TENS of thousands of visitors are expected on Southend seafront to visit Adventure Wonderland at Adventure Island.

The winter attraction opened on Saturday and will run for 11 days with 150 elves on hand to show visitors around.

Southend Standard:

Helping hands - children are able to write letters to Santa

Southend Standard:

On the move - Santa's sleigh

The attraction is part of a concerted attempt to bring more people to the seafront outside of the busy summer season.

Marc Miller, Managing director of The Stockvale group of companies said the event has gone from strength to strength.

He said: “We are all very proud of what we have achieved with our Christmas Adventure Wonderland.

“In less than five years we have established ourselves as one of the top Christmas attractions in Essex if not the surrounding counties as well.

Southend Standard:

“Training of our Santa and one hundred and fifty elves starts back in the summer and every year as soon as Halloween half term finishes a team of twenty work flat out for three weeks creating the year’s magical wonderland.

“We have invested several hundred thousand pounds over the years and each year add a bit more, relying on eleven days to make a return.

“We attract over ten thousand Santa goers plus their parents and family members from all over not just Essex.”

Southend Standard:

Mr Miller said many choose to turn the visit into a weekend break and enjoy the Sealife Grotto also.

He said: “In fact if you include the Pier Santa, Southend seafront is probably the epicentre of Father Christmas.

“It’s amazing really how Santa customers enjoy going on Rage in the middle of winter but it’s the rides that makes us stand out, we sort of Christmas-ise them all and have them run by energised Elves which certainly gives customers a lot more than they expected.”

Southend Standard:

'Selfie' to Elf

Adventure Wonderland will open again on December 14 and December 15 and then run from December 18 to Christmas Eve.