6 GREAT PLACES to SEE SANTA
Santa is a busy sort of fellow so booking is essential lest you rob your children/ grandchildren of their chance to sit on a bearded stranger’s lap and be emotionally scarred more than the event itself will
Head to Tatton Park in Knutsford for their annual Father Christmas at the Farm event where not only will the kids meet the jolly fella himself, they’ll also get to meet Prancer and Dancer as well as some of the farm’s rare breed animals, before getting the chance to mill their own reindeer seed, build dens and generally soak up the festive merriment by way of choirs and brass bands. Saturdays and Sundays from November 30th, from £6.50 per child.
At Bents – garden-centre-cumwinter-wonderland near Warrington – Santa will be arriving in a flurry of festive fun on Saturday 9th at 10am accompanied by the Snow Queen, cheeky elves and a nutcracker or two. He’ll be in his grotto from 11am-4pm until Christmas Eve. Check in on the website for more on booking a slot. bents.co.uk
There are few places quite as magical as grand old Lyme Park and from Saturday 23rd November Santa will be taking up residence in The Chapel, where children can snuggle on cushions amongst twinkling lights to listen to a story before receiving their gift from Santa. There are also mid-week afternoon sessions where kids can create an edible gift with the elves. Prices start at £9.95.
Over at Blakemere Village Santa’s Grotto is open every weekend from Saturday November 15th. However, should you wish to indulge in some serious festive magic then consider booking its Christmas Woodland experience – a three-hour adventure of theatre in the forest, making your own cuddly toys with Mrs Claus, unlimited outdoor skating and meeting Santa in his sorting office. From £30 per person (£10 for under threes).
Winter Funland returns to Manchester’s EventCity from December 6th. This extravaganza of giant-indoor-funfare-meets-circusmeets-panto will be a magical attack on the senses but at least the children should sleep well afterwards. You’re guaranteed to get to see Santa within a 15-minute window, which works well for the queue-averse. Children’s tickets start from £23.50 (under-threes go free).
Bring a little efficiency to your festive fun and head to Delamere Forest where you can combine picking up your Christmas tree with a trip to Santa’s grotto. (By all means have a nice walk and a steaming mug of hot chocolate too.) No terrible plastic gift here – each child walks away with a baby tree to take home and grow. Lovely. £8 per child from November 30th (weekends and late nights December 5-6th).