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Christmas rush starts early as Glenarm Santa event sells out in hours

By Claire McNeilly

Published 26/08/2015

Tickets for the 'Christmas Experience' at the coastal courtyard venue, which will host 4,000 people over 10 days, sold out within hours of going on sale
Tickets for the 'Christmas Experience' at the coastal courtyard venue, which will host 4,000 people over 10 days, sold out within hours of going on sale

Christmas has certainly come early for the organisers of a festive event at Glenarm Castle.

Tickets for the 'Christmas Experience' at the coastal courtyard venue, which will host 4,000 people over 10 days, sold out within hours of going on sale.

This is the 10th year the event has been running and, according to its manager, it is more popular than ever this time round.

Santa and his elves will be there to welcome the children into their busy workshop from December 4-13 as they prepare for their busiest time of the year.

Visitors can also expect a charming nativity scene with real animals, including piglets, pigs, lambs, sheep, donkeys, goats and turkeys.

Manager Nigel Campbell told the Belfast Telegraph that it took less than a day for the annual event to get booked up.

"Tickets went on sale at 9am on Monday and by 11pm that night we were sold out," he said.

"Our first Christmas Experience took place in 2005 and it has changed over the years as we have added things to make it better.

"Everyone who signs up gets a personal appointment with Santa, which is probably the main attraction, and it means we don't have people hanging around, or standing in a queue, all wanting to see him at once.

"The animals are also very popular, particularly the pigs and the piglets, which normally draw the biggest crowd."

He added: "There's also an opportunity to enjoy story-telling with Mrs Claus and to go on a popular Polar Express train adventure."

The event runs from 4pm to 8pm every day and costs £14 for adults and £18 for children.

The price includes a personal photo with Father Christmas, a gift, light hot food, complimentary tea and coffee, shortbread and refreshments.

Mr Campbell said he had been contacted by a lot of people disappointed to have missed out on tickets for the 2015 event.

"Over the last decade, the Christmas Experience has attracted thousands of people to this area in December," he said.

"It's a very traditional festive event and we've made it very personal and very homely.

"We have repeat visitors every year and they normally bring their friends and family with them.

"What has happened this time is that people who missed out on it last year booked early and we've had disappointed regular clients calling us to say they were unable to buy tickets this year because of that."

He added: "We're currently looking at our appointment book again to see if we can re-jig things and possibly find additional slots for visitors."

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