The question on many parents’ minds this Christmas: is Father Christmas immune to Covid-19? I think we can guess the answer to that one. But luckily for 2020, the big guy in red is still planning on visiting Bristol! Yes, Santa Claus IS still coming to town – here’s a round-up of places your little ones can see Santa in Bristol this Christmas.
*As with all events during these uncertain times, there is no guarantee that these events will go ahead. COVID-safety measures will apply – check the individual websites beforehand to avoid disappointment. Please let me know if you hear of any more Christmas events in Bristol and I’ll add them to the list.
Where to see Santa Claus in Bristol Christmas 2020
Santa Specials at Avon Valley Railway (weekends from 5-20 Dec, weekdays 7, 22, 23 & 24 December)
*UPDATE: Unfortunately, if you’re booked for trains on the 5, 6, 7, 12 and 13 you wont be able to ride on the train as these are classed as ‘indoor spaces’. BUT bring your ‘household bubble’ along to Bitton Station within 30 minutes of the time your train was due to depart and you’ll be greeted by Santa’s elves, see the Christmas donkeys, then meet Santa where he’ll give out your presents and you can take photos with him. You’ll also still receive your mince pies and festive biscuits to enjoy whilst you’re at the railway too.
Santa will be swapping his sleigh for a vintage steam-hauled train to meet visitors in their own compartments from afar this Christmas (unfortunately he can’t enter the compartments this year). Tell him what’s on your special list as you choo-choo through gorgeous countryside, he might even have an early gift for you! 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!
Once you’ve left, the elves will then be working hard, cleaning and sanitising the train before the next passengers arrive.
Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park Christmas Trail (18-23 December)
Meet Santa’s helpers and pop into the elves Candy Shop on a wander through the Avon Valley Winter Wonderland before seeking out the Polar Express, Santa Claus and his reindeer on this festive trail! Santa will not be giving gifts out, but he’ll leave them under the tree for kids on Christmas Eve…Post your important letter at The Elf Exchange or use the Avon Valley Santa Messaging Service to send any last minute Christmas requests.
The one-way trail (which can take from 1-2 hours, or 30 minutes if you’re in a hurry!) will take you around the site and visitors can have a go on the play equipment, funfair rides and other park activities as they go. The Mini Jeeps, Bounce and Chair-O-Plane ride will be open weather permitting.
Or, if you prefer your Santa sightings twinkly twilight-style, check out the ‘Christmas Nights’ from 4-9pm with all of the above on offer. Stop in one evening and immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere as the park lights up! There’ll be apres ski vibes in the decking area and you can nibble festive snacks and drinks before going home.
Froglets Sports get festive (20 December)
Take part in a Christmas-themed sports session and get a visit from Santa Claus! There’ll be luxury hot chocolate on offer, plus the chance to take away some magic reindeer food so Santa can find your house on Christmas Eve. There are two time slots available, with limited numbers in each, see website for more information and COVID-safety precautions.
Santa’s coming to Slimbridge 2020 (12, 13, 19, 20, 21, 22 December)
Meet Santa and his elves (from a safe distance) as you tuck into a reviving breakfast or delicious afternoon tea 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.
For a proper 2020 festive experience, join Santa in a special Zoom cabin! Book an appointment with Santa online and chat to Santa from his workshop in Lapland. All appointments last between 5-10 minutes, and if you pop into Cadbury Garden Centre, you’ll also be able to bag yourself a gift.
Ocean Adventurers Christmas Workshop and Grotto, Cheddar (4-7, 13, 18-19, 22-24 December)
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 pop by during the workshop and kids can go and see him in his socially-distanced, ocean-themed grotto, where they’ll receive a present.
Kids will also be able to have a go on the soft play and can bring their own letter to Santa to post in the North Pole Express post box and receive a real reply!
Perrygrove railway, Forest of Dean (4-23 December)
Take a magical journey through the illuminated woods on the Twilight Express train, with an all-important stop en-route to quaff hot chocolate. Visitors will be able to see Santa Claus at his snowy station and collect a wooden Christmas tree decoration to take home.
For a super-special treat, why not book an exclusive VIP package? See Santa Claus shimmy down the chimney, hear a festive tale and talk to Father Christmas in his festive engine shed. There’ll also be tailored gifts, refreshments and a private carriage for up to 6 people on your train ride to make this a real Yuletide treat.
Tickets are for a whole compartment – separated by glass from others.