Best Santa's Grottos to Visit in Kent

**This blog has been updated in November 2022

There’s nothing more exciting than meeting Santa and some of his jolly elves at Christmas. But how does Father Christmas manage to be in so many different places across Kent? Christmas magic, of course!

So, if you are wondering where to see Santa Claus in Kent this Christmas then look no further. With grotto’s popping up all over the county, make sure you catch him this festive season with our guide to Kent’s top Santa’s grottos.

1) Bewl Water

Bewl Water is hosting a unique Christmas experience in December which includes a yummy breakfast followed by a festive soft play session! Available on 17th, 18th, 23rd and 24th December 2022 with sessions starting at 9am and 10:30 am 

Tickets are priced at £15 per person and can be booked on the Bewl Water website

2) Bluewater Shopping Centre

If you're busy with some last-minute Christmas shopping at Bluewater, you may just see a familiar face, Father Christmas himself! No, not shopping but at Bluewater’s enchanted Grotto, located by the lakes at The Village. Santa and his elves will be daily from the 25th November until Christmas Eve (when he will obviously be hard at work elsewhere).

This year, Bluewater is hosting ‘Believe - The Secret of Santa’s Little Reindeer’ – children will be entertained by our very special reindeer puppet Norbert, they’ll make reindeer food in readiness for Christmas Eve, and each family will get a private session with Santa! All children will receive a wrapped gift of an age-appropriate book to take home.

Tickets are priced at £14.50 per child and accompanying adults are priced at £5.50. Tickets can be purchased on the Bluewater website.

3) Reindeer Centre, Ashford

Father Christmas and his team of elves will be returning to the Reindeer Centre near Ashford to meet all the good boys and girls, parents and grandparents from the 12th of November. Santa will be here on the 12th and 13th of November, then every day from Saturday 19th November until the 24th of December. 

Each family will enjoy meeting with Father Christmas in his magical Christmas cabin where all the good boys and girls will receive a gift. After meeting with the big man himself you will then enjoy an enchanting walk through an animated magical grotto leading onto the animal barn where you can meet Carter the giant tortoise, a family of meerkats, and the stars of the show, the reindeer themselves. Learn all about the reindeer by chatting to the handlers and you can even feed the reindeer too! Donkeys, alpacas and ponies will also be there to wish your children and magical Christmas time. 

Your ticket will also include play on the soft play assault course and pirate ship sandpit, and a snow pit in the barn to have a fun snowball fight. And for all those Instagrammers you will find Christmas Selfie rooms to take those all-important selfies with your family. 

Tickets start from £18 per child and £12 per adult. Prices vary depending on dates booked

4) Dobbies Garden Centre

Santa's Grotto is one of the most exciting festive experiences at Dobbies. Bring your little ones along to explore the magical setting, be welcomed by Santa himself and receive a toy of your choice. Bookings are already open to meet Santa at both Dobbies in Ashford and Gillingham and the grotto is open right up until Christmas Eve. Parents can even give Santa a little helping hand in picking an age-appropriate toy when they book their tickets. 

Tickets are priced at £11.99 per child and all the details and booking options can be found on the Dobbies website.

5) Hever Castle

Father Christmas has sadly now sold out at the beautiful Hever Castle but you can still be enchanted by the magic of Christmas with the wonderful array of Christmas activities available for you to explore. 

The Christmas Lights experience starts from 4pm, wrap up warm and enjoy a walk under the stars to explore the grounds lit up by twinkly Christmas lights and festooned with festive decorations. You can even wander further afield for a trip into ‘outer space’ where the bright moon shines and illuminated planets fill the evening skies, perfect for those star gazers amongst us!

Children can explore the forest and meet an array of woodland creatures along the Christmas trail. The castle will be decorated with stunning Christmas decorations and is included in the ticket price this year. Outside the castle will be a small fairground – gallopers, a big wheel and hook a duck will add to the seasonal magic. And for animal lovers you will be able to meet Siberian huskies in the Husky Hideout! What’s not to love!

For more information and for ticket prices visit the Hever Castle website.

6) The Hop Farm

Father Christmas is back at the Hop Farm this year and you can visit him in the Big Red Grotto in Paddock Wood this December.

As well as meeting the big man himself, you'll meet his jolly helpers, enjoy storytelling with Mother Christmas, Christmas crafts and you can write a letter to Father Christmas to either post to the North Pole or hand to him personally.

The Big Red Grotto is open from the 1st to the 23rd December and tickets are priced at £22 for a child which includes up to two free adults and an infant under one. Grotto tickets also allow for free entry to the park and indoor soft play centre. For more information visit the Hop Farm website.

7) Kent & East Sussex Railway

How about taking a magical steam train journey to meet Santa this Christmas on the Kent and East Sussex Railway. On board the festively decorated steam trains, you’ll meet Santa during the 1 hour 10 minute return journey. Look out for his elf helpers with sacks of presents and a mice pie or two for the mums and dads. 

Tickets are selling fast to catch a Santa Special service this December and only a limited number of tickets remain, so you need to be quick! For details and bookings visit the Kent and East Sussex Railway website.

8) Kent Life

This December Santa will be taking time out of his busy schedule to stop off at Kent Life. Jump on board the festive Land Train driven by the head elf and meet Santa in this magical grotto. Children can decorate festive gingerbread and meet the animals around the farm. There will also be mince pies and mulled wine for grown-ups too. Tickets allow entry for the usual attractions at the farm which includes indoor soft play.

Dates that Santa will be at Kent Life are as follows: 26th and 27th November,  3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th of December and then every day from the 17th December until Christmas Eve.

Tickets are priced at £18 per child and £10 per adult, with discounted rates for members and concessions. For more information head to the Kent Life website.

9) Ruxley Manor Garden Centre

This garden centre in Sidcup is always hugely popular with families and it appears this year is no different. Take a very special journey through the magical Christmas Grotto, where you will be greeted by Elves and Mother Christmas who will help you make her very own secret, reindeer feed to sprinkle across your lawn on Christmas Eve. Join Mother Christmas in the sewing room to make a special Christmas decoration to take home.

The garden centre even offers reduced capacity sessions for those with special needs. The Grotto is open from 12th November.

Tickets are priced at £50 for a family of up to 6 people (at least 1 adult must be included in the group). You can find out more information and book your tickets on the Ruxley Manor website.

It appears that the big man is very busy this year and some popular venues have unfortunately already sold out. But if you weren’t lucky enough to grab yourself a ticket hopefully our guide to these grotto’s in Kent should give you some inspiration for somewhere else to go. 

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