Saturday was a magical day at Luggwoods. We were so lucky to be invited to the launch of their extremely special Christmas Event which opens on the 1st December. If you’re looking for a special Santa Experience that will leave lasting memories for both you and your children, then Santa’s Enchanted Forest at Luggwoods is not to be missed. It truly is one of the best, if not the best, Santa Experience in Dublin.
As Little Miss is now four we know her memories are starting to creep in so we’re very conscious of starting traditions and giving her experiences that will leave lasting impressions on her mind. When we were invited to Luggwoods, I hadn’t heard of it so a quick Google search brought me to their webtsite and immediately I said, “Yep, we’re going.” B is often hesitant of going to places a little further than we’d normally travel and since we were coming from the Ashbourne direction, Saggart seemed impossibly far away but no, we were mistaken. The quick and effortless drive took just over half an hour and Little Miss slept most of the way. When she woke, we had just passed through Saggart and were making the 3km journey down to the forest. It was quite dusky and as the roads grew darker, we all exclaimed “There it is!” when we saw the large Christmas lights illuminate the entrance.
Luggwoods – An Experience Like No Other
From the moment we got out of the car, the excitement kept building. We were booked on the 4:45pm train so there was a chill in the air, the forest walkways were lit up and we could see lights dance through the forest. We made our way to the reception where we waited patiently for the next train, The Luggwoods Express, to see Santa. While we waited, we checked out the map of Luggwoods, chatted to Elves who gave every child wonderful attention and made them feel special. A was delighted when a very talented Elf painted a cold snowman on her cheek, who A named Bojo K. As you do! Her smile says it all, and we were only at Luggwoods a few moments.
Our train had arrived and we made our way up the hill, guided by the atmospheric Christmas lights as the leaves from the trees crunched under our feet. The train, with its bright lights and wonderful rustic charm, was a tractor drawn carriage. A brilliantly bumpy ride up through the forest in the dark, we were accompanied by The Lumberjack and Winter the Elf who told us stories about the Grinch, the Fairies and Mrs Clause. We searched for presents hidden in the trees, sang to the Grinch, and woke up the fairies. Our train was almost at its destination as we passed the most stunning sight imaginable as we overlooked Dublin city in all its twinkling glory. Finally, the excitement, as the Big Red Barn came into view, was palpable, by kids and adults alike.
The Luggwoods Big Red Barn
The first person we met as we entered the Big Red Barn, was the beautiful and friendly Mrs Claus who ushered us all in and made us feel welcome. Little Miss jumped up when Mrs Claus needed help to call Santa and happily dialed on the old rotary phone. We made our way to the next room where we met some reindeer, found the workshop and danced with some more friendly Elves. We passed through the secret bookcase to find Santas sleigh waiting for us. We wrote our Letters to Santa, chatted to the Elf on the Shelf who was happy to pose for a selfie and met so many warm and friendly Elves who were so eager to talk to Little Miss.
I’ll be honest, I completely forgot that we were waiting to see the main man himself, Santa, as myself and B warmed ourselves with hot coffee, and I shared a turkey and stuffing sandwich with Little Miss. After we posed in Santa’s sleigh, I noticed there were less people in the room than earlier and a warm and friendly Elf appeared before us asking if we’d like to see Santa.
The Real Santa
Santa! Of course, my goodness, wasn’t he the main reason we were here after all! We were so busy soaking up the atmosphere, listening to the Christmas music and checking out the incredible decoration of the warm Big Red Barn. And so in through another magic door, guided by the wonderful Elf, we were so happy to be greeted by the most wonderful Santa. Of course, Santa knew exactly what A wanted but she told him anyway and happily told him everything she saw in the forest – the trees were her favourite!
We said our goodbyes to Santa who handed A a gift, and we promised to be in bed by 5pm on Christmas Eve! I’m not sure that’s going to happen!
You’d imagine that this would be the end of this incredible journey through Luggwoods, but it wasn’t. We left Santa and met some energetic Elves in the final room who enticed myself and A to get on the dance floor and bop away with them! I lasted one song, completely worn out from a workout befitting the gym, or am I just that unfit? Don’t answer that.
We sat down on a cosy hay bale and A opened her gift from Santa. A My Little Merry Pony which may not be a My Little Pony original but truly that didn’t matter because the entire day was more about the experience and the memories than the gift. Almost enticed by the paper and colouring pencils that were happily strewn on the table, A announced that she had to dance and hopped up to join those disco dancing Elves who never stopped and danced with the kids who were all smiling and happy.
Once everyone had met the Big Man himself, our Elf guide announced that our train had arrived to take us back down the mountain. Despite this being the end of our journey, every child and every adult were excited to hop back on The Luggwoods Express and make the trip back through the lit up forest. It truly was magical.
And So Our Verdict
Luggwoods is not to be missed if you are after an incredible Santa Experience. This is their third year and they certainly know what they are doing. The entire forest and barn are staged to Christmas perfection. The Elves, the Grinch and Mrs Claus are fantastic and wonderfully theatrically. The attention given to the kids is fantastic and there is not a moment when you are left standing around thinking what’s next?
The event lasted about 90 minutes with something for the kids to do the entire time. There was a consistent excitement as the little ones got involved with chatting to the Elves, dancing with them and checking out the barn.
Now to pricing which is often something that makes us decide on an event or not. Child tickets are €19.00 and Adult tickets are €13.50, with children under one year free (we left Little Bean with her grandmother). There are also discounts available for family tickets. In my opinion, the ticket price is worth every cent as it is a consistent experience with so much to do. It is well organised and run seamlessly.
Tickets sell out quite quickly so don’t wait around if this is somewhere you really want to go. Also, it’s advised to arrive 10 – 15 minutes before your selected train time to avoid delays. And wrap up warm as it can get a little chilly!
Any questions about Luggwoods, please do let me know. And if you decide to go yourself, I’d love to hear your experience!
*Disclaimer: We were invited to the launch of Santa’s Enchanted Forest at Luggwoods. All opinions are wholeheartedly my own.*