THE CORE LEEDS: Dining with Santa at Kaspa’s Dessert Bar and Subway – Review

THE CORE LEEDS: Dining with Santa at Kaspa’s Dessert Bar and Subway – Review

Venturing into Leeds City Centre with kids at this time of year can be chaotic, so we were pleased to be able to escape the crowds and head into The Core Shopping Centre on The Headrow for a Dine with Santa Experience at Kaspa’s Dessert Bar.

The Core Leeds has a range of places to eat and drink, shop as well as a good health and fitness offering, perfect for active families like ours.

the core leeds eat drink shop city centre

At the weekend we had been invited to review the sold-out Dine with Santa Experience which takes place at either Subway or Kaspa’s Dessert Bar depending on time slots.

We opted for the later slot at Kaspa’s Dessert Bar so we had ample time to get there as we had been staying at The Holiday Inn Leeds Bradford on Tong Lane (near Tong Garden Centre).

Immediately off the hustle and bustle of The Headrow at Christmas, we arrived at the downstairs food court with Kaspa’s being a separate outlet on the left. It’s a plush-looking pink and black decorated diner with a range of hot and cold desserts – from a tempting ice cream bar to the welcoming aroma of freshly cooked Waffles. It feels very family-friendly, stylish yet cosy at the same time as we made our way into a booth.

We were greeted by friendly ‘elves’ aka The Core Shopping Centre staff who explained that we would be served Waffles and Ice Cream then Santa would pay us a visit. As a parent, we all know how important it is to get the kids fed and watered first!

The elves gave out festive-themed goody bags which contained crafts for my daughters to do whilst they waited for their Food and Drink. My kids, aged 4 and 7, enjoyed decorating party hats and writing their list to Santa. I was surprised (and proud) to see that my 7-year-old had written “Toilet Twinning” (where you donate money to help fund a toilet being built in a poor community) at the top of her Christmas List.

The tempting hot waffles and ice-creams then arrived which were huge portions so plenty for a parent and child to share.

As the kids tucked in, they then heard Santa entering singing Carols. He was a brilliantly realistic Santa with a tuneful voice. The kids then all took it in turn to speak to Santa who  also did a magic trick and gave them a gift.

The Father Christmas impersonator really spent a lot of time with each child and made a big fuss of them and chatted through their Christmas list which was lovely to see. I enjoyed basking in the comfort of the booth too with a nice Soya Latte.

the core leeds eat drink shop city centre yorkshire families

Once the kids had unwrapped their teddy bear gifts they were ready to move around and spotted some mo-ped style seats at the front of Kaspa’s.

We then used the large family-friendly toilet facilities before venturing into the shops.


The Core Shopping Centre is nice and small perfect for family outings and a good place to grab something to eat with the kids when shopping in Leeds City Centre.

I also spotted the gym and Yoga studios as well as outdoors shops… something I’ll try when I don’t have kids tugging on me.

Kasha’s too makes a lovely family-friendly treat and would be a perfect place for a birthday party or sweet treat (and bribe) when out and about in Leeds!

How to get to The Core Leeds 


The post code for your sat nav is LS1 6AD

The Core is based on The Headrow and is situated in Leeds City Centre. It is easily accessible by Albion Street, Albion Place and Lands Lane. Car parking is available right by the centre and is operated by NCP.

By Car

Car parking is available for more than 300 cars. Use LS1 6AD as the post code. For more information on car parking, including charges, please click here.

By Train

The centre is close to Leeds train station. Upon leaving the station, make your way towards the city centre via New Station Street, and follow Albion Street, turning right at Albion Place. The Core is on your left hand side.

By Bus

Leeds City Centre is easily accessible by bus. Use the map on this page to navigate your way to the centre and click here for bus timetables.


The official lowdown

The Core is in the heart of Leeds City Centre, offering a huge range of options for visitors to enjoy.

From the various shops in the centre, to the range of flavours on offer from cafes, restaurants and kiosks, there are plenty of reasons to plan your day at The Core. You can even get fit for less with our health and fitness options!

Parent & Baby Facilities

We have a dedicated parent & baby room, situated within our Public Facilities area, equipped with changing mat and bottle warmer. There is also a bottle warmer available at Graveleys Fish & Chips.

Changing Places Toilet

We are proud to have an accessible Changing Places toilet at The Core Shopping Centre.

Our Changing Places toilet features:

  • A height-adjustable adult-sized changing bench
  • A ceiling tracking hoist system
  • A privacy screen
  • Adequate space for disabled person and up to 2 carers
  • A large waste bin for disposable pads
  • A non-slip floor

Our Changing Places toilet is available alongside 2 standalone accessible toilets and a separate baby change facility.

How can I access the Changing Places toilet?

You can use a Radar Key to access our Changing Places toilet.

If you do not have a Radar Key, please speak to a member of staff patrolling the centre who can give you immediate access.




PORTABLE NORTH POLE: A personalised video message from Santa – Review

PORTABLE NORTH POLE: A personalised video message from Santa – Review

As a child I would feel a surge of Christmas cheer over a generic letter from Santa arriving through the door, let alone a personalised video from Father Christmas! 

So you can only imagine my children’s excitement receiving a personalized video message from Santa via the Portable North Pole app. 

Gone are the days, of standard letters from Santa as this app and website helps you to create the magic of Christmas at home. 

What’s it all about? 

Portable North Pole (PNP) is an online platform used by Santa and his elves to send personalized video messages and calls to the people you care about most anywhere around the world. 

In just a few simple steps, you can help Santa gather all the information he needs about your loved one and create a tailor-made video message or phone call that is positively magical. But that isn’t all Santa and his magical elves have in store! To create truly unforgettable memories, you can even download a HD version of your video to keep for years to come.

The Portable North Pole is the original Santa messaging service that globally has sent over 220 million messages since its creation in 2008. 

The magic pass we’ve used costs £12.99. 


How to use it? 

We tested out the personalised video message which you could create through the app or the website. So firstly, I downloaded the app from my App Store (Apple or google play). Then after logging in as a parent you can then submit your children’s details. You insert their name, age, school year and country. 

Within moments these details are used to create the message in video format with the standard video as a base. 

It’s quick and easy to use and a simple gift for my daughter who loved it! 


DISCLAIMER:  We received a magic pass free of charge for the purpose of this review. 


Wish Upon a Star & Santa’s Grotto Christmas Experience at Meadowhall, Sheffield – Review

Wish Upon a Star & Santa’s Grotto Christmas Experience at Meadowhall, Sheffield – Review

I wasn’t sure what to expect when we were invited to experience Meadowhall’s new interactive Christmas experience. But my fears of dragging two small children through a packed-out shopping centre were quickly allayed when I realised that the Wish upon a Star with Santa attraction is perfectly placed outside the entrance to the Oasis food court in its own pop-up tent.

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A quick post tonight as I’ve taken my sleeping pills so could 😴😴😴 at any moment… but here’s our annual family photo proving @allhalechris is real albeit a bit hairy but that’s all for a good cause @movember #movember (We all need some sun too) 😂😂😂 Anyway, what do you wish for this #festive season? I’d love more #familytime and to see my big sis @gemmaslack in #NewYork or better still to be able to get her to me in #Yorkshire ❤️❤️❤️ We took this photo after reviewing an awesome interactive & immersive theatre experience & Santa’s grotto @lovemeadowhall with @tripswithatot & @manversusbaby (sorry Matt there’s a corker of a photo of you!) 🤳🤳🤳 Anyhow full review coming soon on one of our new sites #meadowhall #santasgrotto #wishuponastar #christmas #familyyorkshire #mhxmasgrotto #lucrepr #snaphappybritmums #christmasdecorations #christmaswishlist #christmaswishlist2018

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As we entered the white marquee not only was I please to find that it was warm and cosy, but we were greeted by a very friendly character from the Christmas experience.

Once inside the themed tent we were immersed in a Christmas inspired theatrical production. This marked the start of our Wish upon a Star journey.

wish upon a star Christmas experience Meadowhall sheffield immersive theatre

My family, fellow bloggers Trips with a Tot and Man Vs Baby and I, were introduced to the story behind Wish upon a Star.

All our children eagerly watched on as they were transported into a magical world of wishes. They were led into the first room and welcomed by the next character who introduced a short film about making wishes. So, we all sat on little logs and put on star themed headsets.

wish upon a star Christmas experience Meadowhall sheffield  Santas grotto

We watched a short film before being guided into the next part of the story.

At this point I felt as if I had been transported into a magical set from CBeebies. Next was a male character with a telescope and he too told the next part of the story. All the children were then invited to truly experience the magic and look at the stars through the telescope.

wish upon a star Christmas experience Meadowhall sheffield

After that we were led into a workshop room to make our own stars to wish on. Another character led this part of the journey. The children were all seated around a wooden table as they decorated their own stars to hang on the Christmas tree and to use to make wishes.

Whilst the children were busy making their own sparkling stars we were then invited into a magic room. Inside this room was Santa himself who greeted my family and I. Santa told us about the true meaning of Christmas and asked Jasmine and Arianna to make a wish for someone else.

This was a really nice touch rather than just them receiving presents. They struggled to think of someone other than themselves at first but once they thought of their Auntie Gemma in New York for me the true magic then happened as I realised that Jasmine was really missing seeing her auntie at Christmas.

After they had made wishes and we had had a family photo the girls were then treated to a gift each from Santa.

That was the end of our experience and we were given a print of our family photo with Santa and you can also buy a range of bespoke products.

The Wish upon a Star experience with Santa lasted around 30 minutes which was the perfect length of time for my young daughters aged three and six years old.


It was a really enjoyable experience for the whole family and it was one of the best Santa experiences we have been to. I particularly loved the characters who put the children at ease and made the whole experience extremely magical.

For me, it was great to have a Christmas adventure which was about wishes rather than gifts because a wish can be for something much more wonderful than any material thing and, most importantly a wish can be for somebody else.

So, forget the gift lists and make your Christmas more magical by wishing for other people and also this is a great opportunity to spend time with the family.

wish upon a star Christmas experience Meadowhall sheffield  immersive

Meadowhall’s Wish Upon a Star with Santa experience is open until Monday 24 December 2018. Sessions will run daily from 10am-5pm on week days and 9am – 5pm on weekends and Friday 21st and Monday 24th December. Accessible, quiet sessions are also scheduled on Tuesdays from 10-11am, allowing smaller groups of children to enjoy a little extra time in a calmer environment. 

Spaces are limited so early booking is recommended to avoid disappointment. Tickets are priced at £3.00* for adults and £6.00* for children (*plus booking fee) and can only be purchased online in advance.  

Visit for more information:

DISCLAIMER: I received this experience in exchange for this review.

All views in my reviews however are my own honest experiences.