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Grotto and Winter Wonderland

Family-run business, Stewart’s Garden Centreswanted to change the way that their Grotto’s and Winter Wonderland’s are set up, ready for Christmas.  

The Brief

Our client annually has Christmas Grottos set up at each of their three stores. Expectations are always high from the local community. Work is required to be started in August to be ready in plenty of time. Historically all wiring for the Grotto lights is temporary for the Christmas display. requiring an electrician to attend not only at the time of assemble but also in January to assist with the dismantling. The client wanted to look at a way to make the process simpler, by potentially changing the methods of assemble and dissemble.

At the Abbey store, Stewarts have chosen to install a permanent Winter Wonderland and Grotto to avoid having to take the displays up and down every year. Instead of hiring a marquee again, they have utilised one of their commercial greenhouses and require dedicated power supplies, lighting, and sockets.

Our Solution

As Stewarts own all moving animation in their display, PAT Testing was completed to check for any faults so repairs could be made in plenty of time.

Due to current COVID guidance, installation of PIAR extractor fans were required to help with air flow inside each grotto.

New coffee stations were being installed in the winter wonderland areas, so temporary supplies were required for them.


Broomhill & Christchurch site:   

To be more cost effective, we installed a ‘plug and play’ system that could be used again in the future. By installing ‘click flow’ plugs for all down lights in the Grottos, it will drop the need for an attendance from an electrician, as the straightforward design can be disconnected by their own staff.


Abbey site

Although there was already power into the building, a separate distribution board was installed so that there was a dedicated supply to the local area needed for the Grotto and Winter Wonderland.

This was designed to split up different sections to prevent nuisance tripping taking out the whole display.

4 x rotary isolators were put in place to turn off the power. Each rotary isolator was designed to shut 2 circuits down at a time. There was no increase in power needed, as only low consumption/voltage used as lighting was basic LED and the moving animation didn’t require much power.

Lights throughout varied; the Grotto had IP LED strip lighting as the structure of a greenhouse couldn’t guarantee that the area would be 100% waterproof. To create an atmospheric look in the Winter Wonderland, no main light was needed, the area is lit by the LED lights on the trees and the animations.

Emergency lighting was installed at the three escape routes. Outside, LED bollards were installed for the walkway leading to the area.

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