The festive season kicked off last weekend as an award-winning experience returned to a historic venue.

Christmas elves opened the doors to the public at The Magical Grotto at Cressing Temple Barns on Saturday, November 23.

The 13th century barns have been transformed into a Christmas wonderland, complete with elves and reindeer.

Running every weekend throughout the festive season, as well as during the Christmas holidays, families can get into the festive spirit right up until Christmas Eve.

The 45 minutes experiences guides Visitors are guided around the barn on an adventure to meet Father Christmas in ‘Santa’s Secret Room’.

His reindeer and elves are on hand to guide you on your adventure through the barns.

Visitor Angela Young said: “Santa was the best and my grandson was so excited by all the things going on – it was priceless.

“The actors were all fantastic but the elves in the games room were awesome.

“The whole experience was brilliant and I would like to thank the people for doing such a great job – we all had a blast.’’

A trip to Father Christmas isn’t complete without a present, so after their visit children we re led to the Elves’ Toy Shop where they choose a gift to take home.

They could also write letters to Father Christmas in the Elves’ Post Room which are sent directly to the North Pole workshop.

Next was the Enchanted Forest, where the Wish Queen lives. Children got the chance to make a wish, hang it on a tree branch and watch the snow fall around them.

Along the way they also made some festive crafts and played games with the elves and visited the reindeer.

Guests are invited to stay for up for two hours to get the most of the experience.

Adults enjoyed mulled wine whilst the children met everyone’s favourite man in red.

There are also ‘Twilight’ sessions which are on offer from 4-6pm for an extra special atmosphere in the historic 13th century barns.

To book tickets, go to call 01206 573948.