…and no Christmas festivities would be complete without a visit to the man in red. But, of course, Father Christmas is very busy and only visiting on certain dates – so check each grottos website to book ahead if possible and avoid disappointment
Lose yourself in a world of magic and enchantment this Christmas at Drusillas Park when, from Saturday 18th November, their dazzling Winter Wonderland will be returning once again to delight young and old alike.
Young revellers can expect to see a host of magical creatures in an ice-capped kingdom, adding some extra sparkle to the festive season until Monday 1st January. Father Christmas makes a welcome return to the zoo – visit him in his cosy Christmas Cottage during weekends from Saturday 18th November, then daily from Thursday 14th to Saturday 23rd December inclusive.
• Alfriston BN26 5QS, visit www.drusillas.co.uk
Riverhill Himalayan Gardens
Christmas at Riverhill promises to be a magical experience with Father Christmas visiting for breakfast and afternoon tea at weekends throughout December and giving out gifts to all ‘good’ children. The skating rink and Alpine cafe are also open daily.
• Sevenoaks TN15 0RR, visit www.riverhillgardens.co.uk
Kent Life Heritage Farm Park
Jump on board the Land Train (driven by the head elf), visit the reindeers, write your letter to Santa in the Playbarn, meet the big man in his magical grotto and take home a special gift. Grown-ups can also enjoy a cheeky mince pie and sampling of cider. Ticket prices include all day access to Kent Life.
• Sandling ME14 3AU, visit www.kentlife.org.uk
Notcutts Garden Centre
From Sunday 19th November to Christmas Eve visit a magical Winter Wonderland, meet Santa and receive a Christmas gift. Advance online booking is strongly recommended to avoid disappointment, although bookings may also be possible in-store.
• Pembury TN2 4QN, visit www.notcutts.digitickets.co.uk
Merry Elfmas at Groombridge Place: Join the elves this Christmas at weekends throughout December. Enjoy elf story telling, Santa letter writing and Christmas theme crafts along with a theatrical show, plus there is also the chance to visit Santa in his grotto.
• Groombridge TN3 9QG, visit www.groombridgeplace.com
Kent & East Sussex Railway
Take a magical steam train journey to meet Santa this Christmas with the popular Santa Special trains. At Tenterden Station the beautiful Victorian carousel provides unlimited free rides, while onboard the festively-decorated steam trains, you’ll meet Santa. Every child receives an age appropriate gift from Santa himself while everyone receives complimentary refreshments. Standard tickets from £18.
• Tenterden TN30 6HE, visit www.kesr.org.uk
Santa will be stationed this year by the lakes at the West Village. Children (elf helpers) will be greeted at the entrance of the log cabin by the Christmas Chef and asked to help him in his kitchen, creating their very own tree decoration, before embarking on a journey through the grotto. Each child will receive a soft toy from Santa and photos can be purchased upon leaving the Grotto.
• Greenhithe DA9 9ST, visit www.bluewater.co.uk
Join in the fun at the family grotto at the enchanted forest of Narnia again this year. Create tree decorations and cards at the festive craft tent before Mrs Beaver whisks you off to the forest to see Father Christmas who will be waiting in his sleigh. Tickets must be pre-booked online.
• Penshurst TN11 8DG, visit www.penshurstplace.com
Meet Santa at his waterside grotto before jumping aboard the Santa Express to help the elves find all the missing Christmas items. After your exciting journey, stop off at The Waterfront Cafe to rest and re-energise with something to eat and drink – or warm up by toasting marshmallows at the fire pit. Not all activities are included in the ticket price.
• Lamberhurst TN3 8JH, visit www.bewlwater.co.uk
The Hop Farm
Father Christmas only has limited time to meet children and their families at The Hop Farm before he sets off on his very busy night delivering presents on Christmas Eve so booking is essential! Ticket price includes free entry into the family park and indoor soft play centre.
• Paddock Wood TN12 6PY, visit www.thehopfarm.co.uk
Royal Victoria Place
Let your little ones experience the true magic of Christmas at Royal Victoria Place in Tunbridge Wells where you’ll find Santa in his magical grotto on level 1 opposite Marks & Spencer every day from 20th November right up to Christmas Eve – but only if you’ve been good! Entry to Santa’s Grotto is only £5.50* per child including a luxury wrapped gift. To capture the special moment, a photography service will also be available at Santa’s grotto offering great gift ideas for family and friends. Make it easy and book in advance to avoid disappointment.
• Tunbridge Wells TN1 2SS, visit www.royalvictoriaplace.com
Celebrate the festive season in December with a visit to meet Father Christmas in a traditional Victorian setting.
• Chiddingstone TN8 7AD, visit www.chiddingstonecastle.org.uk
Spa Valley Railway
Book selected dates to see Father Christmas aboard the Santa Specials. Starting at a festive-themed Eridge Station, join Santa and his elves on the train to Tunbridge Wells, with each child receiving a gift and enjoying entertainment on their journey.
• Eridge TN3 9LE, visit www.spavalleyrailway.co.uk
Children will be greeted by Mother Christmas and guided through the snowy ‘forest’ by an elf to meet Father Christmas in his log cabin. Children who have not booked to visit Father Christmas in his grotto may get the chance to meet him in the Toy Workshop on selected dates, and take home an age-appropriate gift.
• Hever TN8 7NG, visit www.hevercastle.co.uk
Tunbridge Wells Ice Rink
Add to your ice skating fun and come and see Father Christmas in a private, personalised family visit at his cosy, warm log cabin set in the trees and snow – you can even have your photograph taken with the man himself! The minimum charge for a visit is £14.50.
• Tunbridge Wells TN1 1SJ, www.tunbridgewellsatchristmas.com/father-christmas