Emma Harrowing, Feature writer
Saturday, December 11, 2010
The sound of sleigh bells can be heard across the county as Santa has arrived in a town near you. Emma Harrowing rounds up some of the best Santa grottos that are bringing the magic of Lapland to Norfolk this month.
Taverham Nursery and Garden Centre
Take a trip to the land of gingerbread as Santa has arrived at Taverham Nursery and Garden Centre.
Santa has taken over the gingerbread house in gingerbread land after the gingerbread man had taken all the Christmas decorations from the animals for his tree. However, the animals which include huskies, mice and rabbits hatched a plan and took back their decorations so that they can have a good Christmas.
Now that Santa has arrived the land of gingerbread is a much happier place! Read the gingerbread Christmas story for yourself and visit Santa in his new house. A visit to see Father Christmas costs £4.50 per child and includes a gift.
If you are in the city Christmas shopping this weekend and you head to The Mall you might see some of Santa’s little helpers working away to ensure that all the good children in Norwich get their presents on Christmas Day.
The elves are guarding the entrance to the magical grotto where you can see Santa from 10.30am every day on the run up to Christmas.
A visit and a gift costs £3.50, and a visit, gift and photo costs £6.50. The grotto is situated on level one just outside Argos and New Look.
Take a trip to the winter wonderland tree house on the top floor in Jarrold’s this month to make your Christmas wishes come true.
Father Christmas will be in store every day until Christmas Eve. The price is £3.50 per child which includes a gift.
Take a step back in time and visit Santa in his Victorian grotto at Strangers’ Hall in Norwich. Santa will be there on December 18 and 22.
Have breakfast or afternoon tea with Santa or just go along for a casual chat at Notcutts this month.
The garden centre has a Santa’s Farm with reindeer and farmyard animals. Visit Santa on his farm for £7.99 per child and receive a gift or have breakfast or tea with Santa, play pass the parcel, listen to a story and take home a gift for £9 for breakfast or £10 for tea.
Santa’s Farm is open until December 24 at 2pm until 5pm Monday to Friday, Saturdays 10am until 5.30pm and Sundays 11am until 4pm. Breakfast with Santa is on Saturdays at 9am until 10am. Tea with Santa is on selected dates throughout December at 4.30pm until 5.30pm.
Booking is essential for breakfast and tea with Santa. To book and for more information call 01603 453155.
Highway Garden & Leisure, Framingham Pigot
Have you got a long wish list to tell Santa this year? Why not have breakfast with him so that you can let him know what you would like for Christmas!
Highway Garden and Leisure on the A146 is organising special Santa days where you can have a cooked breakfast, watch a magic show and then travel to Narnia to meet Santa in his grotto.
Breakfast with Santa days start at 9am on Saturday, December 11, Sunday, December 12, Saturday, December 18, Sunday, December 19 and Tuesday, December 21. Tickets cost £7.95 per person. Under one-year-olds are free. To book call 01508 494665.
The Santa Grotto is also open during the day if you prefer to just visit Father Christmas.
Wrap up warm if you are visiting Santa in Wroxham this year as Roys has turned its grotto into an ice castle. The castle is complete with Eskimos, Huskies, Reindeer and Penguins!
The entrance fee is £2.50 which includes meeting Santa and a present.
Bure Valley Railway
Take the steam train to see Santa on the Bure Valley Railway. Board the train at Wroxham and travel to Santa’s special grotto in Aylsham. You can also visit the railway workshops and be entertained by a children’s entertainer.
Tickets cost £13 per person and must be booked in advance. The cost includes a return journey on the train, a visit to see Santa, entertainment, refreshments and a personalised present for each child.
The Steam Trains to Santa experience takes approximately three hours with trains running from Wroxham station at 10am, 1.45pm and 5pm on Saturday, December 11, Sunday, December 12 and Saturday, December 18 to Friday, December 24. To book call 01263 733858.
You can also visit Santa on a special festive train running between Dereham and Wymondham. Jump on board at East Dereham station or Wymondham station and chug your way to see Santa.
Tickets cost £10 per person (£3.50 for children under the age of one). Booking is essential. Call 01362 851723.
Fairhaven Woodland & Water Garden, South Walsham
For one day only Santa and his reindeer will be making an appearance at Fairhaven. Santa will be joined by a brass band, children’s crafts, roast chestnuts and mini-market.
The event is taking place this Sunday, December 12 from 5pm until 7pm, Tickets cost £5 per person and booking is advisable. Call 01603 270449 or 01603 270683
Thursford has to be the place to go if you love Christmas. The venue is hosting Santa’s Magical Journey into Christmas, which takes you past penguins and polar bears, giant teddy bears, past the busy elves and the snowman family (just watch out for the snowballs!) until you reach Santa’s House. Here you can meet the man himself and receive a gift.
Booking is essential. Call 01328 878477.
See Santa in a wonderful woodland retreat at Church Farm. Santa will be in his woodland home every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday this month and on December 20, 21, 22 and 23. The grotto is open from 10am until 5pm.
Goodies Farm Shop in Pulham Market has opened its first Santa’s Grotto this year and it’s a grotto with a difference. Two of Santa’s real-life reindeer will accompany Santa as he entertains the crowd by telling magical stories. All of the children will get a gift.
The grotto is open every weekday until December 19 and from Monday, December 20 until Thursday, December 23.
The shop between Carphone Warehouse and The Card Factory in the Vancouver Quarter shopping centre has been transformed into a magical Santa’s grotto.
Marvel at the animated scenes, characters and animals on display before travelling to see Santa on a sleigh. The sleigh is a sleigh ride simulator with animated reindeer and moving scenery.
After telling Santa their Christmas wish, children will get a personalised photo with Santa and a toy.
There is nothing quite like spending some time during the festive season at a National Trust house. It brings home the traditional feeling of Christmas.
So head to Oxburgh Hall near King’s Lynn on December 11-12 and December 18-19 for children’s crafts, musical entertainment and Christmas carols around the tree. Santa will also make an appearance with his elves.
It costs £3 per child to meet Santa and this includes a present. Santa’s grotto is open from 11am.
Hunstanton town hall will be decked out with holly on December 11, 12, 18 and 19, as Santa comes to town! Children can visit Father Christmas in the grotto and parents can pick up a few bargains at the Christmas Fair.
The event is organised by Hunstanton Lion’s Club and is open from 9am until 4pm. For more information call 01485 534481.
Santa will be in his grotto every weekend throughout December at Early Dawn Nurseries in Carlton Colville. The grotto is open from 10.30am until 4pm. Tickets cost £4 per child which includes a gift.
Head to the Marketgate Shopping Centre in Great Yarmouth to see Santa in his festive grotto. For more details call 01493 858677.
If you have seen the advertisement on television where a muddy dog jumps all over a bed covered with white pillowcases and duvet, then you will know not to forget your pets this Christmas!
Claws ‘n’ Paws in Sheringham certainly haven’t. Owners Helen, pictured below with Max, and Ian Sidell have created a pets-only Christmas grotto. Pets of all shapes and sizes can go and visit Santa and receive a gift. Gifts include carrots for rabbits, lettuces for tortoises, crickets for spiders and malt extract ‘beer’ or chocolate ‘cigars’ for dogs.
Your pet’s visit to see Santa is free but donations are gratefully received in aid of the animal charity PDSA.