Attraction review: Wishmas, a festive family experience

Wishmas, situated at The Old Bauble Factory, 1 Launcelot Street, London, SE1 7AD, offers a distinctive Christmas adventure for families seeking enchantment. This immersive walk-through event, located beneath Waterloo station, guides visitors on a festive journey through fantastical rooms, introducing captivating characters while unfolding the story of where wishes go.

wishmas london mums magazine collage

The Wishmas Experience

Running from 14th November to 7th January, the Wishmas experience varies from 60 to 75 minutes, depending on the chosen package. The venue, easily accessible from Waterloo, is found by walking up Lower Marsh and turning right at the Vodafone, with clear directional signage along the route.

Packages and Inclusions

Opting for ‘The Full Wishmas Experience’ extends the adventure, including a post-show bauble-making workshop. The journey involves meeting Father Christmas as one of the festive characters, such as magical Wishkeepers and robins. Children get the chance to craft their own bauble to store their wishes. Note that a one-on-one Father Christmas meet-and-greet is a separate package.

bauble-making workshop

Photography Policy

Wishmas maintains a strict no-photography policy within the performance space, communicated upon arrival. However, visitors can take photos upon entering and after meeting Father Christmas during the show’s magical finale, as well as in the bauble-making workshop and festive market.

The Story of Wishmas

Wishmas unveils the tale of where wishes go, engaging families in a journey of discovery through magical rooms and interactive activities.

Highlights of the Experience

The immersive atmosphere and visual elements of Wishmas create a memorable outing for very young children (excluding babies). While some parts may be less engaging for parents initially, the experience improves towards the end. The room where Santa performs magic stands out as a highlight.

Production Values

Described as suitable “for children of all ages,” Wishmas caters to a broad audience. The production values and design ingenuity craft an immersive Christmas experience, reminiscent of a Punchdrunk takeover of Hamleys at Yuletide. Creative director Elgiva Field, with extensive Punchdrunk experience, leads a fully realised production that transports both children and adults into a magical world.

Visual and Atmospheric Success

From a visual and atmospheric perspective, Wishmas excels. Designers Julie Landau, Tim Mitchell, and puppet specialist Charlie Tymms create a stunning visual spectacle with glowing baubles, a magical train, fir trees, and festive robin redbreasts. The journey includes a thrilling train ride, complete with video projections of a high-flying adventure above London streets.

Elves and Wish Guides

Energetic actors portraying Santa’s elves contribute to the enchantment. Dressed in colourful outfits with pointy ears, they guide visitors through the experience with commitment and attention to detail.

Show Content

While the overall concept and visual elements are impressive, the content of Wishmas as a ‘show’ is less successful. The theme of wishes transported via baubles feels somewhat overdone, and the opening explanatory sequence may be slightly lengthy. Audience participation activities are present but can be challenging to follow amid visual and auditory distractions.

Santa Appearance

The appearance of Santa, while visually striking, may come across as more clumsy than cuddly. However, the overall project displays considerable investment in money, talent, and imagination.

Wishmas provides a festive experience for young children, offering families an alternative holiday activity. While some aspects may feel less substantial for adults, the immersive atmosphere and visual spectacle make it an appealing option for families seeking a Christmas outing.

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