We have been lucky enough to spend a fabulously festive weekend in beautiful Snowdonia . . . read on to find out about the first of our exciting activities organised by Attractions of Snowdonia – a visit to see Father Christmas at Bounce Below!
Bounce Below – Llechwedd Slate Caverns
Bounce Below offers a completely unique experience and one we were very excited about (well Dave and I were, as ever Ben and Chloe actually had no idea what we would be doing).
We arrived around 15 minutes before our scheduled appointment which gave us time to book in and get organised. Unfortunately the caverns are not accessible by pushchair so we were immensely grateful that we had taken the Beco Soleil and Dave whizzed back up to the car with the pushchair. (It does actually state quite clearly on the website that you can’t take a pushchair into the cavern, I just hadn’t checked beforehand!)
Once we had checked in and been given our wristbands we made our way through to be greeted & given our safety helmets. Ben thought this was really exciting. The girls, as I’m sure you can imagine, were less impressed by their new headgear!
If you’ve read my review of our day out at Flamingo Land then you’ll know Chloe is not a fan of loud noises or fast rides . . . we got on the train to take us into the cavern and the first thing she said to me was “Will it go fast?” luckily it doesn’t at all. It is however, very noisy and rattly but she seemed ok with it. The tunnels were all strung with beautiful coloured twinkly lights which made the journey feel really magical.
Once we were off the train we had a “Elf & Safety session” (you can thank Dave for that pun) about safety on the nets and specifically who could and couldn’t go on the nets (under threes not allowed at, only over 6s on the high net).
I don’t know what I was expecting when we went through into the cavern but wow, it certainly wasn’t anything like what we were actually greeted by. I suppose I thought there would be actual trampolines or something not nets strung mid air across the immense caverns! I immediately knew that Chloe wasn’t going to be keen, and in fairness I was pretty glad I was wearing Amy in the carrier and so couldn’t have a go myself! (What a shame!) Dave on the other hand was straight on there and loving it! Ben was nervous at first but soon got going and even enjoyed a go on the net slide. When he came running out to tell us how amazing it was Chloe decided she’d be brave and have a go however the second she stepped on the nets she wanted to be straight back off and onto firm land! A thrill-seeker my little girl is not!
Our 15 minute session on the underground trampolines seemed to fly by and I’m quite sure the boys would have happily jumped around for a good while longer but it was time to go and see Father Christmas! We made our way down a twinkly pathway into another chamber decorated to look like a magical, snowy winter wonderland where we found Father Christmas’ grotto.
There was no wait, we were straight in there to see him. He was a lovely Father Christmas, if a little quiet. He didn’t seem quite prepared to ask questions of the children to elicit more of a conversation from them, especially as Chloe was being a bit shy. We all had to laugh when Father Christmas asked Ben where was from and Ben answered confident “England”! Chloe really was not in the best of moods for talking to a strange man in a red suit after being scared by the nets and so forth however she did manage to utter the words “Frozen dolls”. An elf took our photo (which could be bought at the end for £6.99) and we made out way out through the back of the cottage and round to the original cavern to wait for the train.
The whole experience was very well organised with plenty of staff around to make sure that everyone was in the right place at the right time and that things moved smoothly. As we were one of the first appointments of the day it was quite quiet but you could see they were well prepared to make sure things ran without a hitch as they got busier during the day. One of the downsides of it being quiet was it meant there was a bit of a lack of atmosphere, it would have been nice to have had more music or something in the caverns. I should also point out that you need to dress for basically being outside – the caverns are not warm! (Though Dave was definitely toasty after his 15 minutes bounce around on the nets!)
The presents from Father Christmas were age appropriate and the children were pleased with them. That said poor Chloe opened hers and exclaimed “It’s not Frozen dolls!” – she clearly didn’t get the idea that this was a token gift in the run up to the big day in two weeks time!
This is not a cheap experience, particularly as we were done and dusted in less than an hour, however it is pretty unique. I would suggest the experience is better suited to the slightly older child – £10 for Amy who couldn’t bounce on the nets and £15 for Chloe who wouldn’t bounce on the nets meant neither was really getting particularly great value for money. If you’re looking for something a bit different this Christmas and your child is braver than our Chloe then it’s definitely worth checking out Bounce Below! (It is recommended that if you want to go down and visit Father Christmas in his grotto at Bounce Below this winter that you pre-book to avoid disappointment (and queues!) )
*We were invited to visit Bounce Below free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions remain our own*