Walking in a winter 'blunderland': Visitors and traders 'gutted' at 'grim' Christmas market

Will Metcalfe
Santa South West Christmas Village, at the Royal Bath and West Showground, has been branded a ‘grim’ ‘blunderland’ by frustrated traders and visitors who said it failed to live up to promises. (SWNS).

Tis the season to be fuming – at least for visitors to a ‘grim’ ‘winter blunderland’.

Santa South West Christmas Village, in Somerset, promised visitors a “a 45-minute grotto experience like no other” in Santa’s Enchanted Adventure as well as a Christmas Market, pantomime and fairground.

Advertising material showed a ‘winter wonderland‘ with decorated wooden chalets selling festive treats and a large ice rink and snow-dusted funfair.

But in reality visitors were greeted to a handful of stalls in a setting described by one trader as ‘a disappointment’.

A Facebook post comparing what Santa South West Christmas Village promised, and what it delivered. (SWNS).

Trader Sophie Futcher, 25, has been working at markets and events for almost four years with her business Sophie’s Cakes – and had a stall there.

She shared a video of Santa South West Christmas Village, which opened on Saturday at the Royal Bath and West Showground, looking distinctly un-magical.

“It was such a disappointment,” she said.

“It was basically an indoor market, there were six fairground rides and a snow machine which broke on the Sunday.

“I paid £196 for a pitch and I’ve spent into the thousands on stock, decorations and preparing for this event since they told me I had a pitch back in August.

“I haven’t even made half of my pitch money back.”

The not-so-festive sign welcoming visitors to Santa South West Christmas Village. (SWNS).

Sophie reported disappointed traders, some of whom had paid almost £2,000, leaving during the opening weekend after they realised the event was nothing like what had been promised.

She said: “I was expecting wooden chalets, all decorated, like the pictures on their Facebook page, but there was none of that.

“The traders themselves made a real effort to decorate the stalls but I feel like the organisers had this vision and no idea how to achieve it.

“If people want to pay £2 to get in and look around the market fair enough, but I think if they come expecting the magical Christmas experience that was advertised they will be disappointed.”

Members of the public were equally disappointed. Roxanne Gomes said she paid over £112 for her family to experience a few of the activities on offer, but was left gutted when it didn’t match the adverts.

She called the organisers a: “a rogue company conning families out of their hard-earned cash at the most precious time of the year, offering a highly over-priced and falsely advertised ‘magical Christmas’ event that was no more than your local school fair could offer.”

According to the event’s website – entry to the village plus ice skating and Santa adventure costs £107 for 2 adults and two children aged 3-15.

Event organisers have yet to comment.

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