Ten of the best: Where to see Santa this Christmas in museums and galleries

| 22 November 2013

Discover the best places to see Santa this year with our top ten places to meet him in museums and galleries

A photo of a man in a father Christmas outfit waving while standing inside a grotto
Join Santa's Nice List at Seven Stories this festive season© Seven Stories, National Centre for Children’s Books
The Christmas build-up is well and truly on - but you can get ahead of the game by booking a visit to see Santa's at a museum or heritage site with this top ten taster - and there's more Santa event links at the bottom.

Waterfront Museum, Swansea, November 30, December 1 and 13

Stories with Santa, create a Christmas card, try festive arts and singing, meet a load of magical elves and encounter owls (November 30 and December 1) from the Welsh Hawking Centre. Hoot hoot.

Kew Gardens, London, late November – December 23

Located within a Christmas village at the haven of Kew, the Gardens’ Woodland grotto includes a gift for each visiting nipper.

Abbey House Museum, Leeds, November 30, Saturdays and Sundays during December except December 15

Crafts, music and fun down the paths of Abbey House’s Victorian streets, leading to the season’s patriarchal gift-giver in his grotto.

Santa at the Museum, Weston Park, Sheffield, Friday-Sunday November 30 – December 22 and December 23-24

In a chilly sidestep for the resident displays, Weston Park’s Arctic World gallery becomes Santa’s North Pole. Local newspaper the Sheffield Star voted this the Best Grotto in Sheffield last year.

Lady Lever Art Gallery, Liverpool, December 1

Drop-in sessions at which his bearded highness will draw pictures for visitors. During the rest of December, write a letter to Santa and post it with the help of George the penguin every afternoon.

The Rural Life Centre, Tilford, December 7-8 and 14-15

Advance booking is now a necessity thanks to the popularity of these Santa Specials. There’s a ride through woods on the Old Kiln Light Railway, a visit to a gnomes’ toy workshop, various animals waiting to nuzzle your festive face, a model railway display, seasonal music and a playground.

Gloucester Waterways Museum, Gloucester, December 7-8 and 14-24

Santa Cruises aboard the King Arthur pleasure boat, with personalised gifts for the bairns and – winningly – a hot drink and a mince pie for adults. Advance booking advised.
Black Country Living Museum, Dudley November 23 - December 24

The brilliant Black Country industrial museum is inviting kids to join in a fun-filled search for Santa with costumed guides and magical Christmas clues pointing the way to Santa's workshop leading to a Christmas surprise gift.

Seven Stories, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, until December 23

The National Centre for Childrens Books is offering to add people to the nice list – and give them a gift – if they visit this Geordie portal to yuletide cheer. Stories and games are in the company of elves.

Almond Valley Heritage Centre, Livingstone November 30 - December 24

A traditional Christmas and a very jolly old Santa is promised at this innovative museum packed full of things to prod, sniff, shake and discover. From his farmyard cottage old Claus will be handing out early Christmas presents, you can then meet the animals in a special winter scene

More Santa listings on Culture24 (launches in a new window).

You might also like:

The Culture24 guide to the best outdoor ice rinks for winter 2013


  • 1 mile
  • 2 miles
  • 3 miles
  • 4 miles
  • 5 miles
  • 10 miles
  • 20 miles
  • 50 miles
  • Any time
  • Today
  • This week
  • This month
  • This year