Santa, carols and panto take Blists Hill back in time to a Victorian Christmas - review

By Leigh Sanders | Attractions | Published:

A sky of two halves greeted the third instalment of Blists Hill's Victorian Christmas event on Saturday as a wet and soggy opening gave way to a cold but bright and breezy afternoon to attract a larger crowd.

Inside the Santa and Elves Workshop at The Saw Mill during the Victorian Christmas event at Blists Hill Victorian Town, Telford

Those who braved the early weather to get a glimpse of Santa at the popular museum in Madeley, Telford, were rewarded when the clouds cleared and the sun came out to dry them off.

And in amongst the streets there was festive music, fake snow and costumed actors to take you back in time with the ghost of Christmas past.

Rosie Kendrick, aged 8, of Stoke, dressed up for the festive occasion

And what made this event feel more like an intimate and quiet family occasion was the fact that the distance between the focal points and spreading of the crowds meant no one area was overly-crowded and you weren't plagued with the crazy queues which blighted similar festive events at the Black Country Living Museum across the border in Dudley recently.

And the larger indoor areas of this museum meant that should the weather turned on visitors like it did in the morning there are places to shelter such as the Goods Shed with its offering of festive crafts or the well-decorated Forest Glen Refreshment Pavilion where bellies could be warmed with tea and toes dried.

The Green hosted a Big Top tent too with a host of shows during the day. Myself and my 16-month-old son caught part of a pantomime called McCladdin, we think, which featured plenty of audience interaction, swordfights to pick a side in and a lot of laughing out loud from those watching.

Up in the main village’s streets, there was the sound of carols from the Wellington Brass Band’s instruments which people were joining in singing with, and of course filming with phones in the modern age. While circus entertainers paraded the streets looking for youngsters to entertain such as one with painted beard and a dragon puppet protruding out of a wooden box under his arm to cause mischief for anyone it met.

Members of Wellington Brass Band, Kate Worthing, left, of Newport, and Liz Anson-Smith, of Dawley


Fried Fish Dealers was filling bellies and Pritchard’s Sweet Shop too with their queues poking out of the door, but neither took too long to get through should people wish to tuck in.

And for those youngsters lucky enough to have their parents book a slot ahead of visiting, Santa was waiting in his grotto near to the green to be found by hearty explorers, and for those who preferred to just sit on his lap he was also waiting in his workshop in the Saw Mill.

It was busy yet quiet, wet then dry, and nothing could dampen the spirits of those walking through the streets laughing and singing along getting lost in this historical winter wonderland.

The event was repeated yesterday, having already run on December 7 and 8.

Leigh Sanders

By Leigh Sanders

Senior sub editor for the MNA portfolio and entertainments writer leaning towards features and reviews. Get releases to me at


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