The best places in Britain to find Santa’s grotto this Christmas

From underground caverns to steam trains, you'll find Father Christmas, and even Mother Christmas, in the most unusual places this festive season. Here's our guide to the best places to meet Santa in 2020.  

Father Christmas

Here’s our handy guide to the best places in the UK to meet Father Christmas this festive season.

Visit Santa and Mrs Christmas in Kielder Winter Wonderland, Northumberland

Weekends from the 16th November – 23rd December

Christmas at Kileder Winter Wonderland
Meet Father Christmas and Mrs Christmas this year at Kielder (Photo by: Kileder Winter Wonderland)

With a Christmas elf, you’ll set off through the forest in search of Santa’s woodland home. When you find his secret hideout, decorated in twinkling lights, there’ll be a chance to talk to Santa himself and festive gifts on offer. Plus, as Father Christmas gets very busy this time of year, Mrs Christmas has a lot to do in preparation for the big day! Join her on an expedition through the woods to her forest kitchen, where there are a number of activities to do in her festive woodland home.

Celebrate Christmas at Dunham Massey, Greater Manchester

22nd November to 30th December

As darkness falls over Dunham Massey, a magical illuminated lights trail will lead you through the gardens. Find glittering deer and a tunnel of light with a mulled cider, mulled wine or hot chocolate in hand, and toast marshmallows around the fire pit. Families should keep their eyes peeled for Father Christmas, plus explore the Victorian carousel and helter-skelter!

Grassington Dickensian Festival

Meet Santa in the stables, Tredegar House, Newport

30th November – 22nd December

Christmas at Tredegar House
Make Christmas magical at Tredegar House (Photo by: National Trust)

Explore Christmas traditions past and present in a beautiful 17th century mansion that sits amongst 90 acres of gardens. Tredegar House will be decorated with glittering lights and towering trees in every room, and you can even join in with the Tredegar House tradition of hanging a wish on a magical wish tree. After wandering round the house, head to see Father Christmas in the stables. There’ll be mince pies and a chance for activities, plus mulled wine for adults and plenty of festive cheer.

As well as seeing Father Christmas in his unusual cave grotto, families can enjoy the seasonal story Billy’s Unicorn, and browse stalls selling decorations and stocking fillers. The caves are remarkable – an underground world that has a history of mining going back to the Stone Age. Don’t forget to call in Clearwell’s underground café for a hot chocolate and slice of cake.

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See Santa and his reindeer, Cairngorm Reindeer Centre, Aviemore 

1st, 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st, 24th December

Cairngorm reindeer
Meet Santa’s Cairngorm reindeer (Photo by: Getty Images)

In the weekends before Christmas, the reindeer paddocks in the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre are filled with festive tinsel and decorations. Santa even wanders around to greet his visitors and has chocolate to give out to his guests. Prices for 2019 are yet to be confirmed but last year it cost £4 for adults.

This year, meet Father Christmas in his underground grotto deep in Dudley Caverns. Inside these hidden tunnels, families can discover a land of enchanted stories and festive magic, before meeting Santa and his elves in the North Pole and watching a seasonal pantomime. There’ll even be gifts and mince pies for the adults – and don’t forget to wear a Christmas jumper!

Look out for Santa at the Yuletide Festival, Rowallane Garden, County Down

7th – 8th December

Christmas at Rowallane Garden
Christmas at Rowallane Garden (Photo by: National Trust)

At Rowallane Garden this Christmas, families can walk around the Christmas market and start their Christmas shopping – there’ll be a great selection of festive crafts and gifts on offer. There’ll also be food stalls and floral decorations, and you can look out for father Christmas on the way.

Learn Santa’s Christmas traditions and tales at Trerice, Cornwall

7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st, 24th December

The famous sky of stars at Trerice
The famous sky of stars can be visited in December at Trerice (Photo by: National Trust)

This year at Trerice, an Elizabethan Manor house set near Newquay, Cornwall, Father Christmas will be in residence and sharing his tales of old Christmas traditions. Santa will be stopping by for 30 minutes at a time, and give out gifts to his visitors. The staff at Trerice recommend booking in advance, but admission is available on the door.

All aboard the festive Lynton & Barnstaple Railway, Devon

7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st, 24th December

Father Christmas will be in residence at Woody Bay Station, Parracombe, Barnstaple this holly jolly season. Families can enjoy an exciting two-mile journey aboard the steam train from Woody Bay to Killington Lane and be back in time to see Santa and to receive an individually named gift. Wear a few layers though – Parracombe is 1,000ft above sea level and can get mighty chilly.

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Head to Lapland UK, Ascot 

Lapland UK is a 4 hour immersive Christmas experience complete with stories and activities. When you visit, journey through a winter wonderland as you learn about the secret world of elves and father Christmas – it’s been voted the UK’s best family day out!