Thanks to The Royal Mint Experience for providing us with complimentary tickets in exchange for this review
We had a wonderfully magic evening at The Royal Mint Experience, meeting Father Christmas in his workshop last week.
The Llantrisant attraction has created a high-quality festive experience that celebrates the Mint’s heritage of providing shiny coins for Santa to deliver to stockings the world over, explores some of history of some well-established Christmas traditions, gives children the chance to mint their own coin for an additional charge, and ends with a meeting with the man in red himself.
Read on for a full report (contains spoilers!) or you can see a ‘Reel’ video of our experience on the Cardiff Mummy Says Instagram channel.
Father Christmas at The Royal Mint Christmas Experience
As soon as you arrive at The Royal Mint Experience, you know it’s Christmas with visitors greeted by Christmas trees, lights and a giant polar bear. In the museum’s entrance, Gromit is wearing a Christmas hat, there’s a sleigh you can sit inside and pretend to steer the reindeer, a huge tree, plus a giant coin-like bauble. It’s all so pretty and festive – and plenty of photo opportunities for the memory book.
Just as with The Royal Mint Experience regular tours (you can read our review of one of these here), security is taken seriously, so adults should expect to be searched on entry. However, unlike the regular tours, you can take photos along the way (apart from of the coin producing machinery). Those who are familiar with the tour will find things looking very differently, as Santa and his elves have taken over the building.
We’re guided through a video introduction from Father Christmas, along a snow-filled path (where there’s a post box for children to post their letters), and into the sorting office where all the letters to Father Christmas are processed. There’s so much detail here with pictures drawn by local school children adoring the wall, sacks filled with letters, a wooden sleigh with large 50p replicas featuring the Snowman and the boy, and Father Christmas’s desk surrounded by decorations. From here we walk through the coin minting factory, where 90 million new coins are produced every week, that’s 5 billion a year! As well as making all UK coins, the Mint makes coins for 60 countries worldwide. You can see the machines busily making the new coins, although this viewing gallery has had a festive makeover with the back wall filled with beautiful stockings. It looks so adorably festive.
From here, there’s the chance to mint your own limited edition The Snowman 50p – you press the button and the design is printed on the blank coin, and presented in a display case to keep it free from finger prints and scratches. They are legal tender, but we’ll definitely be keeping them safe.
As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m a real coin geek with a passion for the different 50p designs, so this particular coin really excited me and is a welcome addition to our collection.
And then… we see the man himself, sat beside a cosy fireplace scene adorned with stockings, on a large chair, and surrounded by decorations including a giant nutcracker, candy cane and tree. It looks brilliant. Father Christmas spent a lot of time talking to each family of the four families on our tour.
He told my children that no matter what age they are Christmas will always be magical and Mummy and Daddy are just as excited as them (very true). There’s plenty of time to take your own photos, before the children are given a gift. In our case this was a Natural History Museum coin gift card with a dinosaur 50p inside. A real gift to treasure.
After leaving Father Christmas, visitors are then able to explore the Royal Mint Experience Museum at their own leisure. This is fascinating with coins from around the world, medals from the London 2012 Olympics, old minting machinery and lots of display boards about the history of coin minting. The tour finishes in the gift shop which has all manner of special coins and soft toys related to the coins the Mint has produced.
We absolutely loved the whole experience. It’s great for families with older children who want something with a little more substance, but plenty to keep younger children engaged too.
Tickets cost £15 for children and adults, including a hot drink and a festive treat, with under 18 months free. It costs an additional £6.90 to strike your own coin. They do have some limited weekend availability for this weekend and next if you’re quick, and plenty of day time and afternoon slots.
See the Royal Mint Experience website for more information and to book.
See a video experience of our visit to The Royal Mint Christmas Experience on the Cardiff Mummy Says Instagram channel Reels.
For more ideas of family-friendly events in and around Cardiff, see the Cardiff section of Cardiff Mummy Says, and follow Cardiff Mummy Says on Facebook. I post lots of ideas for days out and events on the Cardiff Mummy Says Instagram page, in particular in my Reels and Stories see the Story Highlights ‘Local Events’).