Ho Ho Holy moly, it’s that time of year again! Time to knock up some Christmas lists and get them off to the North Pole, or tell a Bristol Father Christmas face-to-face. So where is the best place to meet Santa in Bristol? Well there are a few places in the city, and even more very nearby – including Santa helicopter grottos, cave-dwelling Father Christmases, sailing Santas and Santa trains! To make your job slightly easier, here’s a round-up of places you can find the best Santa grotto in Bristol this Christmas.
Where to find Santa’s grotto in Bristol Christmas 2023
Free Early Years story mornings with Santa & The Festive Elves, The Mall at Cribbs Causeway
When? Weekdays 1-15 December 2023, 9.30am / 10.30am / 11.30am, Sunday 11am
Join Santa in his sitting room in the centre of the lower mall for story-filled festive fun. Santa will be reading Mog’s Christmas among other classics. No need to book, bring your favourite teddy!
Sail with Santa, Bristol Ferry Boats
Search for Father Christmas with the Ferry Elves on their cosy festively-decorated boat (9-10, 16-23 December). Once found, Bristol Ferry Boats’ charming Father Christmas will entertain, dole out individual gifts for the kiddywinks – with mince pies and sherry for the adults – while you cruise around the harbour. Pickup location is The Cascade Steps – arrive a little early.
Pictures with Santa, Abbots Leigh (6 November)
If you’re after some REALLY GOOD photos with Santa, this is where you’ll want to go to see Father Christmas near Bristol. This special themed 15-minute meet-and-greet storytelling experience for the whole family includes a free gift for each child and a professional photograph of meeting Father Christmas.
Photographs will be ready a week later and can be purchased from a secure online gallery where you can order prints, gifts and download the digital files.
John Lewis Santa Grotto Bristol Cribbs Causeway 2022
For 2022, John Lewis Christmas Grotto is partnering with LEGO®. Each child will get to meet Santa and receive a LEGO® or LEGO DUPLO® gift and you can buy a photo with Father Christmas too. You can even bring your dog to some of the experiences*. (Just make sure they don’t bark at any reindeer.) Open from mid-November to 24 December.
Bristol Santa grotto, Inns Court Softplay, Knowle (14 December)
Santa is swooping into Boing Soft Play at Inns Court for a couple of sessions (9am or 11.30am). He’ll read the kiddos a story, hand over a gift and have his photo taken with little ones.
Best places to see Santa near Bristol
Santa train at Avon Valley Railway
The Avon Valley Father Christmas will be swapping his sleigh for a vintage steam-hauled train to meet visitors in their own compartments this Christmas (26-27 November, 3,4, 5, 10, 11, 17-24 December). Tell him what’s on your special list as you choo-choo through gorgeous countryside, he might even have an early gift for good boys and girls! You’ll also be able to get your photo taken with him on return to Bitton. Don’t forget to keep your peepers peeled for festive Christmas donkeys on the lawn!
Book your Santa Steam Specials here
Meeting Santa at Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park
Have your Christmas wishes at the ready and join Avon Valley for a family show packed with festive fun, song and dance (3-24 December) before having your photo taken with Santa at the end and picking a gift from his toy room.
You can also make your own eco-friendly reindeer food to take home and the Post Room will be open for you to send a letter (or use the Avon Valley SMS – Santa Messaging Service) to send any last minute requests to Santa.
Click here to check availability for meeting Santa at Avon Valley
Cadbury Garden Centre Santa Grotto
Santa’s coming to Cadbury Garden Centre, The Elves are eagerly awaiting your arrival and busy making a gift for you to collect on the way out. Meet Santa in his grotto, go for Christmas afternoon tea or try the breakfast with Santa experience!
WWT Slimbridge Santa
Meet Santa at Slimbridge as you tuck into an all-day breakfast beside a flock of flamingos! Once you’ve got your festive fill (including a gift from Santa Claus himself), you can head off into 100-acres of beautiful winter wetlands to spot amazing wildlife.
Click here to meet check ticket availability for Santa’s wetland grotto
Breakfast with Father Christmas, Dobbies Thornbury
This festive event includes breakfast for the whole family followed by games and a visit from Santa, with a gift for every child.
Breakfast with Santa Harvester, Bristol
Head over to the Bristol Harvester breakfast with Santa (3, 4, 10 11, 17, 18, 19, 21-24 December), where your little elves will receive a delicious breakfast, Fruit Shoot, chocolate treat, colouring in activities and a Santa goody bag. They’ll get to share their present list with the Father Christmas too. Pre-booking is essential.
Farrington’s Elf Academy (3-4, 10-11, 17-18 December)
Join the Elf Academy and learn how to be one of Santa’s little helpers before meeting the big man himself. Learn the secret elf wave, how to make reindeer food, plant a magical candy cane seed and create an edible snowman.
Afterwards, Santa will be around to give a gift and certificate to say thank you for helping him with all the elf jobs!
Weston Pier Santa Grotto 2022, Weston-super-Mare
Meet the jolly man himself (selected days from 24 November-24 December), a quarter of a mile out to sea and receive a special Christmas gift.
For a Santa visit with a different festive flavour for your little mischief maker, head over on the weekend of 17-18 December when Mr Grinch is doing a takeover! This green grump will be posing as the magical man himself in an attempt to steal your Christmas spirit.
Book Weston Pier Santa here.
Father Christmas Weston super Mare Helicopter Museum
Forget the reindeer, this Santa will be arriving by helicopter (4 December)! Come and watch him land, then meet him and his elves in his special Helicopter Grotto and sit in his famous sleigh.
There will also be a Winter Wonderland display, Winter Weather Flight Simulator, open cockpit, charity stalls, a seasonal fayre and free entry for all children.
Winter Wonderland at The Crown Inn, Keynsham
Santa will be at The Crown Inn with his elf 9-10 December. Join in with Christmas carols, a festive mini disco and BBQ. Starts 6pm.
Book Christmas grotto at the crown here
Ocean Adventurers Christmas Grotto, Cheddar
Enjoy a magical 2.5 hour experience hosted by one of Santa’s elves. Create your own reindeer food, decorate gingerbread snacks and make a Christmas decoration to take home. Santa Claus will give each child a personalised meet and greet (thanks to a special form), there’ll be snow ball fights with the elves, a special Christmas Lapland Post-Office Pop up, plus a human-size elf on the shelf.
Kids will also be able to have a go on the soft play when not visiting the grotto.
Perrygrove Twilight Trains, Forest of Dean
Hop aboard the Twilight Express train (selected dates from 1-23 December) for a magical journey through the illuminated woods, with a stop off to quaff hot chocolate, see Father Christmas at his snowy station and collect your wooden Christmas tree decoration.
Clearwell Caves Father Christmas, Forest of Dean
Enter an underground world where caverns are filled with twinkling lights and Santa is waiting to greet you (selected dates (2-31 December)! Meet Father Christmas, then follow the magical tale of Archie and the unicorn as you walk through the caverns. Children 2-12 years old receive a gift from Father Christmas.
Halfway through, you’ll find Christmas stalls and an underground café with delicious cakes and warming winter drinks!
Longleat Father Christmas (6 November-24 December)
All aboard the Santa Train for the North Pole! Journey past Longleat’s stunning Half Mile Lake before disembarking at an enchanting snow-covered winter wonderland where you’ll find Father Christmas waiting for you in his grotto! Grown-ups can enjoy a delicious hot chocolate and festive mince pie while children will receive a special Christmas gift.
Father Christmas at Wookey Hole Winter Wonderland
Wookey Hole decorate their famous caves with thousands of fairy lights for their festive season, turning it into a magical twinkling grotto (with a few Santas and reindeer thrown in for good measure). Guided tours take you through the spectacular caverns and then you’re free to explore above ground, where you’ll find a giant gorilla, fairy garden, animatronic dinosaurs, festive 4D cinema, circus shows, soft play, Victorian-style arcade and as part of the Christmas festivities, a chance to meet Santa and his elves (selected dates from 26 November).
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