Santa Claus is coming to town throughout November and December spreading festive cheer with gifts, sweet treats, storytelling and decorations. These are the most exciting grottos in and around Manchester for the whole family to meet Santa ahead of the big day.

Manchester Arndale

The spirit of Christmas comes to Arndale with a bauble archway, disco ball Christmas puds, a free festive pop-up cinema, storytelling, festive dance lessons, face painting and the chance to send a letter to Santa. From Wed 22 Nov – Sun 24 Dec, head to Candy Cane Central for a fully immersive 4D experience on Santa’s Sleigh with VR headsets. The Giving Grotto is also collecting donations on behalf of charity partner Mustard Tree to help those in need this festive season. Tickets for Santa’s grotto are from £3.50.

Manchester Arndale, M4 3AD
John Lewis

Join Santa for a Christmas tea party – including a storytime session with snacks, cocoa and a special gift. Tickets for children are £15 (includes a £10 plush toy) and £5 for adults (includes a hot drink and slice of cake).

Intu Trafford Centre, Peel Ave, Trafford Park, Stretford, Manchester M17 8JL
The Grotto Trafford Centre

From Sat 18 Nov – Sun 24 Dec take in an immersive wonderland at the Trafford Centre. Stroll through the Candy Cane Land and Enchanted Forest with Santa’s elves to find the Merry Mailroom. Here you can deliver your letter to Santa. Head to Santa’s grotto to read through your letter with him and receive a Christmas gift. Child tickets are £25 and adult tickets are £7.50.

Intu Trafford Centre, Peel Ave, Trafford Park, Stretford, Manchester M17 8JL
East Lancashire Railway

The winter wonderland journey begins at Bury Bolton Street Station with Mrs Clause, a talking tree and carol singing polar bears before boarding a steam train to Rawtenstall on an 80-minute round trip. Expect to hear your favourite festive hits played by a brass band as well as a visit from Santa himself, bringing gifts for children. Grown-ups can enjoy mince pies, a festive tipple or soft drink and children are offered a soft drink, chocolate and an activity pack. Running from Sat 25 Nov and various dates throughout December, adult tickets are £23 and child tickets are £22.50.

Bolton Street Station, Bury, Lancashire, BL9 0EY

Wrap up warm and explore the enchanting wonderfully wonky woods at BeWILDerwood this December. Promising a sparkly light trail, handmade decorations, a ten-minute mini pantomime and a glimpse of Santa, this festive event will be fun for the whole family. Catch it from Sat 2 Dec – Sat 23 Dec for £15.50 per person.

Malpas, Bickley Moss, Cheshire, Whitchurch SY13 4JF
Church Farm

The Santa Experience is back at Church Farm offering a 60-minute journey around the farm and a personalised visit to see Santa and meet his real reindeer. The farm will be decorated with lighting and special effects, with the chance to dance and sing with elves from the North Pole and enjoy a tractor ride while spotting other farm animals on your route. Available to book from Sat 25 Nov, tickets start at £14 per person.

Church Ln, Thurstaston, Wirral CH61 0HW
Knowsley Safari Park

Embark on a truly magical adventure to meet Santa and his elves in their workshop at Knowsley Safari park – offering a limited edition cuddly toy for children, a goody bag full of treats to take away and lots of photo opportunities. Combine the Santa Experience with the Enchanted admission ticket to enjoy the Christmas light trail and see the talking trees, illuminated hippos submerged in natural water features, light-up giraffes, penguins, zebras and polar bears. Enchanted tickets are from £10 and Santa’s Grotto is from £20, starting Sat 18 Nov.

Prescot L34 4AN
Chloe Tuff
Published on:
Fri 1 Dec 2023