Thursday 15 November 2018

Jingle Bells - a Santa grotto experience like no other at Resorts World Birmingham this Christmas

You may have seen my annual bumper guide to Santa grottos across the Midlands, and I have a new experience that has shot to the top of my 'nice' list - the Jingle Bells family escape room event at Resorts World Birmingham, which is open now.

We were invited along to be one of the first families to enjoy Jingle Bells and we kept it a surprise from Ethan - so seeing his face light up when a friendly elf opened the door to greet us, all the way through the activities and meeting the main man in red himself, was just so lovely. We had wondered whether we would have time to actually visit a grotto ourselves this year, given the timings of when baby number two is due, so we were so happy to have had this chance and I can honestly say, having been to a fair few places over the past few years as Ethan has grown up, this is one of our favourite grotto experiences.

It's just so different. Of course there's elves, stories of toys and flying reindeer, festive scenes and a meeting with Santa, but Jingle Bells is actually more of a game that gets everyone involved and working together. Christmas is about enjoying being with your favourite people after all, so taking part in an activity together, rather than just wandering around after your child, is such a good idea and means that everyone is involved. 

Seeing Santa shouldn't just be for kids!

Now, because it is a unique experience, I don't want to say too much or show too much of our time at Jingle Bells, because that would spoil some of the magic, but I can share the key information about this one-of-a-kind grotto and the reasons why we had such a fun evening there:

  • Escape Live, the leading Escape Room brand in the Midlands, has created this unique Christmas experience tailored just for families and children at Resorts World Birmingham
  • The unique concept is an interactive, hands-on grotto experience most unlike the traditional grottos of the season, the first of its kind for Escape Rooms around the country
  • Aimed at children aged 3+, family teams will help Santa find his reindeer bells as part of a fun and festive puzzle game
  • Searching for Rudolf and the reindeer bells will mean solving festive puzzles in an Elves’ Workshop leading to meeting the man himself
  • All children receive a gift from Santa to take home following their hard work, a reward for helping Santa and his elves
  • Jingle Bells arrives at Resorts World ahead of their festive season. Alongside their support for Elf: The Musical, at what will be known as Resorts World Arena across the road in December, an interactive Elf Station will be created within Resorts World’s outlet shopping mall, complete with free activities including Christmas crafts, letter writing to Santa and photo fun for children and families 

Why we loved it:

  • The elf we had, Dayna, was super friendly and helpful, staying with us during our time at Jingle Bells
  • The game element made so much more of the visit to see Santa
  • Ethan got into the theme of everything, and as he loves mysteries and stories, enjoyed playing detective - and keeping an eye on the clock!
  • As parents, we were involved rather than just observing, so it made more of the whole experience
  • The joy on Ethan's face when he managed to get through to Santa was so lovely, and he had a good amount of time meeting him and having a funny and thoughtful chat
  • You can take your own photos of your child with Santa, so there's no hidden extra costs to get a memento of the visit
  • The gifts are good too - from what we saw, every child gets a fun board game, with Ethan's being a version of Guess Who

The kind team at Resorts World Birmingham also invited us to dine at Miller and Carter after our Santa visit. There's lots of fab restaurants, with cuisines from around the round and including a brand new Zizzi, so whenever we have been there before, we've made a day of it; usually cinema (it's super big and even has a Starbucks inside!), a spot of discount shopping and then a bite to eat.

We really like Miller and Carter - best steaks around! - and it is child friendly, whilst also being somewhere you can go for a special occasion or date night; the view of the lake is really lovely at this restaurant. The kids menu has fancier versions of all the classics, including chicken nuggets, fish fingers and pizza, so Ethan was happy, and hubs and I both enjoyed a steak the way we like it, which comes with a wedge salad, onion loaf, choice of potatoes and your sauce preference too. Add a lobster mac'n'cheese on the side, and I was really in heaven!

We decided to push the boat out and celebrate, as it could be the last time we go out like that as a family of three, and could not fault the service we had. There were two lovely ladies taking care of us, chatting with Ethan and giving him colouring in to do (happy child, happy parents!) and the other being very attentive. I wish I had noted their names, but they added to the whole evening.

Overall, Monday was a very different kind of Monday for us and it really helped us to feel festive and start of this most wonderful time of year in the best possible way. Ethan loved the Jingle Bells activity, as did we, and seeing Santa and having such a good chat is something that he hasn't stopped talking about since.

Jingle Bells opens on Monday 12th November and will run throughout the Christmas period. A family experience for a group of up to four people will be priced at £40 Monday-Friday and £45 at weekends. Experiences must be pre-booked and can now be made at the Escape Live website,

* We were invited along to Jingle Bells for purposes of review, and had part of our meal at Miller and Carter gifted too, but all opinions are always our own.


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