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Kent: Santa's grottos across Kent to take the kids from Canterbury to Margate and Medway to Bluewater

By Angela Cole

Santa will be safely in his grotto across Kent to meet expectant youngsters this festive season. Here's where your little ones can see him at attractions across the county


A Magical Medieval Christmas sees Father Christmas transported back in time to the Middle Ages on Saturday, December 16 and Sunday, December 17. Families are invited to embark on a time travelling adventure to save Santa through the streets of the medieval attraction with songs, games and dressing up – and finishing with a visit to Santa’s grotto and a gift for each child. Visit canterburytales.org.uk

The Canterbury Tales stages a Magical Medieval Christmas this year
The Canterbury Tales stages a Magical Medieval Christmas this year


Christmas magic comes to Howletts until Saturday, December 23m with times slots to meet Santa and his elves and special gifts for children every half hour from 10am until 4pm. The magic will be on offer on weekends and from Thursday, December 21 to Saturday, December 23. Entry to the grotto is £10 per child, including a special gift and free admission for adults. To book visit aspinallfoundation.org/howletts/whats-on/santas-grotto/

Head to Howletts near Canterbury to meet Santa this Christmas
Head to Howletts near Canterbury to meet Santa this Christmas


Young visitors can book to visit Father Christmas in his Grotto and those who haven’t can meet him in drop-in sessions in the toy workshop on Saturday, December 16 and Sunday, December 17, and from Thursday, December 21 to Saturday, December 23. Kids will have the opportunity to visit him on a first come first served basis and will receive a gift. Tickets cost £8 and can be bought on the day. For details go to hevercastle.co.uk/whats-on


Santa’s in situ in his grotto at the Tunbridge Wells shopping centre every day until 4pm on Christmas Eve, on level 1 opposite M&S. The centre is open from 10.30am. Book in advance at royalvictoriaplace.com While at the centre, have your photo or selfie taken with the biggest Teddy in Tunbridge Wells in aid of ellenor, which provides specialist children’s hospice care, on level 2 between French Connection and Ernest Jones. Teddy will be there every day until 4.30pm on Christmas Eve. More at ellenor.org/childrens-hospice-care.


Father Christmas will be in his grotto until Christmas Eve. The traditional grotto features characters including penguins and will be open daily, costing £5 per child, to include a wrapped gift. Children can also post letters to Santa in the big red post box and collect their free personalised reply back from the grotto elves. You need to include a stamped, self-addressed envelope if you would like your reply to be posted. Please allow a week to have a reply from the grotto elves. The last posting date is Wednesday, December 20.

Santa will be in his grotto across Kent
Santa will be in his grotto across Kent


Christmas arrived early at the shopping entre, and Santa will be in his grotto, located by the lakes at the West Village until Christmas Eve. Treat your little ones to a grotto experience starting with a warm welcome from Mr Crumb the Christmas Chef who needs help to make a gingerbread man. The little elves continue on to Mrs Claus’ craft room where they can enjoy creating a tree decoration, before meeting Santa and come away with a gift to take home. Child entry is from £10. You can also leave a gift at the Giving Tree while you’re there. Book at visit bluewater.co.uk.

Father Christmas
Father Christmas


Father Christmas and his elves return to Bewl Water on Saturday, December 9 and Sunday, December 10, Saturday, December 16 and Sunday, December 17 and from Thursday, December 21 to Christmas Eve. As well as meeting Father Christmas in his waterside grotto, youngsters will have the chance to embark on a treasure hunt aboard the Santa Express land train to help the resident elves find their missing Christmas items. The Waterfront Café will also be open for warming drinks and snacks. Tickets cost £16 per child, including a gift from Father Christmas, and £8 per adult. You must book via bewlwater.co.uk/whats-on.

Santa will be at Bewl Water, Lamberhurst
Santa will be at Bewl Water, Lamberhurst


As part of the Frosted Fairground activities, there is a Father Christmas’ Grotto Experience. On top of the ice rink which is open from Friday, December 1, there will be Santa’s grotto. With elves, crafts and a sing-along with Father Christmas himself all topped off with a gift for each child, tickets are available from dreamland.co.uk/events The park will open on the first two weekends in December, then everyday from Saturday, December 16 until Wednesday, January 3, but is closed on Christmas Day.

Meet Father Christmas's elves at Dreamland, Margate
Meet Father Christmas's elves at Dreamland, Margate


At the Rare Breeds Centre near Ashford, Santa’s elves are ready to welcome visitors until Saturday, December 23 there will be a Magical Christmas at centre in Woodchurch. Santa and his elves will be there at weekends, along with the Naughty Snowman, a 40-minute entertainment show, at the end of which each child meets Santa and can come away with a present, and photos. Sessions with Santa are at 10.30 am, 11.15 am, noon, 1.30 pm, 2.15 pm 3pm. To book call 01233 861508 or visit rarebreeds.org.uk

Father Christmas
Father Christmas

* Santa's grottos at some major Kent attractions have already sold out this season.

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