Where to Visit Father Christmas 2019
When Frosts Father Christmas tickets go on sale in September, the countdown to Christmas begins and our members ask ‘where is the best place to visit Father Christmas?!’
So here is our Mum to Mum list of places that have been recommended by our members from their experiences. We’ve grouped them by distance from MK, and given them a score of between £ and £££ depending on how expensive they are. Merry Christmas!
We’ve also thrown in some other festive days out, which are full of Christmas spirit, but don’t have a Father Christmas grotto.
- Frosts Garden Centre, Woburn Sands – ££
One of the most popular Christmas destinations in MK, the tickets sell out fast and there are dozens of families who go back year after year. Full details and booking information on the website: Frosts Garden Centre – Santa’s Grotto
2. Xscape – FREE on the day, or 50p to book a slot
Fantastic value, and much loved by new and returning customers, Father Christmas is in his grotto at Xscape once again this year. You can walk up on the day, or book in advance for a small charge. Gift for each child. https://xscapemiltonkeynes.co.uk/articles/santa-back
3. MK Museum – £ (after you’ve paid normal entry to the museum)
Katie says: “We always go to MK Museum, it’s so lovely there at Xmas. Plus if you’ve already got a 12-month ticket (£30 for a family ticket, 2 adults and up to 4 kids) it only costs about £6 per child to see the big man. Plus lots of other stuff on in the main house for Xmas too”. MK Museum: a Victorian Christmas
4. Bletchley Park Christmas Grotto – £ (after you’ve paid normal entry fee)
“Experience a 1940s Christmas at Bletchley Park. Father Christmas will be at home in his vintage grotto in the Mansion House for you to visit. Each child will receive a present to keep and can enjoy festive crafts and music.” It’s even more cost-effective if you hold a season ticket, so you will only pay the £6 grotto fee. Fiona says: “We took the kids to meet Santa at Bletchley Park last year. It was so amazing. I actually cried!” Bletchley Park: A Vintage Christmas Grotto
5. Woburn Sands Emporium – £
New to Woburn this year, we don’t have any reviews for this one yet – but we know that there are activities, in addition to the Father Christmas grotto.
6. c:mk Christmas Grotto – £
Part of the Christmas decorations and festivities in Middleton Hall in the Centre:mk shopping centre, this Father Christmas grotto is always popular. From 15th November – 24th December. https://www.centremk.com/whats-on
7. Gulliver’s Land – prices vary depending on package
Lots to choose from at Gullivers, with Christmas shows, Christmas food and Santa’s grotto to visit. Combination packages for all of these things are shown on the Christmas at Gulliver’s website.
8. Dobbies Garden Centre – £
Katy says: “We went to Dobbies last year… it was just our family that went in to see Santa, and it was much more Christmassy and personal.”
9. Whittlebury Hall and Spa – £
A delicious three course carvery buffet served in our Brooklands Suite is only the beginning. Santa himself will be joining us to delight the little ones and distribute gifts!
Our magical Santa Sunday Lunch is the perfect recipe for a pre-Christmas celebration ideal for getting together with family or friends who you might not be able to see over Christmas itself.
Available on Sunday 8th December & Sunday 15th December @ www.whittlebury.com/santa-sunday-lunch-8th-december
Between 12.0pm – 3.30pm
£28.95 per adult
£16.95 for children aged 3-12
£5 for children under 3
Up to 1 hour from MK
- Santa Narrowboat Cruises, Stoke Bruerne – ££
Depart from The Boat Inn, Stoke Bruerne for a 1½ hour cruise to Blisworth, where Santa will join the boat for the return journey, meet each child and give them a present. Party games and music will be played during the cruise. Kirsty says, “You get on, Christmas music and games, mince pies etc, very festive and then you go and pick Santa up from one of the bridges and bring him back. The kids were so excited looking out for him. The Santa looks the real deal and spends so much time 1/1 with each child on the way back, giving them a present.” The Boat Inn: Santa Cruises
2. Mead Open Farm, Leighton Buzzard – ££ (includes full day entry to farm)
One of our top-recommended venues for visiting Santa.
Rachel says: “We did this last year and had such a great time. We had as much time as we wanted with Santa too.” Details on the Mead Open Farm website.
3. Riverside Hub, Northampton – ££
The Riverside Hub used to offer a full Santa experience, but details about their Christmas plans aren’t clear yet. They are promising “minimal queuing and maximum fun”, so keep checking their events page to see what the deal is. Riverside Hub website.
4. Buckinghamshire Railway Centre – ££
Helen says: “We did a trip with Thomas the Tank last year. Santa visits on the train and gives a present. We loved it. Price includes Mince pies, sausage rolls and drinks for children and adults. There was a little magic show and other activities also included last year.” Details of Santa’s visits, including whether he will be aboard Thomas or one of the other steam engines, can be found on the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre website.
5. Curly Tails Pig Sanctuary – Meet Santa Week – £
Children visit Santa in his grotto and receive a present from him, everyone can visit all the pigs and get a piggy treat bucket included in the ticket price. https://www.facebook.com/curlytailspigs/
6. Wrest Park, Bedfordshire – £
Meet Father Christmas at this English Heritage stately home and gardens. “Join in the festive fun with the man himself at Wrest Park this Christmas. Meet Father Christmas as he tells tales of Christmas past amidst the yuletide decorations. Lucky visitors will even get a festive treat from the man himself!” Vicki says: “You take your own pics and it cost around £3/4 per child, and adults go free. You get a story and present”. Full details on the English Heritage Wrest Park website.
7. Northampton and Lamport Railway – ££
Come along to visit Santa in his Magical Grotto, and then take a train ride along the Northampton & Lamport Railway from Pitsford and Brampton station. Booking details on the Northampton & Lamport Railway website.
8. Green Dragon Eco Farm – £
Children will be welcomed by the Green Dragon Elves and invited to explore Farmer Christmas Land – an exciting enchanted place full of festive fun and activities. Search for gold tokens in Santa’s Snowpits, walk through the Enchanted Forest, meet Christmas animals, make a star for the Wishing Tree, and even feed real Reindeer. And of course, meet Farmer Christmas too – sit up on his tractor and receive a Christmas gift. Plus, NEW FOR 2019 – make special reindeer food to take home with you for Christmas Eve and all children and adults will receive a tasty Christmas treat! £11.95 per child, with two free accompanying adults.
9. The Olde Watermill Dickensian Shopping Village, Barton-Le-Clay, Beds – £
Abbie went last year, and says, “Santa has a real beard and comes down a chimney!! He reads a story and then you get your turn to talk to him and take as many of your own pictures as you like. There’s a mini snow covered forest when you come out with pretty lights and a wishing well and a beautiful Christmas shop too. Under 1s are free too”. More information (and a Santa’s Grotto video) on the Olde Water Mill website.
10. Willows Activity Farm, St Albans ££
Lots of Christmas activities and attractions indoors and out, as well as a meeting with Father Christmas and a gift. More information about all the Santa Spectacular and Christmas fun to be had on the Willows Activity Farm website.
11. Christmas at Waddesdon Manor – ££
“From 16 November the festive season will be in full swing with Christmas lights in the grounds, decorated rooms in the house and a new light and sound show projected onto the Manor. Throughout the season there will be delicious festive foods in all our food outlets and the Christmas Fair, already a tradition for many is a fantastic way to start the festive celebrations.” Usual admission fee applies – no Father Christmas grotto.
12. ZSL – Whipsnade Zoo – £££
Emily says, “We went last year and my children really enjoyed it. The actual Father Christmas bit didn’t feel rushed, the gifts were lovely and could take your own photos too. We’re members so felt it was pretty good value for money and my children have asked to go again this year.” More information on the ZSL website.
Further Away (1 hour +)
- Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway Santa Specials, High Wycombe – ££
Kirstie says: “Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway have a lovely Santa Express. It’s one of our favourite Christmas events.” Timetable and ticket information on the C&PR Railway website.
2. Drayton Manor Theme Park, near Birmingham – ££ (includes entry to park)
The home of Thomas the Tank Engine, ticket prices include a full day’s entry to ThomasLand and the rest of the park (the majority of rides are closed, but the zoo and Dino Park are open); a scheduled visit for each family to Father Christmas plus gift; journey around the Christmas grotto.
Emma says: “I feel well worth it – get to use most of Thomas Land all day, see Santa, lovely pressie, fireworks and fake snow every hour. Been for 5 years and will look to do this year. It feels very magical there.” Full details on the Drayton Manor website.
3. Lapland UK, Ascot, Berkshire – £££
The choice of top celebrities such as the Beckhams, Sir Elton John, and Holly Willoughby, this has to be one of the premium Christmas attractions in the UK. The prices reflect that – they vary depending on when you go, but start at £45 per person, up to £120pp on Christmas Eve.
Ewelina says: “Highly recommend Lapland UK, we went last year and definitely booking for this year! It’s quite expensive but at least feels like a real Lapland – amazing!” The beautiful website contains all the information: Lapland UK and Mum to Mum’s Rebecca reviewed it when she visited with her family, last year: https://rlcwords.co.uk/2018/11/29/lapland-uk-the-most-magical-family-christmas-experience/
4. Harry Potter Studios – Hogwarts in the Snow – £££
A magically seasonal tour of the Warner Bros Studios Harry Potter scenery. VisitLondon has lots of information and some lovely photos. No Father Christmas grotto.
5. Polar Express, Telford Steam Railway – ££
Experience all the magic of the animated film, aboard the Telford Steam Railway. Tickets sell out fast!
6. Christmas Wonderland, Enfield, London – ££
Helen says: “We went here last year and it was lovely. Big garden centre, you ride a small train to Santa (he was very real looking) you could take your own photos and choose a toy.” All the information you need on the Christmas Wonderland website.
7. Illuminated Christmas and Alice at the Palace, Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire – ££
“Start your day by escaping the bustle of the high street and join us for our Christmas Market. Next, take a journey into the New Alice in the Palace experience, explore the topsy-turvy world of Alice in Wonderland. Don’t miss our ever popular Illuminated Light Trail. The formal gardens will be lit up in festive colour, brighter than ever before with lasers, projections and thousands of tea-lights.” Usual entry fee applies – no Father Christmas grotto.
8. Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, London – FREE but attraction charges apply
For six weeks, London’s famous Hyde Park is transformed into a magical wonderland of winter festivities. It’s free to enter so you can walk around at your leisure and soak up the atmosphere. There is also skating around the UK’s largest open-air ice rink; an arctic adventure in the Magical Ice Kingdom; circus shows; ice dancing in The Nutcracker on Ice; and see stunning views across London in the Giant Observation Wheel. There’s over 100 spectacular festive rides and attractions, London’s largest German-style Christmas Markets, plus a wealth of delicious food and mulled wine aplenty. No Father Christmas grotto.
9. Legoland – £££
Laura says, “We have really enjoyed seeing Santa at Legoland the last few years. Obviously means travelling outside of MK but it makes a lovely day out.”