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Best Santa Grottos Bristol and Nearby: Christmas 2023

Best Santa Grottos Bristol and Nearby featured image. A Father Christmas image has text over it saying, 'Where to see Santa in and around Bristol Christmas 2023"

Wondering where to see Father Christmas this year? Then my 2023 guide to the “Best Santa Grottos Bristol and Nearby” has you covered! There have already been sightings of Father Christmas in Bristol, North Somerset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire and they’re all included in this roundup. I’ve heard there may even be a Grinch in the area and let’s not forget the teams of elves, making toys in their secret workshops!

It’s almost impossible to keep costs down at Christmas, so I’m glad I’ve managed to find a few family-friendly free Santa events to include. You’ll also find unusual ways to meet up with the big man in red (or is it green?!). Looking to Sail with Santa around the harbour? Visit Father Christmas in a sparkly cave? Discover a grotto at the pier? Or hop onto a special Santa train near Bristol? Then read on for all those, along with discounts, accessibility info and details of how to book grotto tickets.

Yes, I’m sharing all the details of where to find Santa this Christmas, just with you, my dear reader. But shh, this is top secret stuff, so it’s probably best you keep this to yourself. Although, I suppose it would be an act of kindness to share it with just your nearest and dearest who might also benefit from this info!

You can read the Santa Grotto Guide in order, or, if you know what you’re after, click a link in the table of contents below to head straight to the section you’re interested in.

Happy Santa hunting!

Early Years Story Mornings with Santa & Festive Elves
Weekdays between 1st – 15th Dec 2023

Join Santa in his Sitting Room for gentle mornings of story-filled festive fun for Early Years visitors. Santa will be reading Mog’s Christmas amongst other classics and will be looking forward to meeting new friends. This free activity will be a gentle and relaxed storytelling session where all are welcome.

Bring your favourite Mog teddy, or any teddies, and join Santa and the Festive Elves for marvellous story mornings and a jolly good time. 

Where? Free Early Years Story Mornings are at Santa’s Sitting Room at the centre of the lower mall at Cribbs Causeway.

When? Monday – Friday: 9.30am / 10.30am / 11.30am & Sunday: 11am

Cost: Free

Booking: More Santa-tainment details here. No need to book

Father Christmas

Free Santa’s Festive Takeover at The Mall
Saturdays, Sundays and the week leading up to Christmas

Santa and the Elves will entertain with Festive Parades, Fun and games, and even a Santa and The Festive Elves Show!

Dancing around the most gift-laden Christmas tree in town, they will fill the air with festive song and ensure everyone gets into the festive spirit. The Festive Elves know how to party and will be inviting people to get involved with musical games, Christmas-themed races, and even the brilliant ball of wool limbo!

Look out for Santa at the Bristol Mall throughout the day as he roams and greets visitors for selfies and Christmas wishes. He might check to see if you have found all of the stops on Mog’s Christmas Trail.

A full day of Christmas fun for all the family

When? Free Santa’s Festive Takeover takes place between 10 am – 6 pm each day (11 am – 5 pm on Sundays)

Where? Throughout The Mall, Cribbs Causeway.

Cost: Free

Booking: No need to book

Father Christmas at Festive Fables Woodland
2nd to 23rd December 2023

Festive fables Woodland decorated with colourful hanging stars on the way to see Father Christmas in his green robes at Bristol Zoo Project

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.

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Bristol Ferry Boats, Bristol Harbour
Selected dates until 23rd December 2023

Father Christmas on a Bristol ferry boat smiling at a woman with a toddler on her lap.

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 can get out of your chair.

Discounts & Tips: Babies up to 12 months old travel free (no gift included).

Christmas stocking for Santa's Grotto

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 wearing green robes at the SS Great Britain dockyard

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.

Accessibility: 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.

Father Christmas

Meet Santa or The Grinch at The Grand Pier this Christmas!

Join The Grand Pier on a magical adventure to The Grinch’s or Santa’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 children eagerly awaiting to meet Santa Claus, you’ll find yourself in the enchanted Toy Shop.

The grotto experience lasts approximately ten minutes.

Standard Admission = £12 per child with accompanying adult.
(Includes entrance to pier, grotto experience and a wrapped gift per child).
Platinum Admission = £15 per child and accompanying adult.
(Includes entrance to pier, grotto experience, wrapped gift and a digital photo per child.)
Additional adult = £3.50

Booking: Advance booking is recommended as tickets are limited

Accessibility: There is full disability access throughout using the lift to the first floor.

Christmas stocking image

The magical Father Christmas Experience at Ashton Court Mansion is held in the beautiful Victorian Manor house, with city views from its grounds.

The 20 minute interactive experience with professional actors includes photo opportunities and a small gift for your grown up! Father Christmas will make an entrance that will surprise and delight children. Your child will also receive a special gift.

The experience can be enjoyed by all ages and is most suitable for children ages 2-11.

Where? Ashton Court Mansion & Estate, Long Ashton, Bristol BS41 9JN

Cost: £14 per child including a gift, £6.50 per adult. Booking fees apply.

We are pleased to be able to continue our financial support for families to enjoy the Experience.  Please contact us directly if you would like to take up this support.  If you are in a position to support other families to enjoy this Experience on a pay-it-forward basis, you can make a donation when completing your booking

Booking: Online booking available

Accessibility: Please email with any access queries. Free adult tickets for carers – please get in touch to book.

Christmas stocking image

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.

Father Christmas


From 2nd to 24th December 2023

Where? Cadbury Garden Centre, Smallway, Congresbury, North Somerset BS49 5AA


From 3rd to 24th December 2023

Unfortunately, both Santa events at Cadbury are sold out but there is currently an option to join their waiting lists.

Christmas stocking image

Gordano School, St Mary’s Lane, Portishead, BS20 7QR
Sat 2nd December 2023 – 10 a
m to 3 pm

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’s Grotto in Portishead is £5 per child. Meeting with Ana and Elsa is £5 per child.
Entry to the market is free.

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.

Father Christmas

Gough’s Cave, Cheddar Gorge & Caves, Cheddar
Selected dates from 11th Nov to 24th December 2023

Rustic wooden sign at the entrance to Gough's Cave Santa Grotto reading, "Welcome to Father Christmas South West Workshop"

This winter, deep within Gough’s Cave you’ll find the magical South West Workshop of Father Christmas’ elves. There’s also the opportunity to book a session to meet Father Christmas himself! Your children will sing some songs, listen to a festive tale and receive a present – if they’ve been good, that is!

Father Christmas’ elves have been busy setting up their secret workshop to help manage the huge quantity of letters

Colourfully illuminated Santa's Mail Sorting Office at Cheddar Caves.

They’re making sure that there are enough presents for everyone (those that have been good that is) as the North Pole is so very busy and needs a little extra help.

Father Christmas will be stopping off to ensure his operations are up to scratch and invites you behind the scenes. Who knows what you might see while you’re there!

Enjoy a Father Christmas experience like no other at Gough’s Cave Grotto. You’ll have a merry old time as you sing songs, listen to a festive tale and receive a token gift.

And just before you leave Cheddar Caves, remember to pause in the special room to write to Santa.

Pop your letter into the red postbox and it looks like the special “South West Workshop Letter Delivery System” will take care of the rest!

Red postbox with the words "South West Workshop Delivery System". The place where children can post their letter to Father Christmas at Cheddar Caves.

Where? You’ll find Father Christmas at his grotto in Gough’s Cave: Cheddar Gorge and Caves, The Cliffs, Cheddar, BS27 3QF

Cost: Anyone with a Cheddar Gorge & Caves Day Ticket can explore Father Christmas’ South West Workshop from 11th November.

Grotto Cost: The grotto experience tickets cost an additional £5.99 for any child who would like to receive a gift from Father Christmas. (Token gifts are appropriate up to the age of about 11 years.) A ticket for adults, babies, and older children who don’t require a gift costs £3.99.

Accessibility: Unfortunately, due to the steep gradients and steps, wheelchair users and those with limited mobility will find much of Gough’s Cave inaccessible. If you have queries about the accessibility of this experience please call ahead to discuss your requirements.

Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park
Selected dates 2nd to 24th December 2023

Father Christmas and Mother Christmas wearing red Santa suits in a festive scene surrounded by decorations and Christmas lights.


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 cabin where he will present you with a ‘golden ticket’ to choose your 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 has permitted you to visit his Toy Factory and with a golden ticket every child ticket holder can choose their own gift.


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 online in advance to avoid a £5 per ticket surcharge

Christmas stocking for Santa's Grotto

Winter Wonderland at Wookey Hole
Selected dates 2nd to 24th December 2023

See the iconic Wookey Hole caves decked out with over 100,000 lights transforming them into an enchanting underground adventure land.

Visit Santa’s North Pole grotto where every child will get to meet Santa and take home a present, watch a spectacular Christmas-themed circus show inspired by the Grinch story, or enjoy a Christmas film in the 4D cinema.

Immerse yourself in Santa’s North Pole Grotto, where every child will get to meet Santa and take home a present from Santa’s Elves from the Toy Shop. This year the toys are extra special as they are from Ty Toys. Our traditional grotto will make kids smile, with the whimsical displays of animals and children enjoying wintry fun.

Where? Santa’s Grotto in Somerset is at Wookey Hole Caves, The Mill, Wookey Hole, BA5 1BA

Cost: Wookey Hole Winter Wonderland ticket including:

  • Meet Santa and children take home a Ty Toys gift
  • Visit the caves illuminated by over 100,000 lights
  • Christmas-themed circus show

Adult £22.45, Senior £21.45, Child £17.95, infant £5

Father Christmas

Old Down Estate, South GLOS, Bristol
18th – 24th December 2023

Come along to see Santa’s Grotto in Gloucestershire, 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 online

Christmas stocking for Santa's Grotto

The Very Hungry Polar Bear
Various dates until 24th or 31st Dec 2023

Follow the adventures of Bernard, a young boy who finds a baby polar bear floating on an iceberg and decides to take it home.

Meet Father Christmas then join Bernard in ‘the land where snow covers the ground for most of the year!’. Halfway through there are Christmas stalls selling gifts and decorations and an Underground Café selling hot drinks and cakes, before the story resumes.

After Christmas tickets are also available (without Father Christmas, the Christmas stalls or the Underground Café). The surface cafe will be operating as normal with a range of drinks, cakes and snacks, cakes and a real fire to make it cosy.

Where? Clearwell Caves, The Rocks, Clearwell, Nr Coleford, Gloucestershire, GL16 8JR

Cost: Adult £18, Child 2 to 12 with gift £18, Baby under 2 with gift £10, Baby under 2 no gift £0

Booking: Limited spaces available. Tickets are available to book on Clearwell Caves website.

Father Christmas

Longleat, Warminster, Wiltshire, BA12 7NW
Every day until 24th December 2023

Take a trip on Longleat’s Santa Train to make this Christmas extra magical. Journey past Half Mile Pond before arriving at the North Pole Halt, an enchanting snow-covered winter wonderland.

But don’t linger too long, Father Christmas is waiting for you in his woodland winter grotto! He wants to hear all about your Christmas wishes. And who knows, if you’ve been good this year, his elves may even have a gift waiting for you.

Child ticket – £22.50 including a Christmas gift.
Adult ticket – £6.95 including hot chocolate and a festive mince pie.
Babies under 12 months who don’t require a gift don’t need a ticket.

Booking: Pre-booking is essential. SOLD OUT

Christmas stocking for Santa's Grotto

Hopefully, my article has given you some ideas about where to see Father Christmas over the festive season. If you’ve found it helpful, please consider sharing it with friends or families who might also find it useful.

I’m pleased to be working once again with Destination Bristol on the Merry Bristmas campaign and I’d like to thank them for their support with this article.

For more inspiration on festive events in Bristol and surrounding areas, you might like to check out Visit Bristol’s Christmas content and follow the #MerryBristmas hashtag on social media.


Christmas present for Santa's Grotto

Please always check with the venue/organiser before you travel as times and prices may be subject to change, error or cancellation.

DISCLOSURE: We have been hosted by some of the attractions featured for review purposes. All opinions are my/our own and I retain full editorial control of all content on this site.

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