This Christmas market billed itself as a ‘magical experience’ but some rather ‘grim’ photos suggest it was anything but.
Santa’s Enchanted Adventure promised children ‘a forty five minute grotto experience like no other’ inside a market that boasted a pantomime and fairground.
But it’s left a bitter taste for both traders and families who were charged £107 just to get in.
Promotional material showed a market with intricately decorated wooden chalets selling festive treats, a large ice rink and a snow-dusted funfair.
Yet one disappointed trader shared photos of a community hall with threadbare Christmas decorations, and hay bales scattered about the place.
It didn’t look much better outside, where a handful of stalls were on hand to cater for the smattering of visitors.
Trader Sophie Futcher, 25, paid £200 for a stall for her business Sophie’s Cakes.
She shared a video of Santa South West Christmas Village, which opened on Saturday at the Royal Bath and West Showground, in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, 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.’
Sophie said some traders had paid almost £2,000 to be there and left as soon as 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.’
The visitors 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 said: ‘[They’re] 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.
Donna Withers said she went over the weekend as she complained on Facebook.
‘It was awful, complete waste of money and feel totally ripped off,’ she wrote. ‘Website and Facebook details are nothing like the reality, few ropey fairground rides, tiny ice rink, few stalls and the “Enchanted Santa Experience” was a total joke.
‘If you’re thinking about going don’t, save your money & go somewhere else!!!’