Coronavirus Update Close

Following government announcements on the roadmap out of lockdown and plans to gradually restore greater normality to everyday lives, we're making plans to get more services back on the road, including school services from 8th March. Please continue to check our latest timetables page for more information.

Let's keep working together to make travel as safe as possible. We're still doing enhanced cleaning and limiting available seats. You can help by avoiding busy times, using contactless payment where you can, keeping your distance and taking your litter with you.

You must wear a face covering throughout your journey, unless you are exempt.

Find out more on our travelling safely pages for England, Wales and Scotland. You can keep up to date by checking our main Coronavirus page.


Greatest Grottos

09 Dec 2019



It’s the final countdown to Christmas – shopping days are dwindling, stress levels are soaring – and it’s time to have a word with the main man.

Kris Kringle.

Jolly Old Saint Nicholas

Father Christmas.

He’s got lots of names but everyone knows him and we all want to find out whether we made it on to the Nice List this year.

Luckily, we’ve managed to find out where Santa’s going to be hanging out in the next few weeks (clearly, the Elves are being left unattended at the North Pole – the little cotton-headed ninny muggins!) and you’ll find a selection of Great Grottos below.

 And, for all the parents out there whose kids are staying tight-lipped about what they want for Christmas, you’ll have the chance to “accidentally” overhear when they tell Santa what’s on their list. #ParentingWin



All aboard the Santa Steam Special at Ribble Steam Railway, Preston.

As you travel along the rails, staying cosy in the steam-heated carriage, Santa will visit each passenger, delivering festive joy AND a gift.

Entrance to the museum is included, where the whole family can enjoy a trip on the indoor miniature railway.



Santa’s Grotto at the Chill Factore is a brrrrrilliant experience featuring REAL snow! Older children and adults can enjoy the Meet Santa package, including play time in the snow and a gift. Little kids can join in the fun, too, with soft play, snow and Santa in Mini Moose Land.



*warning – cracker joke *

What do you get if you cross a man in a red suit, a funfair and the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond?

Santa’s Magical Grotto at Loch Lomond Shores!

This year, as well as meeting Santa and taking a trip on the Loch Lomond Shores Express Train, Princesses Anna and Elsa will be visiting to celebrate the release of their new film, Frozen 2, showing at Sealife


The elves have taken over the mill this year and invite you to meet them in their magical elf forest. There will be sweet treats and a chance to visit with the main man himself, Santa.



Tradition is the main theme of this grotto at Cardiff Castle.

Craft Christmas decorations, take a trip along the candy cane trail in the Victorian decorated house and enjoy access to the castle grounds.

Visit Santa in his magical grotto in the 13th Century Black Tower and receive a traditional festive gift.



If a land based grotto is too 2018, Chichester Canal has the perfect festive treat.

You’ll get festive refreshments as you sail down the canal to meet with Father Christmas so the kids can receive a little present and put in a good word for themselves. Adults can enjoy a leisurely break from the hustle and bustle of Christmas!



There’s something special about sitting and telling stories at Christmastime.

At Lincoln Castle, settle down and listen to stories about Christmases past and even learn more about Santa, too. Children will have the chance to tell Santa what they’d like for Christmas and will leave with a traditional Victorian style gift.



There’s so much festivity at Beamish, we don’t know where to begin! From the Beamish Bazaar to the Ice Skating Rink to the Winter Fun Fair, it’s well worth a visit to the open air museum.

Santa’s taken up residence here in a cosy grotto, surrounded by his faithful reindeer. Kids should make sure they deliver their Christmas wishes to Santa, and in return, he’ll give them small, traditional gift.



Kids will love visiting the activity workshop where the elves will help them decorate their own stocking (choosing from over 50,000 stickers!) before heading into the grotto to meet with Santa. What’s more, Santa will place a gift in their new stocking and give them a badge so that everyone knows they’ve met the REAL Santa Claus. 


No wonder Santa keeps it pretty low-key the rest of the year – after all of this, he’s got to deliver presents all over the world!

Don’t forget to check the timetables in your area to stay up to date with services over the festive period and plan your journey in advance.


You might also like:


Top 10 Christmas Market Food and Drink

Christmas on a Shoestring

The Dos and Don'ts of Surviving Christmas a a Student