Santa is a very busy man this year and is setting up grottos all over Essex so that every good boy and girl has the chance to make a personal request and receive a toy for Christmas. While this list does not cover all Santa Grottos, it does provide details for the best ones that we have discovered. If you know of others please leave a comment and we will update the list.
Braintree Museum - Christmas Extravaganza
On 8th and 15th December Santa will be at Braintree Museum. There is also a Christmas on Saturday 15th December.
- Manor Street, Braintree, CM7 3HW
- Tel: 01376 325 266
Colchester Zoo – The Magic of Christmas
November 24th & 25th, December 1st& 2nd, 8th & 9th, 15th & 16th, 19th to 24th 2012. The grotto is open 9.30am – 4.00pm.
“Meet Santa and his real, live reindeer, visit him in his enchanted grotto, enjoy the staff mini-pantomime plus even more festive fun!“
Every child visiting the zoo receives a present. Expect long queues. During the Magic of Christmas there are many other festive events such as a panto, watch as elves tend to the reindeer, Christmas songs with “Rocking with Rudolf”, Elf Tales at the Kalahair Theatre and other stories and displays.
On Sunday 2nd December 2012, Mother Christmas will be in the grotto!
- Colchester Zoo, Maldon Road, Stanway, Colchester, Essex, CO3 0SL.
- Tel 01206 331292
Epping Ongar Railways Santa Special Trains
On Saturday 8th, Sunday 9th, Saturday 15th, Sunday 16th, Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd December 2012 Santa is coming to the Epping Ongar line to hear Christmas wishes on the trains and to give all the good girls and boys a present. Mince pies and mulled wine for the parents too!
Take a train ride to the North Pole, meet Santa and enjoy a festive winderland. Journeys start from the 1865 Grade II listed Ongar Station, pass through countryside to the North Pole where the train stops for around 20 minutes. Booking is essential.
- Epping Ongar Railway, Ongar Station, Station Approach, Ongar, Essex CM5 9BN
- Web: http://eorailway.co.uk/extras/santa-specials/
- Tel: 01229 717 966
Hylands House – Chelmsford
The extremely popular Hylands House grotto is back on Sunday 2nd December. From 11am to 6pm. £5 per child. Arrive early and be prepared to queue outside in the rain or snow. On the same day there is also Festive carriage rides and a Christmas Shopping Fair with stalls at the Stables Visitor Centre, market area and within the house.
- Hylands Park, London Road, Chelmsford, CM2 8WQ
Santa’s Grotto at Altons
Alton’s garden centre will host Santa every day from Saturday 17th November until Monday 24th Dec 2012. There will be a winder wonderland to explore. Each child will receive a gift and a sampling tree to plant in their garden. It is possible to pre-book your visit through their website. Until 16th December the grotto is open until 7pm on Monday – Friday.
- Alton Garden Centre, Arterial Road, Wickford Essex SS12 9JG
- Web: www.alton-gardencentre.co.uk/santas_grotto.php
Marsh Farm – South Woodham Ferrars
Every day in December until Christmas Eve (Sat, 1st December 2012 – Mon, 24 December 2012) the grotto is open from 10:00am until 4:0pm. £14.95 per child (£10 for March Farm members). Booking is essential. There will be elves, workshops and toy stores.
- Marsh Farm Rd, South Woodham Ferrers, Essex, CM3 5WP
- Tel: 01245 321552