A festive treat for families of Brighton & Hove: Festive Forest, Stanmer House

Since it's not that cold yet down here in Brighton, things haven't thoroughly felt as Christmassy as they usually would. I'm not sure exactly where the snow is, I'm just keeping fingers crossed it's going to pelt it down on Christmas Day so that my long term dream of a white crimbo-in-a-onesie comes to fruition. 

Anyway I simply HAD to share some photos of mine and Neil's trip to Stanmer House last weekend because it's the first and only time since I've felt like Christmas is around the corner. If you're local you might have seen the promo graphic dotted around the interwebs, or heard about companies throwing their Christmas parties there this year, but on twitter, facebook and when you do a proper google around, the place seems quite secretive! Not many photos or updates as I think it's their first year bringing the Festive Forest to life. Well, Neil and I were compelled to check it out and report back... and what a treat it was.

Much to everyone's surprise it's not solely an event for corporate Christmas do's, it's open to the public every weekend until January, with BBQ Christmas food for all, a live DJ from 9pm and acoustic acts before. 

I've got to say, it's such a lovely festive vibe up there. Making it the prime place to grab a group of your friends or family and toast some marshies over a fire all snug as a bug. 

Possibly the biggest BBQ I've ever laid eyes on served up some delicious burgers with a Christmas spin. I tried the Turkey burger with lashings of cranberry sauce and salad, which washed down a treat with hot mulled wine over the fire. Neil was torn between the Bratwurst (which looked juicy divine, yes that's a term now) and the Beef burger. He went for the latter so he could try out some of the home made sauces on offer - such an array. 

It was a really lovely atmosphere there. It's a struggle to think of many other places in Brighton offering such a festive scene on a Saturday evening which provides both a chilled atmosphere around the fire pits outside, or a more upbeat scene on the dance floor inside the marquee. A great balance was struck. The marquee was decked out with a faux fireplace, sofas and Christmas cosiness which was really different - a safe haven for kids and parents to let their hair down.

What made it a more rounded experience were all the small touches the team at Stanmer House have bent over backwards to achieve for guests. Hot baileys to soak gourmet flavoured mashmallows inside, were available for everyone and made the BEST festive pudding. There were rustic swings made from pallets surrounding a roaring fire which was a great place to chill out, keep warm and chat. In fact, there were so many break off areas with wooden logs to sit and stay cosy that nobody was left seething that they didn't arrive soon enough for the fire seat - plenty to go round!

I also loved the sparklers... we had so much fun taking snaps with those.

If you're looking for somewhere local to get really festive with friends, family or just the two of you, check out the full details on Stanmer House's website or this Festive Forest pdf. It's a great shout for Christmas fun!