I have fond memories of visiting Thursford several years ago with my Nanny. At the time we visited as part of a coach tour to watch the Christmas Spectacular Show. This year, Thursford are celebrating their 40th anniversary.
Thursford is located in North Norfolk close to Fakenham. During the year Thursford is home to the world’s largest collection of steam engines and organs. However, throughout December the place is transformed into a magical Christmas wonderland.
We were delighted to be invited to Thursford to write a Thursford Christmas review. Thursford has two Christmas attractions that cater for two different audiences. We were able to review both but have divided our review into three parts.
Arriving at Thursford
Thursford is well signposted despite its rural location. It has a large car park and you are directed where to park on arrival. The Christmas Spectacular show hosts up to 50 coaches every day but the car park is well organised.
Christmas music is playing on loud speakers throughout your visit and it certainly puts you in the Christmas mood. Virtually every tree and bush is covered in bright Christmas lights which are on all of the time. Tall firs are wrapped from top to root with lights and the entrance to the attraction has puppets playing in a band. We were greeted by male staff dressed in Christmas robes. He was friendly and helpful and asked if Adam would like a photograph with him.
There are plenty of places to eat – although some are quite hidden. We enjoyed a cup of tea and cake within the decorated Garden Pavilion. There is also a large picnic area outside if you wanted to brave the elements.
Adam enjoyed testing out Thursford’s Adventure Play Park. This was a welcome sight after the long drive across Norfolk.
Thursford Santa’s Magical Journey
For children, Thursford is all about visiting Father Christmas. Located in the Thursford Fantasy Land building, Santa’s Magical Journey is a walkaround Christmas tour.
It is probably easier to see the Santa’s Magical Journey in action:
Not an inch of space is wasted throughout the journey. It is amazing how much is going on. Almost every creature and object seems to move. There are several storylines and different types of music played throughout so it can be a bit overwhelming at times.
At the end of the walk way you reach Santa’s house. Unfortunately Father Christmas is only at Thursford at weekends and school holidays but this didn’t dampen the experience. When Father Christmas is at home you can also experience the 4D Theatre.
Booking to meet Father Christmas is essential and there are only a few spaces left for this year.However, if you go during the week at term time you can walk around Santa’s Magical Journey for only £5 like we did. Santa’s Magical Journey is certainly unlike any other Christmas experience we have been on and we can’t think of anything similar in the area.
Thursford Christmas Spectacular
Thursford Christmas Spectacular has grown from a small performance in a rural barn to a £3 million production involving a cast of 130 professional singers, dancers and musicians. The three hour performance likens itself to a West End performance and it certainly is. The show runs twice a day for six weeks in the lead up to Christmas and can seat 1,400 people per show. Tickets go on sale a year in advance and sell quickly. Coach parties from from across the country bring people to attend the performance.
Before the show and during the interval you are able to walk around the steam museum and see the huge carousel. Adam loved seeing the animated polar bears and reindeer.
Thursford Christmas Spectacular certainly caters for a mature audience. It is not a performance suitable for young children and neither does it pretend to be. Their website clearly states that there is an advisory age limit of 8 years old for children and there is no child price reduction. Nevertheless Adam enjoyed the performance and was swept away with the music and dancing. We were unable to take photographs during the show.
Thursford Christmas Spectacular is a happy lifting show with singing, dancing, comedy, and orchestra and a special organist. The white doves flying across the audience was a lovely finale to the experience. Adam particularly enjoyed the Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers dance, the Teddy Bears Picnic and was captivated by the conductor. I shall never forget watching Adam dance along to the music.
It was evening when we left Thursford and we got to experience the full effect of the Christmas lights in the dark. Thursford certainly knows how to bring back the magic of Christmas. It was a wonderful experience and one that Adam and I will no doubt treasure.
Disclaimer: We received three tickets to attend Thursford Christmas Spectacular to review. All thoughts and opinions are our own
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