A family trip to see Santa can be one of those magical Christmas moments, (well that’s unless your children turn “Santa shy” at the last minute), but Santa visits can prove expensive.
I couldn’t believe it when I heard Hamleys toy shop in London is charging £45 a pop for its Santa experience. Fair enough it’s not known for being the “cheapest” toy shop out there, but I think £45 for a “cold” picnic bag and a “small gift”’ from Santa sounds horrendously expensive!
While you don’t have to spend that much to have fun I would suggest you get “Santa savvy” to find the best deal.
There’s no shortage of shopping malls, garden centres and theme parks boasting their own Santa Grotto but do check what you get for your money. In some cases you can fork out £5 – £10 for nothing more than a cheap plastic toy, while other places may offer chocolate coins but you get to play in the snow or meet the reindeer instead.
If you fancy catching up with the man himself here are some suggestions to suit pockets and purses of every shape and size.
- You can meet Santa at Delamere Forest Park in Cheshire where he’ll be handing out Christmas Tree seedlings as gifts (£2.50 children/£1.50 adults).
- See Santa in his underground grotto at Clearwell Caves near Gloucester, (£7.50 including gift).
- Catch him at Souter lighthouse in Whitburn, Sunderland, at weekends where the £6 ticket includes a present.
- You can meet Santa for free at Winter Wonderland in London’s Hyde park. Entry to the event is free but ice skating and festive rides including the Santa Express will incur a fee.
- Or see Santa in the snow at Tamworth Snow Dome. Tickets are from £12.95 for a 90 minute experience which includes playtime in the snow, meeting the reindeer and Santa’s grotto.
And my final tip: always pre-book when you can. Saves hours in a hot stuffy queue only to find your little ones are asleep by the time they meet Santa!
Sue Hayward is a money and consumer broadcaster, journalist and author. Sue writes and talks on family finance on both radio and television and contributes to many of the women’s magazines and money websites. Sue’s written two books, the latest of which is ‘How To Get The Best Deal’.