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Santas grotto sign
Flickr: Ade Oshineye

Five unexpected places to see Santa this year

Written by
Jo Addison

What with having to visit the home of every child on the planet, we all know that jolly Saint Nick gets about a bit. Still, while we might be familiar with him trying to squeeze down a chimney or accompanied by reindeers at his North Pole retreat, it appears that Santa is also popping up at several rather more unusual places across the Yorkshire.

So, as long as you don't mind travelling outside of Leeds to catch him somewhere out of the ordinary, here are five places to take the kids to meet Santa and discover whether they've been naughty or nice...

Down a mine

National Coal Mining Museum

Santa isn’t normally known for hanging out underground, but this year he'll be travelling 140 meters down a mine to meet children at the National Coal Mining Museum near Wakefield. 

Children will need to don their helmet and miner’s lamp, and make their way along a snow covered walkway to meet Santa in his subterranean grotto. 

Santa's underground grotto. December 5-6 (10am-4pm), December 12-13 (10am-4pm), December 18-20 (10am-4.30pm), December 21-23 (10am-5pm). £6 children, £5 adults. Pre-booking essential. Call 01924 848806 or visit the National Coal Mining Museum website for details.

National Coal Mining Museum, Caphouse Colliery, New Road, Overton, Wakefield, WF4 4RH

In an aquarium 

The Deep

No, he won't be swimming about, (we don't think he'd fit in a wetsuit anyway), but Father Christmas will also be visiting The Deep aquarium in Hull this Christmas.

Along with seeing over 3,500 fish, sharks and a colony of cute Gentoo penguins, children can visit Santa and ride on Hull’s famous land train. 

Santa in an aquarium. December 5-6, 12-13, 19-23. On the hour, 10.15am-4.15pm. £9.75 kids, £11.75 adults, under 3s free. Ticket includes entry to the aquarium, a gift from Santa and a ride on the land train. Booking essential. Visit The Deep for more info.

The Deep, Tower Street, Hull, HU1 4DP

On a boat


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Confuse friends into thinking you're getting some winter sun by informing them you're off for a Santa Cruise! This year Saint Nick will be meeting children on a narrowboat with an event organised by Skipton Boat Trips.

These 75 minute trips take place on board the Cobbydale, where kids can visit Santa for a chat and receive a bag of goodies. Parents will get to admire the view, while enjoying a hot drink and mince pie. Choose a journey on December 6 or 13 you can also visit the Skipton Yuletide Festival, which is taking place at the same time.

Magical Santa boat trips. Weekends in December. £12.50 per ticket for anyone over the age of one. Booking essential. Call 01756 790829 or visit the Skipton Boat Cruises website.

Skipton Boat Trips, Wharf Office, Waterside Court, Coach Street, Skipton, BD23 1LH4

On A Tram

Shipley Glen Tramway

You might think that Father Christmas sticks to riding a sleigh, but it appears he's partial to other forms of transport, too – namely Britain's oldest cable operated tramway.

At Shipley Glen Tramway this Christmas, kids get to ride on a festively decorated tram, and meet the man himself to receive their gift. Better still, you don’t need to book this event in advance – so it's a good one to go to if the little ones have a last minute request to see Santa.

Shipley Glen Santa specials. December 5-6, 12-13 and 19-20, 11am-4pm. Tickets cost £5, including a gift and a tram ride. No booking required. Visit the Shipley Tramway website for more info.

Shipley Glen Tramway, Tramway Office Prod Lane, Baildon, Shipley, BD17 5BN

In a cave


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So, now we've established that Santa likes to spend time underground, it won't come as much of surprise to hear you can find him inside a cave, too – specifically, Ingleborough Cave at Clapham in the Yorkshire Dales.

Children start the adventure by walking through the magical woodland forest on their way to the cave where Santa and his elves are busy preparing for the big day. Once inside, they can explore floodlit passages to find Father Christmas and receive a gift.

Ingleborough cave grotto. December 5-6, 12-13 and 19-20, 11am-4pm. £7 kids (including gift), adults £5. No booking necessary. More information here.

Ingleborough Cave, Clapham, LA2 8EE

Have you spotted if Santa will be turning up at any more unusual places around Yorkshire? Let us know.

Find more Christmas events in Leeds.


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