Six of the Best: Santa's grottos in Leeds and beyond...
Leeds Christmas lights switch-on, the John Lewis festive TV advert, it all means one thing - the Christmas season has officially begun. So, here are six of the best Santa's grottos to visit in and around Leeds
STOCKELD PARK - WETHERBY
Christmas begins at Stockeld Park on November 12 and Santa will be there to meet and greet children right up until Christmas Eve.
Tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis on the day (£10.50 per child, including free gift). Each child’s grotto ticket also includes entry for up to two adults. Additional adult entry tickets £2. Children also get to meet Santa’s elves.
Opening times are 10.30am–7pm. On Christmas Eve Santa will be in his Grotto between 10.30am and 6pm before he gets ready to deliver presents to children around the world.
TONG GARDEN CENTRE - TONG
Tong Garden Centre has a life-sized snow globe as part of its extensive Christmas experience. Families can enter the globe and have their pictures taken from November 12 (£3 for up to six people, plus £3 per picture). The grotto will also open the same day, £12.50 per child (plus £2.50 per adult, which you get back as a voucher). There will be storytellers and magical creatures during the half hour tour. There will also be donkey rides every Saturday and Sunday up to December 18 (£2.50 per ride). Prebooking encouraged 0113 285 3506.
BOLTON ABBEY - SKIPTON
Once again Father Christmas and his merry elves will be returning to Strid Wood for the first three weekends in December and every day from December 19-23.
Santa will be staying in an old Romany caravan, which will be tucked away in the beautiful enchanted woodland. With open log fires, Christmas carols, a wishing tree and your chance to make reindeer dust, this really should be a magical event.
Each child will receive a gift with their name on. Pre-booking essential, tickets £12 per child (usual estate admission charges of £8 per car also apply): boltonabbey.com
NATIONAL COAL MINING MUSEUM - WAKEFIELD
This has to rank among possibly the strangest of Santa’s grottos, not least because it’s 140m underground .
The grotto will be open on November 26 and 27 and then every weekend up to December 18, plus addition dates from December 19-23. The grotto costs £6.50 per person and £5 for adults, including a gift. There will also be a Christmas fun day on December 7. On December 12 there will be Festive Brass @ Pit, an evening of entertainment brought to you by the Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band.
Call 01924 848806 for more details.
FOUNTAINS ABBEY - RIPON
Santa will be visiting Fountains Abbey every weekend from November 26 and up to Dec 18, with additional dates on Dec 19 and 20, all from 1pm-3pm.
There will also be a special candlelight service with 1,000 candles on Sunday December 11, from 3.30pm-4.15pm and on Boxing Day, there will be a pilgrimage from Ripon Cathedral, setting out at 9.30am and following the original route walked by the monks who founded the abbey in 1132, arriving about noon.
Santa’s grotto costs £5 oer child and includes a present. No booking required.
MCARTHURGLEN DESIGNER OUTLET - YORK
The annual Winter Wonderland experience launches on November 19 with The Ice Factor, North England’s largest ice rink, along with an impressive 30ft Christmas tree, a Narnia-themed Christmas Village offering mulled wines and hot chocolates and their newest addition, a vintage funfair comprised of 30s, 40s and 50s rides lovingly restored by local craftsmen.
There will be Scandinavian food, licenced bar and old style fairground rides.
Santa’s grotto costs £4.50 per child and includes free gift. The grotto will also be open on Nov 26, 28, 29, 30 and Dec 1-2, 5-9 and 12-16.