Christmas Grotto Guide

Posted on: 01 December 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

We've picked out the top 10 Christmas grottos for you to visit this festive season.


With Christmas fast approaching, Santa is bound to be getting busy, but he’s promised to make some special ‘stop offs’ in his hectic festive schedule this December.

Across England, Wales and Northern Ireland many of National Trust houses and gardens will be helping Santa with amazing locations for his grottos; from wintry landscapes and waterfalls to castle towers and courtyards - these are grottos you won’t come across just anywhere.

With over 300 houses and gardens in the Trust’s care you could have trouble deciding where to go, so here to help is our ‘Top 10’ Christmas grottos guide.

Santa’s House, Castle Ward, County Down, Northern Ireland

Open: 3rd December – 22nd December, Every Weds, Thurs & Fri 4pm -7.30pm. Sat & Sun 2pm -7.30pm

It’s time to get festive. Visit Santa by a warming log fire and meet Mrs Claus as she serves warm mince pies and mulled wine. Make sure you have your wish list ready as every child who visits Santa will take home their very own gift.

  • Cost: Adult £6, Child £14 - cost includes Christmas gift.
  • Booking is essential for this event. For more information or to book please call 028 4488 1204

Tea Party With Father Christmas, Ickworth, Suffolk

Open: 15th December – 19th December, 4.30pm – 6pm

Yummy cakes, sumptuous sandwiches, heartily warming hot choc and lovely lemonade; all of this and Father Christmas too, with a special gift for you- so don’t forget to bring you Christmas list.

  • Cost: All tickets £8.50 - Adult admission includes tea and admission to the park. Child admission includes tea, gift and admission to the park.
  • Booking is essential for this event. For more information and to book please call 01284 769 505

A Sleigh Stop Off! Stourhead, Wiltshire

Open: 14 December, 1pm- 4pm

Santa’s sleigh will make a very special stop off at the world famous landscape garden and there’ll be presents for every child.

  • Cost: Normal admission charges apply. There is a £5 charge per child to visit the Sleigh.
  • Booking is not needed for this event. For more information please call 01747 841152

A Drogo Christmas, Castle Drogo, Devon

Open: 13th December, 14th December, 18th December – 21st December, 11am – 4pm

Ever wondered how people spent Christmas back in the 1930’s – well now’s your chance to step back in time as Castle Drogo ‘does’ Christmas 1930’s style. The castle will be decorated and there’ll be music, fruit punch and mince pies galore in the Library. And for those looking for a glimpse of the seasonal man himself – make sure you take a trip to the fantastic grotto.

  • Cost: Normal admission charges apply. There is a small charge to visit the grotto.
  • Booking is not needed for this event. For more information please call 01647 433306

The Grotto Trail, Tyntesfield, Somerset

Open: 6th December, 7th December, 13th December, 14th December, 20th December, 21st December, 10am – 5pm

This is your chance for some festive detective work as only the visitors who find all the clues will find the Grotto and receive a special seasonal gift from Santa.

  • Cost: All tickets £3 Please note the house is not open to visitors in December.
  • Booking is not needed for this event. For more information please call 01275 461900

A Castle Grotto, Bodiam Castle, East Sussex

Open: 6th December, 7th December, 13th December, 14th December, 20th December, 21st December, 10.30am – 3pm

Now this is a grotto with a difference – it’s in a medieval tower! Get into the Christmas spirit with our festive trail around the castle and then there’s the chance to meet Santa himself.

  • Cost: Normal admission charges apply. There is a £5 charge to visit the grotto.
  • Booking is not needed for this event. For more information please call 01580 830196

Christmas At Attingham, Attingham, Shropshire

Open: 13th December, 14th December, 20th December, 21st December, 11am – 4pm

Step back in time and enjoy the festivities of a bygone era. The house will be dressed for a celebration so come along and enjoy the festive fun – don’t forget to bring your Christmas list along for our special winter guest.

  • Cost: Normal admission charges apply. There is a £2 charge to see Santa.
  • Booking is not needed for this event. For more information please call 01743 708 162

Search For Santa, Formby, Liverpool

Open: 10th December, 5.30pm – 7.30pm

Make sure you wrap up warm and bring your torch for this magical search for Santa on this wonderful stretch of unspoilt coastline.

  • Cost: £3 per child.
  • Booking is essential for this event and when you book you will be given a specific arrival time. For more information and to book please call 01704 878 591

Christmas At Wallington, Wallington, Northumberland

Open: 6th December, 7th December, 13th December, 14th December, 11.30am – 3pm

There’s so much going on at Wallington it’s hard to think where to begin. You can meet Santa, hear Mrs Claus’s storytelling in the courtyard, make Christmas crafts and also join in with some festive carol singing. Wallington is definitely a one stop Christmas treat.

  • Cost: Normal admission charges apply. There is a £5 charge to see Santa and the cost includes a gift.
  • Booking is essential to see Santa. For more information and to book please call 01670 773600

Santa Visits Waterfall, Aberdulais Falls, Neath & Port Talbot

Open: 7th December, 14th December and 21st December

These famous waterfalls welcome a very festive guest this Christmas. If your family can complete the family quiz trail then you might just spot Santa himself.

  • Cost Normal admission charges apply. There is a charge for the Christmas trail.
  • Booking is not needed for this event. For more information please call 01639 636674.

Have you visited a Christmas grotto? Are there any Christmas grottos in your area that we don't know about?

If so, let us know by leaving a comment in the box below or share your recommendations with other readers in the 50connect forums. 

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