Home All Posts 2O (ish) Of Our Favourite Places To See Santa in Devon #2019

2O (ish) Of Our Favourite Places To See Santa in Devon #2019

by Author: Jade Lloyd
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Are you wanting to find the best places to see Santa in Devon?

We all want to see Santa. The county is bursting with Christmas activities across a range of festive locations. Whether you are looking for late night shopping in spiced scented markets, villages illuminated by twinkling lights, music from brass bands, seeing Santa in sparkling grottos – there is plenty going on in Devon to entertain the whole family.

Now it may only be October but what I have learnt is that parents need to get organised and get pre booking not to miss out. Father Christmas is a popular man! Tinbox Traveller has created an ultimate guide to Christmas in Devon for 2019 with over FOURTY activities for your festive calendar!

One thing I am noticing is that the cost of seeing the man in red is going up each year. Read your confirmation emails carefully as most grottos ask you to arrive a set time beforehand and many are so busy you may lose your allocated time slot if late. Remember roads and car parks will be chaos so set off early.

All prices are up to date for 2019.

NORTH DEVON.

Santa at The Big Sheep.

  • WHERE: The Big Sheep, Abbotsham, Bideford, Devon, EX39 5AP.
  • WHEN: Weekends from 1st – 24th December 2018.
  • COST: Child over 3ft 11.50 and adult £6.50 with discount booked online.
  • WHAT IS INCLUDED:

Meet Santa in his Grotto, see Santa’s Magical Light Show and play in the Ewetopia Indoor Playground. There will also be a Snowboard simulator!

Ideally an all-day experience.

PARENTS NOTE: Meetings with Santa will be offered on a first come first served basis so in busy periods expect potential queueing. There is also an opportunity for Breakfast with Santa on the 15th and 22nd, again booking is essential. Feedback is that the décor and light display are loved by little ones. Online booking gives a small discount but be sure to tick the WITH SANTA option.

Magical Christmas Fun at The Milky Way Adventure Park.

  • WHERE: Higher Clovelly, Bideford, North Devon, EX39 5RY.
  • WHEN: 8th – 23rd December 2018
  • COST: To enter the park for children over 3 and adults the price is £10.45 and £5.50 for 1-2 year olds (winter pricings). It is a little unclear, to buy a ticket to see Santa it is £5 per child which is, I presume on top of the gate price.
  • WHAT IS INCLUDED:

Visit Buzzlewick’s Elf Emporium, decorate gingerbread and make environmentally friendly all-natural reindeer food. Children can then meet Santa and play!

Ideally an all-day experience.

PARENTS NOTE: As a mother of a toddler I love that (Christmas aside) this park offers the Little Stars play centre soft play, sensory room for babies, dressing-up and role play pizzeria. In the booking form it does state the below, which does sound a bit militant. ‘Select ONE ½ hour time slot for your family to meet Santa (you will all enter together when you reach the front of the queue within this ½ hour time slot). At least one person in this booking must join the queue to Santa’s Grotto in the Timewarp Play Area at the start of the ½ hour slot – children can play until you reach the front of the queue. Once you reach the front of the queue everyone in your booking should be ready to enter the grotto together with shoes removed.’ Plus-point, lots of positive comments about how good Santa was with the children.

MID DEVON (AROUND EXETER).

Santa Claus at Crealy. 

  • WHERE: Crealy Great Adventure Park, Clyst St Mary, Near Exeter, Devon, EX5 1DR
  • WHEN: From Saturday 30 November 2019. Also 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 to 23 and 24 December.
  • COST: Prices depend on if you are an annual pass holder. Prices also increase the closer you get to Christmas. For non-pass holders during December children cost £17.95 and adults £19.95. There is a charge for under 3’s of £7.00.
  • WHAT IS INCLUDED:

Sold as the biggest Christmas event in the South West. Alongside the parks rides and animals children have the opportunity to decorate gingerbread, visit the reindeer food making station, the elves in the toy factory and receive a gift, bring letters to Santa to post to the North Pole, join in with singing snowmen, enjoy a festive showtime stage show and get crafty at the decoration station. This year Crealy offers an all-new Christmas on Ice Show.

Ideally an all-day experience.

PARENT NOTE: Crealy when quiet is enjoyable, when busy is hectic, especially in the soft play and café areas. Messy tables, no seating, but I think you must expect that at this time of years so book early doors. Feedback from local parents that it is a fun experience, lots to do but the Santa hasn’t been the best one seen. I like that it is an easy to get too attraction off the M5.

Meet Santa at Ottery St Mary. 

  • WHERE: Otter Nurseries, Ottery St Mary, Devon, EX11 1LZ.
  • WHEN: Opens Sunday 17th November 2019 through till Christmas.
  • COST: £16.99 per child with accompanying adults free. Baby tickets £7.99.
    WHAT IS INCLUDED:

Visit Santa’s magical kingdom at Otter Nurseries for a special Christmas experience. Take a journey through Santa’s Winter Wonderland which even includes a train ride. Children receive a present from Santa, a packet of secret cookie mix, their own Magical Reindeer Food, and Christmas activity book to take home.

A visit lasts for between 20 and 40 minutes.

PARENTS NOTE: Locally this has got a very good reputation and we are going for the first time this year. Have a walk around the centre prior to seeing Santa as there are lots of lovely items for sale. Feedback is that prices have increased dramatically since 2018. On the booking form there are a lot of set times slots, so I am interested to see if they rush you through. As a bonus there is no queuing as times are pre-selected. You can pre choose a gift and tell Santa the child’s name which is a special personable touch. If you don’t book in a discounted price baby ticket you may not be allowed to see Santa so don’t presume under 1’s are free! Ps. This attraction books up FAST!

Santa’s Grotto at Bernaville Nurseries. 

  • WHERE: Bernaville Nurseries, Cowley, Near Exeter, Devon, EX5 5EU.
  • WHEN: Sat 7th, Sun 8th, Sat 14th, Sun 15th, Sat 21st & Sun 22nd December.
  • COST: Children are £7.50 each.
  • WHAT IS INCLUDED:

Experience some festive magic by visiting Santa and his elves in his beautiful grotto at Bernaville Nurseries. Children will receive a present, keepsake book, games, colouring material and a polaroid photo. There is also a photo opportunity for an Elfie Selfie and a chance to make some reindeer food. As an extra you can also book Breakfast with Santa.

PARENTS NOTE: Other parents have fed back that Santa looks very authentic, and a lot is offered for your money. Prices are, dare I say, reasonable!

House of Marbles Santa. 

  • WHERE: House of Marbles, Pottery Rd, Bovey Tracey, Devon, TQ13 9DS.
  • WHEN: Every Weekend from Sat 16th Nov – Sun 22nd Dec.
  • COST: £6.99 per child.
  • WHAT IS INCLUDED:

Santa’s Grotto at the House of Marbles is an excellent choice if you don’t want to book in advance. The Grotto is open 10am – 3pm on the dates above and has a TBC theme. Child entry includes a gift, a balloon and a badge.

Okehampton Santa on the Train to Christmas Town. 

  • WHERE: Dartmoor Railway, Okehampton Station, Okehampton, Devon, EX20 1EJ.
  • WHEN: 30TH November-23rd December.
  • COST: £38 for an adult and £28 for a child.
  • WHAT IS INCLUDED:

Along with storytelling, singing and dancing with the elves, passengers will meet a very special guest when the train stops at Christmas Town. Santa Claus will climb on board to meet each child and give them a gift. Those in premium will also receive a commemorative Hot Chocolate mug to take home. the characters will serve hot chocolate and a cookie to all passengers. There is also a food stand on the station platform with hot food and festive drinks are available to purchase; Pulled pork & Christmas stuffing, hot dogs and more. Children are encouraged to wear pyjamas and there are a different standards of class tickets.

The train ride lasts approximately 1.10 hours.

WORTH A MENTION:

Santa is yet TBC but keep an eye out on the festive happenings on the Wildwood Escot Estate, Ottery St Mary, Devon, EX11 1LU.

Visiting Santa

EAST DEVON.

The Polar express. 

  • WHERE: Seaton Tramway, Harbour Road, Seaton, Devon, EX12 2WD.
  • WHEN: November: 28th – 30th. December: 1st, 3rd – 24th. Eight departures daily.
  • COST: Standard Tickets: Adult & Children (2-15yrs) £24.95. Under 2’s Free.
  • WHATS INCLUDED?

Themed on the bestselling book, enjoy a tram ride in a decorated single deck tramcar, a cup of hot chocolate and cookie, alight and visit Santa at the ‘North Pole’, where he will give out the “first gift of Christmas” — the Sleigh Bell — to each passenger and join in with carolling. Everyone is encouraged to wear their pyjamas! Have a peek at Family Fever’s gorgeous photos to get a glimpse of the adventure!

A round trip lasts approximately 2 – 2½ hours.

PARENTS NOTE: The Devon Mama really recommends this for children, from the moment they check your names off the list, the staff are perfectly in character. It’s expensive but definitely worth experiencing at least once!  Blankets are available on board as it can get cold and some of the seating is benched, you do not get an allocated seat so if you are in a part board together. Under 2’s sit on parents laps but they still need a book a ticket (pushchairs are left at the station).

Sail with Santa.            

  • WHERE: Exmouth Marina (Sat Nav EX8 1DU).
  • WHEN: Through December.
  • COST: Adults and children £10, 12 months old and under: £4.00.
  • WHATS INCLUDED:

Meet Santa in his enchanting on-board grotto where the children will receive an amazing handpicked gift whilst adults can enjoy a glass of our secret recipe mulled wine and locally baked mince pie. Children can choose from a wide range of Christmas face paints, see a balloon modeller and Punch and Judy Show.

Trip duration: 1 hour.

PARENTS NOTE: A one of a kind experience, take warm clothes and keep an eye on the weather. Very reasonably priced and lots of families go year after year.

WORTH A MENTION:

One of our most beloved places to visit is the Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth. Whatever festive escapades are planned, go and support our fluffy friends.

West DEVON – Plymouth.

Pennywell Farm. 

  • WHERE: Pennywell Farm, Buckfastleigh, Devon, TQ11 0LT.
  • WHEN: Tickets for 9.45am on Sat 23, Sun 24, Sat 30 Nov and Sun 1 Dec include Breakfast with Santa. Tickets for 2.30pm on Sat 30 Nov and Sun 1 Dec include a Cream Tea with Santa.
  • COST: Adults and children age 3 + £13.95 and under £9.95.
  • WHAT IS INCLUDED:

Treat your children to a nativity play at Pennywell followed by a visit to Santa’s Grotto where they will receive a Christmas gift. They can also meet Santa’s reindeer and enjoy homemade Christmas biscuits and squash in the café (there will be mulled wine, tea, coffee and mince pies for the adults!) On selected dates, visitors can enjoy breakfast with Father Christmas.

You need to allow two hours for your Pennywell Christmas experience.

PARENTS NOTE: We love Pennywell all year round. Great facilities, lots to do. Take a coat and wellies. They do a nativity with all the animals and children are encouraged to get involved, there is also carol singing and a whole load of Christmas magic. Highly recommended.

Morwellham Quay. 

  • WHERE: Dukes Drive, Morwellham, Tavistock PL19 8JL.
  • WHEN: 30th November/1st December 7th/8th December and Saturday 14th to Tuesday 24th December.
  • COST: Non-member £13.50 for children and adults. Entry is free for any child under the age of 2.
  • WHAT IS INCLUDED?

At Morwellham Quay visitors can take a special mine train journey to visit Santa in his underground Grotto, then warm up in front of the fire with mince pies & mulled wine for the adults. Children receive a present, can make a festive chocolate lolly, bake your own Christmas roll, and paint your own Christmas tree decoration. To help Santa’s elves prepare suitable presents, you will be asked at the checkout to the provide the child’s name, age and gender.

The Santa Visit had real personal touches and was VERY different to the normal grotto.

Santa’s Grotto at Boringdon Hall. 

  • WHERE: Boringdon Hall, Plymouth, Devon. PL7 4DP
  • WHEN: Sunday 8th, 15th and 22nd December (12.30pm or 4pm sitting).
  • COST: £32 for adults and £19.95 for children.
  • WHAT IS INCLUDED:

Feel the magic of Christmas at Boringdon Hall with ‘The Snowman’ themed Santa’s Grotto. Arrive and be dazzled by a dance performance, enjoy a divine Festive Afternoon Tea, get creative with Christmas activities including gingerbread decorating and meet Santa Claus himself to receive a Christmas present.

A visit lasts about 3 hours.

PARENTS NOTE: We did this last year, it is one of the most expensive experiences. We stay at Boringdon a lot and I love it, but I am still in two minds about our visit. No argument that the house is magically decorated with roaring fires, it began with a gorgeous ballet dance by local children which enthralled my baby but there were not enough seats so we kind of huddled awkwardly to one side. The high tea was set up on white tablecloths on beautiful platters, the staff were amazing, and my son loved the hot chocolate station where you could help yourself to cream and marshmallows. You get a huge array of cakes and sweet treats. Santa was beautifully attired and a lovely gentleman, staff had bought him a sandwich, so his food tray was just left, and no one was there to guide us into the room, we just meandered in awkwardly. He and the elf were gracious and generous with their time and I cannot fault them. There was also gingerbread decorating but as we were one of the last to do this and it was a bit of a free for all they and obviously run out of the larger gingerbread men and were replacing them with thumb sized ones and most of the icing tubes were empty. The only other point to note was that obviously as a hotel guests are wondering around the bar room and one did evidently eye roll at the e number filled children running around. This had the potential to be extraordinary, but I think there were just a couple of improvements needed planning wise at over £100 for a family of four.

WORTH A MENTION:

For 2019 Christmas events are still TBC but I would always recommend a visit to the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth as Santa has historically been known to take a dip in the tanks.

Visiting Santa

SOUTH DEVON.

Santa by Steam at South Devon Railway.

  • WHERE: South Devon Railway, The Station, Buckfastleigh, Devon, TQ11 0DZ
  • WHEN: Open 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th 18th – 24th December. Four times daily.
  • COST: Adults and children (1-15) £18. Free for under 1’s.
  • WHAT IS INCLUDED:

All Santa-by-Steam experiences start and finish at Buckfastleigh. There will be entertainment in the marquee by the station starting one hour before each of the boarding. On the train there will be children’s entertainers and refreshments. Each family will be called up to meet Father Christmas in his wonderful grotto, where all children (including under 1s) receive their present.  The train pauses briefly at Staverton, where Santa’s workshop will be on display, and allowing Mrs Christmas to board the train and give sweets to all the children.

The on-train experience will last approximately 1 ¾ hours.

PARENTS NOTE: Recommended for mini train lovers. Personally, I think it best suited for over 4’s as trying to keep a toddler like Norah in a seat is the stuff of festive nightmares. You will want to check suitability of taking strollers. There is a small buffet car, but you may want to take additional snacks as children are just given a biscuit. Toilets are on board but with lots of little people using them and it being a train, facilities are limited so check baby change availability. Santa is in a carriage at the train end so to see him you may have to walk the length of the train, navigating through families but the speed of the journey makes this easier. The carriages and station are traditionally decorated and offers a lovely atmosphere. I would definitely do it again.

National Marine Aquarium.

  • WHERE: Paignton Zoo Environmental Park, Totnes Road, Paignton, Devon, TQ4 7EU.
  • WHEN: Open 14th to 24th Dec 2019.
  • COST: Children (up to 15 years): £9.50. Non-members must pay for day tickets upon arrival so for non-locals that can be expensive at £15.00 for adults and £11.00 for children from 3-15.
  • WHAT IS INCLUDED:

Simply does it, with a Santa meet and greet with present and a festive snowman trail to complete with a chocolate gift upon completion.

Ideally an all-day experience.

PARENT NOTE: We have not been to this Santa experience but love Paignton Zoo as a family day out as all the animals are well looked after and staff are very helpful. Take warm clothes to enjoy the park after seeing Santa. Unlike other experiences the team ask that you do not arrive earlier than 10 minutes before your scheduled time.

Santa at Kents Cavern.

  • WHERE: Kents Cavern, Ilsham Rd, Torquay, Devon, TQ1 2JF.
  • WHEN: 1st – 24th December.
  • COST: Children and £13.00. Discounts for members. Presents available for under 2’s (£3.50).
  • WHAT IS INCLUDED?

Your ticket includes; an hour-long promenade performance, a personal visit with Santa, fantastic Christmas presents, mulled wine and mince pies and a return adult ticket to visit on a daytime tour in January 2020. Suitable clothing and footwear is advised.

WORTH A MENTION:

Apparently if you’re a fan of a theme park, Woodlands have a great walk through multi room grotto experience!

#We have listed garden centres we have visited or been recommended, there are so many more across Devon so check locally, i.e Sidmouth Wyevale, Endsleigh in Ivybridge and Merry Harriers in Bideford.

Places to see Santa with NO BOOKING.

Darts Farm from the 3rd December usually around £5 per child and proceeds often go to charity. You will often find Santa in large shopping centres such as Exeter Guildhall, Westpoint, Plymouth Drake Circus, Affinity Devon and many more. Oh, and Trago in Newton Abbot deserves a shout out!

Find Father Christmas at the National Trust #SOUTHWEST 

Always worth a visit! Always beautifully decorated! With quality facilities and cake filled cafe’s – book from September to see Santa at Saltram, Knightshayes, Killerton, Buckland Abbey, Arlington Court, Castle Drogo and Greenway. Last year we visited Coleton Fishacre at night to see their festive illuminations and fell in love with the man playing the piano.

Do you recommend another place in Devon to go and visit Santa? Or do you have any experiences you want to share about going to any of the above?

Pinterest Santa

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