I love the run up to Christmas. All that festive fun and buzzing excitement of what’s to come. Recently we were lucky enough to be invited along to the Celtic Manor to sample their Willy Wonka Afternoon Tea and to try out our ice-skating skills at their new under-cover ice-rink. These are just some of the special events they have on this Christmas at the Celtic Manor.
When we arrived at the Hotel it was clear from the outset that the Celtic Manor fully embraces Christmas. The main foyer is adorned with a huge Christmas tree which has two running trains travelling around the base of the tree, winding its way through a snowy Christmas village. This kept the kids amused for ages.
The Willy Wonka Afternoon Tea – On this Christmas at the Celtic Manor
Our afternoon tea was at the Manor House, which was also decorated beautifully. We were greeted at the entrance to the restaurant by Willy Wonka himself. With his top hat, velvet purple jacket, wild curly hair and his cane.
We sat at our table which was brightly decorated and had a large (fake) lollypop on the top. Within no time, a bright orange (taller than usual) Umpa Lumpa came to offer us hot chocolates, coffee or tea. And to check whether we had any special dietary requirements. No surprises but all three kiddies opted for the hot chocolate which came with lashings of cream and marshmallows. We opted for the freshly brewed coffee.
The three tier plates of afternoon tea were full of sweet delights, just as you would expect from a Willy Wonka experience. The top plate had the token savoury layer. Not having much of a sweet tooth myself, this was my favourite. I pretty much tucked into everything apart from the smoked salmon pinwheel. As I’m just not a fan of smoked salmon.
I particularly enjoyed the petite rolls filled with turkey and cranberry, which of course was very festive. The pulled pork with crackling and apple sauce was also a hit, with both me and the boys. The egg mayonnaise with little egg soldiers was cutely presented in a chick egg cup and was also tasty. My two boys had a good go at the savoury section but my fussy little one wouldn’t really touch anything. It was pretty hard to encourage her when there’s a whole layer of sweet stuff beckoning on the middle layer.
The sweet section was full of fun, and were all named after characters in the film. There was Mike Teavee’s cappuccino, with a chocolate cup filled with a raspberry mouse. Then there was my favourite which was Augustus Gloop’s banoffee fudge tart which was deliciously rich and gooey. My husbands favourite was Veruka Salt’s salted caramel truffle with honeycomb. Then there was Charlie and Grampa Joe’s milk chocolate Wonka bar which appeared to be the kids favourite. If you were lucky enough you may find a golden ticket hiding beneath with a prize.
There was no way we could fit in the final layer of scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam topped with candy floss. So these along with some of the sweets desserts left over were packaged up for us to take home in a box.
I thought my two boys made a good dent into their afternoon tea, whilst my youngest pretty much only ate the Willy Wonka bar. For her it was a complete waste. The Hotel does recommend that the event is better suited for over 5’s and I can see why. My youngest is only 3 and on top of that she is exceptionally fussy. I think when booking you just need to consider the age of your kiddies and how fussy an eater they are to see whether or not it is worth splashing out on them. That’s not to say she didn’t enjoy though, as she really did.
Willy Wonka had the kids engaged throughout. He passed from table to table chatting to all the kiddies. He teased them, played jokes on them and after they had eaten, asked them to write out their Christmas lists. With the promise that he would deliver them to Santa. He was great with all of them, from the very small to the older kids.
The afternoon tea ended with us being asked to join Willy Wonka in the side room. Here he collected their lists for Santa and asked them a few questions about Christmas. He then gave them a bag containing a candy cane and a cute little elf. It was a lovely end to the experience.
I wouldn’t have thought to have taken our kids to afternoon tea before. But they really did enjoy the whole experience, of course largely due to the fun factor of Willy Wonka It was a lovely festive thing to do together in the run up to Christmas.
The Great Skate – On this Christmas at the Celtic Manor
After tucking into all that food, it was time to put on our skates and test out the new ice rink. If you have been ice-skating here before, it is in the same place as in previous years. But this year the rink felt bigger and there is no longer a Santa’s Grotto. It also has a glass roof which means that the skating can go ahead whatever the weather.
There is a large wooden hut next to the rink where you can get some snack type food and some drinks. Which we didn’t try as we were still so full.
For kiddies, or adult beginner skaters, there are penguins to push around the ice which will help you balance. For even littler ones there are seals which you can sit on and be pushed around on the ice. My little one absolutely loved the seal and was squealing with delight. It is worth noting that the Penguins and Seals need to be booked ahead.
The rink itself was a bit busy at times which meant that the boys got buzzed a little when on the ice. But it was a weekend when we went so it may well be quieter through out the week. They also had two marshals on the ice with us who did a fantastic job of checking on anyone that fell over and for keeping folk in check.
The ice skating was in a lovely setting and was a good way to burn off some calories after stuffing our faces. And having recently also tried our hand at skating at Caerphilly Castle we are all getting much better at it.
Our Verdict of the Festivities this Christmas at the Celtic Manor
It was so nice to take some time out from all the rushing about that goes hand in hand with this time of year and to enjoy some family festivities this Christmas at the Celtic Manor. We hadn’t been to the Hotel for a couple of years and had forgotten how Christmassy it feels when you are there. The Willy Wonka Afternoon was a great hit with the kids and was a lovely way to spend the afternoon in the run up to Christmas.
The Willy Wonker afternoon tea at selected dates until 24th December. Prices start at £35 per adult and from £27 per child.
The Great Skate is at the Celtic Manor until 6th January. Prices start at £5.00
Visit the website for more information – www.celtic-manor.com
Disclosure – We were invited to experience the Willy Wonker Afternoon Tea courtesy of the Celtic Manor in exchange for this review. As with all my posts I will only publish my honest thoughts and opinions and will never provide false positive reviews.