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Review: Santa’s Toy Mine 2018, Rhondda Heritage Park

The ever-popular Santa’s Toy Mine has returned to Rhondda Heritage Park for 2018.

The sold-out experience has been one of my favourite places to visit at this time of year since I was a child. I have fond memories of my parents bringing me, and now that I have a daughter of my own, it’s time to carry on the family tradition.

Even now that I’m older, there is something about visiting a mine that fills you with mystery, and in particular Rhondda Heritage Park, as it’s full of history and only a short drive from where I live in Cardiff (20-mins drive).

In my opinion, Rhondda Heritage Park is the perfect place for this Christmas event.

From the replica cobbled streets, lampposts and quaint little shops, Welsh history really does come alive. You can visit the little shops, treat yourself to a hot chocolate or pick-up a little something handmade to take home. All of this adds up to create a traditional Christmas experience.

Cafe at Rhondda Heritage Park

Children are invited to write a letter to Santa (if they haven’t done so already). They can post their letters at the venue too.

Write a letter to Santa

I throughly recommend arriving early to make the most of your visit. There is an extremely interesting exhibition on Welsh life located on the 1st floor that you should check out. As it’s on the 1st floor, you may bypass it accidentally if you don’t know it’s there.

Welsh Mining Experience
Welsh Life Exhibit

The Toy Mine experience

Entrance to Santa’s Toy Mine

Following clues, visitors are invited to help find the entrance to Santa’s Toy Mine. But be warned, the magical lift will only work and take you to the mine if you’re on the ‘good list’. Once you’re in the mine, you will journey through the beautifully decorated rooms to find Father Christmas.

Our guide was absolutely brilliant with the children. He was very engaging and suggested that the children join him at the front of the group, leading them from room to room, following the clues.

We did visit the Toy Mine experience two years ago when our daughter was two, she is now four. At the time, we felt she was too young to make the most of the visit. However, now that she is a bit older, it was definitely the right decision to bring her back, as she was in her element.

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The experience itself is exactly the same as it was two years ago. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If it isn’t broken, why fix it? However, I would struggle to return next Christmas unless there is something new.

The most important bit

The Father Christmas was absolutely brilliant! Although this is a group visit to see him, he speaks to everyone individually, fist pumping the children and asking them questions. He then calls up children individually (or in groups if you’re with siblings), so there’s some one-on-one chit chat. The gift was pretty good too…

Don’t miss

  • Christmas craft stalls – we picked up a lovely children’s book by Sarah Phelps for £5, signed by her with a little inscription
  • The Welsh mining experience exhibition (as noted above)
  • Visit one of the traditional shops for a souvenir or gift

Ticket Prices

24th November – 16th December

  • Children £10.95*
  • Under 1 years old £5.95
  • Adults £6.95

Christmas week 17th December – 24th December

  • Children £11.95*
  • Under 1 years old £6.95
  • Adults £7.95

*Additional cost for photo print / magnet etc with Santa

83%
Brilliantly Festive

Verdict

Overall a throughly enjoyable visit to Father Christmas. Rhondda Heritage Park offers something a little different to the usual grotto visits, which creates more of an experience.

  • Overall experience
  • Family friendly
  • Value for money
  • Venue facilities
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