Parents are warning other families about visiting one particular Santa’s grotto in Wales, describing it as “absolute hell”.
Joanne Rogerson had tickets to go to the Reindeer Lodge in Mold – 12 miles from Chester – with her daughter Jessica, but after seeing pictures of the event from a friend who’d been, said others should not go “under any circumstances”.
The website advertises tickets for a “perfect festive experience” in a “stunning location”, costing £12.65 for adults and £15.95 for children, but the mum who’d been said: “In reality what we got was a muddy, rubble-filled building site on a very steep hill.”
Flintshire County Council has launched an investigation after it said in a statement it have received a “number of concerns”.
“It quickly became obvious that whoever was running this rip-off had clearly run out of time (about a year) and serious amount of money.”
The mother-of-one who went said that any hopes of Christmas magic were “well and truly gone” for both her and her family.
“In front of us was a very precarious tent surrounded by more building rubbish, rolls of grass that never made it onto the ground, piles of Christmas trees still in their netting, three small fairground rides surrounded by more crap, a sad, dirty shed selling random ‘gift items’ and one other vendor selling sausages,” she wrote.
She also said there were no toilets, only a portaloo being used by the building staff on the site.
Describing the Elf show, the mum wrote: “What we had to witness was an empty stage with two teenagers dressed as ‘elves’ performing their very poor idea of stand-up comedy.”
And meeting Santa was no better as he was sat on a chair in an empty room: “Not a piece of tinsel or a candy cane, Christmas bauble or a wreath. Nothing.”
She added: “At which point, one of our three-year-old Christmas troopers chimed ‘Want to go home now!’ whilst the other concluded ‘This is a disaster’ Yes, dears. So it is.”
The manager of the Reindeer Lodge, Ed Brisbourne, told The Daily Post anyone who didn’t enjoy it the first time was welcome to come back for another visit. “A thousand people came and we’ve had 34 complaints, we are offering the people who didn’t enjoy themselves to come back this weekend as it will be looking a lot better,” he said.
But Rogerson’s friend said the real moment of magic for her was knowing that she wouldn’t ever have to “return to this hellhole”.
A spokesperson for Flintshire County Council told HuffPost UK: “Officers from Flintshire County Council’s Public Protection Team are currently looking into a number of concerns they have received about Reindeer Lodge.”
HuffPost UK has contacted the Reindeer Lodge and Flintshire County Council for further comment and will update this piece when they respond.