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Sunday, 30 July 2017

A visit to magical Pixie Manor at Ruxley Garden Centre (Sidcup near Swanley)

A visit to magical Pixie Manor at Ruxley Garden Centre (Sidcup near Swanley)

Ruxley Manor is a garden centre in Sidcup, just outside of Swanley.


It's not far from Swanley Park (which we reviewed here) and it's about half an hour's drive from where we live in West Kent.

It's somewhere we like to visit because as garden centres go it has a good amount to do; you have the regular garden centre staples of plants, gifts and toys but there's also a decent (but not especially cheap) cafe, a pet shop/aquarium and the pinnacle of the garden centre world, a free soft play.
At Christmas, Ruxley have a Christmas Grotto and ice skating which is often highly recommended. We haven't been, instead having opted for the past three years to go to Brookside Garden Centre. Last year we also went to Bluestone to do the Kingdom of the Elves which was a magical experience.

Last summer, we did the free Fairy Hunt at Ruxley and when I heard about Pixie Manor I thought it would be similar; a treasure hunt around the garden centre. It was actually more akin to the Father Christmas grottos we'd been to; a 45 minute 'experience' for the kids, complete with a present!

The Pixie Manor experience is aimed at children aged 3-8.


It costs £9.99 per child, and an adult goes free with each child (a second adult costs £1.99).

You're supposed to book online; we hadn't looked it up before we went as it was a fairly spur of the moment decision and were lucky that when we arrived there were spaces, as they run the sessions in groups of around ten children.

Despite him just being two we couldn't leave the small one out and so paid for both children to go in.

When our time slot arrived, we joined the queue and the kids were given a 'journal' each and their hands were stamped with a star. The session started with a 'fairy' knocking at the door to let us in, but we were stood in the queue so couldn't hear this bit.

Once in, it was clear they'd gone to a lot of effort with the decoration. 


The place was decorated as magically as a Christmas grotto with fairly lights and pixie and fairy scenes set out, with brilliant attention to detail. After a bit of a pep talk by a not-that-enthusiastic fairy we were left to explore the six different scenes housing six different pixies and fairies.
We could have spent quite a bit longer in there to be honest, but soon we were whipped through to the next room in which there was a 'pond' with dragons. Again, the detail was amazing. It's a shame that kids don't really have an appreciation for the effort that must have gone in.
We sat at a toadstool and made fairy wands by sticking stickers and pipe cleaners to wooden wands. They both loved this, and they got to keep the wands.

The next part was meeting the Fairy Godmother. 


She was very good, clearly a proper children's entertainer; the right amount of enthusiasm, a bit of singing and the kids were all spellbound and joining in. She gave all of the children fairy wings, or a pixie hat if they preferred, and then she gave them all magic powers which they used to summon a little goodie bag each. Inside was a certificate, a little bag of anemone bulbs to plant and a little pot of face glitter.
The children then had the opportunity to have their picture taken with the Fairy Godmother. The prints ranged from £6-10, we ended up buying a glitter frame which came with an extra print for £10. (He doesn't look very happy about it, but he rarely does... I swear he did enjoy it!).
After we'd emerged from Pixie Manor we stopped at the cafe which had a nice selection of cake, including gluten free options, before heading home and having to answer a lot of questions about fairies on the way.

I thought that for the price, it wasn't bad at all, considering each child came out with a wooden wand, a hat or wings and a little goodie bag. 


It kept them entertained for 45 minutes but including our time at the garden centre, soft play and lunch we spent well over four hours there.

If it had been a nice day it would have been fun to combine it with a trip to Swanley Park. It's on daily until 3rd September. They run a session every Thursday for children with special needs.

For more information on Ruxley Manor and Pixie Manor or to book, go here

This review was entirely unsolicited, the experience was paid for by us and it is completely my own words.


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