Friday, 23 October 2015

Places to take children to see Santa in the Midlands 2015

To see my 2016 guide as to where you can see Santa across the Midlands this Christmas, visit this year's bumper list - complete with up to date timings, ticket prices and booking links 
(information correct as of publication date of 8th November 2016)

This will be Ethan’s third Christmas and with each year, our excitement and his grows. He still doesn’t really know what it’s all about – he is only two and a half – but he knows who Santa is and there’s no denying that come 25th December, he’s going to be an excited ball of energy, dressed in his festive PJ’s and exclaiming at his gifts in glee.

We are all about the traditions in our house – opening the advent calendar, watching Muppet Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve – and now we have Ethan, visiting Santa.

Last year, we saw the man in red several times, as we enjoyed various festivities across the Midlands. I shared a round-up of places to see Santa on here and it quickly became one of my most popular posts. So much so, it’s started to creep back up as one of my most read recently, so here I am, exactly one year later to the day, writing an updated post for 2015 about where you can meet the man with a belly that wobbles like a bowl full of jelly this Christmas…



Thomas Land at Drayton Manor
This one is quite possibly at the top of our list, with a Thomas fan in our house and having visited Thomas Land a couple of times before, we know it’s a great day out.

Their MagicalChristmas event starts on Saturday 21st November, where the park will be turned into a winter wonderland, filled with festive decorations and music – and even snow, three times a day!

Thomas Land was expanded earlier this year so the Christmas plans seem to be bigger and better too. There’s resident reindeer in the zoo, including newest arrival baby Phoenix, to help assist Father Christmas and there’s going to be an outdoor ice rink (£2 charge for 15 minutes) and a 30 foot light show Christmas tree set to festive music that will play throughout the day, I’m told. You can also catch a 15-minute showing of The Polar Express in the 4D Cinema, if you run out of things to do before seeing Santa in the Castle of Dreams.

Thomas Land has been so popular in the past for a visit to see Father Christmas, that there’s two extra grottos this year to help keep queues down.

And before you leave, there’s a fireworks display at the end of each day. Phew!

Dates and times: open Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays from Saturday 21st November to Monday 14th December, then every day from Thursday 17th December to Wednesday 23rd December and Sunday 27th December to Thursday 31st December.  See here for further information.

Ticket prices: prices start from £10 for 2-3 year olds, £15 for 4-11 year olds and £20 for 12’s and over, which includes admission to Thomas Land and a visit to Santa. Children under two years old go free. Each child who visits the Castle of Dreams will also receive a free gift and a golden ticket to return for the new season in 2016. Pre-booking essential.


Thomas Land Drayton Manor - To Become Mum

West Midlands Safari Park
Out of our many Santa visits last year, one of our favourite, really good value for money experiences was during the Santa Safari at West Midlands Safari Park.

One of our favourite places to visit anyway – we rarely miss the annual fireworks and love the free return ticket you get when go along at any time – it’s a great place to see Santa too. Adults get a hot drink and mince pie, children get to see Santa and have a photo with him to take home, plus they have their own choice of present, can go on the Santa Trail with WMSP gift (under 3’s get a sticker instead) whilst enjoying a drink and a cookie. And once you’re done, you can go on the safari or visit the dinosaurs, penguins, sea lion show, lorikeets…

Dates and times: open weekends from 14th November and every day from 28th November to 24th December 2015. Find full details here.

Cost: Adults (16-64yrs) – £19.99, Children (3-15yrs) – £15.99, Under 3’s – £7.50. Plus, entrance includes a free return ticket (valid until 7th February 2016).


West Midlands Safari Park - To Become Mum

Black Country Living Museum
Go on a Santa Hunt and make a trip to see the man in red a fun game for the whole family. It’s like a period style scavenger hunt, where you make your way around the museum grounds to finally find where Santa resides. I just love the imagination of this and would love to go one day, as it really brings the spirit of the season to life. We’ve been to one of the Christmas Evenings (two out of three dates have also sold out) in the past and it was a lovely experience.

Dates and times: Sun 22 Nov, Sat 28 & Sun 29 Nov, Sat 5 & Sun 6 Dec, Sat 12 & Sun 13 Dec, Sat 19 – Thu 24 Dec (some dates are already sold out!).

Ticket prices: Adult - £15.00, Children (3-16) - £9.00, Children (0-2) - £7.00


Black Country Living Museum - To Become Mum
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Blithbury Reindeer Lodge
We went to the lodge in January as they had a Frozen themed event going on and Ethan adores it, like most children - particularly Sven, the reindeer.

He loved seeing and meeting all the reindeer and we had a lovely family photo taken on a sleigh, so I'd certainly like to go back again this Christmas. Several Christmas dates have already been fully booked so you best hop to it if you want to take your little ones to see Santa and all his reindeer too. 

Dates: check here for available dates in November and December.

Ticket prices: £9.95 for adults, £12.95 for 2-12 year olds, under 2's are £4.95. Sleigh rides cost £6 for two children or one child and one adult.


Blithbury Reindeer Lodge - To Become Mum

Snowdome, Tamworth
Back for its eleventh year at the SnowDome, the Santa’s Winter Wonderland event starts on Friday 20th November and runs until New Years Eve, with guaranteed snow every day. The experience lasts approximately an hour and a half and all guests get the chance to play and slide around in the snow. Why not hitch a ride on a sledge or throw a snowball or two, whilst strolling through the festively decorated Christmas snow trail. There’s even a theatre within Santa’s Winter Wonderland where parents and kids alike can catch up with Santa and his friends in the brand new Santa show. Then it’s time to meet Santa’s real reindeer and many more of his friends in the animal village.

Dates and times: Friday 20th November to Thursday 31st December

Ticket prices: Saver Tickets = £12.95, Standard Tickets = £16.95. Children under two years old go free.



Webbs of Wychbold
I’ve always loved garden centres, particularly at Christmas, and we had a really nice time when we visited Webbs last year. They have a winter wonderland themed grotto and really friendly Santa’s, who don’t rush you at all and make the children feel very welcome. You can have your photo taken (additional cost) and then there’s a choice of presents too, valued at least £5 – a really nice touch, so your little one can be sure to pick something they like (Ethan could have taken more than one gift if we’d let him!).

They’ll also have an ice rink again this year from the 7th November to 3rd January.

Dates: Saturday 14th – Thursday 24th December

Ticket prices: £7.50 for children, including gift and one adult (additional adult £2). From past experience, you can just buy a ticket on the day or book in advance if you wish. Prices for ice skating start from £3.



Severn Valley Railway
We had a lovely day out on the Severn Valley Railway earlier this year for Ethan’ssecond birthday, so a trip on one of their Santa Steam Specials days sounds pretty amazing.

The journey takes you from Kidderminster to Arley and when you arrive at the destination, your child gets to meet Father Chistmas in his grotto and receive a present.

Dates and times: December 5th, 6th, 12th, 13th, 19th, 20th & 24th.
Trains depart from Kidderminster at 9.45am, 10.15am, 10.45am, 11.15am, 11.45am, 12.15pm, 12,45pm, *1.15pm, 2.00pm, 2.30pm, 3.00pm, +3.30pm &+4.00pm.
*  On December 24th train departs at 1.30pm.

Ticket prices: start from £13, depending on date chosen, so best check here for full details. Advance booking essential!


Severn Valley Railway - To Become Mum
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Chasewater Railway
Keeping with the steam train theme, Chasewater Railway is running a series of Santa Specials this season. You can enjoy a ride through the beautiful Chasewater Country Park on the train hauled by one of their vintage steam engines and then visit Santa in his grotto.

Children receive a super bag of age-appropriate wrapped presents plus there’s seasonal refreshments for everyone; sweets and a drink for the children whilst adults can indulge in tea, coffee, sherry or a warming ginger wine plus a cheeky a mince pie.

Dates and prices: best visit this link for detailed information, but prices are around £9 children and £7 adults with several trips most days from 1st December.

Chasewater Railway - To Become Mum
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Shugborough Hall
I’ve never been myself but have heard that this is a great place to go at Christmas time. As well as their Christmas Fair, you can also meet Santa in the Victorian Servants’ Quarters.

For the price of your entry, children get to see Santa and receive a nice gift, plus you can ecplore the Victorian Servants’ Quarters and the Staffordshire County Museum, where the children can meet Mrs Claus, stir the Christmas pudding and make a wish. There’s also a train ride around the beautiful estate grounds on the Christmas Land Train plus Christmas craft activities and a fair ride for children and a festive trail around the gardens.

Times and dates: 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 21 and 22 December 2015

Ticket prices: Children £9.50, adults £6 (worth noting there’s no booking fee or car parking charge either).

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If that wasn’t enough, Umberslade Farm is another place we visited this time last year. We loved seeing the live nativity, meeting the animals including reindeer, then taking a trip to see Santa. Ethan received a really nice book and it was a really nice day out, not just a quick trip to a busy grotto. Keep an eye on their events page for news about this Christmas’ activities.

Cadbury World always has a lot going on too and even the Sea Life Centre gets in on the action with their Merry Fishmas event.

Blimey!

Hopefully that’s plenty of Santa inspiration for you and if there’s anywhere else in the Midlands that you would recommend, let me know and I’ll keep this post updated.

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