Tuesday 8 November 2016

Guide to where to see Santa in the Midlands - Christmas 2016

For the past two years, we have been to see the man in red several times at various locations across the Midlands. I've shared a round-up of places to see Santa on my blog for the past two years and from the beginning, they quickly become some of my most popular posts ever. So much so, it’s started to creep back up as one of my most read recently, so here I am, sharing my bumper 2016 grotto guide to the top places where you can meet the man with a belly that wobbles like a bowl full of jelly this Christmas across the region…

This will be Ethan’s fourth Christmas and with each year, our excitement and his grows. He is already talking excitedly about the man in red and it seems that he really is starting to know what it is all about - and I can't wait until the festivities kick off.

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 - with me grinning right beside him!

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. We'll be going to at least a couple of these... which event might you go to? Maybe we will see you there...

Sea Life Centre Birmingham

Setting the scene perfectly, pop along to Sea Life Centre Birmingham and explore the underwater world on your way to find Father Christmas. You start your visit with a stop to see the penguins and you end it with Santa. Last year, Ethan really enjoyed meeting this Santa in particular (see the first photo in the post) and we will be going back as soon as his sleigh arrives.

Dates and tickets: Santa will be at Sea Life Centre Birmingham from 26th November to 23rd December. Tickets included a full visit to the centre and discounts can be made by booking in advance - tickets can start from around £12.95.

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 Magical Christmas event started on 19th November (and runs to 31st December) and the park is turned into a winter wonderland, filled with festive decorations and music – and even snow, three times a day!

Thomas Land was expanded last year so the Christmas plans seem to be bigger and better too. There’s resident reindeer in the zoo, plus an outdoor ice rink. And before you leave, there’s a fireworks display at the end of each day. Phew!

We went on the first day of #DraytonsMagicalChristmas and had a truly wonderful day - read all about it here - we can't recommend it enough!

Dates and tickets: Drayton’s Magical Christmas will be open on Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th November, Friday 25th – Monday 28th November, Friday 2nd December – Monday 5th December, Friday 9th – Monday 12th December, Thursday 15th – Friday 23rd December and Tuesday 27th – Saturday 31st December. Prices start from £12 for 2-3 year olds up to £22 for 12’s and over, if booked in advance, which includes admission to Thomas Land and a visit to Santa. 

West Midlands Safari Park

West Midlands Safari Park - To Become Mum

Out of our many Santa visits two year's ago, 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 never 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 (which you usually pay extra for), 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 tickets: open weekends from 12th November and every day from 26th November to 24th December. Adults (16-64yrs) – £21Children (3-15yrs) – £17Under 3’s – £7.50. Plus, entrance includes a free return ticket (valid until February 2017). Find out more here.

Intu Merry Hill

Santa’s Grotto at intu Merry Hill aims to be a magical corner of Lapland. Upon arrival, you are greeted by one of Santa’s elves and inducted into the secret reindeer clan. You’ll be given your very own reindeer antlers, and the all-important passport containing the magical Christmas chant.

Once inside the reindeer stables you will be treated to an entertaining magic performance from two of Santa’s very special elves, Trixie and Tweedy, together with their baby Reindeer, Skidda.

Look out too, for extra elf and reindeer fun all around you; especially those reindeer - wind bubbles!
The elves aren’t the only ones with magic in their fingertips this year either, even Santa has a trick up his sleeve for each child, resulting in a magic token for the free, exciting gift at the end of your visit.
After your own special meeting with Santa, each family will be able to buy a souvenir photo, browse the extra magic tricks at the exit and even take home some of the magic they have just seen. This whole experience takes around 20 minutes and is a really different idea and great value too - can't wait to go along to this when we are doing some Christmas shopping soon!

All children over the age of 18 months will receive a Playmobil gift from Santa's workshop - younger ones will have something more age appropriate. 

Dates and tickets: the grotto can be found in the lower mall near Quest from 10th November to Christmas Eve, and ticket prices are £6.50 for children, £1 for adults or a family ticket at £12.50 (2 Adults, 2 Children). Tickets can be bought direct at the grotto or online if you want to be sure of your day and time - see the website for further time slot information.

Magical Lantern Festival at Botanical Gardens

There's something pretty special coming to Birmingham this year. The beautiful Botanical Gardens is hosting a Magical Lantern Festival, full of things to enjoy and participate in.

Santa here takes the form of beautiful light installations, but the event was too special and unique not to include in my round up.

Dates and tickets: the festival starts on 25th November and runs until 2nd January and ticket prices range from £9.62 to £13.87 - find out more here.

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 Christmas Evenings (they've already sold out for this year but there's something new added to their events you could take a look at) in the past and it was a lovely experience.

Dates and tickets: from Sunday 20th November, do check online as only certain dates are available already, and pre-booking in advance is essential. Adult - £16.00, Children (3-16) - £10.00, Children (0-2) - £8.00.

Blithbury Reindeer Lodge

Blithbury Reindeer Lodge - To Become Mum

We went to the lodge last 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. There's things to make, an Elf Academy to attend and of course, the main man to visit. 

Dates and tickets: check here for available dates in November and December. Tickets are £9.95 for adults, £14.95 for 2-12 year olds, under 2's are £5.95. Sleigh rides cost £6.50 for one child and one adult.

Snowdome, Tamworth

Snowdome's Santa’s Winter Wonderland event is the one place 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 tickets: everything starts on 18th November and runs until New Years Eve, with ticket prices starting from £13.96 for a saver ticket and £19.75 standard. 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 a couple of year's ago (visit the link for a full review). 

The Webbs Wychbold ice rink starts from 4th November until 2nd January and they also 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!). There's also reindeer food included in the ticket price this year, plus the chance for children to make their own bauble with the Webbs elves.

Dates and tickets: Ice rink from 4th November priced from £4 if booked in advance, Santa's grotto from 12th November to Christmas Eve, Saturday 14th – Thursday 24th December, priced £9.99 for one child plus accompanying adult and with everything included, plus you can pre-book or attend on the day.

Severn Valley Railway

Severn Valley Railway - To Become Mum
We 've had a few lovely days out on the Severn Valley Railway, including for Ethan’s second 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 tickets: December 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 17th, 18th and 24th - check here for departure times. Tickets start from £14, depending on date chosen, and advance booking essential!

Chasewater Railway

Chasewater Railway - To Become Mum
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 tickets: best visit this link for detailed information, but prices are around £9.95 for children and £7.95 for adults with several trips most days from 1st December.

Umberslade Farm 

This is another place we've visited before. 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 - we went and it was a great value day out, Ethan loved seeing the animals and Father Christmas was very friendly indeed. The mulled wine wasn't bad too, either!

Cadbury World


It's been a long time since I went to Cadbury World but maybe we will this year for one of their Christmas Celebration Weekends.

There's a special Santa show and of course, lots of Chocolate to enjoy too so it could be the perfect place to get in the spirit, and stock up on some stocking fillers too.

Dates and tickets: the weekends start from 19th November and run until 22nd December, and tickets are priced from £12.30 for 4-15 year olds, £16.95 for adults and under 4's are free, plus family saver packages - with entertainment included.

Square Peg Foundation Sensory Santa

Last but not least, I have something different to share with you. Square Peg Foundation Sensory Santa is being held on three consecutive Saturdays in December stating on 3rd at Stechford Club (directly opposite Stechford train station).  The next one is on the 10th Highcroft Community Centre Slades Road,Erdington, followed by 17th at Sutton Coldfield Cricket Club. 

Here, the organiser tells us more:

Sensory Santa is a way for children with additional needs to be  able to access a Santa experience which is designed with them in mind. Children are invited to the centre for an hour of arts and crafts to get them settled and ready to see Santa. There will be Christmas music and refreshments available too.  At their allotted time they enter the mobile sensory room which will be decorated for Christmas to see Santa.  Each slot is 15 mins long so they have plenty of time to acclimatise to the environment and able to access the therapeutic sensory equipment at the same time. 

Santa will be well versed in the difficulties that these children can have and will be sympathetic to them and bit put them under pressure to engage.  It will be on the child’s terms not Santa’s. 

As child has preferences and different interests we are giving each has family a Christmas goody bags with lovely things like sweets, hit chocolate kit and reindeer food. 

Even child deserves to see Santa and we want children with additional needs to be able to enjoy the experience in a way that is appropriate to their needs. 

We have set a charge of  £5 per family to cover room hire.  If anyone is interested in booking please contact us on squarepegfoundation@outlook.com but please note the Sutton Coldfield venue is sold out.

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.


  1. We have tickets to Black Country museum for Christmas Eve! It will be our first time :) I have been to a few that you have mentioned and they are fab! Great post xx

    1. That will be magical! We loved it when we went before and I'm sure you will too.

      Thank you for your comment, happy you liked the post! xx


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