26 magical places to meet Santa Claus in Gloucestershire

Christmas is going to be extra special this December 2023 and there are some enchanting places for children to meet Santa Claus across Gloucestershire and beyond.

By Zoe Gater  |  Published
Find 26 places to meet Santa in Gloucestershire this Christmas 2023.

SoGlos’s elves have been working hard to help ensure 2023 is the biggest and best Christmas ever — discover exactly where Santa Claus will be across Gloucestershire, for those magical family moments we will all treasure a little bit more this December.

SoGlos rounds up 26 magical places to meet Santa in Gloucestershire, where children can show Father Christmas their lists, ho, ho, ho! 

Meet Santa at The Fairview Gardener

Have you been naughty or nice this year? On various dates throughout November and December 2023, get into the Christmas spirit at The Fairview Gardener, where children can meet Santa inside his cosy grotto and take part in festive crafts and activities, with a yuletide gift waiting for every lucky visitor.

What's more, for an extra special treat, little ones can enjoy waffles and hot chocolate with the big man in red himself in the Tea Room and receive a special present. 

Meet Santa at Coal Kitchen

Ho, ho, ho! For four special days in December 2023, Coal Kitchen will be visited by Santa and his elves for some festive family magic. 

The immersive Santa experience allows visitors to enjoy two hours of festive fun; freshly baked pastries and a local Gloucestershire breakfast; Christmas crackers; a singalong with Santa and his elves; as well as a personalised photo with Santa at your table; and a special present, too! 

Meet Santa at Cotswold Airport

It was the flight before Christmas... Running throughout November and December 2023, families can learn how Negus, the preserved British Airways jumbo jet based at Cotswold Airport helps Father Christmas to save Christmas — and meet the jolly man himself in his Christmas office.

The immersive theatrical grotto production lasts approximately one hour, with each group being guided by their very own appointed elf, featuring lots of theatrics, singalongs and fun, all before being transported by the magic of Christmas to the North Pole to meet Father Christmas. 

Meet Santa at Cotswold Farm Park

Families and little ones can indulge in a truly unique experience at Cotswold Farm Park this Christmas and enjoy the marvels and magical festivity, surrounded by donkey foals, lambs and greedy goats!

Taking place on various dates throughout November and December 2023, kids can meet the man himself in his winter grotto and enjoy everything that's included, such as a special make-a-bear activity led by the elves; festive gingerbread decorating; a magical coin token to choose a gift in the festive shop; as well as entry to the farm park during the day or the Enchanted Light Trail in the evening.

Meet Santa at Batsford Arboretum

Santa is returning to his magical grotto at Batsford Arboretum this Christmas, offering little ones an enchanting day out, as well as the chance to meet the festive hero himself.

Santa's Grotto will be open on various dates from Saturday 2 to Friday 17 December 2023 from 10am until 2.30pm. Slots must be booked in advance so that Santa's elves can prepare your gift!

Meet Santa at John Lewis Cheltenham

Discover Santa's enchanting grotto at John Lewis in Cheltenham this December, when he and his favourite elf take a well-earned break from preparing this year's festive fun!

On various dates throughout December, little ones can pull up a chair for a heart-warming mug of hot chocolate, a tasty Christmassy biscuit and fun festive activities — plus, children will take home their own special gift. 

Meet Santa at Dean Forest Railway

Experience a festive train ride through the forest to see Santa and his elves with Dean Forest Railway. Usually selling out, the event is expected to be bigger than ever, with the magic getting underway on selected dates from Saturday 25 November 2023 until Sunday 24 December 2023 — and advance bookings essential this year.

You can even add on a special Christmas Afternoon Tea with festive treats including turkey, cranberry and stuffing sandwiches, or visit the cafe for seasonal take-away refreshments before heading to the steam train shop, which is well-stocked with toys and gifts — and plenty of stocking filler ideas!

Meet Santa at Slimbridge

Enjoy some magic at Slimbridge Wetland Centre when good boys and girls can visit Santa at his enchanting grotto, this December 2023.

Little ones can choose a gift from the man in red himself and take part in a selection of festive activities, before enjoying a slap-up full English breakfast at the Kingfisher Kitchen and heading out to make some family memories in Slimbridge’s 100 acres of nature-filled wetlands.

Meet Santa at Westonbirt Arboretum

Head to Westonbirt Arboretum this Christmas and help the elves as they scramble to finish decorating the forest before Father Christmas arrives, all while experiencing mesmerising light displays and stunning spectacles along the way.

The arboretum’s Enchanted Christmas gets underway this November 2023 and will have visitors embark on an adventure through the illuminated trees, watching as the playful elves create the illuminated trail around you — if you're lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of Father Christmas himself!

Meet Santa at Dean Heritage Centre

Little ones can meet Father Christmas at Dean Heritage Centre this December 2023 at the centre’s cosy and festive Forester’s Cottage, where Santa will be handing out presents to children on the nice list.

There will also be other Christmas-themed events, including craft hunts, festive plays, Christmas music and more.

Meet Santa at Clearwell Caves

Wander the underground caverns at Clearwell Caves this December 2023 and follow the magical tale of The Very Hungry Polar Bear as the story unfolds this Christmas.

While you’re there, meet Santa and his elves before enjoying Clearwell Caves’ Christmas stalls, where you can find stocking fillers and decoration for your tree. What’s more, the underground cafe has delicious cakes and warming drinks — perfect for the winter weather. Tickets for this experience need to be booked online.

Meet Santa at Cattle Country Farm Park

Ahead of his magical round-the-world voyage, Father Christmas is heading to Cattle Country Adventure Park from Saturday 2 to Saturday 23 December 2023. Families will be able to enjoy a whole host of festive fun, including meeting Santa, making some magical reindeer food, taking a ride in Father Christmas's sleigh and more. 

All of the Christmas activities are included in the tickets to see Santa, which also give visitors full access to the park between 10am and 6pm.

Meet Santa at Blenheim Palace

Enjoy the most wonderful time of the year at Blenheim Palace, where more than one million lights, lasers and seasonal sounds will fill the air with festive fun, as well as larger-than-life illuminations. And where you may even be able to catch a glimpse of Father Christmas along the way!

Blenheim’s visitors will also see the return of the ever-popular dancing reflections in the colourful cascades and magical lakeside walk. 

Meet Santa at the Brewery Quarter

Wrap up warm this Saturday 25 November 2023 and head down to Cheltenham’s Brewery Quarter for its official Christmas lights switch on party, when Father Christmas will be on a whistle stop tour before switching on the festive lights.

Expect singing and dancing; local community performers; dance and snow; party act The Mark Walby band; Lakeside Primary School's Young Voice choir performing Christmas hits; and much more.

Meet Santa at Perrygrove Railway

All aboard! Christmas is ‘bigger than ever’ at Perrygrove Railway this December 2023 with a special festive experience for families to enjoy. Hop aboard the Twilight Train, where passengers will be taken on a journey through the illuminated woods before stopping off to see Father Christmas at his snowy station.

Everyone will enjoy a hot chocolate and receive a token gift, unique to Perrygrove. Tickets are for whole compartments, separated by glass from others.

Meet Santa at Dobbies in Gloucestershire

With venues across Gloucestershire, Dobbies Garden Centre is getting into the Christmas spirit with events including Santa’s Breakfast, where the whole family will be able to join in with games, a visit from Santa and a special gift for every child.

Little ones will also be able to meet Santa in his grotto at Dobbies too, by walking through the woodland and spotting the Christmas characters along the way, before being welcomed by Father Christmas himself, who will give them a special gift. Santa’s Quiet Grotto is also available on certain days for little ones with additional needs.

And it’s not just children who can be treated this Christmas, as Santa Paws is also on hand to make sure good pooches receive a special treat too!

Meet Santa at GWSR

Hop on board a festive train ride with Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway this Christmas, starting in November 2023.

Travelling from Toddington Station, children will have the chance to meet Santa and his elves — and good boys and girls will receive a little something, too — all while travelling on an exciting train and tucking into complimentary mince pies, hot and cold drinks, biscuits and fruit.

Meet Santa at Trioscape Garden Centre

Get into the festive spirit this December 2023 at Trioscape Garden Centre, where a range of Christmas events is taking place. On every Saturday throughout the month, the whole family will be able to enjoy breakfast with Santa and his helper, before choosing from a selection of premium gifts. Advanced booking is recommended for this experience. 

What's more, back again by popular demand, Trioscape will be welcoming Santa's reindeers to the garden centre this Christmas. On Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 December 2023, little ones will have the chance to say hello to the beautiful four-egged friends and get into the Christmas spirit, 

Meet Santa at Cotswold Reindeer Herd

Embark on a magical real-life reindeer-filled Christmas adventure with Cotswold Reindeer Herd this festive period. From Saturday 18 November to Sunday 31 December 2023, families will be able to visit Santa and his grotto near Cirencester.

Receive a special gift from Father Christmas, as well as a professional photo if you wish, before visiting his reindeer where you can treat them to a tasty snack.

Meet Santa at Webbs Garden Centre in Cheltenham

Families can head to Webbs Garden Centre in Cheltenham, where they can wander through a very festive Christmas village with surprises around every corner.

From Saturday 2 December until Friday 22 December 2023, children will be able to see the garden centre’s traditional grotto before meeting Father Christmas in his cosy cabin, where they will choose their own gift from a crafting box.

Meet Santa at The Gables Hotel

Head to The Gables Hotel in Wotton-under-Edge near Bristol on selected dates in December 2023, where families can enjoy a delicious three-course lunch with options including roast turkey and bacon wrapped pork and stuffing for lunch, toffee and honeycomb cheesecake for dessert and more, before Santa appears, bringing small gifts for all the good girls and boys — with plenty of magical photo opportunities.

Meet Santa at Westgate Oxford

For a day out just over the county border in Oxford, head to Westgate this December 2023. This festive period, Westgate is inviting guests to come and experience 'Believe', where they will explore a mystical cavern and meet one of Santa's trusted elves and a magical talking reindeer. 

They will then be invited to make extra-special reindeer food to take home and leave out to fuel Santa’s helpers on their Christmas Eve journey. Little ones will then venture into Santa’s enchanting grotto to enjoy a one-to-one with Santa, where they will receive a gift of a book and the opportunity to snap a photo of the magical occasion.

Meet Santa at Dinky Street

For four days this December 2023, Father Christmas will be making a special visit to Dinky Street in Bishop’s Cleeve. Tots can visit Santa in his cosy grotto — with magical, make-believe play sessions too.

Meet Santa at the Sundial Theatre

Following last year's sell-out performances, families can join Jack, Dasher the reindeer and Pompom the penguin in The Santa Show 2023 at the Sundial Theatre for an interactive and festive musical adventure, as they meet Father Christmas at his home in the North Pole to help save Christmas.

What's more, every child will receive a specially wrapped present from Santa after the Christmassy show-HO-HO-HO!

Meet Santa at The King Edward VII

Returning for 2023, Father Christmas will be spreading joy in Gloucester at The King Edward VII, offering children the opportunity to eat breakfast with Santa on various dates in December. 

Little ones can tuck into their favourite hearty Ember children's breakfast for just £9.99 — and what's more, the big man will be bringing a sack full of gifts for all to enjoy!

Stories with Santa at the National Waterways Museum Gloucester

Santa arrives at the National Waterways Museum Gloucester from Saturday 2 December 2023.

He'll be in his grotto to share a Christmas story and a gift for little ones; there'll be a range of festive drinks and cakes available at the cafe; as well as a Snowman Trail in the galleries — just be sure to book in advance.

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