'A shameful con' or 'fun' festive event? Mixed reaction from visitors to new Christmas wonderland in Northamptonshire

The Santa's grotto at Winterland MK came under fire in online reviews. Stock photo
The Santa's grotto at Winterland MK came under fire in online reviews. Stock photo

A Christmas 'wonderland' in Northamptonshire has received a fairly mixed reaction from visitors, with one describing it as a 'shameful con' while others enjoyed it.

Negative reviews of the Winterland MK grumbled about a lack of attractions, expensive food and drink and few festive features.

Organisers have replied to some complaints saying they are 'taking on board all the feedback positive and negative with a view to making improvements'.

There are several positive reviews of the event at Towcester Racecourse though, with satisfied visitors praising the funfair, 'fun' atmosphere and staff.

An unhappy customer tweeted: "Looking for a memorable festive experience? Avoid Winterland MK at Towcester racecourse, it is an absolute joke.

"It is no rival to London and Birmingham as advertised - spend your money elsewhere folks."

A common theme for complaints was the advertising for free admission but visitors have to pay for parking and to go on the rides.

Some unhappy customers from the event even asked for their money back or to cancel bookings as a result of the poor reviews on Facebook.

"We have booked time off work for this. I want my money back so I can take my children elsewhere. They are so disappointed," one wowrote.

Another posted: "I would like to cancel the booking that I have. After all the reviews I’m not satisfied this is the wonderland service and experience we are after."

While a man told the Chronicle & Echo: "Nothing at this facility reflects the seasonal nature and the dubious naming of 'Winterland'.

"I feel it is a shameful con to attract families with a poor representation of an offering, that suggests it is Christmas related."

Not all of the reviews are negative though, with one commenting: "We had a lovely day. The staff were wonderful! Very friendly and helpful. We will definitely return."

East 17 performed at a party for Winterland MK's opening night on Friday, November 22.

Many of the positive comment applaud the launch event, with one writing: "Great food, great entertainment, nothing is overly expensive, and the fair operators were excellent.

"Very impressed for their first year of being open... well done Winterland."

In response to the complainants, Winterland MK said they had had a mixed bag of feedback and had made some changes in response.

Organisers also blamed wet weather and a low turnout on some days meant the attraction was not at its best and defended its prices.

"Despite appearances, we have had a high footfall with 6,000 through our doors so far, but then quite low footfall at times and of course people make the atmosphere," the page wrote on Tuesday.

"The rain doesn't help either. It sounds as though you experienced one of those afternoons.

"In terms of things for kids to do, there are quite a few; chairoplane, dodgems, juvenile planes, formula 6000, bungees, Ferris wheel, which are priced.

"The attraction prices are quite standard and we want to encourage visitors, so our entrance is free."

Winterland MK did not respond to requests for comment before publication.