21 places to see Santa this Christmas

Santa's Magical Journey at Thursford. Picture: Ian Burt

Santa's Magical Journey at Thursford. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Bring the festive season to life with a magical visit to Father Christmas. This year there are plenty of slightly more unusual ways to meet the big man in Norfolk.

1. In a woodland yurt - Fairhaven Gardens

December 16 and 17

Wander through a winter woodland garden to find the reindeer and Father Christmas' yurt among the trees. There will be live music, illuminations and an Elves' Workshop with free Christmas crafts and face painting, as well as hot food available from the tearoom.


2. In a grand venue - Oxburgh Hall

December 9, 10, 16, 17

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Visit Father Christmas in his grotto and tell him your secret Christmas wish and that special present you have been wanting all year. Have fun doing crafts while you wait and take home a gift to remember the occasion.


3. With the animals - Africa Alive

December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17 and 20-24, 11am-3pm

This Christmas a trip to the zoo is anything but ordinary, with Christmas crafts and animal handling, there is plenty to get excited about. Plus, little ones can top a fun day out with a visit to Father Christmas.


4. In an ice cave - Banham Zoo

December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 20-24, 11am-3pm

Father Christmas will be waiting in his ice cave to hand out fantastic gifts. There is festive fun to be had with Christmas crafts and face painting.


5. Surrounded by dinosaurs - Dinosaur Adventure Park

December 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 16, 17, 20-24

Dinosaurs just got a little less scary because Father Christmas is around! Enjoy a festive family day out, meet Father Christmas in his grotto, take part in festive crafts in the Animal Garden and munch on a mince pie.


6. On a boat - Broads Tours

December 2-24

These special Santa Cruises leave from Wroxham Bridge with plenty to keep little ones entertained as the boat travels to Wroxham Broad, where Santa's Pixies will serve children a large festive cookie, soft drink and give adults one or two glasses of mulled wine and a mince pie. Once the boat reaches its destination, Santa's reindeer land on the top deck and Father Christmas will give out special gifts.


7. In a winter wonderland - Thursford

November 25-26, December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16-23

Santa's Magical Journey through Thursford sees penguins and polar bears, giant teddy bears getting ready to load Father Christmas' sleigh and busy elves hard at work in the toy factory. As you make your way through the magical forest there are plenty of characters to meet, including the snowman family, but keep an eye out for snowballs! Once you reach Father Christmas' house you can give him your list and receive a present.


8. At breakfast - Melsop Farm Park

November 25, 26, December 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 19-24, 10.15am

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, which must be right because it's Father Christmas' favourite! Enjoy a cooked breakfast in the company of Old Saint Nick himself. Plus there are cheeky elves running around causing mischief.


9. On a train - All aboard!

There are lots of opportunities to take a magical train journey to see Santa. Bressingham Railway, North Norfolk Railway and Bure Valley Railway are all running special Santa trips in the lead up to Christmas. Expect a gift for the children, plus Bressingham Railway includes a ride on the Gallopers and a children's entertainer in the museum's exhibition hall. North Norfolk Railway has a soft drink and chocolate treat for the kids and a glass of sherry and a mince pie for the adults, while North Norfolk Railway is offering complimentary mulled punch (non-alcoholic) and a mince pie for adults and squash and shortbread for children.




10. With lions

Father Christmas makes some whistlestop tours of Norfolk with thanks to many of the county's Lions Clubs. Look out for full details of his tours in towns such as Great Yarmouth, Attleborough, Hemsby, Winterton, Caister and Loddon.

11. In a barn - Wroxham Barns

December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 21-23

Father Christmas and his elves can be found in Bella's Barn for a great day of Christmas fun with Santa on Junior Farm. There will be lots of singing and games, Santa's Magic Show as well as a chance to make Christmas crafts to take home before each child receives a gift from Santa.


12. Around the world - Norwich Global Village Christmas Market

The Forum, Norwich

December 2, 10am-5pm

The market presented by local businesses and global artisans offers unique products, Christmas carols and brass bands, and on December 2 Father Christmas and a snowman will be wandering around to say hello and hosting storytelling sessions in the Millennium Children's Library, 11am-3pm. Get tickets in advance of the storytelling from the Children's Library.


13. Among plants - Highway Garden and Leisure Centre

Open daily from November 25

Journey through the snow covered lands of the North Pole, past polar bears, seals and owls to find Father Christmas in his grotto. Other activities include throwing a snowball at a target, a Santa's workshop and Elfie Selfies. Children will receive a present from Father Christmas. There are also dates to enjoy breakfast with Santa.

A smaller grotto will be at Childrensworld in Wroxham.

www.highwaygardenand leisure.co.uk

14. By boat

Saturday, December 2. 10am-8pm

Santa will arrive by boat during the Wells Christmas Tide Festival. The festivities fill Staithe Street and Quayside with stalls spreading through the town. The lights will be switched on by BBC Look East's husband and wife presenters David Whiteley and Amelia Reynolds at 5pm, followed by a lantern parade down Staithe Street to The Quay, the arrival of Father Christmas from the wild and windswept north, and fireworks. where the crowds will assemble in readiness for Santa's arrival by boat, the opening of his grotto and a fantastic fireworks display.

15. With reindeer and lanterns

Wednesday, December 6, 6.30-7.30pm

Reindeer will lead a parade of around 150 lantern bearers from Christchurch on King Street, Great Yarmouth, to the Market Square. Join in with carols around the Christmas tree and see the reindeer and Father Christmas for free.

Father Christmas is expected back in Yarmouth on the evening of Friday, December 8 to join an evening of festive songs, crafts and Christmas characters at the Time and Tide Museum. Free entry from 5-8pm.


16. Falling from the sky

Saturday, December 9

A flurry of Santas will be skydiving for charity at Beccles Airfield. As they fall to the ground they will be raising money for local charities including Big C and the East Anglia's Children's Hospices. Everyone taking part in the annual event must raise at least £300 for their chosen charity – and then, attached to a experienced skydiver in a Santa costume, jumps from a plane. These Santa don't need a sleigh when they can freefall at 150 miles per hour. For more details call 01502 476 131 or visit http://ukparachuting.co.uk

17. With holly and ivy

December 10, 10am-4pm

A festive family day at Holt Hall includes wreath making, natural Christmas decorations and Father Christmas (booking essential). Entry to the grounds free.


18. With windmills

Sunday December 10. 11am-4pm

Santa will be at the Winter Wonderland at the Wind Energy Museum in Repps with Bastwick, near Martham. Entry to the Winter Wonderland, which includes Christmas activities, a Christmas trail and an outdoor market, is free, with a visit to Santa's Grotto £4.50.

Mulled wine, mince pies, and tea and coffees available.


19. Outside at twilight

Saturday December 16. 2-4.30pm

Christmas Family Fun at Whitlingham Country Park includes the chance to make your own natural decorations and join a winter woodland activity trail. Father Christmas will be arriving at twilight with gifts. Activities aimed youngsters aged 5-10. Tickets £6 – book on 01603 756094.


20. In an aeroplane

Sunday, December 17, 10am-4pm, with Santa's flying visits 10am-12.30pm and 1-3.30pm

Santa will be in his Nimrod Grotto at the City of Norwich Aviation Museum near Norwich airport. Children are invited to tell him their Christmas wishes and there will be tours of the museum's Vulcan Bomber, plus flight simulator sessions in a Hawker Hunter cockpit and the chance to see a Jaguar cockpit section. Normal admission, plus £2 for the grotto while gifts last.


21. On a zipwire

Friday December 22

Santa will be zooming in to a fun and festive craft event at the Time and Tide Museum, Yarmouth, on a zipwire. Normal admission fees.


Other places to see Santa in Norfolk include grottos at Merrivale Model Village in Yarmouth, Jarrold in Norwich, Yarmouth Market Place and in the winter woods at Kelling Heath, near Holt.

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