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11 Santa's Grottos to Meet Father Christmas in Kent, UK

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

The festive season is just around the corner, and what better way to get into the Christmas spirit than by visiting Santa's Grotto in Kent? Kent has some of the most enchanting and magical grottos that promise to make your Christmas experience truly unforgettable. We have selected the top 11 Santa's Grottos in Kent, each offering a unique and heartwarming Christmas experience for the whole family. So, grab your jingle bells and get ready to meet the big man himself, Father Christmas!

1. Father Christmas at Calverley Grounds

Dates: December 1st - 24th
Address: Crescent Road Tunbridge Wells Kent TN1 2LU

Father Christmas sitting in his Grotto

Prepare for a truly enchanting adventure at Calverley Grounds in Tunbridge Wells, where Father Christmas returns from December 1st to the 24th. Located next to the stunning Tunbridge Wells Ice Rink, families can visit his festive grotto and enjoy some magical surprises. This immersive experience takes you on a journey to the North Pole, beginning at the Festive Post Office, where you can write your Christmas letter. Then, hop into a magical sleigh for a breathtaking virtual reality flight over snow-covered landscapes, before meeting Father Christmas in his grotto. Friendly Elves will be there to guide you, and a special gift awaits at the end. Tickets include a meeting with Father Christmas, a virtual reality flight, a special gift, and a visit to the Festive Post Office. It is an unforgettable and truly magical experience for all!

2. Experience Christmas at Kent Life

Dates: Select dates between November 25th and December 24th
Address: 7GW4+V2, Lock Ln, Maidstone ME14 3AU, United Kingdom

A teddy bear and a rocking horse under a Christmas tree

Experience the ultimate festive extravaganza at Kent Life's Christmas Event, where you can immerse yourself in a magical journey filled with heartwarming moments. The highlight is meeting Father Christmas in his enchanting grotto, and little ones can pick a special gift from the well-stocked toy shop. You can also graduate from Elf School, indulge in heartwarming Christmas films, create your own teddy bear, and enjoy an enchanting live show. Do not miss out on The Snow Inn's festive menu and a merry ride on The Jingle Express. Indulge in delicious festive treats at Mrs. Christmas's Kitchen, where you can decorate gingerbread to your heart's content. While there, adults can enjoy a complimentary cup of mulled wine or a non-alcoholic alternative paired with scrumptious mince pies. And do not forget to visit the friendly farmyard animals – you can feed them or even make special reindeer food to ensure Father Christmas's reindeer are well-fed on Christmas Eve. With ticket prices including all-day access to Kent Life, you can enjoy the holiday festivities at your own pace. It is a Christmas experience like no other!

3. THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride at Spa Valley Railway

Dates: Select dates between November 17th and December 23rd
Address: West Station, Tunbridge Wells TN2 5QY, United Kingdom

A lady drinking hot chocolate with a Christmas present light display in the background

Get ready for an extraordinary journey at THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride at Spa Valley Railway. Your adventure begins just like in the beloved film, with the train collecting your entire family to start a magical journey. As you make your way slowly North, you will meet favorite icons from the movie, including the Conductor, dancing chefs, a mysterious ghost, and, of course, the magical Santa Claus himself. For ultimate realism, do not forget to wear your pajamas! The journey includes immersive theater on a train, with surprises like Caribou-related delays and fantastical happenings. Enjoy delicious warm hot chocolate and chocolatey cookies served by singing and dancing chefs. Santa will board the train to hand you the first gift of Christmas, a shiny sleigh bell, just like in the film. You can also speak with Santa and have your THE POLAR EXPRESS™ book signed if you have one.

A shiny sleigh bell hanging on a Christmas tree

Upon returning to Tunbridge Wells, there are even more delights, including the opportunity to write a letter to Santa and use the Naughty and Nice scanner. You can also pick up gifts and treasures in the gift shop. THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride at Spa Valley Railway promises to be a truly wondrous Christmas adventure for your whole family.

4. Christmas at Hever Castle

Dates: November 18th, 2023 - January 1st, 2024
Address: Hever Rd, Hever, Edenbridge TN8 7NG, United Kingdom

A Father Christmas ornament with Christmas lights exposure

Celebrate the holiday season at Hever Castle, where you can create cherished memories with loved ones. Now in its 17th year, the magical Christmas Lights experience begins at 16:00, allowing you to wrap up warm and take a starlit walk through the beautifully illuminated Castle, gardens, and lake, all adorned with enchanting colors and twinkling lights, truly capturing the essence of Christmas. Inside the Castle, you will find elegantly decorated rooms with welcoming log fires and glistening Christmas trees. Explore the delightful 'Lost in the Festive Forest' Christmas Trail, accompanied by Red the squirrel's tale of helping Ted the lost bear find his way home.

A Ferris Wheel in the background with two Christmas trees light up in front of it from different angles

Enjoy fairground rides like the Gallopers, Big Wheel, and Children's Train Ride. Take in the serene beauty of the lake on the Lady Astor and savor delicious festive food in the restaurants and kiosks. For added fun, the Play Areas, Yew Maze, Garden Exhibition, and Military Museum are open during the day. On select dates, you can meet characters from the Festive Forest, watch the creation of Christmas wreaths and table centers, and even visit Father Christmas. Travel through the grotto, meet cheerful elves, and journey to the Toy Workshop before meeting Father Christmas himself to receive a soft toy gift. It is a magical and heartwarming Christmas experience for the whole family.

5. Christmas Lights at Leeds Castle and A Narnia Christmas in the Castle

Dates: November 24th, 2023 - January 1st, 2024
Address: Broomfield, Maidstone ME17 1PL, United Kingdom

Closeup on a Christmas tree with a woven star ornament

Experience a wondrous and reimagined Christmas at Leeds Castle with its enchanting Christmas Lights display, returning for its second year. The historic castle is illuminated with magical displays, featuring sparkling chandeliers in the trees, a laser garden, twinkling mirrored hearts, and an immersive Feast of Light. As you stroll through this illuminated wonderland, you might even catch a glimpse of Father Christmas himself. Indulge in seasonal snacks from hand-picked street food vendors to make your visit even more delightful. But that is not all, as Leeds Castle also offers an enchanting Narnia-themed Christmas experience (a separately ticketed event). Step through the wardrobe into C.S. Lewis's magical kingdom and embark on a journey through snowy woodlands, interact with beloved characters (on the weekends or school holidays), sneak a seat on the White Witch's sleigh, and admire the festively decorated castle. It is a heartwarming and unforgettable experience for the whole family, transporting you into the world of "The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe." Your merriest Christmas starts here!

6. Christmas at Ruxley Manor

Dates: Select dates between November 12th and December 24th
Address: Maidstone Rd, Orpington, Sidcup DA14 5BQ, United Kingdom

Christmas tree set up with a big Father Christmas list with a naughty and nice list

At Ruxley Manor, a heartwarming Christmas experience awaits the whole family in Father Christmas' Grotto. Begin your journey by meeting the Head Elf and getting a taste of what it takes to be an elf in Elf School. Join Mother Christmas in her kitchen to create magical reindeer food, adding to the festive spirit. The highlight of your visit is meeting Father Christmas himself in his cozy Grotto, where your family will receive an extra special gift to cherish. Do not forget to capture the moment with a precious photo alongside Father Christmas. Each child will receive a magical golden ticket that grants them the privilege of selecting a special gift from the toy workshop. At Ruxley Manor, it is all about creating joyful memories and making Christmas truly special for children.

Christmas decoration of Santa in his sleigh being pulled by reindeers and presents falling off the sleigh

Additionally, this year, they are offering special educational needs sessions, ensuring an inclusive and relaxed experience for children with additional needs, making it a truly magical and inclusive Christmas for all. On your visit, make sure to include a ride on the exciting new Virtual Reality Magical Sleigh Ride Simulator! You will embark on a journey around the world and even into space as a trial flight for the sleigh before Christmas Eve. Hang on tight to your hats and antlers, as this ride promises to be an exhilarating adventure!

7. Santa Safari Christmas Event and Christmas Grotto

Dates: Select dates between December 2nd and December 24th
Address: Fenn Bell Inn Allhallows, Rochester ME3 8RF, United Kingdom

Wooden Reindeer Decoration Piece

Experience the holiday magic at the Santa Safari Christmas Event, a beloved December tradition that offers family-friendly fun for all ages. Journey through our zoo aboard the Santa Safari, which will transport you to a magical winter wonderland where you can meet the one and only Father Christmas. The question on everyone's mind is, have you been naughty or nice this year? If you have been nice, Santa may just have a special gift for you! Plus, with all Santa Safari tickets, you get full access to the zoo for the entire day of your booking, allowing you to explore and encounter various wildlife, from parrots and lemurs to playful otters. It is an enchanting adventure that creates lasting memories for all, whether you are 6 or 60!

8. The Reindeer Centre's Christmas Grotto

Dates: November 18th - December 24th
Address: Capralama Farm, Pluckley Rd, Bethersden TN26 3EQ, United Kingdom

Real reindeer pulling a sleigh in the snow

The Reindeer Centre at Capralama Farm promises a fantastic Christmas experience suitable for everyone. Father Christmas, his bustling Elves, and their magical reindeer team will make their grand arrival on November 18th to infuse the much-needed Christmas spirit into the hearts of good boys and girls. Activities abound, from interacting with Father Christmas and receiving a gift to strolling through a 150ft magical grotto adorned with beautiful scenes. A trail awaits that leads to delightful encounters with farm animals, including goats, donkeys, llamas, and pigs. In the big barn, you will have the opportunity to learn fascinating facts about the reindeer and maybe even feed them. Children can engage in Christmas activities like helping the elves prepare special reindeer food for Rudolph and his team to eat on Christmas Eve and playing in the (fake) snow play area.

9. The Elf Express at Quex Park

Dates: Select dates between December 2nd and December 31st
Address: Park Ln, Birchington CT7 0BH, United Kingdom

Ice skating rink with a Christmas Tree in the center of the rink

Step aboard the Elf Express this Christmas and let yourself be transported into the enchanting realm of the Elf Kingdom and the Magical Elf Woods. Santa's devoted elves eagerly await your assistance in preparing for the big day, filling their world with festive fun and magic. With thousands of Christmas lights, delectable sweet treats, and unforgettable encounters with Santa's top elves, the Elf Express offers a truly unique and immersive theatrical experience. Now in its 9th year, The Elf Express at Quex Park is the Christmas delight you simply cannot miss. After Santa returns to the North Pole, explore the Elf Express woods at your leisure, basking in the glow of thousands of lights and illuminated installations. Take your time to visit the Reindeer nestled deep within the Elf Woods. For a new and mesmerizing addition, indulge in the projection mapping light show at the Round Tower, which brings this historic building to life after dark. And, if you are in the mood for some icy fun, enjoy 150 square meters of Real Ice for a delightful skating experience that will surely get you into the Christmas spirit!

10. Christmas at Hobbledown

Dates: Select dates between November 25th and December 24th
Address: Horton Ln, Epsom KT19 8PT, United Kingdom

Christmas decorations with a VW van holding 2 big packages among Christmas floral and a pinecone

Celebrate the season at Hobbledown this Christmas as it transforms into Santa's Secret Village. Twinkling lights adorn the beautifully decorated play areas, courtyard, and indoor barn, creating a festive wonderland for all. Join the 12 Days of Christmas Hunt for a delightful treat trail with hidden treasures waiting to be uncovered. Get up close and personal with live reindeer and catch a glimpse as they parade through the park. Enjoy heartwarming Festive Tales during Christmas storytime sessions hosted by the Hobbledown characters. Do not forget to write your letters to Santa and send them to the North Pole through Santa's Postbox. Get creative with ornament making, perfect for proudly hanging on the tree, and capture the holiday spirit with pictures in special Christmas-themed photo areas. Additionally, Hobbledown offers separately ticketed events such as breakfast with Santa, a visit to Santa in his grotto, and the Teddy Bear Workshop, ensuring a wide range of festive experiences for all. It is a Christmas extravaganza you will not want to miss!

11. Father Christmas can come to you!

Dates: Christmas Season
Address: TBD per Case

Father Christmas with a kid and his Christmas wish list

This holiday season, bring the magic of Father Christmas to your doorstep, street, school, nursery, care home, or children's home. Whether it is a gathering of multiple families in one location, a festive street visit with several families in attendance, or visits to schools, nurseries, care homes, and children's homes, Father Christmas is here to spread the joy! All group visits prioritize meaningful interactions, allowing time for conversations about Christmas and the opportunity to receive gifts if desired. Make this Christmas extraordinary by bringing Father Christmas to you!

It is the Most Magical Time of the Year!

Christmas lights outside at night with a tree decorated with ornaments

Whether you are looking for a magical grotto experience, a heartwarming meeting with Father Christmas, or an immersive journey to the North Pole, Kent has it all. Make sure to plan your visit in advance, as these Santa's Grottos are the highlight of the festive season. So, ho ho ho, and get ready for the best Christmas experience with your loved ones in the beautiful county of Kent in the United Kingdom! 🎅🎁🎄🦌

Have you been to any of these Christmas events in Kent, UK? If so, let us know in the comments below - we want to know about your favorite one! If you have not gone, is it on your bucket list of places to visit now? Let us know in the comments below, and share this article with the person or people you want to go with! Either way, SUBSCRIBE below to learn about other places you should add to your "To Visit" List! Ready? Okay, vamos. Time to have fun!

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