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Winter Wonderland 2014 santa land
Photograph: Winter Wonderland

Santa’s grottos in London

Everybody’s desperate to meet the beardy man with the prezzies – here’s where to find Father Christmas in London

Sarah Cohen
Written by
Time Out London editors
&
Sarah Cohen
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Even the mighty Santa’s plans were affected by lockdown in 2020, so we were robbed of our usual face time with the big guy. No such problem this year, he’ll be very busy flitting from London Zoo to Winter Wonderland to Kew and all over London, ho-ho-hoing and dishing out gifts to the capital’s over-excited children. But now it’s more important than ever to book your kids a slot with ol’ Saint Nick in advance to avoid tears and tantrums. Take a look at our guide to 2021’s Santa’s grottos in London and make a date with the one-and-only Father Christmas. Check back here regularly as we’ll be adding more grottos as they’re announced.

RECOMMENDED: Find more festive fun with our guide to Christmas in London.

Where to find Santa’s grottos in London

  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs
  • Hyde Park

After being cancelled in 2020, Hyde Park’s huge Winter Wonderland is making its long-awaited return this Christmas. That means all of the rides, the outside ice rink, ice-sculpting workshops, giant wheel, Christmas circus shows and, of course, Santa Land featuring the grotto, will be back.

But this year you’re going to have to plan ahead. That means sorting yourself out with timed entry tickets, which have been introduced to help manage guest numbers and keep everyone safe in this strange post-lockdown world. These are available now and cost £5 or £7.50 for standard entry, or are free if you go off-peak or pre-book £20 worth of attractions in advance.

Nov 19-Jan 3 2022.

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  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Kew

Kew Gardens transforms into a true wonderland come November, strewn with fairy lights, each path beautifully illuminated. In between walking, there is much to eat and drink, with a variety of vendors on standby (think cheese toasties, churros, pizza and mac ’n’ cheese) – and even a fire pit to huddle round with marshmallows. It wouldn’t be Christmas without Santa, so be sure to look out for him and his elves along the way. Book your adventure here.

Nov 17-Jan 9 2022.

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  • Things to do

Fancy combining a trip to see the animals with a chance to see Santa? At the heart of London Zoo, Father Christmas is hunkering down in his grotto until Christmas Eve, meeting and greeting the kids, jotting down gift orders and sending everyone on their way with a wrapped present. As if you needed another excuse to head to the zoo. Book your slot here.

Dec 4-5 and 11-24.

  • Things to do

With a mind-boggling number of toys up for grabs, Hamleys gives even Santa’s workshop a run for its money – so we can understand why the big man likes to hang out there every Christmas. Make sure to book ahead, as this one’s understandably popular! 

Nov 20-Dec 24

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Hendon

As well as a giant observation wheel and one of London’s biggest undercover ice rinks, Brent Cross is playing host to a magical grotto where children will be able to share their Christmas wishes with Santa. He’s not flown over from the North Pole empty handed either, oh no. He’s brought presents!

 

Find more kids’ Christmas fun in London

Best London Christmas activities for children
  • Kids

December is never more exciting than when you’re littler than Santa’s elves. Your kids have been waiting for this all year: help to make their festive dreams come true at these great Christmas events for children. And you can have lots of wintry fun at London’s ice rinks, Santa’s grottos, Xmas lights and Christmas theatre shows too.

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