, and things like that to see if this is happening in their area.

"Another idea is that the Mander Centre usually have a Santa's grotto which is more affordable than most.

"For affordable gifts, Vinted is a great idea. I got my daughter a kid's V-Tech watch and kids V-Tech camera last year for around £20 secondhand, that's including the postage costs. They were both in perfect condition, if I had got them new they would have been around £90. Equally, if you're having a clear out, sell items on Vinted and use the money to buy new gifts.

"Christmas home activities are always lovely and quite often children's favourite memories - like watching a Christmas movie with a hot chocolate and wrapped up in a blanket on the sofa. You can could use cereal boxes, toilet rolls and similar items to do Christmas crafts.

"Finally, Asda rewards are doing a bonus on their Christmas saver cash pot, so that's a little bit of extra help for those who use the rewards!"

Here are more ticket prices for some of the region's popular Christmas events:

National Forest Adventure Farm – North Pole Adventure

The Burton-on-Trent event promises a "magical journey" for Christmas-lovers, with a visit to Santa Claus, a walk through the 'North Pole', a Victorian high street and sweet shop, bell-ringing, and other festive activities.

Ticket prices depend on the time and day of visit, but range from £25-35 per adult, £36-50 per child above the age of two, and £25-30 per child aged between 12 and 23 months. Babies in arms are free, and tickets for carers are £12.50.

An additional £1.50 booking fee applies.

More information can be found at

Alton Towers – Santa Sleepover

The Midlands theme park is holding its annual Santa Sleepover which includes a day in the theme park, Santa's grotto and activities, a pantomime, an evening meal and entertainment, an overnight stay and access to the water park and crazy golf.

Ticket prices depend on the accommodation booked. The park is currently advertising the price of £85 per person, which is based on two adults and two children staying in a standard room at the Splash Landings Hotel.

Prices for a family of four or five range from £525-755.

More information can be found at

Conkers – Winter Wonderland

The popular adventure centre will be holding a Winter Wonderland event featuring a Valley of Lights, an Enchanted Forest, a train ride, and many more activities for children and parents.

A family ticket, based on two adults and two children, is priced at £65.95 with an additional booking fee of 20p.

More information can be found at

Warwick Castle – Stories with Santa

Families looking to spend a day at the castle for Christmas have a few events to choose from, including a book reading by Santa Claus. The ticket price also includes access to the castle and grounds on the day.

Tickets for Stories with Santa are £38 per person over the age of three, and £13 per person under three years old. Carers go free.

More information can be found at

Severn Valley Railway – Santa Trains

SVR celebrates Christmas with a number of events, one of which is the Santa Train, which transports visitors to Santa's show at Arley station. It features a winter wonderland at Kidderminster Station to meet Mrs Christmas and her Elf, a complimentary hot drink and sweet treat, and a steam train ride in a private compartment or reserved table.

Ticket prices depend on the date. For a compartment to seat up to four people, prices range between £160 and £200. For a table for four, prices are between £144 and £184.

More information can be found at

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