It was time to put our detective caps on and get ready to help Father Christmas as we took part in a very special mission at the Historic Dockyard Chatham.
Mission Christmas gives visitors the chance to discover what goes on inside the dockyard each December for the very first time - and there are lots of festive surprises in store behind those doors.
We approached the dockyard under the cover of night - which seemed only right for a secret mission - and were directed to the headquarters by the colourful projections illuminating the building.
The nautical site has been transformed into a twinkling grotto for the event, with tinsel, baubles and candy canes everywhere you turn.
We waited beneath a towering Christmas tree, adorned in impressive decorations, to be called up for our mission and, at 7pm, it was finally our turn to help Father Christmas.
I don’t want to give too much away - it is a secret after all - but if you are lucky enough to be recruited for Mission Christmas, you can expect a fun-filled 30-minute interactive experience that will leave a big smile on your kids’ faces.
Martha was our tour guide, and she did a brilliant job of sprinkling Christmas magic over the shipbuilding site.
She was enthusiastic, friendly and, whenever she spotted a child getting slightly irritable, as is expected for an evening event, she managed to perk them right back up with plenty of Christmas cheer.
Martha led us through the experience which included ‘elf territory’, where we stopped off at the elves’ Airbnbs to see where they sleep during their stay in Chatham and spotted the Elf Bar, although luckily there were no tipsy Santa’s helpers supping a pint during our visit.
We were also shown where the flying sleigh is built, where the reindeers are fed, and we must have timed our visit incredibly well as we were also visited by a very special man, all in red…
He gave us our mission and the children managed to crack the case and get Christmas back on track, with a little help from Martha and their parents. To thank them for saving Christmas, each child was given a special reward at the end.
It’s all very hush-hush so, if you want to find out what the mission actually involves, you’ll have to take part in it yourself.
All I will say for now is that the children on our tour didn’t hesitate to get stuck in and, from the photo opportunities to the interactive activities, such as knot tying and finding clues, they fully embraced the story.
A few things worth noting are that, firstly, it's aimed at young children, so if you’re an adult-only group then this probably isn’t for you.
Also, for some of the tour you will be walking in dark rooms with uneven floors, and it was a bit chilly during our visit, so make sure you bring your coat.
But if you wrap up warm and watch where you’re walking, you and your kids are in for a great Christmas adventure - and you can even treat yourself to a delicious festive hot chocolate at the end before heading home.
So there’s just one more question left to ask: do you accept the mission?
Mission Christmas is at the Historic Dockyard Chatham from Saturday, November 26 to Christmas Eve. Book online here.
Mission Christmas is open on weekends only until Saturday, December 17. It will then be open every day, from 11am to 6.30pm.
Admission to Mission Christmas is not included in an annual ticket and must be booked separately.