It’s that time of year when the big man comes into town on a sleigh with reindeers, and whether you’ve been naughty or nice, there are plenty of places where you can meet him this year. So without further ado, if you’re looking for things to do this Crimbo, then here are 16 of the best Santa’s grottos in London to visit:
1. Shrek’s Grotto at Shrek’s Adventure!
London’s South Bank has a new guest coming to town, as Shrek’s Adventure! London announces that Shrek’s Grotto, inspired by DreamWorks Animation’s beloved franchise, will return to Far Far Away this festive season. For kids and grown-ups looking for some much-needed yuletide cheer, the big green ogre has teamed-up with Santa to create a festive misadventure the whole family will love.
Guests who visit Shrek’s Adventure! London on selected days between December 3 and 24 will get the chance to meet their very own Shrek Santa and pose for a picture with him to mark the occasion. Plus, guests will also be given a candy treat – and it’s all included within the standard ticket price. Now that’s what we call Christmas spirit. You can find out more here.
📍 You’ll find Shrek’s Grotto at the Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB.
🚇 Nearest station is Waterloo.
2. Vauxhall City Farm
This lovely farm in Vauxhall is home to everything from chickens and chinchillas to sheep and goats. Heck, there’s even a pair of alpacas who starred in none other than Star Wars: The Force Awakens! And if that wasn’t exciting enough, this festive season Santa Claus is also making his way into town!
The big man will be welcoming families into his cosy grotto where all children will receive a Christmas present and can take a photo with him. The grotto and children’s gifts have been generously provided by Citywire and Walker Books, and entry is £8 per child – plus adults are free! The grotto itself is open on weekends in December from 11am to 3pm (booking is essential), and they’ve also got a winter lights trail, a wreath–making workshop and a Christmas market to boot here too.
📍You’ll find Vauxhall City Farm at 165 Tyers Street, London, SE11 5HS.
🚇 Nearest station is Vauxhall.
3. Christmas at the London Transport Museum
All aboard the train to meet Santa Claus! Yep – you read that right. Santa’s landing in his sleigh in the London Transport Museum’s twinkling winter wonderland to meet families from November 24 until December 23 this year. He’ll be taking pride of place aboard the museum’s Routemaster-inspired sleigh, and children will be able to flash the headlights, ring the bell and set the Christmas cheer-o-meter too!
But that’s not all they’ve got – there are also a whole range of family-friendly activities on the bill this festive season too. Cosy up for some fun Christmas stories in ‘the den’, test your creativity with wintery arts and crafts and weave your way through the museum’s exhibitions following a fascinating story trail. Even better – kids go free!
📍You’ll find the London Transport Museum at Covent Garden, London, WC2E 7BB.
🚇 Nearest station is Covent Garden.
4. Santa’s Grotto at Alexandra Palace
Santa Claus is swapping the North Pole for North London this year as he sets up camp in the East Court this December at one of the best Santa’s grottos in London.
Little ones are treated to a meeting with Santa, a small pressie, plus the opportunity to have their photo taken with Santa in his festive grotto. Sounds like the Christmas cheer we all need to be honest.
📍 You’ll find Santa’s Grotto at Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY.
🚇 Nearest station is Alexandra Palace.
5. The Magic of Christmas at London Zoo
Little ones can join in festive crafts before meeting Santa in his magical grotto right at the very heart of the zoo. From 25 ft Christmas trees to festive food and drink (including marshmallow toasting around the zoo’s cosy fire pits). Keep your eyes peeled for the big man himself, as Santa will be popping up around the zoo throughout the day to feed some of the resident animals here and if you’re lucky, you might just spot him!
📍 You’ll find The Magic of Christmas at the ZSL London Zoo at the Outer Circle, NW1 4RY.
🚇 Nearest station is Camden Town.
Listen up folks! This year, everyone’s favourite street food market in Camden will be whipping up a whole load of festive cheer with their Christmas makeover, which kicks off on Saturday December 2. The Santa’s grotto in question will lie right at the heart of Hawley Wharf, whilst Santa’s elves, entertainers, and stilt walkers will be on hand to create enchanting moments for all ages as they wander around.
Plus, if that wasn’t enough, then Thursdays at North Yard will offer an evening escape with Après Ski vibes, DJs, and roaming musicians, whilst Saturdays feature more festive tunes from singer-songwriters performing gigs at the Lock and Stables. Guests can also indulge in Humble Crumble’s Christmas specials and The Lucky Club’s festive fondue platter. Phew!
📍You’ll find Camden Market at Camden Lock Place, London, NW1 8AF.
🚇 Nearest stations are Camden Town, Camden Road and Chalk Farm.
7. Santa’s Grotto at Hamleys Regent Street
Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas! Now this place needs no introduction. A haven for kids both small and large at any time of year given the plethora of toys on offer to purchase, it’s now got even more magical to the in-house Santa’s grotto, one of the best Santa’s grottos in London for 2023 we’d argue. Enchanted elves will be on hand to make your time with Jolly St. Nick even more special, and there’s even a gift waiting for you during your visit.
For something even more magical, make your way to the iconic Ritz Hotel for another Hamleys-infused grotto in a proud collaboration with Great Ormond Street Hospital– ’tis the season for magic after all.
📍 You’ll find Santa’s Grotto on the third floor of Hamleys Regent Street, London, W1B 5BT.
🚇 Nearest station is Oxford Circus.
8. Christmas Grotto at St. Pancras International
For those planning family days out as we approach the festive season need look no further than this one! From now until December 23, you’ll be able to step into a Christmas Wonderland at St. Pancras International’s Christmas Grotto, in collaboration with luxury events planner Sharky and George.
Within this magical book-themed grotto which is open at the weekends, children and adults will be able to meet Father Christmas, hang out with his elves, decorate their very own Christmas decorations and access exclusive discounts for Kings Cross St. Pancras International retailers such as Hamleys, Hatchards and Searcys. It’s the perfect family day out we’d argue! You can get a hold of your tickets here.
📍You’ll find the Christmas Grotto at St. Pancras International at The Grand Terrace, St. Pancras International Station, Euston Road, London, N1C 4QP.
🚇 Nearest station is King’s Cross St. Pancras.
Santaland, where all days are merry and bright, hosts the magical Santa’s Grotto once again at Winter Wonderland, plus many delicious food and drink options for all the family. New this year, Santaland is offering you the chance to enjoy unlimited access to over 15 Santaland rides for the price of just £25, including entry to Winter Wonderland too.
The year also sees the return of the UK’s largest open-air ice rink, Zippo’s Christmas Circus, Bar Ice, ice sculpting workshops and hair-raising rides too. You’re absolutely spoiled for choice!
📍You’ll find Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park, W2 2UH.
🚇 Nearest stations are Hyde Park Corner and Marble Arch.
10. A Grotto Of Her Own at King’s Cross
Now this one’s a bit different, it has to be said! New feminist art collective Sisterland has announced its first project, billed ‘A Grotto of Her Own’. In this tongue-in-cheek reimagining of the classic Christmas tale, Santa’s wife wakes up one day and realises she’s had enough of being somebody’s sidekick… and that it’s time for ‘A Grotto of Her Own’. This alternative Christmas pop-up will welcome visitors on a voyage of discovery via a stunning walk-through*ahem* festive vagina.
Visitors are invited to bring their chosen family and explore this unique art installation in an ex-barber’s shop on York Way and then stay to make their own artistic response – whether that’s writing an alternative letter to Santa or creating their own labial imagery. We’re certainly more than intrigued, but maybe not one to bring the kids along to…
📍You’ll find A Grotto of Her Own at 167 York Way, London, N7 9LN.
🚇 Nearest station is Caledonian Road.
11. Santa’s Grotto at Rollerscape
If you’re looking for a Santa’s grotto in London which is really going to bring the fun, then you should look no further than this one. Taking the floor for a limited-time only before the legendary theatre show Starlight Express graces the stage in Summer 2024, Rollerscape will offer a seasonal escape this winter, with an indoor roller rink adorned with a ceiling of sparkling disco balls and a Santa’s grotto photo opportunity for the family.
Outdoors, guests can cosy up on the heated terrace next to the alpine lodge and barrel fire pit, whilst indulging in marshmallow toasting and sipping on a delightful array of festive beverages amidst the enchanting festoon-lit terrace, surrounded by real Christmas trees. There’s even a ‘Skate with Santa’ for the younger guests – sign us up!
📍You’ll find Rollerscape at The Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre, 3 Fulton Road, Wembley Park, Wembley, HA9 0SP.
🚇 Nearest station is Wembley Park.
12. Christmas at the Peak: The Wintermas Festival
The UK’s first open world immersive theme park, Phantom Peak in Canada Water, is launching their seasonal extravaganza billed as ‘The Wintermas Festival: Christmas at the Peak’. Step into the winter wonderland of Phantom Peak as the ‘Wintermas Games’ are underway, offering a new challenge to tourists and townsfolk… Explore a brand-new area of the town, play holiday games and events, meet ‘Father Platmus’ in his Wintermas grotto, and uncover the secrets of Phantom Peak in an array of new and exciting holiday trails.
Expect Christmas decorations galore, carol singing, carnival games, a whole slate of festive mysteries and of course, that Christmas grotto – it’s the ultimate Christmas experience, right?
📍You’ll find Christmas at the Peak: The Wintermass Festival at The Southwark Construction Skills Centre, Canada Street & Surrey Quays Road, London, SE16 7PJ.
🚇 Nearest stations are Surrey Quays and Canada Water.
13. The Giving Grotto by Krispy Kreme
Now, Christmas is the season for giving right? So what better way to get into the spirit than by actively giving your friends, family and loved ones some Krispy Kreme doughnuts, hey?!
Another one of the best Santa grottos in London this Christmas, this one is billed as the ‘Giving Grotto’, allowing customers the chance to visit Santa for free and let him in on a secret – which one of their loved ones deserves a year’s supply of doughnuts? Lucky winners will be selected at random, and grotto-goers will also be given the option to donate their prize to the charity ‘Make-A-Wish UK’, who will use the doughnuts to spread joy at events they host throughout 2024. Plus, the first 100 people visiting will receive a box of four donuts themselves… winner, winner. The queue opens at 10am on Sunday December 3, so best of luck!
📍You’ll find The Giving Grotto by Krispy Kreme at Unit K02 16a The Arcade, Westfield Stratford City, London, E20 1EH.
🚇 Nearest stations are Stratford and Stratford International.
14. Santa’s Grotto at Ealing Broadway
Ealing Broadway officially kicked off its jam-packed schedule of festive fun on November 18, with a range of events for the whole family to enjoy. This year, as well as a Christmas market, live music and a whole host of festive street food, they’re also offering families the opportunity to meet Santa and his elves on selected days from now December 24.
From £7 per child, a visit to Santa’s Grotto will not only include a chance for little ones to make their Christmas wishes, but they’ll also receive an early festive treat from Santa himself. Plus, the whole of the shopping centre will be showered with some gorgeous snowflakes from 4pm each day – the perfect chance to snap a festive selfie! Tickets will need to be purchased in advance here.
📍You’ll find the Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre at The Broadway, London, W5 5JY.
🚇 Nearest station is Ealing Broadway.
15. Hammersmith Christmas Market
Get into the festive vibes at the Hammersmith Christmas Market for one day only – this Saturday November 25 – which rounds off our list of the best Santa’s grottos in London this year. The traffic-free event in King Street and Lyric Square will be full of more than 100 stalls filled with seasonal food, drink, gifts and entertainment plus a Santa’s grotto and more.
Live performances here include a Kylie Minogue tribute act, Christmas tunes and carols, and there’s elves, living lampposts and Santa himself too (of course).
📍You’ll find Hammersmith Christmas Market at King Street and Lyric Square, W6.
🚇 Nearest stations are Hammersmith and Ravenscourt Park.
16. Santa’s Grotto at Woolwich Works
If you’re wanting to make your children’s dreams come true, then make sure you head to Woolwich Works on Saturdays and Sundays in December and meet Santa himself! They’ll be able to share their Christmas wishes with Santa, receive a special gift from the big guy himself and experience the true magic of the holiday season.
With a photo opportunity with Father Christmas and his smiling elves, and the option for a personalised Christmas bauble, Woolwich Works is the place to be for families looking to create treasured memories and embrace the true spirit of Crimbo this year! They’ve also got mulled wine, a festive grotto and even a smash-hit production of the classic storybook ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ with performances at 11am and 2pm on Friday December 1.
📍You’ll find Woolwich Works at The Fireworks Factory, 11 No 1 Street, Royal Arsenal, London, SE18 6HD.
🚇 Nearest station is Woolwich Arsenal.
So there you have it, a roundup of the best Santa’s grottos in London. So if you’re looking to meet the big man himself and enjoy some real festive cheer, then we hope this roundup has got you sorted!