Fancy meeting Father Christmas this year? Here are some of the top Santa Grottos in Essex in 2017 – remember to check back for regular updates! To add a grotto contact us here.

We also have listings for pantos, Christmas markets, and Christmas lights switch on events in Essex.

North Essex 2017

Meet Father Christmas at Williams and Griffin
152 High Street, Colchester, CO1 1PN
Dates: 2/3, 9/10, 11, 13, 15, 16, 19 to 24 December 2017
Father Christmas is very busy getting ready to deliver presents to all the little boys and girls. To ensure he has enough time in his hectic schedule, visits to the Grotto are pre-bookable only. All booked visits include a photo and an age-appropriate gift. Tickets go on sale Oct 31st.
Times: Various
Price: TBC per child for a gift and photo
Tel: 01206 571212
Website: www.fenwick.co.uk

Magic of Christmas at Colchester Zoo
Maldon Road, Colchester
Dates: 25/26 November, 2/3, 9/10, 16-24 December 2017
Add a spark of magic to your festivities this Christmas! Meet Santa’s beautiful reindeer in their stables throughout the day, get crafty at the Elves’ Workshop, listen to tales from one of Santa’s elves and enjoy tasty treats from the Elves’ Kitchen! PLUS don’t miss out on the magical Santa Experience (£7) which is sure to get everyone in the festive spirit!
Times: 9.30am-4.30pm
Price: See website for details
Tel: 01206 331292
Website: www.colchester-zoo.com

Breakfast with Santa at Colchester Zoo SELLING FAST!
Maldon Road, Colchester
Dates:  26 Nov, 2/3, 9/10, 16-22 December 2017 (23/24 Dec FULLY BOOKED)
Join Colchester Zoo this Christmas for a truly magical experience with ‘Breakfast with Santa’. Please note this event has to be pre-booked by contacting the Experiences Reception on 01206 331292 extension 232 or 237. Places are allocated on a first come first served basis.
Times: 8.00-9.00am
Price: £14.50 – £42.50
Tel: 01206 331292
Website: www.colchester-zoo.com

Breakfast with Santa at Colchester Zoo SELLING FAST!
Maldon Road, Colchester
Dates:  26 Nov, 2/3, 9/10, 16-22 December 2017 (23/24 Dec FULLY BOOKED)
Join Colchester Zoo this Christmas for a truly magical experience with ‘Breakfast with Santa’. Please note this event has to be pre-booked by contacting the Experiences Reception on 01206 331292 extension 232 or 237. Places are allocated on a first come first served basis.
Times: 8.00-9.00am
Price: £14.50 – £42.50
Tel: 01206 331292
Website: www.colchester-zoo.com

Supper with Santa at Colchester Zoo SELLING FAST!
Maldon Road, Colchester
Dates:  26 Nov, 2/3, 9/10, 16-22 December 2017 (23/24 Dec FULLY BOOKED)
Join Colchester Zoo this Christmas for the truly magical ‘Supper with Santa Experience’! Please note this event has to be pre-booked by contacting the Experiences Reception on 01206 331292 extension 232 or 237. Places are allocated on a first come first served basis.
Times: 4.00-6.00pm
Price: £14.50 – £42.50
Tel: 01206 331292
Website: www.colchester-zoo.com

Breakfast or Tea with Father Christmas at Wyevale Garden CentresSELLING FAST!
342 London Road, Stanway, Colchester, CO3 8LT
Dates: Various dates between 25 November and 21st December 2017
Enjoy a meal with Father Christmas! Plus a special present, biscuit decorating, and fun festive activities.
Times: Various
Price: Meals cost between £4.50 and £10.00
Website: www.wyevalegardencentres.co.uk

Santa’s Grotto at Poplar Nurseries
Coggeshall Road, Marks Tey, Colchester
Dates: 18/19 & 25/26 November and 2/3 & 19-24 December 2017
Our elves will be on hand to guide you through our magical winter wonderland. No booking required.
Times: Various. See website for details.
Price: £8 per child
Tel: 01206 210374
Website: www.poplarnurseries.co.uk

Day Out With Thomas and Santa at East Anglian Railway Museum
Chappel and Wakes Colne Station, Wakes Colne, CO6 2DS
Dates: 9/10, 16/17 & 23 December 2017
Visit a Festive Day Out With Thomas at the East Anglian Railway Museum in the run-up to Christmas. Admission will include unlimited rides on at least four character trains. Thomas, Daisy, Toby and Henrietta and the Troublesome Trucks with Toad will all be here.
Times: Trains run 10.30am to 4.30pm
Price: £13.00 adult; £9.00 child (2-15); Under 2’s free; Gifts from Santa for additional charge of £5 per child and must be pre-booked.
Tel: 01206 242524
Website: www.earm.co.uk

Steam with Santa at Colne Valley Railway
Castle Hedingham, CO9 3DZ
Dates: 9/10, 16/17 & 20 December 2017
Santa travels on board our luxurious Pullman or Royal train, with a present for every child! Complimentary hot drink voucher for every adult.
Times: Various (see website for deatils)
Prices: £10.00/£12.00 adult; £9.00 child; £3.50 under 3 years
Tel: 01787 461174
Website: www.colnevalleyrailway.co.uk

Reindeer Experience at Hearts Delight Garden Centre
Long Road, Lawford, Manningtree, CO11 2EF
Dates: 2, 3, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19 to 24 December 2017
Experience the magic at Hearts Delight as soon as you walk through the door. Take a journey through their Frozen-themed ice tunnel and visit with 3 beautiful reindeer in Santa’s Barn. See them, stroke them, and even feed them – be sure to bring your camera! Then say hello to the Hearts Delight Labradors Martha & Prudence, before meeting the man himself.
Times: Various
Price: £14.99 for tw0 child & two adults, £12.99 when visiting Tues 12th to Thurs 21st December
Tel: 01206 392539
Website: hearts-delight.co.uk

Acorn Village Christmas Market & Winter Wonderland
Acorn Village, Clacton Road, Manningtree (Mistley), CO11 2NJ
Dates: Saturday 18 Nov 2017
Join us on the 18th November for our annual Christmas Market & Winter Wonderland. With our magical themed ‘Winter Wonderland’ made by adults with learning disabilities, Santa’s Grotto with Mr & Mrs Christmas (with photos & extra special presents this year), themed face-painting, our scrumptious Coffee Shop & lots of stalls to start your Christmas Shopping.
Times: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Price: Entry by donation.
Website: www.acornvillages.com

Santa at All Saints’ Church Christmas Fair
All Saints’ Church, Main Road, Dovercourt, Harwich, CO12 4LN
Dates: Saturday 26 Nov 2017
Christmas Fair with craft and gift stalls, raffle, lucky dip, bottle stall, and various other games. Santa will be be visiting and giving out gift stockings.
Times: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Price: Free entry.
Contact: kethryvan@hotmail.com

Grotto at the Christmas Market at Jimmy’s Farm – Nearly Sold Out
Ipswich, Suffolk
Dates: 2 & 3 December 2017
See Father Christmas at Jimmy’s Farm Christmas Market. Each child will get approx 4-5 minutes with Santa and every child with a ticket will receive a gift! Reindeer, chestnuts and mulled wine/cider.
Time: 10am – 5pm
Price: £6.00 per child
Tel: 01473 604206
Website: jimmysfarm.com

Mid Essex 2017

Santa in the Woods at Hanningfield Reservoir Visitor Centre
Hawkswood Road, Downham, CM11 1WT
Date: 9th, 10th, 16th & 17th Dec 2017
A trail will guide you through the wintry woods to find Santa in his woodland grotto with a Christmas gift for you!  Christmas craft activity in the Visitor Centre.  Allotted time slots. Booking essential. Phone 01268 711001.
Price:£10 per child includes present and craft activity.
Times: 10.00am-3.00pm
Email: hanningfield@essexwt.org.uk
Website: www.essexwt.org.uk

Museum of Power Santa Special
Hatfield Road, Langford, Maldon, CM9 6QA
Dates: 10 December 2017
Enjoy a miniture steam train ride, take a visit to see Santa in his Grotto, enjoy our seasonal refreshments and browse our Christmas market. Tickets must be pre-booked from Maldon Tourist Information Centre (phone number below).
Tel: 01621 856503
Times: 10.00am-4.00pm
Price: £8.00 per child (includes gift for 12 year olds & under)
Website: www.museumofpower.org.uk

Visit Santa at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome
Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome, Hackmans Lane, Purleigh, Near Maldon, Essex , CM3 6RN
Dates: 10, 16, 17 and 23 December 2017
This Christmas visit Father Christmas at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome. Feed Santa’s Reindeers and have your picture taken in his sleigh. Decorate a gingerbread man and make a snow globe. Meet Father Christmas and choose your own gift from his shop.
Times: 11.00am to approx. 2.00pm
Price: £25 per child, £5 per adult which includes a hot drink. Choose your own gift from a great selection in Mother Christmas’ toy shop.
Email: info@stowmaries.org.uk
Tel: 01245 329358
Website: www.stowmaries.org.uk

Pop-up Grotto Experience at Bond Street, Chelmsford
36 Bond Street, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1GH (Next door to John Lewis)
Dates: 2/3, 9/10, and 16 to 24 December 2017
This December, the Grotto will be themed around a walk through Christmas Grotto experience which takes you into a magical Gingerbread house. The experience lasts approx. half hour and includes a children’s activity, some private time with your family and Father Christmas, a gift, a bonus surprise and the opportunity to purchase a photo of your family and Father Christmas as a souvenir.
Time: Various times
Price: From £10.00 per child, tickets allow 2 adults for free per family.
Contact: Online form
Website: www.frostchristmas.com

Father Christmas at Cressing Temple
Witham Rd, Braintree, CM77 8PD
Dates: 2/3, 9/10, 16/17, 21, 22, 23 December 2017
Join Cressing Temple Barns for a magical elf-led tour around Santa’s busy Christmas base.Choose your own gift from the toy shop. Booking essential – this can be done on the website.
Times: 10am-6pm (timeslots must be pre booked)
Price: £14.95 per child including a prize and one adult ticket. £3 per adults (max. 2 per child)
Website: www.visitparks.co.uk/events

Breakfast or Tea with Father Christmas at Wyevale Garden CentresSELLING FAST!
Cressing Road, Braintree, CM77 8DH
Dates: Various dates between 25 November and 23rd December 2017
Enjoy a meal with Father Christmas! Plus a special present, biscuit decorating, and fun festive activities.
Times: Various
Price: Meals cost between £4.50 and £10.00
Website: www.wyevalegardencentres.co.uk

Reindeer Trail at Great Notley Country Park SOLD OUT!
Braintree, CM77 7FS
Dates: 9 & 10 December 2017
Age UK Essex are looking for children to help Santa find his missing reindeers before Christmas Eve so he can deliver all his presents across Essex! Children will be treated to a festive story from one of our volunteers before they set out to find our missing reindeer who are hiding in Great Notley Park. As a thank you for helping Santa, each child will be rewarded with a treat.
Times: 10.00am-2.30pm (timeslots must be pre booked)
Price: £4 per child and children under 1 and adults go free.
Website: www.eventbrite.co.uk

Father Christmas Experience at Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park
Marsh Farm Road, South Woodham Ferrers, Chelmsford, CM3 5WP
Dates: 18/19, 25/16 November, 2/3, 9/10, 16/17, 20-24 December 2017
We’ve added even more magic and more surprises to The Father Christmas Experience at Marsh Farm this year.  Our elves, Father Christmas and all his family and friends look forward to sharing an awe-inspiring experience with you. Annual Pass Holders and disabled guests with accompanying carers please call 08450 345 123 to book.
Times: Various
Price: £22.95-£49.95 per child; £12.00-£19.95 per additional adult; Under 1’s (observers) free.
Website: www.marshfarm.co.uk/events/father-christmas

Santa at South Woodham Ferriers Christmas Fayre
South Woodham Ferrers Town
Dates: Saturday 18 Nov 2017
Christmas Fayre being held on Saturday 18 November, 3pm to 6pm along with Holy Trinity Church bazaar, the Library open for activities and stalls and attractions in Market Square. Stages in both Trinity Square and at the Bandstand. Live music, food, drink and Santa’s Grotto.
Times: Various
Price: Further information from the Town Council 01245 429443.
Websitewww.southwoodhamferrerstc.gov.uk

Santa at Hyde Hall Christmas Shopping Evening
RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Creephedge Lane, Rettendon
Date: 16 November 2017
Get into the spirit of Christmas at RHS Garden Hyde Hall with their annual shopping event. With 20% off in the Shop and Plant Centre it’s the perfect opportunity to get started on your Christmas shopping! As well as the discount in the RHS shop they’ll have a wonderful selection of gifts on offer at the Christmas Market featuring approximately 40 local makers. Mulled wine & warm cider will keep you toasty while you shop, they’ll have a choir to entertain you and the kids can meet Santa too.
Time: 5.00pm – 9.00pm
Price: Free entry.
Website: www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/hyde-hall

Children’s Magic of Christmas at Hyde Hall
RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Creephedge Lane, Rettendon
Date: 1-3 & 8-10 December 2017
Celebrate the magical festive season with Hyde Hall. Be enchanted by a wonderful Christmas story, get creative and make your very own decorations, and you can even meet Santa and his elf! New for this year there’s also have an incredible pop up planetarium where children can see images of the planets and stars, and learn all about our winter skies. Booking essential – call 020 31765830.
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Price: Normal garden admission applies (members free), plus £6 per child to meet Santa
Website: www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/hyde-hall

Santa Specials at Epping Ongar Railway
Epping Ongar Railway, Ongar Station, Station Approach, Ongar, CM5 9BN
Dates: 2/3, 9/10, 16/17, 21-24 December 2017
Bring the family to see Santa on his special train with the fantastically festive Epping Ongar Railway Santa Specials! All children will receive a present from Santa, and adults can enjoy a free drink and Christmas treat.
Times: Various (see website for details)
Price: £17.50; Children under 18 months with no seat or gift go free.
Email: enquiries@eorailway.co.uk
Website: eorailway.co.uk

Mince Pie Specials at Epping Ongar Railway
Epping Ongar Railway, Ongar Station, Station Approach, Ongar, CM5 9BN
Dates: 27-31 December 2017
Get away from the repeats on TV and bring the family to the Epping Ongar Railway for a great day out with the family. Every adult receives a complimentary mince pie! What’s not to like. Tickets on sale soon!
Times: Various (see website for details)
Price: TBC
Email: enquiries@eorailway.co.uk
Website: eorailway.co.uk

Grotto at Wintasia, Saffron Walden
The Common, Ashdon Rd, Saffron Walden CB10 1JH
Dates: 8th, 9th, 10th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 21st, 22nd December 2017
Pre-book to visit Father Christmas in his tipi grotto if you want to avoid queuing; though walk-ins are of course welcome. All child tickets include a gift. With ice-skating, marshmallow toasting and hot chocolate available, there’s plenty to keep busy with. Plus hot mulled-cider from our Avalanche Bar for Mums and Dads, because it’s Christmas for them too! To book just email hello@wintasia.co.uk with your chosen date and time, plus names to be put on the Nice List.
Times: 12.00pm-5.00pm
Price: Tickets are £8 per child with free entry for one grown-up per child (£2 for each additional adult).
Email: hello@wintasia.co.uk
Website: wintasia.co.uk

 

 

West Essex / South Essex 2017

 

Free Christmas Grotto at Chicken and Frog Bookshop
7 Ongar Road, Brentwood, CM15 9AT
Date 25 November 2017
It’s the Brentwood Light Up! Meet Mrs Claus in her special grotto. There’s a free gift for all children who visit Mrs Claus while stocks last.
Times: 1.00pm-3.30pm
Price: FREE
Email: events@chickenandfrog.co.uk
Website: chickenandfrog.com

Breakfast or Tea with Father Christmas at Wyevale Garden Centres SELLING FAST!
Langford Bridge, Ongar Road, Brentwood, CM15 0LB
Dates: Various dates from 2 to 23 December 2017
Enjoy a meal with Father Christmas! Plus a special present, biscuit decorating, and fun festive activities.
Times: Various
Price: Meals cost between £4.50 and £10.00
Website: www.wyevalegardencentres.co.uk

Santa Express at Barnards Miniature Railway SOLD OUT
Barnards Farm, Brentwood Road, West Horndon, CM13 3LX
Dates: 2/3 & 9/10 December 2017
Father Christmas will again be visiting the BMR and handing out presents to good girls and boys. Good Mums and Dads get refreshments in the barn. Book online at santaexpress.eu from October 14th.
Times: Various (see website for details)
Price: TBC
Website: www.barnardsminiaturerailway.eu

Christmas at Barleylands Farm SOLD OUT
Barleylands Road, Billericay, CM11 2UD
Dates: 2/3, 9/10, 16/17, & 20-24 December 2017
Meet Father Christmas and his elves as the man in red takes time out of his busy schedule to meet you and your little ones.  We have two ticket packages to choose from, on selected dates throughout December. Our tickets sell fast so please book early to avoid disappointment!
Price: Either £14.95 or £19.95 for children (over 2 years), plus one adult; additional adults £6.50 adults.
Times: Various (see website for details)
Tel:
01268 290218
Email: farmcentre@barleylands.co.uk
Website: www.barleylands.co.uk

Santa’s Grotto – The Party Kingdom at Props and Frocks
Unit 1 Rectory Lane, Battlesbridge, Wickford, Essex SS11 7QR
Dates: Various dates throughout December 2017
Snowman Experience – Open to all ages,but especially good for younger children, or those who will not enjoy doing arts and crafts, this package includes a trip to the Winter Wonderland to play with the elves, and have a snowball fight and, a personal visit to see Father Christmas in his house. This experience will last around 15 minutes.
Elf Experience – The fabulous Elf package starts with a Panto style, Christmas themed show with Father Christmas and his elves. Each child will get a personal present from Santa. Once the show is over, elves will take small groups of children and have fun making Christmas themed arts & crafts. Each group will then have a fabulous snowball fight in the Winter Wonderland with the naughty elves. Plus much more. This experience will last around 1 hour.
Times: Various (see website for details)
Price: Snowman Experience – £15.00 per child; Elf Experience – £28.50 per child. Tickets included up to two free adults.
Website: thepartykingdom.co.uk

Santa at Alton Garden Centre
Arterial Road (A127), Wickford, SS12 9JG
Dates: 11th November to 24th December 2017
Whether marking a child’s first Christmas or honouring a family tradition, a visit to Altons Christmas Grotto is the perfect way to start the festive season, as well as an opportunity to make special memories that will be remembered forever.
Times: See website
Price: £6.00 on Nov dates; £8.00 on Dec weekday dates; £10.00 on Dec weekends and 16 to 24 Dec
Website: www.alton-gardencentre.co.uk

Breakfast Workshop with the Elves at Meadow Croft Garden Centre
Woodham Rd, Battlesbridge, Wickford, SS11 7QU
Dates: Sunday 3, 10 & 17 December 2017
Whether marking a child’s first Christmas or honouring a family tradition, a visit to Altons Christmas Grotto is the perfect way to start the festive season, as well as an opportunity to make special memories that will be remembered forever.
Times: 9.00am-10.00am
Price: £10.99 per ticket (on sale from Fri 27th Oct at 9.00am)
Website: www.meadow-croft.co.uk

Breakfast or Tea with Father Christmas at Wyevale Garden CentresSELLING FAST!
Nags Head Lane, Upminster Common, RM14 1TS
Dates: Various dates in December 2017
Enjoy a meal with Father Christmas! Plus a special present, biscuit decorating, and fun festive activities.
Times: Various
Price: Meals cost between £4.50 and £10.00
Website: www.wyevalegardencentres.co.uk

Adventure Wonderland at Adventure Island, Southend
Western Esplanade, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 1EE
Dates: 25/26 November and 2/3 & 9-24 December 2017
It is a unique Christmas experience that you will never forget! You will have full access to Adventure Inside, including the rides and soft play area, as well as some additional Christmas themed rides. For the first time ever you will also get to enjoy a Christmassy ride on Rage. Not forgetting you also have the opportunity to meet Santa himself!
Prices: £25.00 for non-pass holders, £20 for Sealife pass holders, £15 for Adventure Island pass holders. One adult goes free, small charge for additional adults.
Website: adventureisland.co.uk

See Santa at Sea-Life
Sea-Life Adventure, Eastern Esplanade, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 2ER
Dates: December 2017 (check dates with venue)
See Santa for FREE at SeaLife Adventure! After you have seen Santa why not make the trip extra special and visit the aquarium.
Times: 11am to 5pm
Price: FREE
Website: www.sealifeadventure.co.uk

Santa at Belfairs Woodland Centre
Eastwood Road North, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, SS9 3SH
Dates: 16th, 17th, 18th, 21st-24th Dec 2017
Come and meet Santa at Belfairs Woodland Centre. A Gap has arisen in Santa’s busy Christmas schedule and he’s kindly agreed to visit Belfairs in December! Good little children will join us for an hour of Christmas crafts and get to meet Santa himself, who will give out presents to all the boys and girls. There are several sessions throughout the day – ring the Centre for availablity. CHILDREN MUST BE ACCOMPANIED. BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL. Booking opens Tuesday 3rd October at 09:00.
Times: Various
Price: £10 per child
Tel: 01702 477467
Website: www.essexwt.org.uk/reserves/belfairs

Collier Row Victorian Christmas Event
Collier Row Town Centre
Date: 1 December 2017
TBC
Time: 4.00pm to 8.00pm
Website: www.facebook.com/events

Santa’s Grotto at Romford Shopping Hall
43 Market Place, Romford, RM1 3AB
Dates: Every Saturday and Sunday from 18 November until 24 December 2017 (closing at 1pm on Christmas Eve)
This fabulous grotto includes a present from the Big Man himself. You may take as many FREE photos on your phone as you like! Santa looks fantastic – simply magical!
Times: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Price: £6 per child and £1 will go to the Collier Row 2nd Scouts
Website: www.facebook.com/events

Santa’s Workshop Weekend
Wellgate Community Farm, Collier Row Road, Romford RM5 2BH
Date: 9 December 2017
Each child will receive an Elves passport to be completed on their travels around the farm and it’s festive task stations. What’s included: Elves passport activity booklet; Dress as a reindeer become your very own Rudolph; Make your own Christmas bauble; Decorate a gingerbread man; Pony and cart ride; Visit Santa’s grotto and receive a gift
For more information contact the farm directly on 01708 747850 or info@wellgatefarm.org
Time: 4.00pm to 8.00pm
Price: £15 per child (under 16)
Website: www.facebook.com/events

Santa Specials at Audley End Miniature Railway SOLD OUT
Audley End Road, Saffron Walden, CB11 4JB
Dates: 25/26 Nov, 2/3, 9/10, 16-24th December 2017
Enjoy a magical family day out at the Audley End Miniature Railway this Christmas! Take our Santa Express deep into the woods of the Audley End Estate where you will arrive at Father Christmas’s Winter Wonderland! You will meet the big man himself, along with his VERY cheeky Elves, receive a special gift and also watch a crazy Christmas Dance! Included in the ticket price: Train ride to meet Father Christmas, Gift for every Child, Letter Writing, Face Painting, Story Telling, Craft Making and our Dance Tent
Times: Trains run from 11.00am – 4.40pm
Price: From £10.00 per person; under 2’s travel free
Tel: 01799 542134
Website: audley-end-railway.co.uk

Audience with Santa at Audley End 
Audley End Road, Saffron Walden, CB11 4JB
Dates: 25/26 Nov, 2/3, 9/10, 16-17 & 23 December 2017
Join in the festive fun with the man himself at Audley End this Christmas. Meet Father Christmas as he tells tales of Christmas past amidst the yuletide decorations. Lucky visitors will even get a festive treat! Additional charge of £4 applies to see Father Christmas for all children aged 0+ (subject to availability). Small present included. Pre-booking essential.
Times: 10.30am, 11am, 11.30am, 12noon, 12.30pm, 1.30pm, 2pm, 2.30pm and 3pm
Price: £4 per child to see Santa, plus entry fee – £10.90 adult, £10.50 child 5-15 years, £9.80 cons, £28.30 family ticket, English Heritage Members FREE
Tel: 01799 522842
Website: www.english-heritage.org.uk