Top 10 Places to Visit Father Christmas in The West Midlands.
National Sea Life Centre
A visit to the Sea Life Centre has always been a popular choice for our children, particularly when they were small. Little ones especially like the fact that so much of it is at their level and they can literally get ‘eye to eye’ with the colourful and quick creatures of the deep. The Sea Life is home to a family of penguins all year round however, at Christmas they provide hospitality for Father Christmas who is right at home in their icy cave. With a festive treat to eat and gift from Santa as well as a 4D showing of The Polar Express, this is a real festive treat for all the family.
What would Christmas be without chocolate! Living in the West Midlands, we are all well aware our proximity to Bournville and the home of chocolate itself. However, a visit at Christmas offers something a little different. Tickets include entry to Father Christmas as well as a Pantomime Performance and a gift for the children. You also, of course, get the chance to see how chocolate is made and taste lots of treats along the way. Good luck resisting the shop at the end (although a great place to do a spot of Christmas shopping!).
The Snowdome, Staffordshire
The Snowdome offers a great day out and with all that snow, is an obvious choice for visiting Father Christmas! With real snow, real animals and an all new Winter Wonderland Show, this is a fantastic experience of all the family. Children get the chance to slide and play in real snow and walk through an enchanted forest, hitch a ride on a sledge and experience all real snow has to offer before they visit Father Christmas. There is also the option to watch from the promenade for little ones or those not too confident on the snow! After meeting the reindeer and watching the show, they finally get to visit Father Christmas in an exciting conclusion to their snowy adventure. https://www.snowdome.co.uk/santas-winter-wonderland/
Exotic Zoo, Telford
This one is a real local for us in Telford. Around 12 months ago, our local ‘Animal Man’ set up camp in an independent garden centre. Following acquisition of their Zoo License, the small Zoo has grown in size and stature over the past year and is now an excellent little day out. Father Christmas takes up residence in their Igloo and children encounter several real animals before meeting the man himself. With a chance to see some old favourites such as Little the Donkey and Dodger the horse along with some more exotic creatures such as Elsa and Rosie the snakes, the children get a fabulous experience and lots of opportunity for hands on too! There is a small café in the garden centre that serves excellent tea and cake and the children have a gift included in their Father Christmas visit too.
Santa Safari at Hawkstone Park and Follies
This is something we have yet to try but something that is on our list for next year! After arriving, checking in and warming up with a festive hot rink, you are whisked away in a 4×4 through an illuminated enchanted forest and under the ‘wishing arch’ to visit Father Christmas and his reindeer in a real, hillside grotto. The elves will then keep everyone entertained as you wind your way through beautifully decorated caverns and tunnels until you arrive at the magical grotto itself. A gift is included and there is also a restaurant on site if you fancy turning it into a longer adventure.
Santa Hunt at Black Country Living Museum
With 5 years between my children, I always try to find something that will appeal to both…This year, we are trying out the Santa Hunt at the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley. The museum in itself is a great day out so we have high hopes for an exciting experience! Families are encouraged to search for Father Christmas amongst the costumed guides, meeting some Christmassy Characters along the way. The challenge is to solve some enchanted clues, sprinkle some magic dust on reindeer shoes and send some letters up the chimney before encountering the man himself who will reward the travellers with a gift. We will let you know how we get on!
When our children were very small, this was our ‘go to’ place to visit Father Christmas. As National Trust members, we are regular visitors to Attingham and know the site well (check out our recent review of Attingham Park). The café has recently been refurnished and the food is wonderful. Their selection of homemade food (including cake!) never fails to please and they do a decent coffee! The house itself is decorated for Christmas in a traditional Victorian style and if you time it right, you can listen to carol singers too! The experience itself begins by doing some Christmas Craft to keep the little ones busy until you are called to knock on the wardrobe door and walk through the fur coats into a magical winter wonderland! You have a period of time with just your party and Father Christmas and this is often in a spacious room which makes it ideal for nervous little ones who are experiencing this for the first time. There is also a wonderful big playing field if you fancy braving the cold and letting the little ones let off steam! Another one that gets booked up quite quickly but if you are happy with weekday evening dates you may just get lucky!
You can read all about where to visit
Breakfast with Santa at Dobbies, Shrewsbury
There is nothing like breakfast with Santa to get you in the mood for Christmas. We have tried out a few local places and have come to the conclusion that for quality of breakfast, experience and the gift itself, our preferred venue is Dobbies in Shrewsbury. Dobbies operate nationally and booking is via their website so it is super easy to organise (I also found out this weekend that altering the date is a doddle as I booked the wrong date and need to change it, this was an instantaneous process which was very welcome!). You have a choice of vegetarian or traditional breakfast and there is also an option for a hot drink and breakfast sandwich for those who would like a lighter bite! The children’s breakfast consists of 4 items of their choice and my two never leave a scrap! Always a great way to start our Christmas Holidays each year and something we really look forward to.
Christmas Play at Theatre Severn
Each year, Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury put on a short Christmas Play in their Studio Theatre. It is a cosy environment and tiered seating makes it easy for all to see. There is also plenty of interaction which helps keep excitable little ones involved and attentive. Your ticket includes the festive themed play and then a gift and chance to meet Father Christmas at the end. This year’s play is called Santa’s Elves and the Shoemaker and we are all booked and ready to go, this is certainly forming part of our family Christmas Tradition!
The Polar Express
Our experience took place at Telford Steam Railway and without a doubt, this has to be the BEST Father Christmas experience we have had over the last few years! Booking tends to get filled up around 6 months before hand at The Telford Steam Railway but I did notice that other stations are coming on board (for example Moor Street in Birmingham who at the time of writing this, still had tickets available!). It all begins with the obligatory dressing in pyjamas and dressing gowns (with extra layers if it is cold!) and arrival at the station where you see part of the story played out by actors…As in the story, the train arrives with the Conductor who calls for anyone who wants to get aboard. If you have your ticket, you can get on the train! With hot chocolate and cookies served by dancing waiters and waitresses, the journey is exciting and festive and with a visit from Father Christmas who presents that all important bell, it was an experience that I think will stay with us forever!
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