'Grotto Off 2015'! First Stop Ards Shopping Centre

'Grotto Off' doesn't have a very appealing ring to it, I am aware of that, but just in case we end up visiting a selection this Christmas, we might as well post about our visit today, at  Ards Shopping Centre.


Ards Shopping Centre always put on a good show. Their yearly 'mountain' display is immense. There have been DJing elves and the infamous 'Puffing Billy' who I captured in 2010 on video.

We pitied those working in stores in earshot of that song, on loop, all day, every day for over a month. The woman at the till of the butchers' definitely had a thousand mile stare on the go. I could imagine coming in one day to find her with a kebab skewer in each bloody ear due to her aural torture. 


Apart from being impressive, the whole grotto set up is hard to beat. Free visit, free chocolate lolly for each child, and one free photo printed instantly for you. So no monetary outlay, and no having to wait around for an hour, or even call back another day to claim your Santa photo. 

Ards' grotto was actually the first ever Santa visit had, December 2007, a month and a bit after he was born. 

Baby Smix 2007

Baby Smix 2007

What a little Christmas pudding! 

So we were in the centre after school today, and the queue for Santa was tiny, so we both paid him a visit. 

Smix's smile betrays the fact that I was the one keener to see Santa! He was just after the lollipop! 


So yes, first grotto experience of 2015, how did it weigh up?  Score is out of five snowmen.

Display- ⛄️⛄️⛄️⛄️⛄️

Actual rating for Santa-  ⛄️⛄️⛄️⛄️⛄️

Price- ⛄️⛄️⛄️⛄️⛄️ 

Gift (free on this occasion remember)- ⛄️⛄️⛄️ 

Photo quality- ⛄️⛄️⛄️⛄️ 

Photo Gift Option- ⛄️ 

Queue time- ⛄️⛄️⛄️⛄️⛄️