Whether it’s your baby’s first Christmas or you have a whole brood of children, now is the time to start planning where you will visit Santa this year. I have outlined some of my favourites that we have visited over the last few years: 

Lotherton Hall

Lotherton Hall is beautiful all year round but my favourite time to visit is at Christmas when they set up a 12 Days of Christmas walk through their enchanted woods. The walk is super interactive so perfect for babies in prams, toddlers and older children. It’s particularly pretty at dusk when the twinkly lights add to the magical Christmassy feel. 

They have a cute Elf Village where you can do Christmas crafts, sip hot chocolate, and of course, visit Santa.

http://thechristmasexperience.co.uk/

Castle Howard

We visited Castle Howard for the first time last Christmas and LOVED it. The atmosphere was lovely, the castle was beautifully decorated, Santa was very comical and the experience was really memorable. 

My daughter received a gift from Santa which had her name on which just added to the magic of the event for her. 

We have booked to go back this year and I really can’t wait! 

https://www.castlehoward.co.uk/whats-on/christmas

Piglets Adventure Farm

Piglets Adventure Farm is the only place I know of where you actually get to ride in Santa’s sleigh! 

After going through Elf Security and checking in with Elf Airlines, your elf-hostess we let you know when it’s time to board Santa’s sleigh and take a ride through Santa’s Woodland Village. You then meet the big man himself and he will write your name on the Good List and then give you a key for his toy shop where you can select any item you like. 

It’s a really interactive experience and probably suited more towards older children. 

There are also lots of animals to visit, a soft play area to burn off some energy and they serve delicious hot food.  

http://pigletsadventurefarm.com/event/magical-sleigh-rides/

Centre Parcs

We have visited Centre Parcs a few times since becoming parents but by far my favourite time to visit is at Christmas. Be warned; it won’t be cheap and it will be busy but we had the BEST time. 

Centre Parcs go all out with beautiful decorations and photo ops galore. Plus there are always lots of extra Christmas themed activities bookable such as Christmas pony rides, festive cupcake decorating and of course a visit with Santa. 

https://www.centerparcs.co.uk/

Stockeld Park

Take a stroll through the Enchanted Forest and burn off some energy at the various playgrounds you will find along your way before visiting Santa in his Grotto. 

There’s also the opportunity to have a go at iceskating although my balance is no where near good enough for that! 

Afterwards, warm up with a hot meal at their lovely cafe and maybe pop into the gift shop and pick up a few pretty decorations. 

https://stockeldpark.co.uk/the-christmas-adventure/

Tong Garden Centre

At Tong Garden Centre the little ones are invited to take an artic tour to meet Santa in his Grotto. After sitting with Santa and hearing a few Christmas tales, you are then given access to his workshop where you can pick any toy you like. 

On certain weekends they have extra activities running such as donkey rides, princess meetings and crafts so definitely check that out online before booking.  

https://tonggardencentre.digitickets.co.uk/event-tickets/17566?catID=4394

Top tips: 

  • Most of the above attractions require you to pre-book your visit so keep that in mind! 
  • Sometimes Santa can be running a little late so you might find that you have to wait around a little before it’s your turn - take something with you to distract your little ones. 
  • Dress appropriately. Your visit with Santa may involves standing out in the cold for a little while and the paths may be a bit muddy. 
  • When taking photos with Santa, turn your flash on. Grottos are usually very dimly lit so any photos you take will be dark, grainy and likely out of focus. The light from the flash will be a little harsh but at least you will be able to see your baby’s gorgeous face.