No Christmas is complete without a visit to Santa. Yes, it might only be November but competition to meet the big man is fierce! Often the big London stores sell out months in advance! If you want to avoid a last minute scramble to your local shopping centre, read our round up of some of the more inspiring places to see him outside of central London… And get it booked!
1. Santa’s Spectacular Grotto & Festive Farm, Willows Farm Village, St Albans, Hertfordshire 2. Santa’s Cellar Grotto, Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking, Surrey 3. Santa Land, Wookey Hole Caves, Somerset 4. Santa’s Grotto at Kew Gardens 5.Santa’s Grotto at the Reindeer Centre, Nr Ashford, Kent, 6. Santa’s Magical Journey, Thursford, Norfolk.
Click below to see more information on each event.
From the 21st November, visit Santa in his grotto down on the farm. Children receive a golden key to enter Santa’s toy shop where they can choose their own gift. There are fun fair rides, an Elves House, a chance to join in with the Nativity story, a reindeer hunt and the ice rink, which is actually synthetic so you get all the fun but none of the cold! Call Willows Farm Village for more information.
Fancy that, England’s largest wine estate also has a grotto! Kids will visit the big man in his cellar grotto via a train ride through falling snow where. Santa himself will be handing out a story/sticker book and a gift, while parents enjoy a mince pie. Open on the weekends in December and every day from the 19th to the 24th. Prices are £7.25 for children, adults are £2. With English wines enjoying a meteoric rise in popularity, you could stock up on some award winning tipples while you’re there. Cheers!
More of a whole day experience than a quick trip to see Mr Christmas. Set within the Wookey Hole visitor attraction, it offers a cave tour with a festive Elf, a mirror maze, real reindeer, Santa’s grotto, a Christmas circus show and much, much more. Tickets are priced at £12 per person (under 3’s are free) and include a present, all the attractions and the circus show. Open every weekend from 24th November and then daily from 17th to the 24th. And if you book in advance you also get a personalised invitation from the man himself!
A popular choice for Londoners, Kew is great place to celebrate the festive season with the family. Plentiful lights, decorations and a huge tree are combined with Father Christmas’s grotto in the Prince of Wales Conservatory. Other attractions include a vintage carousel, seasonal face painting and activity sessions. The grotto is open from 8th to 23rd December and is free but admission fees to Kew itself apply for adults (under 17’s free). Also on offer are seasonal walks, shopping, festive foods, carols and lots more.
For Santa mixed with a little authenticity, try the grotto at The Reindeer Centre in Kent. With six animated scenes to walk through, the little ones end up in Santa’s log cabin alongside some of his reindeer pals where they will receive a gift and can hand over their wish lists. There’s also a bouncy castle, a play area, an animal corner and of course the reindeer. Open from 17th November to 24th December, grotto visits are included within the entry fees which vary from £8.50 to £15 depending on when you go.
I’ve heard nothing but good things about this place. Set in Thursford, this popular Christmas attraction will take the kids on a fantasy journey to visit Santa in his home. The trip takes in penguins, polar bears, snowmen and elves followed by a magical forest before arriving at his house where he hands out presents to all who visit. Santa’s Magical Journey is open every weekend from 17th November and then daily from 15th to 23rd December. Booking is essential and tickets are priced at £9 per adult and £15 per child, which includes a present and seasonal entertainment. This one’s on my list for 2013!
Put in a good word to the big guy for me!