menuBrowse the site

tried & tested

Santa's Grotto with The Snowman™ at centre:mk in Milton Keynes


We kicked off our first 2022 meet-and-greet with Santa in style at ‘Santa’s Grotto with The Snowman™’ at centre:mk in Milton Keynes. We’d planned to go to the Peter Rabbit one last year, but covid cancelled that for us when I came down with it for Christmas, so I was really excited to go back and review it this year!

It took about 40 minutes to get there from Hitchin (hello Tablets to watch for the boys!) and given our session was at 10:15, but the shops didn’t open until 11, we managed to park right outside the John Lewis entrance, where the Grotto area is located.

As we turned the corner at John Lewis, we were amazed at the Christmas wonderland before us, it was such a beautiful display with a carousel, the Grotto, train ride, sleigh ride and a Christmas Market. 

Once at The Grotto entrance, we were greeted by a lovely member of staff who was brilliant at getting the boys excited and had us in stitches yelling “All aboard!” when the nearby train set off as she “missed being with the train”. It really does make such a difference when the magic starts before you've even entered the Grotto!

We were then greeted by Santa’s Elves who got all the children excited and then led us inside, where we took our seats for a live interpretation of The Snowman™, with actors telling the story in a beautiful setting. Now, at this point, no photography or recording was allowed, so I’m afraid I can’t give anything away, but it was so lovely! My 6 year old is still asking questions about how The Snowman moved! We were then taken through to the next room (with a very exciting separate way to enter for the children!), where a snowy landscape provided the perfect backdrop to view some of the most memorable and magical moments from the original animated film. With small tables and stools set out, all children had the opportunity to decorate a Christmas biscuit, before moving on to meet Santa in his woodland cabin!

The boys then had a lovely chat with Santa, talking about what they’d like for Christmas, and discussing Minecraft Creepers with him (he knew his stuff for kids!). My 6 year old also grabbed the opportunity to tell Santa that the 2 year old should be on the naughty list for opening the stair gate this morning when he knows he shouldn’t! It was a really lovely experience and we left with a family photo with Santa*.

But it’s not just The Grotto on offer here, you can also ride the Christmas train*, which was a cute little journey through a twinkly Christmas wonderland, which the boys loved.

The absolute highlight for my 6 year old was the Virtual Reality sleigh ride* where we all wore VR head sets and rode through an animated Christmas land! Younger children can simply watch the experience without wearing the headset, which was nice for my 2 year old to be a part of it, as there’s not a chance he would have worn the headset, but sat on my lap he could still watch and enjoy it. Both of these activities are an additional cost to The Grotto and can be booked in advance or after your Grotto experience.

We also rode the Carousel which is next to the Grotto area, but a separate activity at £3 per person. It’s a lovely traditional carousel, and probably the first time the boys have been on one. If you’re unsure about your child’s age in terms of what part of the carousel they can go on, then staff are at hand to help. Do not mount a horse alongside your toddler like I did- parents should simply stand next to younger children! Not embarrassing at all when I had to attempt to dismount again, lol!

We had a wonderful time at Santa’s Grotto with The Snowman™, and it was lovely to be able to be in a location where we could look around the shopping centre after too.

Make sure you check out the Reel on my Instagram page to get a real feel for just how magical it was.

Weekends are now sold out, but there are still mid-week tickets available. You can find all the details here
 *Additional cost to the Grotto experience.


If you would like a Tried and Tested review for your attraction or event, please get in touch.

Share this article:  Twitter Facebook