Wondering where you can see Father Christmas this year? Then this 2023 guide to “Santa Grottos Bristol and Nearby” has you covered! There have already been sightings of Father Christmas in Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset & North Somerset. And they’re all included here!
I’ve tracked down some fun free Santa events for Christmas 2023, as well as more unusual ways to meet up with the big man in red. Looking to Sail with Santa around the harbour or hop onto a Santa train near Bristol? Then read on as it’s all in our guide, along with tips, discounts, accessibility info and details of how to book grotto tickets. Of course, I’m also sharing details of exactly where to find Santa this Christmas!
I’ve split the guide into areas to make it easier to navigate. Directly below you’ll find Santa grottos in Bristol.
WHERE CAN I SEE SANTA IN BRISTOL?
FESTIVE FABLES WITH FATHER CHRISTMAS
Father Christmas at Bristol Zoo Project
2nd to 23rd December 2023
Join Father Christmas and his forest friends, Deer Darlington and Squirrel Nutkins, for fun festive fables in their cosy, festively decorated tipi, sitting at the end of a charming woodland.
The green-robed Father Christmas will share stories filled with messages of kindness and compassion for the natural world, including the story of the humble tree, and how a special wish enabled it to become the Christmas tree we all now love so much.
When? The free, drop-in story sessions with Father Christmas run on 2nd, 3rd, 9th, and 10th December, and from 16th to 23rd December (inclusive), between 10.30 am and 3.30 pm.
Address: Bristol Zoo Project, Blackhorse Hill, Bristol BS10 7TP
Cost: Father Christmas storytelling sessions are included with zoo admission.
Booking: No need to book the drop-in sessions
Discounts & Tips: You can get a 10% discount off Bristol Zoo Project admission tickets if you book at least a day before you visit.
SAIL WITH SANTA IN BRISTOL
Bristol Ferry Boats, Bristol Harbour
Selected dates until 23rd December 2023
Enjoy a 45-minute cruise of the Bristol Harbour along with the elves. Join the hunt for Santa on the dockside and once you’ve found him, he’ll board the ferry.
Included in the tour are festive snacks, a gift for each child and sherry for the adults. There will also be a photo opportunity with Santa.
When? 9th, 10th and 16th – 23rd December 2023
Where? Meet at The Cascade Steps on Bristol’s centre
Cost: £20 per person.
Booking: Bookable in advance.
Accessibility: Unfortunately this trip won’t be suitable for wheelchair users unless you are able to get out of your chair.
Discounts & Tips: Babies up to 12 months old travel free (no gift included).
SANTA’S GROTTO AT JOHN LEWIS
The Mall Cribbs Causeway, Bristol
Various Dates until 24th December
Work your way through our interactive grotto experience and crack the code to meet Santa.
- Children will receive a soft plush toy worth £10.
- There will be other families completing the mission at the same time, however the opportunity to meet Santa will be for your family only.
- You’ll have the opportunity to have a professional photo taken with Santa. (Photo gifts will be available to purchase at an additional cost)
- The grotto experience will last around 10 minutes.
Where? Santa’s grotto is located in the Basement next to the Toys & Furniture Department at
John Lewis, The Mall, Cribbs Causeway, Patchway, Bristol BS34 5QU
Child ticket (£20 + £2 booking fee)
Adult ticket (£2 + 20p booking fee)
Booking: Book On-line
Accessibility: Relaxed sessions are available for anyone who might benefit from them, including disabled, neurodiverse or sensory-sensitive children.
Discounts & Tips: Babies under 12 months who are accompanying a paying sibling and do not need a gift are welcome free of charge and do not require a ticket.
“OLD FATHER CHRISTMAS” AT THE VICTORIAN WEEKEND
Once again Brunel’s SS Great Britain is hosting its popular Victorian Christmas weekends this December. Step back in time as the dockyard is transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with nineteenth-century characters, carols, mince pies and guaranteed falling snow!
Make sure you catch up with Old Father Christmas who will be sporting his traditional green robes to meet his visitors.
While you’re there, hop aboard Bristol’s famous ship to experience festive life on board. Remember to talk to the Victorian guides who are sure to have some tales to tell about life at sea!
Entry to SS Great Britain’s Victorian Christmas Weekends is included in the cost of general admission tickets or memberships.
The festive celebrations will take place over two weekends in December:
2nd – 3rd December
9th – 10th December
** Extended hours **
SS Great Britain is extending its opening hours from 10 am until 5:30 pm on these dates to allow you to enjoy a Victorian Christmas by night.
The SS Great Britain is within a historic site with uneven cobblestones and buildings with narrow corridors and doorways, however, a wide range of accessible measures have been put into place.
Accessibility measures include but are not limited to:
- A tactile model of the ship for blind or partially sighted visitors
- Free use of special wheelchairs (as standard wheelchairs won’t fit in some areas)
- Calm sensory sessions
- Free tickets for companions and assistants of disabled visitors
- Alternative entrances and walkways to avoid uneven surfaces
For full information, visit their ‘Access for all’ page.
WHERE TO FIND SANTA IN SOMERSET
SANTA AT AVON VALLEY CHRISTMAS EXPERIENCE
Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park
Selected dates 2nd to 24th December 2023
THE SANTA SHOW
NEW Show for 2023! When Santa is in town you’re in for a BIG surprise so have your wishes at the ready and join us for a family show jam-packed with festive fun and full to the brim with mince pies and mischief.
After the show follow the tree-lined route to Santa’s beautiful cabin where he will present you with a ‘golden ticket’ to choose your own gift from the toy factory.
Select the time you would like to see the Santa Show and enjoy a full festive day in the park.
Visit Santa in his beautifully decorated wooden cabin to get your ‘golden ticket’ to take to the toy factory!
There will be the opportunity to have a professional family photograph taken (additional charge).
SANTA’S TOY FACTORY
Santa has given you permission to visit his Toy Factory and with a golden ticket every child ticket holder can choose their own gift.
SANTA’S POST ROOM
The Post Room will be open for you to post your letter to Santa and you can use the Avon Valley SMS (Santa Messaging Service) to send any last-minute requests.
Where? Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park in Keynsham, Bristol
Cost: Santa visit is included in the Avon Valley Christmas Experience Day Ticket
When? 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th December 2023
Discounts & Tips: Book on-line in advance to avoid a £5 per ticket surcharge
FATHER CHRISTMAS IN NORTH SOMERSET
SANTA & THE GRINCH’S GROTTO ON THE PIER
Meet Santa or The Grinch at The Grand Pier this Christmas!
Join The Grand Pier on a magical adventure to Santa or The Grinch’s Grotto where you can meet Santa’s trusty elves or the Grinch’s mischievous elves!
As you step through the twinkling entrance with your mixed group of other girls and boys eagerly awaiting to meet Santa Claus, you’ll find yourself in the enchanted Toy Shop.
The grotto experience lasts approximately ten minutes.
FATHER CHRISTMAS EXPERIENCE
Much more than a usual grotto, Father Christmas at Ashton Court Mansion is a magical experience held in the beautiful Victorian Manor house, with city views from its grounds. With professional actors in the historic mansion, Father Christmas will make an entrance that will surprise and delight children in this magical experience, topped off with a gift from Santa, too.
Where? Ashton Court Mansion & Estate, Long Ashton, Bristol BS41 9JN
Booking: Online booking available
SANTA’S GROTTO & MAGICAL CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND
Step into a world of pure Christmas magic with Puxton’s Enchanting Christmas Wonderland. Join us for a day filled with wonder and joy, featuring four enchanting attractions that will captivate the hearts of the entire family.
Gingerbread Decorating with Mrs. Claus – Create delectable memories and take home your very own gingerbread masterpiece!
Santa’s Grotto – Experience a private, heart-warming encounter with Father Christmas himself, and receive a special gift to cherish forever!
Christmas Tree Village with a Wish Granting Tree – Wander through a forest of glistening Christmas trees, where dreams come true beneath the enchanting Wish-Granting Tree!
Elves’ Workshop – Peek behind the scenes at the Elves’ Workshop and craft a holiday treat that will shimmer with festive delight!
Where? Puxton Park, Cowslip Lane Hewish, BS24 6AH
When? Weekend dates from 2 – 24th Dec 2023
Cost: £5.95 per person plus park admission fee
Booking: Online booking available
Accessibility: We are committed to providing an enjoyable and safe visit for all our guests. Please visit the reception desk for further information or assistance throughout your visit or call 01934 523500.
Puxton Park offers wide level pathways throughout making the park easily accessible for wheelchair users. parking spaces reserved for Blue Badge holders closer to the entrance and flat easy access to the park and all indoor areas.
PORTISHEAD’S CHRISTMAS FAIR
Gordano School, St Mary’s Lane, Portishead, BS20 7QR
Sat 2nd December 2023 – 10am to 3pm
Christmas market stalls from local small businesses including arts, crafts, books and cakes.
Meet with Ana and Elsa from Frozen.
Meet Santa and his head elf, ‘Jingles’. Receive a ‘nice list’ certificate and a letter from Santa.
Cost: Visiting Santa is £5 per child. Meeting with Ana and Elsa is £5 per child.
Entry to the market is free.
MEET SANTA AT THE PUB IN PORTISHEAD!
Poacher Pub in Portishead High Street
Sun 10th December 2023 – 2 until 6pm
A Posset Christmas Market (formally known as Portishead Victorian Evening and Craft Fayre) is one of Portishead’s biggest events. We will have an array of stalls which will include gifts, food and drink and charity stalls. A fun fair will also be present for all to enjoy.
Cost: Visiting Father Christmas is free of charge. Donations welcome.
SANTA IN GLOUCESTERSHIRE
Visit Santa at Old Down COUNTRY PARK
Old Down Estate, South Gloucestershire, Bristol
18th – 24th December 2023
Come along to see Santa’s Grotto, meet and greet with Santa and receive your own magical gift chosen by Santa himself just for you!
Children’s ticket includes
- Meeting with Santa in his magically decorated Grotto
- Gift Bag from Santa
- Family Photographs with Santa
- Country Park Entry for the day of your booking
Day tickets also include day entry for Old Down Country Park, so you can explore the Park before your festive meeting with Santa.
Where? Old Down Estate, Foxholes Lane, Tockington, Bristol, BS32 4PG
Cost: Non-members – Children’s Ticket £19.50, Adult £15
Booking: Book on-line
Keep an eye out for the #merrybristmas hashtag for more information about Christmas festivities in and around Bristol.
Are you going to see Santa this Christmas? Which is your favourite grotto?
HAPPY CHRISTMAS 2023!
Always check with the organiser before you travel as times and prices may be subject to change or error.