Christmas is coming (yes I know it is only the 4th November!) So now is the time to think about where your little ones will meet Santa this Christmas! Some grottos in London get booked up very early and if you are looking for certain dates it’s better to be organised and book now. There are so many places to visit Santa or Father Christmas depending on what you like to call the man in red. So how do you decide?
I have compiled a top ten of the places that you could go this festive season. They range in price from completely free to super expensive! Plus, I have given you a brief description of what to expect and I have also added some of my own photos from past years too. I hope you have an amazing Christmas 2018!
The Magic Wardrobe – Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre
Where? Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre – Outside Tesco
When? 17thNovember until 23rdDecember, every weekend 11-6pm
What to expect? A great opportunity to meet Santa locally, no need to book just turn up! With the added bonus that it is free!
Breakfast or Tea with Santa – Wyevale Garden Centre – Osterley
Where? Windmill Lane, Osterley, TW7 5PR
When? from the 1stDecember morning and afternoon slots available.
Cost? £10.95 child & £8.50 Adult
What to expect? Meet Santa and receive a present, tuck into breakfast or enjoy an afternoon tea, decorate your own biscuit and take part in festive fun activities!
Santa’s Grotto – at London Wetland Centre
Where? WWT -Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes, London, SW13 9WT
When? 8, 9, 15 & 16 December. 10am– 4pm.
Cost? £10 per child and accompanying adults go free, however normal admission charges apply. So for example a family ticket is £34.77
What to expect? Receive a gift from Father Christmas and have the opportunity for a photo with him! Also husky sleigh rides, donkey rides and an elves workshop at an additional cost.
Santa’s Snowflake Grotto – Westfield White City
Where? Westfield White City – Shepherd’s Bush
When? 22ndNovember until 24thDecember
Cost? £7.50 per child and £7.50 per adult
What to expect? “Westfield London invites children and families to Santa’s Snowflake Grotto, a magical world of snow. You’ll be transported to the Snow Factory in the North Pole, where Santa’s elves make all the snow in the world. Children will create their own snowflake and explore the various activities within the factory. Meet Santa in his icy Snow Chamber, where every child will receive a gift and have their photo taken with him. To leave the North Pole and go back to London, experience the infinity room. The visit lasts approximately 20-25 minutes, and photos can be purchased in the Christmas Shop at the end.” (source from Westfield website)
Santa’s Grotto – Smiths Garden Centre Denham
Where? Smiths Garden Centre, 95 Oxford Road, New Denham, London, UB9 4DE
When? Various dates in December – book in person or by phone
What to expect? “Meet Santa and also ride the train will also be in operation taking you on a spectacular journey throughout the Smith’s Winter Wonderland on Saturdays and Sundays throughout December, as well as the final week in the lead up to Christmas. The train ride is £2.50 and cannot be booked, just turn up for a magical adventure!” (source from Smith’s website)
Santa Land at Hyde Park – Winter Wonderland
Where? Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park. Nearby tube station and mainline stations include: Bond Street, Green Park (step free access so best if you have a buggy), Knightsbridge, Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner, Paddington and Victoria.
When? from the 23rdNovember
What to expect? There is no booking, so first come first served basis. Choose your time carefully as it will be busy! Perhaps consider avoiding weekends.
“Catch a glimpse of Santa in his Christmas grotto and enjoy a magical family day out in the new and exclusively designed Santa Land! This year, we’ve created a convenient family entrance that will take you straight into Santa Land. See your little ones’ faces light up as they experience the full festive experience including the brand new 45m long Ice Slide as well as an Ice Trike Trail. There’s so much to do with plenty of eateries and sweet treats, specially chosen rides to suit the little ones and the chance to meet Santa in his grotto.” (source from Winter Wonderland website)
Meet Father Christmas – Hamleys
Where? 188-196 Regent Street, London, W1B 5BT
When? Selected dates from Saturday 24th November – Monday 24th December 2018.
Cost? £39.95 child, adults do not require a ticket. Recommended age range 3-7yrs.
What to expect? “Jingle all the way to the Finest Toy Shop in the World to join Father Christmas and his loveable elves for fun, magic and theatre at this very special time of year. Meeting Father Christmas at Hamleys is an extra special experience where children will take part in seasonal activities, spend time with Father Christmas and receive an extra special gift bag to take home. During this group session each little guest will hear magical stories of Christmas, write their own Christmas wish list and meet Father Christmas himself, all surrounded by the finest toys in the world.” (source from Hamleys website)
Where? Whitmoor Forest, Swinley Road, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 8BD
When? 17th November – 24th December
Cost? The cost is variable depending on which day you book, but to give you an idea a family of four (including two adults and two children) would cost £300. this includes:
- Personalised invitation to every child from Father Christmas by post
- Entry to LaplandUK
- Elf Passport for every child
- All activities, and performances including ice skating
- Beautiful gift from Father Christmas for every child
- One free photo per booking
- Booking fees
- Parking at Whitmoor Forest
- Christmas Morning Thank You card from Father Christmas for every child
What to expect? “LaplandUK is an original adaptation of the Father Christmas story and the secret world of the elves brought to life through a 4-hour immersive experience of unprecedented scale and quality.” (source LaplandUK Website)
Visit Father Christmas – Crockford Bridge Farm
Where? New Haw Road, Addlestone, Nr. Weybridge, Surrey KT15 2BU
When? Selected dates in December, check their website for more details.
Cost? child ticket £16, adult ticket £12 and babies in arms 0-8 months go free.
What to expect? “Our Father Christmas visit is a unique and much loved walking performance through The Wonder Wood (our 30 year old real Christmas Tree Forest.) After writing your Christmas wishes and being entertained by a cast of characters along the way, your group will meet Father Christmas in his Log Cabin. There is a gift for every child and a chance to share your Christmas wishes. Our walking performance lasts for approximately 30 minutes.” (source Crock Bridge Farm Website )
Meet Father Christmas – Ham House
Where? Ham House, Ham Street, Ham, Richmond, TW10 7RS
When? 15thDecember until 23rdDecember
Cost?£5 to visit the grotto plus the usual admission price to enter Ham House, which for a family is £27.60.
What to expect? “Meet Father Christmas and recieve a special Christmas gift or take part in some of our other family activities in the house and gardens. Such as the Children’s trail (which is £3 extra) or make your own set of antlers. Wear them proudly as you explore Ham House. (source taken from Ham House website)