Winter Wonderland at World’s End Garden Centre

Aylesbury Road, Wendover, Buckinghamshire. HP22 6BD

I hadn’t actually been to the Winter Wonderland at World’s End since they started charging (it used to be much smaller and part of the Christmas Shop) but I decided to take smallest child along today. She loved it!! There are lots of different rooms and settings for them to explore. Each room has got lots of animals and characters; some are moving, some are hidden and she really enjoyed going around and spotting them all (and saying hello to all of them but then she is 15 months!). We were in there for about 45 minutes but we were going backwards and forwards quite a lot as she decided she had to go and see something again. There’s music playing as well so we had to stop and have a dance apparently.

It’s very Christmas-y and a great start to the season. The only downside was that someone had pulled up some of the clear plastic around the Polar Bears cave which meant there was a clear loop of plastic on the floor that smallest child tripped on. She was very lucky she didn’t hit her head on the display. I’ve told the staff and they said they would get it fixed. 

You can pay to visit Santa for £7 per child. There are also a lot of upgrade and photo packages you can buy if you want to. We decided not to go in this time. Outside they have a small Christmas market (about 6 stalls) and some fairground rides. These are £2 per child which I think is a bit expensive.  

We decided to go to the cafe for a bite to eat and to extend our visit by going onto the soft play area they have. When we arrived it was already very busy (11:30 on a term time weekday) and we couldn’t get a highchair as they were all in use. That wasn’t their fault though. The food was nice and about the price you would expect to pay. A kids box £4.95 for 4 items + a drink and there was a reasonable selection of options. I had a mince pie which was very nice, they do lots of hot food and a nice selection of cakes. It is a large restaurant but it does get busy. There is also some outside seating for when the weather is nice again.

You have to buy a band to go into the soft play and there is a sign outside the play area door that has the price of £1.50 per hour on it that is visible from across the entire restaurant. I was therefore very surprised when I was charged £2!!!!! Apparently the £1.50 is for Garden Club Members (which is free to join but I didn’t know before buying  a band). When you look at the sign it does say £2, but it is so much smaller than the other price and not visible as you come in or as you pay. Not a huge deal but a bit irksome when I thought it was less. On the plus side they’ve clearly reduced the prices recently as it’s more expensive under the stickers! Also, 50p of each band goes to charity. 

From across the large restaurant the £2 is very hard to see!

The soft play area is quite small but it’s not supposed to be somewhere you’ll play all day. The ceilings are very low so you have to crawl around if you end up going in there yourself (not much choice with smallest child). Getting in and out of the ball pool is interesting! BUT; it is clean and well maintained, there is a separate under 2’s area (The main frame is under 8’s) and it’s nice enough when it’s not too busy. The main frame has a max capacity of 22 children. I think the most I have seen is about 15 and that was chaotic. There isn’t much space for parents to be in supervising, especially if you had that many kids in there. I’m not convinced I’d want to go in here at a weekend over Christmas as it would be pandemonium and it’s probably not somewhere that the kids are going to want to spend more than their allotted hour but as an add on to the rest of the day it’s good.

As we were leaving I had to change smallest child’s nappy and this is where Wyevale REALLY let themselves down. The disabled toilet / baby change was filthy. The floor was soaking wet (the tap runs quite fast quite easily so I can see how that happens) but the walls were disgusting and the baby change station was really mucky. Not “someone didn’t clean up after themselves” mucky but “it’s not been cleaned properly” mucky. I’m glad she is still small enough to be in her pushchair as I wouldn’t have wanted her touching anything in there, not that I want her touching the walls in even the cleanest public toilets but you know what I mean.

Overall, it was a nice way to spend a couple of hours, just don’t spend a penny!

Entry to the Garden centre – FREE
Entry to the Winter Wonderland – £3 per person (including Adults). Under 2’s FREE
A visit to Santa is an additional £7 per child (including under 2’s)
Soft Play – £2 per hour for non-members, £1.50 for members

Parking – Free, on-site

Food – There is the main cafe on-site but there is also a Costa. 

Toilets – Yes they have them but see above

Rating – 4 / 5. It’s a nice way to spend a couple of hours and there are several different things to do, even when it’s not Christmas. I did like the Winter Wonderland a lot and it’s a shame the older boys weren’t with me this time as I think they would also have enjoyed it. 

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