The Best Santa’s Grottos

Find the best Santa’s Grottos in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Hertfordshire. Magical Christmas days out for children in East Anglia. 

Father Christmas at Audley End Railway
Audley End Railway

The best Santa’s Grottos in Essex 

Audley End Miniature Railway Christmas Special, 23 November – 24 December

Audley End Road, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB11 4JB

The Christmas Railway Experience at Audley End Miniature Railway is one of the best and most popular Santa Grottos in Essex. Go on a Christmas adventure on the Santa Express to Father Christmas’ Winter Wonderland among the woodlands of the Audley End. You can meet the man himself as well as the mischievous elves, watch their dance and every child will receive a little gift. There is also face painting, Father Christmas letter writing and crafts for children too. This is a hugely popular event so book quick!  www.audley-end-railway.co.uk

Perrywood’s Christmas Grotto, Weekends 30 November-15 December, everyday 17 – 24 December, 9.30am-3.45pm

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Perrywood Garden Centre, Kelvedon Road, Tiptree, Inworth, Colchester, CO5 9SX

A very christmassy Santa’s Grotto in Essex with a elves workshop theme. Children can enjoy a craft activity, a fairy and wizard photo opportunity and a chat with Santa where each child will receive a small wrapped gift. Price £10. Booking is essential. www.perrywood.co.uk

The Aurora Explorer Christmas Grotto, 16 November – 24 December 

intu Lakeside, W Thurrock Way, Grays RM20 2ZP

Children visiting the shopping centre can enjoy a magical experience to meet Santa and become an Aurora Explorer. Each visit will last around 25-30mins. www.intu.co.uk/lakeside/events/aurora-explore-christmas-grotto

Santa and His Real Live Snow Queen, selected dates from 23 November to 24 December

Hearts Delight Home and Garden Centre, Long Road, Lawford, Manningtree, Essex, CO11 2EF

Father Christmas will be visiting the garden centre with his real life Snow Queen. A great festive atmosphere. Santa will be waiting to hear all your Christmas wishes and will be giving children a small gift. www.hearts-delight.co.uk

The Father Christmas Experience at Marsh Farm, 16-24 December

Marsh Farm, Marsh Farm Road, South Woodham, Ferrers, CM3 5WP

It’s a magical Christmas adventure at this Essex Santa’s Grotto. The journey begins at Elf Academy followed by a visit to Mother Christmas to decorate a gingerbread before entering the Snow Show. Children will be checked on the Naughty or Nice list before meeting Father Christmas in the Grotto. They’ll then visit the toy workshop to make a gift to take home. Prices: adult tickets from£12.95, child tickets from £25.50. www.marshfarm.co.uk/events/father-christmas-experience 

Magical Grotto at Cressing Temple Barns, 23, 24, 30 November and 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 December

Cressing Temple Barns, Witham Road, Cressing, Braintree CM77 8PD

Get into the festive spirit with a magical Christmas day out in Essex. Cressing Temple Barns will be offering a range of festive activities including writing a letter to Santa, a chance to sit in a sleigh, Christmas crafts, a visit to the Wish Queen in the woodlands, games and of course the opportunity to meet Father Christmas. There’s mulled wine and minced pies for adults too! Price from £20 per child, £7.50 per adult. Book at experiencetickets.co.uk/project/magical-grotto/

boy with Santa

Santa’s Grottos in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire

Santa Spectacular, 23 November – 24 December

Coursers Rd, St Albans AL4 0PF

Willows Activity Farm hosts a full day of festive family fun! As well as the usual farm features, children can visit Santa in is Grotto, make a toy bear in the workshop and decorate ginger biscuits. 

Lunch with Santa at Knebworth Barn, 8, 15 and 22 December 

Knebworth House, Old Knebworth Lane, Stevenage SG3 6PY

For families, throughout December the Sunday Lunch with Santa is a treat that little ones won’t forget. Running from noon all the family can tuck into a traditional two-course Christmas lunch for £25 pp with every child enjoying a gift from Saint Nick himself.

An Audience with Father Christmas, 7-8, 14-15 & 21-22 Decembe

Wrest Park, Silsoe, MK45 4HR

Meet Father Christmas amongst the festive decorations and listen to his Christmas stories. Children will also receive a small present. Please be aware there is an additional £5 charge for all children to see Father Christmas and pre-booking tickets is essential. www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/whats-on/wrest-park-an-audience-with-father-christmas-14-15-dec-2019/

The Magic of Christmas at Mead Open Farm, 30 November-24 December 

Mead Open Farm, Stanbridge Road, Billington, Bedfordshire, LU7 9JH

Not only can you meet Father Christmas here, children can listen to a group story with the man himself, walk through the magical enchanted forest, make your own bear in the workshop, go to reindeer flying school, make reindeer food and decorate gingerbread in Merry Berry’s Christmas Kitchen. www.meadopenfarm.co.uk

Christmas Blackthorpe Barn
Elves at Blackthorpe Barn

Where to meet Father Christmas in Suffolk?

Blackthorpe Barn Santa’s Grotto, Weekends from 23 November to 22 December

Blackthorpe Barn, Rougham, Bury St Edmunds, IP30 9HZ

Blackthorpe Barn is one of the best Santa’s Grotto in Suffolk. A special and atmospheric place to meet the guy in red, all children will meet Santa as well as receive a small gift too. You can also pick up your Christmas tree, enjoy walks, crafts and the Christmas Shop. Price from £11 per child, adults £2. There’s plenty of festive activities for adults too, click here to read our wreath workshop review. www.blackthorpebarn.com

Santa’s Workshop at Kersey Mill, weekends throughout December

Kersey Mill, Kersey, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP7 6DP

A truly magical Christmas event with lots to keep young children entertained. There’s a short story from Mrs Claus in the cabin and visit to the Santa Workshop where children will meet Father Christmas and take part in crafts, mixing reindeer food and a sing-a-long with Santa. Priced £20 per child. www.kerseymill.net/forthcoming-events

Santa Tours Felixstowe, weekday evening between the 4-22 December, 6pm-8.30pm

Santa and Rudolph are getting out and about as they make a tour of town’s streets and homes in their sleigh. In aid of Save the Children and charities supported by the Felixstowe Rotary Club, it aims to give all families, particularly children, a great Christmas experience as well as raise as much money as possible. You can also catch Santa at the Felixstowe Christmas market on 30 November for festive fun, carol singing and a children’s candle lit parade. More details at www.felixstowe.gov.uk

The best Santa’s Grottos in Norfolk 

Santa’s Magical Journey, 30 Nov & 1 Dec, 7-8, 14-15, 17-23 December

Thursford Collection, Thursford, Fakenham, Norfolk, NR21 0AS

You’ll feel as though you have been transported to the North Pole at Thursford, minus the frost bite! Have a fantastic journey past the penguins and polar bears, elves and snowmen to Santa’s House to meet Father Christmas. There are gifts for the children and you can get a professional photo taken of your little one with Santa to take home! This is one of the best Father Christmas experiences in Norfolk and the UK. Price from adults £11.50, children £18.50. www.thursford.com

Christmas at Mannington, 14 & 15 December

Mannington Estate, Norwich, NR11 7BB

There are lots of places to see Mr Claus himself during the festive period but this year Mannington Estate is hosting the Christmas Fairy with her Elf helper. They will be hiding in a special corner of the hall which is not normally open to visitors.  The hall will be traditionally decorated, the gardens will be lit up and there will be Christmas activities, music and festive fayre. Entry is £5 or £8 on the day for adults, under 16’s are free but a visit to the Christmas Fairy is £5. www.manningtonestate.co.uk

Santa Cruise , 30 November – 24 December, weekends only and 21-24 December

Broads Tours, The Bridge, Wroxham, Norfolk, NR12 8RX

Come aboard the Santa Cruise for an hour of festive fun. Children can take part in Christmas quizzes, colouring competition and sing-alongs. Santa’s pixies will serve mulled wine and mince pies for adults and soft drinks and a festive cookie for children. You’ll find Santa in his saloon where he will give out named presents for every child. Tickets must be booked in advance. www.broadstours.co.uk

Bure Valley Railway

Steam Trains to Santa, weekends throughout December, plus 22, 23 & 24 December

Bure Valley Railway, Wroxham Station, Norwich Road, Aylsham, Norfolk

Come and visit Santa in the Broads on a Steam Train. Roll up to Santa’s Grotto, with Wroxham station dressed beautifully in twinkling lights to get everybody into the festive spirit. Steam Trains to Santa departs from Wroxham travelling to Santa’s Grotto, where Santa and his railway sleigh are there to welcome you all and give children a present. Entertainment and festive refreshments for all the family add to the Christmas magic, before climbing aboard the train for the return journey to Wroxham. www.bvrw.co.uk/events/santa

Father Christmas at Fairhaven, 15-16 December, 11am to 5pm

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, School Road, South Walsham NR13 6DZ

Have yourself a magical woodland Christmas experience. Take a stroll through the illuminated winter woodland garden to meet the reindeer and visit Father Christmas. There will be live music, illuminations and an Elves’ Workshop with free Christmas crafts and face painting to keep the children busy. Warm up with hot food in the tearoom. Garden entry applies for adults and its £10 per child to visit Father Christmas and receive a present (includes garden entry). Booking essential. 
www.fairhavengarden.co.uk

An audience with Father Christmas, 14, 15, 19, 20, 22 & 23 December

Holkham Hall, North Norfolk

This is one of the most magical visits to Father Christmas in Norfolk, in one of the most splendid settings –  which means it’s one of the most popular Santa Grottos in Norfolk! Meet Mother and Father Christmas and listen to magical tales while an all-singing, all-dancing band of ukulele elves entertain you. Price: £25 adult, £25 child (aged 0 to 12 years), booking essential.
www.holkham.co.uk/events/christmas-at-holkham/an-audience-with-father-christmas

Santa’s Grottos in Cambridgeshire 

Santa’s Grotto at Brampton, Weekends from 30 November – 22 December, plus 23 & 24 December 

Buckden Road, Brampton, Huntingdon, PE28 4NF

Santa’s elves will start things off with some singing and dancing and children will be able to make their own bag of reindeer food. Then it’s time to meet Santa who will read an enchanting story, after which, the children can choose their toy to take home. There’s photo opportunities too.  www.frostsgardencentres.co.uk/garden-centres/brampton

Santa Specials at Nene Valley Railway, selected dates from 23 November to 24 December

Wansford Station, 
Stibbington
, Peterborough
, PE8 6LR

Christmas at Nene Valley Railway is not one to be missed but be quick as places to travel with Santa on his magical train are filling up fast! It’s a festive party atmosphere aboard the carriages with sweets treats too! The experience begins in Santa’s grotto where Christmas wishes are made, followed by a trip on the magnificent train. There are three packages available to book online to suit all budgets. To book your place on this magical adventure visit www.nvr.org.uk 

Meet Father Christmas at Wicken Fen Nature Reserve, weekends in December 

Wicken Fen Nature Reserve, Lode Lane, Wicken, Ely, Cambridgeshire, CB7 5XP

Follow the trail at this charming National Trust nature reserve in search of Father Christmas! This memorable experience includes making crafts in the elves busy workshop and a magical meeting with Father Christmas in the cosy cottage. Price: Child ticket £10. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wicken-fen-nature-reserve

The Elf Express, 21 November – 24 December

Scotsdales, 120 Cambridge Rd, Great Shelford, Cambridge CB22 5JT

Meet Santa at Scotsdales. The Elf Express and Santa’s Grotto experience will be suitable for all ages. Little ones will be given the chance to meet Santa and his elves to get them into the Christmas spirit. Priced £12 per child, includes free present of their choice from Santa. £4 per adult.

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