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Where to See Santa 2023


If Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without the magic of visiting Santa and his friends, here's our ultimate guide to all the Santa's Grottos and Father Christmas Experiences taking place in St Albans and surrounding areas this year 2023! Some of the more popular experiences get booked up very quickly so you may want to book ahead sooner. 
We will continue to add to this page as more details of where to visit Santa emerge. We do our best to ensure all these details are correct but from time to time things do change so please do check the websites and book where necessary to avoid disappointment. 
Look out for the entries highlighted below in green, these indicate sessions catering for children with additional needs.


Budget Friendly 

Lots of the grotto visits include other enhanced experiences and other festive activities included in the ticket price. If you are looking for something that is more focused on the Santa visit itself and a lower ticket price, see some venue examples below. It's also worth looking out for less advertised local events, for example a Santa's grotto at a PTA run school fair or local community group events which generally have lower ticket prices. The examples below are all £15 or below per child (excluding booking fees).

Santa At His Woodland Grotto, The Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead

Selected dates from 18th November - 24th December 2023 (various time slots)

'Santa is heading back to The Marlowes once again this Christmas, with 'Santa's Woodland Grotto' opening its doors on selected dates from Saturday 18th November to Sunday 24th December...

Visitors are invited to enjoy an exciting festive experience, not only meeting Santa himself, but also visiting the Reindeer Stables, completing a Woodland Craft and taking a seat on the Woodland Throne...

The Marlowes 'Santa's Woodland Grotto' is partnering with British Heart Foundation in 2023, and will be gratefully accepting donations - suggested £5 donation - at the grotto on behalf the charity, aiding the important work they do.'

Free/Donation £5. Booking required (limited walk in spaces available). More details 

Santa At His Woodland Grotto, The Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead QUIET Sessions

'We invite families requiring additional support to book during our special early time slots (10am – 11am) on Sunday 3rd, Sunday 10th & Sunday 17th December when The Marlowes is a little quieter and the children can be allowed more time to complete the activity. Spaces are limited on a first come, first served basis'

Booking required . More details 

Santa’s Grotto at Burston Garden Centre, St Albans 

11th November - 24th December 2023 (various slots)

Santa will be there in his Grotto.
£11 per child, £1 per adult. Booking required. More details 

Santa’s Grotto at Burston Garden Centre Additional Needs Sessions

Sunday 26th November (10am – 10.30am) to 17th December 2023

Santa will be there in his Grotto and there will be a more relaxed and quieter environment. Booking required More details 

Santas Grotto at The Magic of Christmas Barn, Walkern, Stevenage

Opens Sunday 26th November 2023                                                                                                                                                                       

‘The Elves are excitedly awaiting your arrival to take a trip through a mystery trail to reach Santa in his Grotto. Santa will know if you've behaved well this year and looks forward to seeing you! We don't want to give much away about the experience so please come and visit him.’ £9 per child. Booking required, More details

Van Hage Garden Centre, Great Amwell                                                                                                                                                   

Opening 4th of November, then Friday to Sunday from 10th November, then daily from 23rd November 2023 

‘Guided by Santa’s little helpers, make your way to meet Santa himself sitting on his throne, as he awaits your arrival, and to receive a very special gift!’ £12.50 per child. Booking required. More details 

Father Christmas at Wardown House, Luton 

09 December - 23 December 2023 (various slots)                                                                                                                                       

‘Listen to a festive story from Mother Christmas, meet the whimsical elves, and receive a special gift from under the tree when you meet Father Christmas. Plus, you'll be treated to milk and cookies in our cozy café afterwards!’
£15 Child, £6 Adult (includes tea & coffee). Booking required. More Details

Christmas Markets and Lights Switch On Events with Santa's Grottos

St Albans Christmas Cracker

Sunday 19th November 2023

St Albans kicks off the festive shopping season with a fabulously festive day out for the whole family. With live music and performances from two stages, street entertainment, free interactive activities, Santa's Grotto, fair rides and lots of festive goodies to buy. This event will be a great start to the festive season. More details 

Wheathampstead Lights-Up and Christmas Market                                                                                                                                 

Thursday 23rd November 2023                                                                                                                                                                     

Santa will be in his grotto in the market in the Crinkle Crankle Gardens. More details

Harpenden Christmas Carnival Santa's Grotto 

Sunday 26th November 2023                                                                                                                                                             

Santa will be there in his Grotto. More details 

Santa's Grottos and Festive Experiences

Willows Farm Santa Spectacular, St Albans

Every Friday – Monday from 24th November, then daily from 20th - 24th December 2023                                                                       

‘There’s no better place to bring your children to meet Santa and enjoy a fabulous festive family day out. We recommend you allow a minimum of 4 hours to make the most of your visit to our Santa Spectacular as there is so much to see and do! Our all-inclusive tickets are limited and members and non-members must book online prior to their visit. Under 2s are free but must have a ticket. If your Under 2 would like to visit Santa’s Toy Shop for a gift, Create-a-Cuddle, take part in the Toy Workshop and Gingerbread decorating, you’ll need to purchase an ‘Under 2 Top Up’ ticket. Booking required. More Details

Winter- Fest featuring Santa’s Magical Grotto at Aldenham Country Park, Radlett                                                                                       

Various slots from From 25th Nov to 24th December 2023   

'Take a memorable trip through Santa's Magical Grotto, meet the excitable Elves and prepare for Santa's arrival. Meet Santa himself and share all your Christmas dreams and wishes. Move onto his toy shop and choose a quality present. Write your letter to Santa and post it via the North Pole Postal Service to receive a video message from Santa on Christmas Eve!' Booking  required. More Details

Christmas Wonderland at Springtime Nurseries, Crews Hill, Enfield

10th November - 24th December 2023

‘All aboard at our station platform, where you begin your magical ride through the reindeer forest! You may even be lucky enough to see Santa’s reindeer resting before they take flight on Christmas Eve. You’ll continue your magical ride through the Wonderland where you will see some familiar Christmas favourites, en route to Santa’s magical Ice Kingdom where Santa will greet you alongside your carriage. Remaining in your carriage you finally visit the Elves toy shop where you finish your ride and choose your Christmas gift with love from Santa.’ £15.95 per Child, £3.95 Adult (Book ahead or pay on the day) More details

The Nutcracker Family Christmas Experience, Ashridge House, Berkhamsted

19th - 24th December 2023

‘Join Clara and her Nutcracker Prince; help them defeat the Mouse King, venture through the Land of Snow, onto the Land of Sweets, and learn how to dance with the Sugar Plum Fairy.Your epic journey ends with the opportunity to meet and receive a present from Father Christmas, take photos and place a magic wish on Father Christmas’ Wishing Tree.’ Booking required. More details

Knebworth House Dine with Santa, Stevenage

17th & 22nd December 2023

‘Give your family an early Christmas treat with a fantastic meal at Knebworth Barns complete with a visit from Santa. Dine with Santa includes a grazing platter on arrival, two-course meal, tea & coffee, christmas crackers, a visit from Santa and a colouring activity sheet.’ Booking required. More details 

Santa's Grotto at Church Farm, Ardeley, Stevenage

Weekends from 2nd December to 17th,  then 22nd, 23rd December 2023

‘Our cheeky Elves will greet you on arrival, make a wish and place it on our Christmas Wish Tree. Next choose a carrot, bag-up some reindeer food to take home, and then write a letter to Santa. Wander the trail to meet Father Christmas himself in his magical grotto deep within our Winter Woodland!

Each visit with Father Christmas includes a gift which children can choose from our Christmas Elf Toyshop!’ Booking required. More details

Christmas Spectacular at Odds Farm Park, High Wycombe

25th November - 24th December 2023

‘Take a magical stroll to the North Pole and enjoy a personal visit to meet Father Christmas! Soak up the seasonal splendor with the return of our sell-out Christmas Spectacular Experience, where the Farm Park has been sprinkled with yuletide wonder and festive frivolities, and families will be joined by a very special guest!’ Booking required. More details

Christmas Spectacular at Odds Farm Park, Dedicated SEN Only Session

Sunday 26th November 2023

'Guests with additional needs are welcome to attend on any date and time, however on the 26th November, certain sessions are set aside only for families with children with additional needs, where extra provisions will be in place. For further information, do not hesitate to contact us.' Booking required. More Details

Leighton Buzzard Railway - Santa's Steam Specials

Saturday, Sunday & Wednesday from 2nd December then 16th - 24th (except 19th) December 2023

‘Take a 25-minute steam-train ride over a historic narrow-gauge railway that’s more than 100 years old, and run by enthusiastic volunteers. Meet Santa at Page's Park grotto, where children up to 12 will receive an early present.’ Booking required. More details

The Olde Watermill Santa’s Grotto and Christmas Workshop 2023, Barton-Le-Clay, Bedfordshire

Various dates from 25th November 2023 

‘Your journey starts in Santa’s sparkling workshop with the Elves Shiner and Sparkle who will help you colour your own special Christmas light decoration and entertain you with songs, jokes and dancing. In the Magic Moss Mine Rocky the Elf will help you send your secret wish to Santa, and you can make some magic reindeer food for Santa’s reindeer. But look, there’s a mysterious door in the corner, shall we go through and see who’s waiting? Ho Ho Ho! of course its Santa and Mrs Claus. You will spend some special time with Santa and every child will leave with a present. The excitement continues outside where there’s time for more photographs with Rudolf and his friends and a wander round the glittering Christmas Winter Wonderland.’ £15.99 per Child, £5.49 Adult. Booking required. More details

The Olde Watermill SEN Christmas Grotto, Barton-Le-Clay, Bedfordshire

Sunday 19th November and Thursday 30th November 2023

‘Our SEN Sessions are a great chance for the whole family to enjoy some magical, festive time with Santa and Mrs Claus. These exclusive family sessions will make sure that there is minimal queuing, minimal crowds and the noise level will be reduced to ensure that you and your family will enjoy your visit to Santa’s Sitting Room and the magical surroundings outside the grotto.’ Booking required. More Details

Santa's Grotto Experience, Frosts Garden Centre, Woburn Sands

Weekends from 11th November, then daily 25th November - 24th December 2023

‘Snowball Sammy & friends are back in the North pole ready to greet you all again this year! There will be time for fun and games with our playful elf before you each head off to the reindeer stables to mix up some magical reindeer food with Reindeer Ronnie.  Then it’s time to see the big man himself... you will have individual family time with Santa in his cosy living room and one of his elves will capture the perfect festive photo. Santa will gift a storybook exclusive to Frosts Grotto for the whole family to enjoy! Children will be able to choose a toy from our large selection in the Toy Workshop. Next you'll enter Mrs Christmas' Kitchen where the little ones will be able to decorate their very own gingerbread biscuit*. Our team of elves will entertain you and get everyone in the festive mood with lots of singing and dancing! Your family will leave the experience with a special festive gift for you to all use together on Christmas eve.’ Booking required. More Details

Christmas at Paradise Wildlife Park, Broxbourne

Every weekend from 2nd December then daily 20th to 24th December 2023

‘Entry to Santa’s Grotto is included with your day tickets. You will have the opportunity to meet and have your photo taken with Santa. Santa’s Grotto is a first-come, first-serve queuing system.’ Booking required. More Details

The Santa Claus Experience at Lee Valley Animal Adventure Park, Waltham Abbey

Various slots 2nd - 24th December 2023.

‘Our fabulously festive Santa Claus Experience is a great way to start your festive celebrations this year. Santa’s cheeky elves can not wait to welcome you on our magical group experience of festive fun.  Includes Elves Magical Show, decorate a gingerbread person in Mrs Claus' Kitchen and meet Santa with photo opportunities and goodies for the children. Only pre-bookings will be able to see Santa Claus.’ Booking required. More Details 

Santa’s Grotto with The Snowman, The Centre:MK, Milton Keynes

17th November - 24th December 2023

‘Don’t miss out on the opportunity to join us on a magical journey to the North Pole this festive season as we welcome ‘The Snowman’ Christmas experience to the centre! This nostalgic adventure begins with an exciting and heart-warming, live interpretation of ‘The Snowman’, brought to life by actors portraying the well-loved characters from the original story! A snowy landscape provides the perfect backdrop to view some of the most memorable and magical moments from the original animated film and all children will be given the opportunity to decorate a Christmas biscuit treat* before meeting with Santa in his woodland cabin! A truly immersive experience for the whole family to enjoy and certainly one not to be missed this Christmas!’ £16.50 per Child, £5.50 Adult & Babies. Booking required. More Details

Panto Express with Father Christmas, Buckinghamshire Railway Centre

25th & 26th November, 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th & 17th December 2023

‘See Father Christmas whilst enjoying a steam train ride AND watch a pantomime – all in one amazing Christmas experience! This year's mini pantomime is Beauty & The Beast.’ Booking required. More Details

Vintage Christmas Grotto, Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes

3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th, 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd December 2023

‘To celebrate the festive season here at Bletchley Park, we welcome children and their families to visit our unique Vintage Christmas Grotto to meet Father Christmas! Children will have a magical meeting with Father Christmas in our beautifully decorated Mansion, where they’ll receive a lovely Christmas gift to take home.’ Booking required. More Details

Relaxed Christmas Grotto, Bletchley Park 

Saturday 2nd December 2023

'To make sure every child has the chance to celebrate the festive season here at Bletchley Park, we welcome children and their families to visit our unique relaxed Vintage Christmas Grotto experience to meet Father Christmas! Our fully trained team will make sure children have a magical meeting with Father Christmas in our beautifully decorated Mansion, where they’ll receive a lovely Christmas gift to take home.' Booking required. More Details

Audley End Railway Christmas Special, Saffron Walden 

18th November until 24th December 2023

Train ride to meet Father Christmas, Mother Christmas and their Elves, Gift for every Child, Letter Writing, Illuminated Christmas walk to the Reindeer Food Factory, Holly the Christmas Fairy Storytelling Show and Adventure Play Area. Booking  required. More Details

Audley End Railway Autism and SEND friendly session Christmas Special 2023

Various dates from 19th November 2023

'The session will be at the beginning of the day so visitors will be the first customers on site and the site will therefore be quieter. Reduced or eliminated queuing time. Reduced volume of sound/music during Christmas show. No flashing lights, UV lights or unexpected events/sounds during the Christmas show'. Booking required. More Details


Don't forget to also visit our 'What's On' page to view all other festive events taking place this year, including illumination events, Christmas markets, Pantomimes and lots more!!


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