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. Our guide to the best places to meet Santa this festive season. 

Father Christmas Heligan
Our guide to the best places in the UK to meet Father Christmas this festive season. 

Journey by boat to see Father Christmas in his underground grotto deep in Dudley Caverns. As well as an illuminated boat ride through the historic canal tunnel and caverns, families can enjoy the seasonal show (which guarantees a lot of laughs) and gifts for all the children from the jolly man in red. Each boat trip takes one hour from departure to arrival – remember to wrap up warm, it can be chilly on board.

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Christmas in Clearwell Caverns
Christmas at Clearwell Caverns © Clearwell Caverns

As well as seeing Father Christmas in his unusual cave grotto, families can enjoy the seasonal story Cora and the Bloobious Bright, 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 slab of cake.

Christmas Tree

Where would Santa be without the faithful Mrs Claus by his side? You can meet the lady herself at Pollok House, an Edwardian country house on outskirts of Glasgow. The house will be all dressed up for the festive period, and Mrs Claus will be handing out special Christmas gifts for all the children (if they’ve been good, of course).

Pollok House
Pollok House is home to Mrs Claus this Christmas. © G.Laird, Geograph

You’ll find Father Christmas and his elves in the Head Gardener’s office, where the whole family can meet him by a roaring log fire and receive a traditional Christmas gift. Children can also write and post their letters to Father Christmas between 15 and 24 December, and try their hand at arts and crafts at Heligan’s Christmas workshops. There’s also a magical Christmas trail to follow around the Lost Gardens.

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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 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.