We love Christmas. Even though we have to make a start on preparations early in the year, there’s still plenty of magic by the time we get to December and the team enjoys creating something a bit special for our winter visitors of all ages.
Once we’ve chosen all our decoration stock (many months ago), it’s a case of storing it all carefully until November and then really going to town. The extension to the Gift Shop is soon transformed into our version of an Aladdin’s cavern of glitter and sparkle, red, gold and green. It’s a challenge every year to have a few decorations that you won’t find anywhere else in Cumbria and, for 2018, we think our indoor/outdoor starburst lights are one of our most stylish ideas. They’re available in two sizes, in silver or copper finish and have the option of battery or mains operation.
The other huge Christmas job is taking a simple space – our marquee – and turning it into Santa’s Grotto for the seasonal weekends. Our Grotto has a well-deserved reputation for being absolutely magical from the moment children step through the doors and into our enchanted winter forest. You’ll not find photographs on the website or social media as we want it to stay a surprise for everyone, children, parents and grandparents alike.
Santa will be with us this year between 11.00am and 3:00pm on Saturdays and Sundays from Saturday 1st December until Sunday 16th December. It costs just £4 per child including a Christmas activity bag. To keep it special, we limit numbers so please pre-order your tickets in our Gift Shop if you possibly can. We’d hate to disappoint anyone and we want to avoid long queues too.
So you’ve bought your decorations, seen Santa and shared your list – you’ve probably worked up an appetite. The team in our kitchen has plenty of festive food and drink on the menu throughout December, from home-baked mince pies to a full Christmas lunch to replace our regular Sunday roasts. As regular visitors will know, we’ve plenty of seating and easy access, especially with the School Room open. For Christmas, everywhere is decorated with plenty of ideas for your tree at home too. Michelle in our kitchen has created a really special gluten-free cake recipe for this Christmas too – Sticky Plum Flapjack! She’s replaced the normal flour with gluten-free oats and the spiced plums keep it moist. We hope it will tempt a few people into the Tea Room during December to try it for themselves.
Our usual selection of local food and produce in the shop is expanded for Christmas and gives you a great range of ideas for a personal gift hamper. Just select the items that you want to include and one of the team will make it up and wrap it for you. Alternatively, we also have a few combinations ready to go if you prefer. Ideas include savoury biscuits and preserves for a cheese lover or a chocolate theme for someone with a sweeter tooth but (almost) anything is possible. We’re happy to help and advise – just ask.
Finally, as you’d expect from The Pot Place, we have an invasion of Nordman Christmas trees from a local woodland early in December. We’re also expecting lots of stock of other greenery in garlands and wreaths. The tradition of evergreens in the home at Christmas goes back centuries. Holly, ivy, mistletoe and even rosemary and laurel were all brought indoors to ward off evil spirits. Decorated fir trees became a British favourite at Christmas in Victorian times through Prince Albert’s influence.
You won’t find LED trees or black trees or tinsel wreaths at The Pot Place but, if you’re after traditional greenery, we’ve plenty of choice. And we’re happy to help on netting your tree for transport and helping you to get it into your car!
We hope everyone who visits us during December enjoys the atmosphere and gets into the Christmas spirit. And we wish all our customers season’s greetings, a healthy 2019 and happy gardening.