Where to see Father Christmas in and around Bath?

MummyPig

Monday, 5th December 2011 10:32pm by MummyPig

We're thinking of taking our toddler to visit Father Christmas although I've no idea where to go! Ideally somewhere easy to get to in terms of parking etc. Any suggestions?

Replies (27)

Cathy

Cathy 4 years ago

Hi,
I think there is a grotto at Debenhams this year, not sure of times though. Other option would be to look at what christmas fayres are on over the weekend and head to one of those, they usually have santas. Think oldfield park preschool have one at the baptist church this saturday and there's bound to be others at churchs/schools, etc. Slightly out of Bath so parking may be easier too. They do get quite busy though so may be best to get them at the start.
Cathy

Lisa Speigal, Bath Mums

Lully Lady 4 years ago

Hi HLT

I would agree with Cathy and have a look at the Christmas Fayres that are listed in the Events section for this coming weekend. Debenhams is another good idea, Santa is there between 11am - 4pm everyday. More details are here:

www.bathmums.co.uk/news.php/571.htm

Enjoy!

Lisa

ryecroft1

ryecroft1 4 years ago

Whitehall Garden Centre near Lacock has a lovely Grotto - it really is fab! Have a look on their website.

www.whitehallgardencentre.co.uk/grotto.php

You need to book a slot though, gets pretty busy.....

TreeFrog

TreeFrog 4 years ago

Avon Valley railway's Santa Express is also really good. Last year, our son got given a huge Duplo-esque digger. He comes to each cubicle and spends a good amount of time with each child.

MummyPig

MummyPig 4 years ago

Thanks all. We went to Whitehall today following a friends recommendation - it was fab! Ive also heard that Avon Valley Railway is very good so we may check that out too, or save it for next year. Thanks again. Helen x

michelle

michelle 4 years ago

Has anyone been to debenhams to see father christmas, was thinking of taking my twins there next week, as I don't think it's worth going all out this year as they're only 18 months and will probably just scream.
Or any other suggestions for low key, bath central grottos, for Wednesday next week?

samantha

samantha 3 years ago

We went to see the Father Christmas at Whitehall, Lacock last weekend and it was dreadful! The gifts weren't even wrapped and nobody engaged with the children. Complete rip off.

starlightmoon

starlightmoon 3 years ago

Oh no Samantha! We have booked for Xmas eve for our 4 year old, worried now!

Snapdragons Nursery

Snapdragons Nursery 3 years ago

We're having our Winter Wonderland on Saturday 8th December (1.30-4.30) at Snapdragons Nursery in Weston. Father Christmas will be there in his magical grotto with his elf helpers and toddler-age presents. There are activities for young children and shopping for grown-ups as well as delicious hot food and drink. It's a charity event in aid of RUH's Forever Friends Appeal so Big Ted will be making a special visit too. Everyone welcome! www.foreverfriendsappeal.co.uk/press/santa-clause-is-coming-to-town/ www.snapdragonsnursery.com

samantha

samantha 3 years ago

Sorry Starlight Moon but we were disappointed. Maybe they just got off to a bad start and the children do enjoy it regardless. Go along and enjoy and hope your experience is better.

Busy Lizzy

Busy Lizzy 3 years ago

Oldfield Park Pre-school christmas fayre hosts a grotto on Saturday 15th December.

Ladybird

Ladybird 3 years ago

Puddle muddle Westdale Park, Holt Road, Bradford on Avon Wiltshire BA15 1TS have a santas grotto on a friday and saturday

Tracey H

Tracey H 3 years ago

Avon Valley Railway is brilliant. I have taken my son for the past two years even though he was far too young to appreciate it! He is 2 and half now so I'm really looking forward to it. The whole thing is run by volunteers so it is very different to more commercial events. They have a system of making sure Santa knows the childrens names too!

Chris Downing

Chris Downing 3 years ago

Ouch! Samantha. I'm one of eight Santas who man the grotto at Whitehall. Sorry you didn't like your experience. I know it doesn't help now, but the Santas do really work hard to ensure the children enjoy their visit. However there is a lot we can't control and when you are sat there for many mnay sessions it is obvious they are not all the same. So much depends on the mix of children, adults and grandparents (and friends and relatives). Whitehall used to get children to meet Santa one at a time, but about six or seven years ago the queues got so long - well over an hour - that they changed to the current way of having the children in up to 15 at a time. Santa is then in a position to judge what will work better - a story from a book, or something more interactive with the children. A lot of that depends on the mix - under 18 months is a real challenge, 18 months to about four, they like a story and over fours like an interactive session all about Christmas Eve and my travels as Santa. Most children see it as mo of traet to chose a present rather than having a pre-wrapped mystery present. They also get a little Christmas tree. Believe it or not, once all the buildings have been built (they are only used and built for this event) dressed with trees, snow and animals, and all the staff paid (even Santa!) and present bought, its not the money spinner think it is. If you were really unhappy Samantha you should talk to the staff - they want you to enjoy it and if something is going wrong they want to hear about it.

As one of the Santas, I can tell you none of us would be doing it for the money, we want to make it the most exciting experience we can, and if its going wrong for some we would like to know what you want changed.

samantha

samantha 3 years ago

I have written and complained. When we got home the gift we'd picked was faulty. Thanks for your response but that wasn't our experience.

Lexi

Lexi 3 years ago

We love the longleat Santa train. It's good fun and last year she was given a sweet doll and large book, wrapped and labeled. The grotto or cottage was sweet and it was well organised.

Chris Downing

Chris Downing 3 years ago

Stick with it Sam - they'll refund if you had a bad experience. I'm pretty good at making sure everyone gets their photos and the children can come up at the end and talk. But Sunday morning went over the top busy, so it's not always easy to get it right.

starlightmoon

starlightmoon 3 years ago

We thought longleat was dreadful last year. We went on Xmas eve and thought it was a big rip off. The Santa meet was just a conveyor belt of children who were with Santa for about ten seconds, and present my son got wasn't very age appropriate. Have booked for Whitehall this year after previous reviews on here, so are hoping to have a better time!

Twinkle

Twinkle 3 years ago

There is a Christmas fun day at the farm this sat. Santa will be there and there are other activities. The info is on the events section on this site.

Buttercup

Buttercup 3 years ago

We took our now two year old last year to Whitehall and it was AMAZING- I think if I was little again it would be the most magical thing- My sister has taken my niece to Longleat, Avon valley and Whitehall in the last few years and say's that Whitehall is by far her favourite. I like that children get to choose a present and was surprised at the choice. They get to walk through a winter wonderland with moving penguins and polar bears, then sit and have a story in a pretend living room with the most realistic santa I have seen then choose the present, then see real reindeer and donkeys at the end and get given a little Christmas tree in a pot to grow at home. I honestly think it was good value for money and have met so many people with older children who have it firmly set into their Christmas tradition. We went on a quiet weekday last year and are going on busy christmas eve this year so may have a different opinion on the best time in december for us to go!

starlightmoon

starlightmoon 3 years ago

Thanks for your review Polly, we are going on Xmas eve too, I think I'm more excited than my son!

Chris Downing

Chris Downing 3 years ago

Polly - I'm g.ad you liked what we did. I had an idea a few years ago that the walk through the icy forest and then arrive at the warm homely living room where Santa would be, was better than year one when we went through the opposite - through from the warm, through a childs bedroom that then became the icy frest and to the room where Santa was - predominently icy blue with the night sky above with twinkling stars. The current set up should feel like you've arrived from the snowy forest and the arctic animals into Santa's den with an open fire and Christmas Decorations (albeit has to be ale to withstand 1000's of visitors over 8 weeks!)

Would you guys like me to record my Santa's story of Christmas eve as an MP3? If you've seen me you know it goes from wrapping the presents, through loading the sleigh, travelling through the sky, and asking lots of questions about where the presents should be left, and instructions on getting to bed early and staying in bed to a reasonable time.

Chris Downing

Chris Downing 3 years ago

Polly - I'm glad you liked what we did. I had an idea a few years ago that the walk through the icy forest and then arrive at the warm homely living room where Santa would be, was better than year one when we went through the opposite - through from the warm, through a childs bedroom that then became the icy frest and to the room where Santa was - predominently icy blue with the night sky above with twinkling stars. The current set up should feel like you've arrived from the snowy forest and the arctic animals into Santa's den with an open fire and Christmas Decorations (albeit has to be ale to withstand 1000's of visitors over 8 weeks!)

Would you guys like me to record my Santa's story of Christmas eve as an MP3? If you've seen me you know it goes from wrapping the presents, through loading the sleigh, travelling through the sky, and asking lots of questions about where the presents should be left, and instructions on getting to bed early and staying in bed to a reasonable time. BTW it will be me on Christmas Eve from 8.00 until 12.00

Ladybird

Ladybird 3 years ago

Were going to Whitehall on Saturday. I think the idea of being able to choose your present is great as then you get something that you want rather than rubbish. Very excited about taking my little girl

Amber Morgan, A Spoonful of Sugar

LadyM 3 years ago

We went to Whitehall with our 2 sons (aged 3 & 6) on Saturday morning and it was fantastic. We were booked for 9.45am but were a few mins late due to being stuck behind a learner driver most of the way! Anyhow they just moved us on to the 10am slot without any fuss or hassle and were really nice about it not at all cross that we were late. Santa was lovely with the children and read a nice Mr Men Christmas book to them. The winter wonderland scene on the way through to Santas sitting room was magical. Both boys loved the whole thing from walking past the polar bears, to seeing Santa, listening to the story, choosing a present and a tree to seeing the animals afterwards. A really lovely Christmassy treat for them. Well done Whitehall

Flicktheswitch

Flicktheswitch 3 years ago

Hiya,
Another vote for Whitehall here - I think it's lovely because the 1:1 Santa experience is often overwhelming for littlies. In this format they all seem far more relaxed and have way more time than the "one in one out" system.
Also better not having presents wrapped as they pick their own which reduces the chances of duplicates or unsuitable gifts. You also get a mini tree )
We thought Santa was lovely with the children, listening and interacting with them, which at 4pm on a busy Saturday must take some motivation!
Well done Whitehall we will be back next year for sure.

starlightmoon

starlightmoon 3 years ago

Thank you to the original BathMum who recommended Santa at Whitehall! We went this morning and my 4 year old loved it! Liked the fact that it wasn't too drawn out so the children didn't loose their concentration. My son loved the story, and enjoyed picking out his own present, and his little Xmas tree! Will definitely be back next year!


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