Where to meet Santa and other Christmas activities around the UK

 santas grotto

As you can imagine, Santa is very busy at this time of year - so make sure you catch him when he's in your local area. 

There are lots of other Christmassy activities happening all over the country this month; from steam train rides to tree decorating, there's something for everyone. Our Local editors have handpicked some of the best grottos, ice skating rinks, historical experiences and other festive activities in their area to help get you ready for Christmas.

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lincoln santaSanta is coming to Lincoln Castle Lincoln

29 November - 30 November

An audience with Father Christmas, set in the lovely Bath House within Lincoln Castle. Children will get the opportunity to spend time talking with and listening to Santa as he tells tales of Christmas past before receiving a Victorian-inspired gift. 


lincolnLincoln Ice Rink Lincoln

29 November - 31 December

The Lincoln Ice Rink is a definite must for your family's calendar during the festive season. Have fun on the ice with your children or bring friends along in the evening for some starlit skating. 


bham skate

Birmingham's Winter Skate and Big Wheel Birmingham centre

15 November - 5 January

Located just along from the Frankfurt Christmas Market, Winter Skate is the only outdoor ice rink in Birmingham and gives you the opportunity to enjoy this winter sport in beautiful city surroundings. 


ruddingtonSanta Specials Ruddington

29 November - 24 December

Why not take a steam train trip through the picturesque Nottinghamshire countryside with Santa? All children receive a gift during the journey and everyone can enjoy seasonal refreshments. 


nottsChristmas Tree Decorating Competition Nottingham

12 December - 18 December

Feeling festive? Get into the Christmas spirit by decorating a section of Stonebridge City Farm and be in with a chance of winning a cash prize.


victorianA Victorian Christmas Ruddington

13 December

Step back in time and experience a magical Victorian Christmas in this unique setting. Roasted chestnuts and hot crumpets will keep you warm as demonstrators bring the crafts of framework knitting to life.


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North East



ashingtonWoodhorn Winter Weekend - Meet Father Christmas Ashington

29 November - 30 November

Visit Father Christmas at his special grotto in the Woodhorn stables. He's waiting to hear what's on your Christmas list and how good you've been this year. 


morpethGhost Stories for Christmas Morpeth

20 December

Dickens' ghost stories are always a treat at Christmas. Enjoy some of his classics in an evening of storytelling as you gather in Belsay's beautiful and nostalgic library. 


santaSanta Specials North Tyneside

29 November - 21 December

All aboard the steam train for a magical adventure. This year, Santa will have some special guests with him on board the train. Tickets include a train ride, a present from Santa and light refreshments. 


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North West



pudChase The Pud Sheffield

7 December

Start the festive season with a one mile sponsored Santa Jog. See Santas chase the Christmas Pudding through the heart of Sheffield's city centre. Whether you run, jog or walk you can join in the fun. Come in fancy dress as the best costume will win a prize!


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wimbledonMagical Christmas Grotto Experience Wimbledon

12 December - 23 December

Get your little ones into the Christmas mood with this magical grotto experience. Craft sessions include forest craft decoration making, face painting, Christmas tree decorating and a Little Forest Folk goodie bag. 


colliers woodSanta's Grotto at Eddie Catz Colliers Wood

8 December - 23 December

Enjoy a unique Winter Wonderland experience which begins as you step into Santa's Workshop and meet the Elves. Before your child meets Santa, they can write him a letter and help the Elves to make Santa's magical reindeer food before they make their big trip. 


modenBreakfast with Father Christmas Lower Morden

6 December - 24 December

Meet Father Christmas for a special breakfast. Enjoy a delicious, freshly-prepared meal and then join Santa's elves to welcome him as he arrives from the North Pole.


kewChristmas at Kew Kew Gardens

26 November - 3 January

See Kew light up this Christmas. Follow a new one-mile glittering trail as it winds its way through the botanic gardens in a magical after-dark experience. You'll find giant light sculptures, the Tunnel of Lights and Mistletoe Moments.


santa dashSanta Dash Bexleyheath

7 December

Get Christmas started by joining hundreds of Santas as they dash through Danson Park. Come and run, walk or jog this festive 5km to support Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice this Christmas. Registration includes a Santa suit, medal and a well-deserved hot drink at the finish line. 


barbicanSanta's Grotto in the Victorian Walk Barbican

6 December - 23 December

Meet Santa in his secret grotto in this festive 19th century Victorian Walk. Tell him your Christmas wishes and receive a special gift. Join the team at the Museum of London for other activites including interactive art workshops, crafts and storytelling. 


southbankEyeskate: London Eye Ice Rink Southbank

17 November - 4 January

This year's Frostival winter festival includes ice-skating and a frosty guided experience, with cocktails and more. Enjoy a spin on the London Eye's very own ice rink in the heart of Southbank. 


vauxhall skateIce Skate Vauxhall Lambeth

21 November - 4 January

Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens is hosting a full size urban ice rink and London's first Christmas tree maze this winter. Adding to the atmosphere will be street entertainers, an extended street market of London's top pop-up eateries, plus shopping at the Artisan Craft Market.

fishmasMeet Penguin Father Fishmas Southbank

15 December - 28 December

The cuddly Penguin Father Fishmas will be spreading Christmas cheer in the Ice Adventure area at London Aquarium, alongside the resident colony of Gentoo penguins. While you're there, check out the turtles, fish, rays and sharks too. 


podChristmas Party at The Pod soft play Kingston Upon Thames

12 December

Come and join the Christmas Party at the Pod. Play party games, visit Santa in his grotto and find Santa's lost hats. Ticket includes a present from Santa, a Christmassy packed lunch and 90 minutes of soft play fun.  


santa runSanta Run 2014 Victoria Park

7 December

Over 4,000 people are expected to take part in the Santa Run, raising funds for hundreds of different charities. Run 5km or 10km in a Santa suit for some keep fit fun.


snowmanThe Snowman's Party Canning Town

20 December

Snowman has lost his buttons around the Arctic and needs to find them before he can go to his party - can you help? Join Ingeenium on an interactive journey around Canning Town, completing fun challenges to make sure Snowman (and you) can go to the party.


enfield(Possibly) The largest Santa Grotto in Europe Enfield

12 November - 24 December

For over 15 years Christmas Wonderland in Crews Hill has brought delight to thousands of smiling children, so join in this year on Santa's Express. Travel from the North Pole Station through Christmas scenes to meet the big man himself: Santa Claus.


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South East



wansteadWanstead Christmas Shopping Challenge Wanstead

29 November - 24 December

The Wanstead challenge invites shoppers to pick up a Christmas tree from participating stores and decorate it by collecting colourful bauble stickers, which will be available when making a purchase.


ilfordChristmas Crackers Ilford

30 November

Christmas Crackers is the Theatre Club's eagerly anticipated annual Christmas party. Theatre staff and volunteers will entertain you with an afternoon of songs, comedy and the annual Christmas draw. 


dagenhamChristmas Party at The Jolly Jungle Dagenham

19 December - 22 December

Come along to the Christmas party in the Jolly Jungle. There will be party games, dancing and a fancy dress competition. Active Alfie will pay a special visit to pick the winners. 


eastburyEastbury Christmas Barking

7 December

Visit Father Christmas' grotto and join in workshops for all ages. Make a beautiful Christmas wreath and decorative pomanda. Browse the craft stalls for unique and different presents. 


weybridgeSanta on the VC10 Weybridge

6 December - 21 December

Once again Santa will be giving his reindeer a rest for a while and borrowing the Brooklands Museums's VC10 aircraft where he can meet his young friends. 


esherChristmas Trail Esher

13 December - 4 January

Follow the traditional Christmas children's trail around Claremont Landscape Garden and discover the spirit of Christmas. While you're there, explore the large turf amphitheatre, serpentine lake, grotto, Camellia Terrace and Belvedere Tower. 


chelmsfordFROST - A Unique Pop-up Grotto Central Chelmsford

28 November - 24 December 

Frost Christmas will feature elves, fairies and of course, Father Christmas. Children can look forward to a magical experience of log cabins and fairy-lit trees where the elves will guide them through the grotto experience to meet Santa.


edenbrigeFather Christmas at Hever Castle Edenbridge

29 November - 24 December

Discover the origins of English Christmas traditions at Hever Castle and follow the snow covered trail to visit Santa in his grotto. Discover who came up with the idea of the Christmas cracker as children make their own at drop-in Christmas craft sessions.


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South West



devonPolar Express Train Ride Mid Devon

28 November - 28 December

Inspired by the hit movie and award-winning book, this very special train ride is designed to delight and inspire your family this festive season. Hop on board the Polar Express train as it makes a round-trip journey to the North Pole.


torquayCoca Cola Truck Comes To Torquay Torbay

17 December

To celebrate the start of the festive season, Coca-Cola is sending its iconic Christmas truck on tour, bringing magic to people up and down the country. Take pictures by the truck in a snowy winter wonderland setting and hear a choir singing Christmas carols. 


devonFestive Fun cookery workshop Devon

23 December

This Christmas, all-day kids' cookery workshops will be run from the beautiful Exeter Castle. Parents can spend the day Christmas shopping nearby or enjoying some mulled wine while children cook up some Christmas treats for the whole family to enjoy over the holiday season.


rudolphAn Edwardian Christmas Christchurch

23 December

Prepare for the festive season the Edwardian way. As part of the Soldiers' Journey exhibition, look back to a traditional Christmas, prepare figgy pudding and make traditional gifts and cards.


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East of England




winter warmerWinter Warmer Christmas tour Huntingdonshire

23 December

Join this fun and interactive behind the scenes Christmas tour at the Godmanchester Centre. Find out how animals are kept warm and safe over Christmas time, plus make fun pet toys and feed the animals some tasty treats.


holkhamTraditional Christmas Celebrations Holkham

6 December - 7 December

Join in the festivities as Holkham Hall opens for traditional seasonal celebrations. See the hall magnificently decorated with Christmas trees galore and amazing decorations. Meet costumed characters from Christmas past and cheeky elves who love to sing and play their ukuleles.


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erksinePandamonium Christmas Disco Erskine

19 December

Pandamonium play centre will be hosting their Christmas disco this December. Ticket will include drink and snacks, a photo opportunity with Santa, selection box and reindeer food. 


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newportCeltic Manor Christmas Kingdom Newport

27 November - 4 January

Enjoy all the magic and sparkle of the festive season as Newport's spectacular Rooftop Garden becomes the fabulous frosty backdrop for a wonderful winter adventure. There'll be ice skating and Santa's reindeer will be flying in to say hello. 

grottoChristmas at Greenmeadow Farm Cwmbran

30 November - 24 December

Our favourite visitor is on his way. Come and see Father Christmas arrive at the farm to cosy up in his grotto ready to welcome children from across South Wales and beyond. 


runChristmas Pudding Run Cwmbran

6 December

Get involved in some festive cheer and laughter in the Pudding Run and help raise money for St David's hospice care. This fun run will be a test of balance, speed and general silliness. Fitness is not a requirement!


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Last updated: almost 3 years ago