Out with my girlfriends this weekend I was shocked to be asked by not just one, but two of them if I’d started my Christmas shopping yet. I never realised these ladies whom I’ve known since I was a kid myself were so damn organised! Lucikly for me I am not the only one in the group who is unorganised when it comes to Christmas presents. And anyway, I always think a group of friends as close as we needs a variety of personalities, so I’m cool with filling that void lol.
One thing I have learnt and improved on as a mum over the years, is that when it comes to Christmas, you need to be super organised in booking in your visit to Santa in the Southeast. It’s crazy how quickly the big man gets booked up! Especially a decent Father Christmas!
Real or Fake?
I don’t know about you, but when it comes to visiting Santa there a few checks that he has to go through. As my kids start growing older and more knowing, it’s really important to me that he is realistic. I have to admit I get really disappointed with a big fake shiny beard these days.
This is why when I was searching for Santa to be part of my Santa Mini Photography sessions, I automatically ruled out anyone who didn’t have the real beard. His big tummy was next on my list. It was so important to me that my clients images be perfect, Santa had to look real. I have to say, personally, I do think Cosy Toes Photography’s Santa (shown in the images here) is THE BEST in the entire of the Southeast. And I have lots of children and mums and dad who agree.
One of last years client, 5 year old Grace had Santa on his toes asking all sorts of questions about himself, Christmas, and what he gets for his birthday. Grace loves to tell everyone that “The real Santa lives in East Grinstead” and her mum says “I believed in the Christmas magic once again too”. It was such a pleasure being able to provide those memories for them both.
Cosy Toes Photography Santa Mini Sessions sold out within a couple of days this year, but if you missed out, don’t worry, he’ll be back by popular demand next year!
If you missed out on availability to visit Santa with Cosy Toes Photography, and you haven’t yet booked your visit else where, you are no doubt searching for the perfect Christmas activities. Well I’m here to help, having done all the research for you. This is the place you can find the top 5 places in the Southeast to visit Santa.
Santa at Royal Victoria Place looks very authentic (yes his is real) and his grotto set up is also lovely. I’ve visited twice now with my boys and been very happy both times with our experience. You have the option of either turning up on the day and waiting in line, or booking a time slot. I recommend doing the latter as the grotto does get busy and it means you have minimal waiting time with excited children. Tickets were £5.50 per child last year (slots have yet to be released this year) and that also includes a gift from Santa. There is a booth outside where you can purchase photos from your visit along with snow globes and baubles.
Visits for Father Christmas begin 16th November – 18th December and are £12 per child and £1 per adult.
The experience here starts with a group story time with Santa and then a solo or family private visit where the children can share what they would like for Christmas. Each child receives a gift as part of their visit.
The experience has a very good local reputation indeed so is well worth a visit.
The grotto at the Llama Park runs from 30th November – 24th December. There is a traditional nativity setting here along with Christmas carolling , a great display of decorations and animals such as reindeer, donkeys, horses, Llamas and more. You have the option of queuing or booking in advance (for an additional £3 fee). Tickets to see the big man cost £14 per child or £40 for a family of 2 adults, 2 children.
Santa himself is very authentic so a great option for the skeptical child!
I have yet to visit Hever at Christmas yet, which is why I haven’t given it the number one spot. It’s reputation is outstanding.
It’s gets booked up extremely quickly and in past years I have never been quite quick enough to secure tickets. Ticket are also released on priority for those who have membership to the castle so, if like me you are not a member, you get second picking for spaces. This year however I did manage to bag some availability – I can’t wait to go after all the great things I’ve heard. There is currently still one date available for pre-booked tickets, and they do give the option of walk ins for Santa – I’ve just never been brave enough to risk disappointing the kids if we don’t manage to get to see Santa on the day.
Hever is beautiful to visit at any time of year, but their Christmas display with all the lights and trees looks magical. Plus there is tons to do on your visit, beginning 23rd November, with their last Santa date as the 24th December (2019).
When visiting Father Christmas you need to book both admission to the castle and your Father Christmas Visit. Admission for both is £21.90 per child. Adults £17.75 (non members). You can opt for a day time visit or a twilight visit and tickets include a gift.
As well as meeting Father Christmas in his snowy cabin, children will meet the elves, Mother Christmas and Huskies. Other activities in the castle include an interactive “Alice in Wonderland” trail, fairground stalls and the “Make a wish” tree.
Tulley’s is getting my number one slot this year due to the entire experience that comes with the visit. Sure, it’s the expensive option, but it’s one that will remain with me always as I remember how magical was when we went.
The experience here includes Santa sleigh ride, story telling, a token for the Build A Bear workshop, reindeer food making, elf hunt, reindeer talks, the elves secret forest, gingerbread making with Mother Christmas, the Post House, reindeer flying school, a 3D cinema and even more activities on the day.
Ticket prices vary depending on the date of your visit starting at £27.95 per child and £10.95 per adult.
Santa’s cabin is located in the forest which you are taken to by sleigh. The look on my kids faces when we arrived at the cabin to see him through the window was a magical mummy moment for sure!
This year there is also an ice skating ring (extra charge) which you can either prebook or turn up to on the day. You do not need to do the Santa experience in order to book the ice skating.
Christmas at Tulleys Farm
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I do hope it’s been helpful for you and I hope you and your children thoroughly enjoy your visit where ever you go.
If you would like to have some Christmas themed images taken this year, I still have a couple of spaces left on my Christmas Mini sessions in West Sussex. You can simply follow the link to book yours now.
My friend Andrea from Andrea B Photography, South Wales loves to create special memories for her clients too. Andrea is an outdoor child photographer in llanelliwhose work is stunning and she loves this time of year.