The most festive day out ever – My Thursford Christmas Spectacular review

With old traction engines, quaint village shops, Santa’s grotto and a magical wonderland, Thursford Christmas Spectacular is so much more than just a show. Here’s what you can expect from a visit to Thursford this festive season…

When something is described as a ‘spectacular’, there’s usually only one way to go from there… down. I mean, the word itself means expectations are high before you even arrive. But thankfully, the Thursford Christmas Spectacular doesn’t disappoint. In fact, the only word you could use to describe the event IS spectacular.

I went to Thursford for the first time this week and every moment was a delight, from start to finish. We arrived on site to find fuss-free parking, super-close to the location. As we walked underneath the welcome arch, the world became more and more Christmassy with every step we took. By the time we reached the centre of Thursford, we were already giddy with festive excitement.

Having arrived as the venue opened, we had two hours to enjoy looking around before the show started. We’d planned to have food there and found numerous places to sit down and enjoy lunch. Considering that Thursford has a captive audience, I’d assumed that the food prices would be sky high. But I was wrong! There were pasties, sandwiches, cakes, mince pies and many more treats, all at reasonable prices. My turkey, stuffing and cranberry pastry lunch was less than £5 and it was delicious.

There’s a quaint ‘village’ at Thursford with the most Christmassy shops you’ve ever seen. It’s a great place to pick up some presents, as well as souvenirs of your day out, and sweets for the performance. The whole location is illuminated with fairy lights, so it looks like a postcard scene and it’s exactly how I want all shops to look at Christmas.

Whether you’ve got kids with you or not, Santa’s Magical Journey is worth a visit. You can book to see Father Christmas in his grotto, or you can just pay an extra £5 when you show your Christmas Spectacular ticket to wander around the winter wonderland. We took one step inside Santa’s Magical Journey before whipping our cameras out. It’s just soooo instagrammable.

The journey takes you through the north pole, past teddy bear land and to the elves’ present packing station, with the old traction engines that Thursford is famous for dotted about. Just when you think that Santa’s Magical Journey can’t get any more magical, you turn a corner and IT DOES! More snow, more fairy lights, more things to see than you ever thought possible. I can only imagine how a child must feel walking through there, knowing that a visit to Father Christmas awaits at the end of the journey.

Another surprise at the end of Santas Magical Journey was a 4D cinema showing of a short festive story. I LOVED it and, judging by the oooooohs of the other audience members, so did everyone else. You can’t imagine how many videos and photos I took while I was walking around this epic winter wonderland and I insisted on having a festive profile photo taken while I was there!

And that’s before the show even starts. With a mulled wine and mince pie in hand, we wandered into the theatre to take our seats for the main performance. I didn’t really know what to expect but, having been to a lot of festive productions in the past, I was ready for a good time. What I wasn’t prepared for was just how EPIC this show is.

The sheer scale of the show was so much more than anything I could have imagined. The volume of dancers, singers, musicians and performers on the stage was unbelievable. The show dances were Vegas standard, the singers should have been on a West End stage and the orchestra matched any I’ve seen at Snape Maltings.

It’s a 3-hour show with a 25 minute interval but there’s so much happening that you never have time to check the clock. With dancers in the aisles, a band on stage and comedy performances between scenes there was something new to look at every time you blinked your eyes. Even the scenery on the stage (and around the theatre) changed with each new song, and every lighting effect was more magical than the last.

I know I’m going on a bit about how magical it was, but I can’t emphasise it enough. And the thing is that I can’t really tell you what happens in the show itself. If I mentioned a single thing, it would be a massive spoiler and, if you book tickets, I want you to have the same jaw-dropping experience that I did. In fact, just do it – and then we can chat about how spectacular it really is afterwards.

By the way, this isn’t just an event for people who live in Norfolk or the surrounding areas. Coach trips from around the country come to Thursford Christmas Spectacular. In the audience were from as a far afield as Yorkshire, South Wales and the Isle of Wight. Does that give you an idea of how amazing it must be? I think it’s well worth travelling to see this show.

The final magical moment came when we stepped outside after the show. The sun had set and Thursford comes alive at night. Everywhere you look are twinkling fairy lights, the biggest Christmas trees you’ve ever seen, and all the buildings are illuminated with a wash of colourful lights. I think we spent more time taking pictures outside than we even did in Santa’s Magical Journey – if you’ve watched my Instagram story this week, you’ll know what I’m talking about!

So now I’m in the most Christmassy mood ever and I think it’ll stick with me long after the big day itself. There are still tickets available for some of the shows and it runs until 23rd December 2018 so you’ve got plenty of dates to choose from. Let me know if you’ve been to the Thursford Christmas Spectacular before in the comments below – I’d love to know what you thought of it and whether you plan to go back sometime soon. I definitely will (booking for 2019 opens in December!) and I’ll be taking my family with me to experience the magic of Christmas at Thursford.

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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