On Sunday, we took the kids to the Santa Special at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. This is a super activity if you have a baby or someone else who can’t or won’t walk very far.
I got loads of photos of the countryside while we were in the train but, as they are basically a load of photos of sheep, I’ll leave them off here.
After the train, we went through to see Father Christmas. We were expecting a long wait (or, at least, my husband was) but in fact it was fine. The queue was also in a really fantastic spot – in fact, I think this might be the thing I liked best about the whole visit.
The kids both got a present each from Father Christmas and an elf (a kind lady in a hat) took their names and ages before we went in.
After Father Christmas, we went to get juice and chocolate (for the kids) and mulled wine and mince pies (for the grown ups). There was a magic show but my kids don’t have the concentration for that sort of thing once they’ve had chocolate. We went to see the donkeys instead. There was meant to be a reindeer somewhere but we didn’t see him or her.
Today, we went to the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary. This is a really nice place to go to with young (or, really, any age) kids – you turn up, have a look at some donkeys and ponies, have a walk around, buy a coffee and perhaps some tat from the shop and leave. They have a little stream behind the shop which is worth a look – we played Pooh Sticks on the little bridge a few times.
I’ve just found out that it is going to be open all year round, from 10am until 4:30pm, which is really unusual for the IoW. Now, as the main attraction lives in fields, it does get muddy and boggy so wear sensible shoes.
Last time we came here, we came with my husband’s parents who adopted one of the donkeys for my children. This is a nice thing to do and my children were excited to see “their” donkey.
After the donkeys, we went for lunch at the Griffin. This is a pub that does pretty nice food and is very tolerant of small children. My daughter toddled about the pub a bit but it was big enough (and empty enough) for this not to be a problem. It is in Godshill, which is a very pretty village and well worth a look. Next time we go, we’ll go to the model village (although, like lots of places, this will be shut from 1 November).
One thing that is awesome about the Griffin is that it has a maze – a proper one! – in the garden. The hedge is really tall, too.
There is also a fenced off pond nearby, which is very pretty but the ground was really wet (my daughter fell in the boggy bit) even though we haven’t had rain for days and days so, like the donkey sanctuary, please wear sensible shoes.