The website promised that the castle would be transformed into an enhanted kingdom and the family would be "transported into a magial world" and be "awstruck by enchanted experiences full of frosty family fun". In its 3rd year running, tickets for the enchanted kingdom can be purchased directly on their website http://www.slanecastle.ie/castle/enchanted_kingdom_2016.php
I booked 4 weeks in advance and chose the date and timeslot that suited us best. Tickets were €15.00 per adult and €22.00 for kids plus €2.90 booking charge. I didn't prebook a photo and decided I would pay on the day.
Saturday 3d December we headed off on the 40 minute drive to Slane Castle. We pulled up on the large grounds where we were greeted by an elf at the castle door, lit up brightly and enticing. Stepping inside there was a warm feeling of welcome, with rudolph waiting to shake hands with us as we hung up our coats. We registered at reception where I decided to purchase the family photo, luckly enough I managed to count out the bit of change in my purse as cards were not accepted there.
After a 15 minute wait our group commenced the tour of the castle. Going from room to room we were greeted by the varous christmas characters. The first room was the sorting office for the elves, where they sifted through all the kids letters and wrote up the nice and the naughty list! I managed to find Cillian's name on the list, despite the other kids there not being on the list ( I think this was just pure co-incidence - or maybe it wasn't!! :) ). The kids wrote their letters to santa with the colouring pencils and letter templates provided. The room was hot and quite small. Mam's and Dad's didn't have much space to sit. After a long 35 minute or so wait, we finally got to go to the next room to post our letters and to meet with mrs clause. Her living room was quite large and there were tiny little elves bunk beds too! Mrs. Clause talked to the children and read a story, Of course Cillian was too young to have any interest in a story and so the christmas tree baubles took more of a fancy for him! Again it was a drawn out wait to go to the next room, which was the ice room. It was elegantly decorated with iceicles, polar bears and the like and jack frost was there to greet us! The final room before seeing the big man was my favourite, the massive Christmas tree was so nicely decorated, there were toys to keep the kids occupied and comfy sofa's for the adults so the wait didn't feel half as long. Finally we got to meet the big man himself. He looked the part but lacked a bit of banter with the kids. Cillian was mostly impressed with the white gloves santa was wearing and nearly took the hand off him when he handed him his present. We smiled as the elve took one or two clicks of the camera. The present was reasonable, a little animal fold out book, however the website is a little deceiving, when booking, as it asks what your child would like from santa. I input tractor, so naively I was expecting something to that effect! Afterwards we went to collect our photos in the outhouse behind the castle, where we received mulled wine and the kids got hot chocolate with marshmallows. Later I discovered sticky marshmallows all over Cillian's jeans that was impossible to wipe off! The photos we could choose from were limited as the first two came out blury, but the main thing was the little guy was actually looking at the camera!
Overall it was a nice day. On the plus side, the rooms were really nicely decorated and all very different, on the negative side, it was a bit pricey €64.90 in total for mam, dad and Cillian. Also the wait in each of the rooms was a bit too long. The characters could have been a bit more lively in my opinion. But of course it all boils down to if the kids had fun and Cillian certainly did. It wasn't long before he fell asleep in the car on the journey back home! 7/10 I would rate our experience at the enhanted kingdom @ Slane Castle.
Wishing you and your family a very happy Christmas
Niamh @ BabyChic.ie
PS: If you went to see Santa recently, let us know about your experience by commenting here and telling us where you went and how you would rate it!