The Travel Hack

15 family Christmas events in North Wales and Cheshire for 2023

By: Author Monica

Categories Blog , UK

15 family Christmas events in North Wales and Cheshire for 2023

Last year I went all out with Christmas events and we did so many. I love Christmas but I don’t enjoy the commercialism and the over-buying it often entails. So, rather than spending a fortune on tacky Christmas presents for my kids, I decided to treat them to some festive days out and Christmas events.

We live on the border of Wrexham and Chester so we tend to stick to Christmas events in North Wales and Cheshire.

As we’re getting to that time of year where everyone wants to book their Christmas events I thought I’d share our thoughts on the ones we did last year.

Here are the Christmas events in North Wales and Cheshire we did last year:

(There’s more detail about each one below)

  • Christmas at Gulliver’s Theme Park
  • BeWILDerwood Presents Christmas
  • The Polar Express from Telford
  • Zipmas at Zipworld
  • Chester Zoo Lanterns
  • Magical Woodland
  • North Hills Farm
  • Chirk Castle
  • And a few more events I haven’t personally been to (yet!) but will be going to for 2023!

#1. Christmas at Gulliver’s Theme Park, Warrington

Best for: Best value for a full day out

visit santa north wales

Christmas at Gulliver’s Theme Park in Warrington surprised me by being our favourite Christmas activity out of all the activities we did.

I thought it was great value for money because we spent all day there.

They have a North Pole train which takes you on a ride around the winter wonderland theme park, with stops at Santa’s workshop and a visit to Santa’s Grotto which was incredible.

The kid’s all got a toy (and it was genuinely a great toy!) and then we had a full afternoon in the theme park.

Gulliver’s World was definitely a Christmas activity for the children but if you’ve got little ones (anyone under 10) then they’re going to love it.

It’s also worth noting that they have Twixmas at Gulliver’s which could be a great gift and a lovely activity to continue the festive fun in that awkward, inbetween phase.

There are Gulliver’s Theme Parks in four locations around the UK; Warrington, Matlock Bath, Milton Keynes and Rother Valley so I imagine it would be a very similar experience at all four parks.

Find out more about the North Pole Express Experience at Gulliver’s World here.

visit santa north wales

#2. BeWILDerwood Presents Christmas

Best for: An outdoor panto!

visit santa north wales

This is on the only event on the list to provide an outdoor panto. BeWILDerwood Presents Christmas is a gorgeous, twinkly evening event with the forest illuminated with twinkly lights and cheeky puppets. There’s even an outdoor pantomime which my kids loved. The lights were magical and happily entertained my kids who are ages 8, 7 and 4.

I was fully prepared for this to be a fairly quick experience and I thought we’d be back in the car within an hour but we lasted a full two hours, which included an extra long hot chocolate stop!

My kids loved chatting to the puppets along the way and watching the panto at the beginning really set the scene. I should also add that it was freezing cold and raining when we visited and it didn’t spoil the experience at all.

I’d recommend extra warm and waterproof clothing as it does get chilly watching the panto.

The only downside was that the santa wasn’t particularly convincing. But it was fun to see Santa and another cute puppet at the end of the light trail.

visit santa north wales

#3. The Polar Express from Telford

Best for: Younger families

visit santa north wales

OK, so this one was a bit of a let down for us and it wasn’t quite as magical as I was expecting.

The evening before we went on the Polar Express we watched the film at home and it was so exciting and magical. And then we told the kids we were going on the real one the next night. Excitement was through the roof!

The Polar Express is a short steam train journey where Santa and the elves sing songs and you get hot chocolates and cookies like on the film.

It has the potential to be really magical but it just wasn’t quite there.

Our middle son, Joseph (he’d just turned 5), was not impressed. I think he genuinely thought we were going on the real Polar Express and he was disappointed to find a pop-up marquee waiting at the station, a tiny sprinkling of fake snow and a rickety old train. He said the Santa didn’t look real and one of the elves was miming rather than singing.

The train also didn’t actually go anywhere. It went forwards for 2-3 minutes and then went backwards for 2-3 minutes. This also made my eldest son, George, feel sick (but he’s a little sweetie and sat there quietly and played along for the benefit of his baby sister).

So I’ll be honest here – this could have been really magical but Joseph was in such a mood I didn’t particularly enjoy it.

I thought it was expensive for what it was and it didn’t help that Telford is quite a long drive for us so everyone was a bit fed up by the time we got there.

Find out more about the Telford Polar Express here.

visit santa north wales

#4. Zipmas at ZipWorld

Best for: Something different

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Monica | Travel Blogger (@thetravelhack)

This was a really fun one. We’ve done a lot of Christmas activities over the years so it was nice to do something completely different.

I’ve got a full Zipmas review here.

Zipmas is held at the ZipWorld slate cavern at Llechwedd. You begin your journey with mince pies and hot chocolates and then travel 500ft down into the mine on an old and rickety train. It’s Europe’s steepest cable railway and the tunnel is decorated with Christmas lights as you creek down into the mine. The kids loved this part so we started on a high.

You then have about 30 minutes to wander around the chambers of the mine which are decorated with fairy lights and Christmas decor. You eventually come to Santa’s grotto where an incredible Santa (my kids all agreed he was definitely the real Santa) awaits for a festive chat in his cosy home.

When you get back to the top you go into a crafting area where you can decorate slate Christmas tree decorations. This part was also surprisingly fun and it’ll be nice to have these decorations on our tree each year. There was also an age-appropriate toy for each child.

This is a great Christmas activity in North Wales if you’ve already done a lot of the other activities and want to try something new. It’s also fun for older children and I think adults will genuinely enjoy this just as much as the kids do.

Find out more about Zipmas here.

visit santa north wales

#5. Chester Zoo Lanterns

Best for: Combining with a day at the zoo for a full day out

Chester Zoo Lanterns is a classic Christmas event in Cheshire. We live close to the zoo so this is something everyone in our area does!

I’ve found the quality of Chester Zoo Lanterns varies from year to year. We found 2018 was the best year by far and, while it has always been amazing, it’s never been quite as good as it was that year and that’s always been a bit disappointing.

But if you’ve never been to the Lanterns then you’ll have nothing to compare it to and you’ll love it!

You enter the zoo after dark and you follow a magical trail around the zoo where lanterns and performers are waiting at every turn. There are dancers and puppets and all sorts of performers and the enormous, colourful lantern animals look spectacular. There are also teepees serving food and drink and each child has a little lantern to carry with them and this adds to the magic. 

If Chester Zoo is a bit of a drive for you then I’d recommend spending the whole day and getting tickets to visit the normal zoo during daytime opening hours too. You don’t see any real animals after dark and this might be disappointing for some children.

Find out more about Chester Zoo Lanterns here.

#6. Christmas at Bolesworth

Best for: Multi-generation/lots of adults

This was the first time I visited Bolesworth Castle and I’ve since realised they have so many incredible events all year round. This beautiful country house is near Tattenhall and is well known for their equestrian events.

They host an incredible Christmas event which is enormous with so much going on. There’s a grotto, an ice rink, a light show, an enchanted light trail through the forest, fairground rides, a water display on the lake, reindeer, food and drink, interactive experiences, festive games and even a lakeside champagne bar.

This is a really good Christmas event if you’re visiting with lots of adults as I feel like there are just as many adult activities as there are children’s activities.

Travel Hack Tip: It got muddy here last year so wear wellies or boots. If you’re taking a pushchair, just be aware that you might need to ditch it from time to time and come back for it later.  

Find out more about Christmas at Bolesworth here.

visit santa north wales

#7. Magical Woodland at Delamere Forest

Best for: A magical evening

visit santa north wales

This was the second year we visited Magical Woodland at Delamere Forest. It really is magical and if you’ve never visited a forest lightshow like this before then you’re in for a real treat.

We loved it so much the first time we visited that I wrote an entire blog post about it: Magical Woodland Review: An incredible outdoor experience in Cheshire

But I’ve got to be honest and say that it wasn’t quite so magical the second time around. It was pretty much the same Christmas experience so, for the adults who remembered it all, it was a bit samey.

I 100% recommend going here if you’ve never been before, but I wouldn’t recommend going two years on the run.

Find out more about Magical Woodland here.

visit santa north wales

#8. North Hills Farm, Ruthin

Best for: Buy your Christmas tree and have a Christmas experience

visit santa north wales

North Hills Farm is one of the smaller Christmas events and will probably keep you busy for an hour, but it’s a lovely one to combine with buying your Christmas tree.

This pretty little farm has reindeer you can feed at set times, a small shop, a cafe and little fires where you can roast marshmallows.

I wouldn’t go a long way out of your way to visit the farm but if you’re in the area then it’s a very cute afternoon out.Find out more about North Hills Farm.

visit santa north wales

#9. Christmas at Chirk Castle

Best for: National Trust Members

visit santa north wales

If you’re already a National Trust member then I highly recommend a visit to Chirk Castle at Christmas time. While this isn’t a big, flashy or noisy Christmas event like many of the others, it’s a beautiful and more sophisticated affair!

Chirk Castle has a lovely light trail through the gardens and then the castle interior is decorated so beautifully. Enormous trees are decorated in each room, but I have to warn you that you will go home with Christmas tree envy!Find out more about Christmas at Chirk Castle.

Other Christmas events in Cheshire and North Wales I’d like to try:

10. dunham massey, 11. knowsley safari park, 12. greenwood family park, 13. llandudo 5k santa dash, 14. the santa experience at park hall farm, 15. meet santa at ninjatag, rhyl.

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Zip World

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Rydyn ni wrthi'n cyfieithu ein gwefan newydd ar hyn o bryd. Dewch yn Ôl yn fuan i weld y fersiwn Gymraeg.

Summit

North Wales’ most magical Christmas Grotto experience is back this year, with some wonderful new additions and the same exciting festive spirit we all know and love. Venture deep underground aboard our special cable railway, where you’ll be greeted with 3 enchanting chambers. First up is the light maze, where you’ll weave your way to the 2nd chamber, Santa’s Workshop. Here you’ll see all of the behind-the-scenes magic where Santa creates your Zipmas gift. Then, head through the magically lit tunnels and archway to chamber 3, where Santa will be waiting in his cosy Grotto. After receiving your gift and Welsh Slate bauble, head back above-ground where the fun continues at the Bauble Decorating station. Create the stunning centrepiece to this year’s tree in the warmth of our Llechwedd Caffi, and why not write that letter to Santa while you enjoy a delicious complimentary hot chocolate and mince pie? The grown-ups can even have a mulled wine if they like! Elevate your experience by opting for the Grotto Golf package; enjoy all of the above plus an 18-hole round on the UK’s only adventure golf in a cave. Set across 4 levels, this one-of-a-kind experience is not one to be missed!

Book Zipmas

What's included in your ticket

Hot chocolate or mulled wine and a mince pie.

What better way to kick start your Zip World Santa’s Grotto adventure than with a complimentary warm mug of hot chocolate or mulled wine and a local homemade mince pie? Start your magical experience with a bang with this winter warmer!

Hot Chocolate or Mulled Wine & a Mince Pie

Slate Bauble Crafting Experience

Not only do you get a gift from the main man himself, but you also get your very own Welsh slate bauble to decorate at our above-ground craft station! Get your creative juices flowing and decorate to your heart’s content, ready for centre stage on the tree. A wonderful memento or something to gift over the festive season.

Slate Bauble

Meet the Elves

It's not just Santa you'll get the chance to meet; his team of cheery elves will be visiting too, ready to welcome you to Zipmas! The team of elves will show you through the enchanted underground tunnels to the Grotto, will be spreading plenty of Christmas spirit, and of course will be available for sElfies!

Meet the Elves

Letter to Santa

Why not make the most of Santa being with us on holiday in North Wales and give him your Christmas letter personally? He and his team of elves and reindeer will fly them back to the North Pole where they create all of their gifts for the good boys and girls around the world! In return, you’ll receive a special message from the Official Desk of Santa Claus to take home with you.

Postbox

Train Underground

Santa’s Grotto is extremely special and can’t be reached on foot, so to reach the magical old mine, you must hop aboard Europe’s steepest cable railway and descend deep below ground! We get lots of questions about whether the cable railway is fast and scary, and the answer is no! The cable railway goes at a steady pace and is lit with lovely Christmas lights to get you ready for the festive cheer. With space for 6 per carriage, it’ll take around 90 seconds to reach the wintery wonderland that awaits below. Our elves will take good care of you as you dismount and head through the tunnels to the Grotto.

Underground Train

Grotto Experience

This Grotto is unlike any other. Head through the magical underground tunnels lit with thousands of twinkling lights before making your way through to the main chamber, where you’re met with Santa’s stunning festive Grotto. Complete with wood-burner and a throne, the Grotto itself is a cosy den, where you can have a picture with the main man and let him know your Christmas wish. As you’re waiting your turn, soak up the atmosphere in this truly unique and astonishing setting, and hang out with Santa’s elves.

Postbox

Present from Santa

Of course it wouldn’t be a grotto experience without a little something to take home before the big day. Santa has magical gifts suitable for children between the ages of 3 and 15, children with walking ability younger than 3 years still recieve a gift and require a ticket, you’re more than welcome to open these while you’re with us, or save them for Christmas Day.

Present

  • Hot Chocolate or Mulled Wine
  • Train Into The Mine
  • Underground Grotto Experience
  • Meet Santa's Elves
  • Gift From Santa
  • Bauble Crafting Experience
  • Post a letter to Santa

Child (Walking Ability)

  • Hot Chocolate

Accessibility Santa Sessions

Santa told Zip World that he gets lonely while eating his lunch underground, especially when the Elves are busy making toys! So, from Monday the 11th of December, he's inviting good boys and girls to keep him company.

Due to Zipmas’ unique underground location, we must have strict restrictions in place for your safety. Not only this, but we're aware that heading 500ft underground can be overwhelming for some, and Santa hates for anyone to have to miss out. Because of this, we’re delighted to be offering accessibility Santa sessions, suitable for anyone wanting to meet Santa in an easily accessible or calmer location.

These sessions will feature all the same Zipmas magic and festive fun, including letter writing and slate bauble decorating, as well as a special gift from Santa, complimentary mince pies and hot chocolate or mulled wine. The only difference will be meeting Santa above ground and not heading into the mine on the cable railway.

Ffear Fforest - North Wales' Ultimate Halloween Experience

If you fancy and extra sprinkling of adventure, why not opt for our ‘Grotto Golf’ package? Enjoy all of the above, plus a round on our adventure golf course, ‘Underground Golf’!

This is the world’s only adventure golf set in a cave, with 18 holes to tackle over 4 levels of mining-themed obstacles, sensory elements and impressive lighting.

Children must be 3 years or over to participate in Grotto Golf.

Ffear Fforest - North Wales' Ultimate Halloween Experience

Book Zipmas & Grotto Golf

Find us

Zip World Llechwedd, Blaenau Ffestiniog, LL41 3NB

Santa

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Where’s Santa Claus in North Wales?

Posted by North Wales Admin | Nov 13, 2013 | Blog , Entertainment , Featured , Upcoming Events | 0 |

Where’s Santa Claus in North Wales?

He’s had quite the image change over the years since being simple old Saint Nicholas and is the one person every child wants to see on Christmas Eve coming down the chimney with a handful of presents – no doubt he’ll be burdened down by the new Xbox and PlayStation this year!

As the presents are made and readied by the elves, Santa can be found taking a break from the chaos whilst spreading happiness all across the area in many of the places that will truly come alive this Christmas.

You better watch out You better not cry Better not pout I’m telling you why Santa Claus is coming to town

So, where can you see Santa Claus in North Wales? It must be one of his favourite places to come and treat kids because he’s all over! It’s amazing that with such a busy schedule, he can still fit in every youngster in North Wales and even be at two places at once!

Santa Claus in North Wales  for 2013:

Llandudno: Llandudno Christmas Fayre in the Alice in Wonderland grotto from the 22nd to 24th of November, £4 per person (includes gift)

Beaumaris: Victorian Christmas event from 2 pm. Free for the whole family!

Llangollen:  Llangollen Railway event from the 30th of November until the 1st of December. £15 per person with regular visits at 11:00, 11:55, 13:35 and 14:30

Santa Parade through Llangollen itself on the 30th of November, £4 per ticket with fireworks to follow!

Caernarfon:  Festrail event from the 7th until the 8th of December (more info to come!)

Santa’s Tea Party at Fron Goch Garden Centre on the 11th of December from 4p.m. £11.99 per ticket

Wrexham: Festive Food & Gift Extravaganza Weekend – Mr and Mrs Claus will both be attending on the 7th and 8th of December at The Plassey! Arrive between 10:30 and 4:30 for a free weekend of fun!

Cerrigydrudion:  Christmas Fair at Llyn Brenig Visitor Centre between 10am and 3:30pm over the 14th and 15th of December

Chester: Winter Wonderland parade, free entry on the 21st of November at 6:30 p.m

Kimmel Bay: North Wales Garden World on the 1st, 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st and 22nd of December from 1p.m-4p.m

Llanberis: Christmas Market at The Electric Mountain over the 23rd and 24th of November, free for all!

Glan Conwy:  Snowdonia Nurseries on every Saturday and Sunday leading up to Christmas with special appearances by his reindeer on the 14th and 21st of December between 10-12 and 2-4!

Snowdonia: Greenwood Forest Park  for £7.50 (which includes a gift!) in his grotto on:

  • Saturday 30th November & Sunday 1st December
  • Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th December
  • Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th December
  • Saturday 21st or Sunday 22nd December

Pwlheli: Christmas Craft Fair over the 30th of November and 1st of December in his grotto at the Oriel. Free entry for all!

Betws-y-Coed: Nadolig event throughout the town, most events are free but charges may apply for Santa’s grotto taking place throughout the start of December

Portmeirion: Christmas Festival over the 7th and 8th of December, prices TBA!

Prestatyn : Pendre Gardens on the 30th of November and the 5th, 6th, 7th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 19th, 20th and 21st of December at varying times, £4 per child

Check back on NorthWales.com for more of Santa’s busy schedule right up until Christmas Day itself which you can see is coming very fast below!

“santa sleigh” by www.flickr.com/photos/declanjewell/ and “santa claus” by www.flickr.com/photos/gardener41/

Licenses: creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ and creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en_gb, about the author.

North Wales Admin

North Wales Admin

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Christmas Events in North Wales

Go underground to santa's grotto or visit the enchanted forest.

North Wales has some magical Christmas events

  • Zip World Llechwedd have a magical underground grotto
  • Greenwood Family Park ‘s Enchanted Forest
  • Breakfast with Santa and Afternoon Tea with Elsa at Anglesey Sea Zoo Christmas Markets 2022
  • Christmas outdoor fun at RSPB Conwy Nature Reserve
  • Welsh Mountain Zoo are offering half price tickets and lots of elf fun
  • Meet Santa and race the elves at SC2 Rhyl
  • Meet Santa at Pili Palas Nature World

Little boy at Christmas

1. Zipmas at Zip World Llechwedd

Go on a magical journey underground to santa’s grotto.

Santa Claus at Zipworld Llechwedd Christmas Event

It will be cold like the North Pole at Zipmas Llechwedd this year. The kids will love exploring the christmassy underground tunnels to find Santa’s Grotto.

What to expect at Zipmas this Christmas

Ticket holders will receive a complimentary mince pie and a hot chocolate or mulled wine. Santa’s elves will whisk you aboard a cable railway. You’ll go 500ft underground into the slate mine grotto.

Explore the festive tunnels, decorated with fairy lights and all things Christmas, to find Santa and his team of elves in their hidden grotto. You will receive a Welsh slate bauble to be decorated at the craft station once you return to the surface. Children will receive a high quality gift as part of their ticket.

Children can give their Christmas letter to Santa directly or post it in the Zip World North Pole post box.  

Santa Clause at Zipmas

Zipmas Times and Prices 2022

Santa’s Grotto opens at Zipmas on November 25 th and runs until December 24th.

Tickets are £22 to visit at the weekend or the week before Christmas between 9am-6pm. Off-peak dates between 3pm-6pm are £18.

New for 2022 is the addition of the underground golf course in the same caves as the grotto so you can do a  ‘Grotto Golf’ package and make a full day of it. It’s the world’s only adventure golf set in a cave, with 18 holes over 4 levels of mining-themed obstacles, sensory elements and impressive lighting.

more info

2. The Enchanted Forest at Greenwood Family Park

A magical christmas experience for the whole family.

The Enchanted Lodge at Greenwood's Christmas Event in North Wales

What to expect at Greenwood’s Christmas Event 2022

  • This year it’s all about a night time adventure in the forest. Stroll through the illuminated forest and magical world of glistening trees. Follow the path to Santa’s cosy cottage to meet the man himself.

Greenwood’s Enchanted Lodge Times & Prices:

  • Starts November 26th – December 23rd 2022
  • Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from the 26th November
  • Each outdoor session is 1.5hrs
  • Spend as long as you like in our Woodbarn Lodge after the event

Mid-week sessions:

  • 4:30pm      5:30pm      6:30pm

Weekend sessions:

  • 3:30pm      4:30pm      5:30pm      6:30pm
  • Children: £22
  • Children under 6 months go free.

Book quick if you’re interested as they sold out very quickly last year.

3. Breakfast with Santa at Anglesey Sea Zoo

…and afternoon tea with elsa at the christmas markets.

Anglesey Sea Zoo Christmas 2022

Head over to Anglesey Sea Zoo this December for their weekend Christmas Markets.

  • Markets open days are December 3rd and 4th, 10th and 11th & 17th and 18th from 10am to 5pm.
  • Afternoon Tea with Elsa on each day except the 4th.
  • Breakfast with Santa on all 6 dates.
  • Drop in Santa’s Grotto from 11:30 to 1:30pm on all 6 dates.
  • Email post at angleseyseazoo.co.uk to book for breakfast or afternoon tea.
  • Shop local small businesses at the market.

4. Robin Robin trail at RSPB Conwy

Follow the nature trails and join the search for santa.

robin robin rspb trail

Christmas Events for RSPB Conwy 2022 – great for families who love the outdoors.

  • The Robin Robin trail starts on November 28th and runs until the 8th of January. Find all the clues and learn to sing like a robin. Activity packs are £3. No booking necessary.
  • Join the Santa Hunt on December 11th. There are eight time slots to choose from between 10am-3pm. Each slot is for 30 minutes. Children will spend between 10-15 minutes with Santa. A small gift is also included for every child (aimed at 3-8 year olds). Booking essential. Members £8.50, non-members £10.50.
  • Christmas Campfires: ‘Robin Robin’ Storytelling on December 18th. Three time slots available 11am, 1pm or 3pm. Booking required. Members £5.50, non-members £7.50.

Full info and booking details on the RSPB Conwy events page .

Suitable clothing and footwear should be worn, as these are outdoor events. Events are aimed at children aged 3–8 years old, but are fun for all the family! The nature reserve is closed on December 25th & 26th but open every other day throughout Winter.

5. Welsh Mountain Zoo Winter Fun

Enjoy half price tickets and breakfast with the elves.

Christmas Breakfast Welsh Mountain Zoo

Full details of the Welsh Mountain Zoo Christmas 2022

  • ‘Breakfast with the Elves’ character experience – held every weekend date in December up until and including Christmas Eve! £9.95 per child and £6.95 for adults. Includes a gift! Advance booking required .
  • Christmas workshops including Christmas crafts, children’s storytelling and animal present-making sessions! ✨
  • ELFventure trail to help Elfyn the Christmas Elf find all his missing presents which he’s lost all around the zoo! 🎁
  • Festive food & drinks will also be available in our catering outlets throughout the festive season! ☃️
  • And best of all HALF PRICE admission starts from Saturday 3rd December – Sunday 8th January. That means adults are less than £8, children are only £6 and under 3’s are free.

Book your entrance and Breakfast with the Elves tickets on the Welsh Mountain Zoo website .

6. Santa Meet and Greet at Ninja Tag Rhyl

Race the naughty elves around ninja tag.

Race the Elves - Christmas Event at SC2

Meet Santa at SC2 Rhyl

Meet and greet with Santa at SC2 Rhyl to tell him what you want this Christmas. Each child goes home with a small gift to keep them busy until the big day!

Race the Elves at Ninja Tag

Can you get past the naughty elves and beat Santa’s high score on the NinjaTAG scoreboard?

Christmas Event Dates at SC2 Rhyl

26th & 27th November

3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 17th & 18th December

For prices and booking info go to SC2 Rhyl’s website .

7. Meet and Greet with Santa at Pili Palas

pili palas christmas 2022 timetable

Choose between breakfast, lunch or tea with Santa. Two sessions per day, options with and without food for adults. Prices range from £6 to £15.95.

Make sure to book Santa visit at Pili Palas before they all sell out!

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You are here: Visitor Information > Public Holidays > Christmas

Spend your Christmas in North Wales

It’s the most magical time of the year – so why not spend it in the most magical of destinations?

Landscapes around North Wales change (sometimes overnight) to a glorious bright white. The untouched snow makes it look like a photograph, but there’s no need to rub your eyes, this is North Wales at Christmas.

We like to think North Wales is Santa’s favourite destination. He makes plenty of stops in North Wales leading up to the big day, including an incredible zip wire entrance at Zip World. He even makes a stop off at Llechwedd Slate Mines, where you’ll jump on a train and be taken right into the grotto to see Santa and his helpers.

So that’s the kids sorted, what about the adults? Well, a break in a snowy Snowdonia lodge might be just the way to relax and unwind before the big day. The perfectly situated lodges are the perfect opportunity to explore the region in its snowy beautifulness.

Plenty of Christmas markets take place around the region, including Llandudno’s popular event, an ideal chance for some last minute Christmas shopping!

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A memorable visit to Santa in an underground north Wales mine

Earlier this month I took my children - James, 6, and Jacob, 4 - to see Father Christmas in the Llechwedd slate caverns

Amelia Shaw

  • 05:00, 20 DEC 2021

Zipmas at Llechwedd, Blaenau Ffestiniog, December 2021.

When Zip World announced that it was inviting visitors to meet Santa in their underground Christmas grotto, within the famous Victorian Llechwedd slate mines in Blaenau Ffestiniog, I jumped at the chance to take my two children.

At the ages of six and four, James and Jacob are more excited than ever about Christmas , so what better way to get in to the festive spirit than by visiting the Big Man himself?

Upon arriving at Llechwedd, we were greeted by Santa's helpers who were handing out mulled wine, hot chocolate and mince pies.

READ MORE: North Wales town offering free visits to see Santa in his grotto this Christmas

While we waited to be taken to the train, the Grinch made an appearance, though thankfully he wasn't here to steal our Christmas spirit and instead added to it by taking pictures with the children.

My two were delighted when he hopped inside our train cabin - a quirky extra which definitely added to the experience.

Zipmas at Llechwedd, Blaenau Ffestiniog, December 2021.

Once down in the mine, more of Santa's elves welcomed us before we navigated our way through the tunnels, which were beautifully decorated with Christmas trees and fairy lights - the perfect photo opportunity.

Having arrived at Santa's cabin, which was surrounded by snow-covered trees, there was a bit of a wait to get inside and the Grinch made another appearance in an attempt to keep the kids entertained.

The Grinch and Jacob on their way down in to the mine

Inside the cabin, Santa spoke to the children and asked them what they wanted for Christmas, and, kids being kids, they promptly listed several items that they had failed to mention when writing their Christmas lists at the beginning of December!

On our way out Santa told us to take a piece of slate each to decorate for our Christmas tree and we made our way back to the train.

Zipmas at Llechwedd, Blaenau Ffestiniog, December 2021.

When we arrived back at the top we went into the cafe to decorate our slate Christmas tree decorations and have a bite to eat before exiting through the gift shop where the children were handed their Christmas gifts.

James was given a Jenga set which Jacob received a velcro toss and catch - both were thrilled.

All in all the experience was one to be remembered and was well worth the visit for the children to see Santa in a different environment than what they're used to.

Tickets are still available for purchase here .

Have you been to see Santa this year? let us know in the comments section below.

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what’s on this Christmas in North Wales

Enjoy the festive season and make some memories in North Wales this year.

Whether you are living in the local area or you are planning on going to North Wales on holiday this winter this blog is for you. We have done all the research and put together this handy list of things that are on this festive season across North Wales. From breakfast with Santa to unique seasonal experiences it is all listed below.

Christmas events

In north wales for 2023, santa’s enchanted grotto & elf academy.

where? Gwrych Castle, Tan-Y-Gopa Rd, Abergele, LL22 8ET

when? 2 nd December – 23 rd December 2023

time? 10am – 3pm

how much? adults £9, children £19.95, concession £9

other info:

  • join the Elf Academy
  • write a letter to Santa
  • Christmas gift, goodie bag and more

Reindeer Experience at North Hills Farm

where? North Hills Farm, Rhydtalog Road, Graianrhyd, Ruthin, North Wales, CH7 4QS

when? 24 th November – 24 th December 2023

time? 10am – 7pm

how much? tickets £24

  • get up close and personal with these enchanting animals
  • explore the enchanted forest
  • enjoy seasonal treats at the café

visit website

An Enchanted Christmas at Chirk Castle

where? Chirk Castle, LL14 5AF

when? 2 nd December 2023 – 7 th January 2024

time? 12pm – 4pm

how much? adults from £15, children from £7.50

  • explore Chirk Castle with its enchanted castle theme
  • wander through the decorated house
  • immersive experience in the East Wing

Christmas at Pili Palas

where? Pili Palas, Penmynydd Road, Menai Bridge, Anglesey, LL59 5RP

time? 9.30am – 6pm

how much? adults from £7, children from £14.95

  • enjoy either breakfast, lunch or tea with Santa
  • includes visit to the grotto and a gift for each child
  • visit the zoo and soft play area

Enchanted Forest at GreenWood

where? GreenWood Family Park, Bush Rd, Y Felinheli, LL56 4QN

when? 25 th November – 23 rd December 2023

time? 4.30pm – 7.30pm

how much? enchanted tickets £25, Santa experience tickets £10

  • explore the twinkling lights throughout the festive forest
  • post letters to Santa in the post box
  • plenty of treats at the Wood Barn Lodge

where? Zip World Llechwedd, Blaenau Ffestiniog, LL41 3NB

time? 8.30am – 7.30pm

how much? tickets from £20

  • enjoy a hot chocolate or mulled wine and mince pie
  • create your own slate bauble
  • meet the elves, letter to Santa and more

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100+ Of The Best Santa’s Grottos And Santa Experiences In 2023

Visiting a Santa’s Grotto has always been one of the most fun Christmas activities to do with our kids since they were small.

We’re big fans of Christmas events in general and even before the kids came along we loved to visit Christmas markets in Europe and Christmas isn’t Christmas without a visit to a Santas Grotto.

When the kids were 7 and 8 we thought it was the perfect time to take them to Lapland to visit Father Christmas – the ultimate Santa’s Grotto – to ensure their belief in the magic of Christmas remained for a little while longer.

Finding the perfect Santa’s Grotto in the UK in 2023 is a little harder having just had that amazing experience, but there are some great 2023 Santa visits to choose from.

Having done all this research on the best Santa experiences in the UK in 2023, we thought we would pull together our list of top Christmas days out for kids.

We hope it will save you a LOT of time and effort and avoid hours spent searching for ‘where to see Santa near me 2023’ or ‘best Santa’s grotto near me’ or even ‘what is the best Santa’s Grotto in the UK this year?’

If you’re wondering where to see Santa this year, you’re sure to find him at one of these Christmas experiences.

Whether you meet him in a garden centre, department store or on a train, these UK Santa’s Grottos and Santa experiences promise to be truly magical.

**Most Christmas events will require an online booking in advance. **

If you’d like to see more of our UK and Worldwide family adventures and travel tips, remember to follow us on Instagram .

Santa grotto

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and book something, we may earn a small commission but this is at no extra cost to you.

  Table of Contents

Lapland UK Santa Sleepovers (Theme Parks and Holiday Villages) Gardens and Garden Centre Santa’s Grottos Farm Parks and Zoos Winter Wonderlands and Light Shows Christmas at Theme Parks Santa Train Rides Department Store and Shopping Centre Santa’s Grottos Santa’s Grottos at Castles National Trust Santa’s Grottos Other places to see Santa Seeing Santa virtually

Lapland UK is in a category all by itself because it’s arguably the best Santa’s Grotto around and the ultimate place to see Santa in the UK. The ultimate Christmas experience comes at a cost but by all accounts, it’s worth it.

For when travel becomes easier again, we have a guide to booking your own Finnish Lapland holiday at a fraction of the cost of a package holiday.

Our guide to booking a DIY Lapland trip explains how to have the ultimate Santa experience on a budget. See also what to pack for Lapland with kids .

Father Christmas 2023 tickets are sold out but you can sign up to be on the cancellation list.

Dates : 12th November 2023 to 24th December 2023. Ticket Price : From £65 to £135 per person. Location : Lapland UK, Whitmoor Forest, Swinley Road, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 8BD.

Lapland UK

Santa Sleepovers (Theme Parks and Holiday Villages)

These are the main UK parks offering Santa sleepovers and short breaks. For a full list, you can read our post on Father Christmas sleepovers .

In case you don’t find anything you like here, we have more ideas on Family Christmas Breaks in the UK. We also have a guide to the Merlin attractions at Christmas .

Chessington World of Adventures

Chessington World of Adventures Father Christmas Sleepover

Dates : Weekends from 25th November to 23rd December 2023 for Father Christmas Sleepover at Chessington. Ticket Price : From £281 for a family of 4 to stay overnight with 2 days entry to Park (on selected dates) staying in a themed hotel. Location : Chessington World of Adventures, Leatherhead Road, Chessington, Surrey, KT9 2NE.

Check current prices and availability here.

Just visiting for the day? Check the Chessington website for more info and tickets .

Girl playing in the snow at Santa Sleepover in Chessington World of Adventures

Photo Credit: Chessington World of Adventures

Alton Towers Resort

Alton Towers Resort Santa Sleepover Dates : Weekends from 25th November to 23rd December 2023. Ticket Price : From £290 per family of 4 to stay overnight with one day in the park staying in a themed hotel. Location : Alton Towers Resort, Alton, Staffordshire, ST10 4DB.

The LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort

The LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort Santa Sleepover

Dates : Weekends from 25th November to 23rd December 2023. Ticket Price : From £469 for family of 4 to stay overnight with 1 day in the park staying in a LEGO® themed room. Make your Santa Sleepover even more special, with a special trip to see Santa in his grotto from £20 per child. Location : The LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort , Winkfield Road, Windsor, SL4 4AY.

©2021 The LEGO Group.

Santa on a sleigh waving

Photo Credit: The LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle Santa Sleepover

Dates : Weekends from 25th November to 23rd December 2023. Ticket Price : From £499 for family of 4  to stay overnight with 2 days in the castle staying in the Knight’s Village. Location : Warwick Castle, Warwick, Warwickshire, CV34 6AH.

Bluestone Christmasland breaks (see also our top cheaper alternatives to Center Parcs ).

Dates : 6th November 2022 to 1st January 2024. Ticket Price : From £579 for 4 people in a lodge for 3 nights. Location : Bluestone Resort, Canaston Wood, The Grange, Narberth, SA67 8DE.

Christmasland at Bluestone

Ribby Hall Village

Winter Wonderland

Dates : From 10th November 2023 to 15th December 2023. Ticket Price : From £489 for 4 people in a lodge for 3 nights. Location : Ribby Hall Village, Ribby Road, Wrea Green, Lancashire, PR4 2PR.

Center Parcs

Center Parcs Winter Wonderland holidays

Dates : 6th November 2023 to 2nd January 2024. Ticket Price : From £579 for 4 people in a lodge for 3 nights. Location : Center Parcs at Christmas is at all of their locations.

Winter Wonderland at Center Parcs

Winter Wonderland at Center Parcs

Gardens and Garden Centre Santa’s Grottos 2023

Here is just a short list of Santa’s Grottos at garden centres across the UK. Some of these garden centres have multiple locations in the UK.

If you don’t see one near you, just searching for ‘garden centre with Santa’s Grotto near me’ will give you more options.

The Father Christmas Experience at Marsh Farm Dates : 18th November to 24th December 2023. Ticket Price : From £39.00 – £70.00 per person. Under 1 Free. Location : Marsh Farm, Marsh Farm Road, South Woodham Ferrers, Essex, CM3 5WP.

See also our guide to the Christmas events happening in Essex and Christmas markets in Essex for more festive days out.

Frosts Garden Centres

Santa’s Grotto at Frosts Dates : 2023 dates TBC. Ticket Price : Only family tickets available to book – (1 Adult & 1 Child – £22.00, 2 Adult & 2 Child – £44.00). Additional Adult – £3.50 and additional child – £15.00. Location : Woburn Sands     Millets Farm     Willington

Skylark Garden Centre

Christmas at Skylark  (see also Christmas events in Cambridgeshire ) Dates : Weekends from 25th November to 24th December 2023. Ticket Price : Tickets on sale in September. Location : Skylark Garden Centre, Manea Road, Wimblington, March, Cambridgeshire, PE15 0PE.

Burston Garden Centre

Santa’s Grotto at Burston Garden Centre (see also Christmas events in Hertfordshire ) Dates : TBC. Ticket Price : £10.00 per child (£1 per accompanying adult). Location : Burston Garden Centre, North Orbital Road, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL2 2DS.

Van Hage Garden Centre

Santa’s Grotto at Van Hage Dates : Select dates from 4th November to 24th December 2023. Ticket Price : £12.00 per child. Location : Van Hage Garden Centre, Great Amwell, Nr Ware, Hertfordshire, SG12 9RP.

See more things to do at Christmas in Hertfordshire .

Poplar Nurseries

Breakfast with Santa Dates : TBC Ticket Price : £TBC Location : Poplar Nurseries, Coggeshall Road, Marks Tey, Colchester, Essex, CO6 1HR.

Woodland Walk Garden Centre

Woodland Walk Santa’s Grotto Dates : Every weekend from the last weekend in November Ticket Price : TBC Location : Woodland Walk Garden Centre, Heol Creigiau, Efail Isaf, Nr. Pontypridd, CF38 1BG.

Pugh’s Garden Village

Christmas Experience Dates : TBC. Ticket Price : TBC. Location : Pugh’s Garden Village, Ty-Nant Road, Morganstown, Cardiff, CF15 8LB.

North Wales Garden World

Christmas Winter Wonderland Dates : TBC. Ticket Price : £6.95 per person. Location : North Wales Garden World, St Asaph Avenue, Kinmel Bay, Conwy, LL18 5TU.

See our post on family-friendly things to do in North Wales .

The Father Christmas Experience at Marsh Farm

Glendoick Garden Centre

Visit Santa

Dates : 2023 dates TBC. Bookings open on 1st October 2023. Ticket Price : £7.50 (all proceeds going to charity). Location : Glendoick, Glencarse, Perthshire, PH2 7NS.

Springtime Nurseries Crews Hill

The Crews Hill Santa Grotto is part of their Christmas Wonderland . Dates : TBC (tickets on sale from September). Ticket Price : £12.00 per child and £4.00 per adult. Location : Springtime Nurseries, Cattlegate Road, Crews Hill, Middlesex, EN2 9EE.

Dobbies Garden Centres

Dobbies Santas Grotto Dates : 24th November to 24th December 2023. Ticket Price : From £7.00 per child (online) or £8.00 on the day. Location : There are 44 centres across the country to choose from.

Eden Project

Meet Father Christmas at Eden Dates : TBC Ticket Price : Adult – £10.00, Child – £10.00. Location : Eden Project, Bodelva, Cornwall, PL24 2SG.

Dobbies Garden Centre

Dobbies Garden Centre

Farm Parks and Zoos

Zsl london zoo.

The Magic of Christmas at London Zoo (Meet Santa is on 3rd & 4th and 10th to 24th December 2022). Dates : 26th November to 1st January 2024. Ticket Price : From Adult – £28.50. Child – £18.55. Location : London Zoo, Regent’s Park, London, NW1 4RY.

If you live locally, their annual membership is definitely worth getting. See also what is going on at Whipsnade Zoo at Christmas .

The Magic of Christmas at London Zoo.

Edinburgh Zoo

Santa’s Grotto (part of the Edinburgh Zoo Christmas Nights ) Dates : Select dates TBC. Ticket Price : Daytime child from £17.00. Evening child from £18.00. Location : Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, 134 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh, EH12 6TS

Easton Farm Park

Christmas on the Farm – see also more Christmas events in Suffolk .

Dates : 3rd & 4th, 10th & 11th and 17th to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : Adult – £10.95, Child – £18.95. Location : Easton Farm Park, Pound Corner, Easton, Suffolk, IP13 0EQ.

Easton Farm Park

Africa Alive!

Christmas at Africa Alive! Dates : TBC Ticket Price : TBC Location : Africa Alive, Whites Lane, Kessingland, Suffolk, NR33 7TF.

Bocketts Farm Park

Father Christmas Experience Dates : 24th November to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : From £25.50 per child. Adult – from £6.50. Location : Bocketts Farm Park,Young Street, Fetcham, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 9BS.

See here for more Christmas events in Surrey .

West Midland Safari & Leisure Park

Santa Safari Dates : 25th November to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : Adult (16+) – £22.80, Child (3-16) – £19.60 and Under 3 – £13.00. Location : West Midland Safari & Leisure Park, Spring Grove Road, Bewdley, Kidderminster, DY12 1LF.

Marwell Zoo

Christmas at Marwell – this has become Glow Marwell. Dates : 18th November to 30th December 2022. Ticket Price : From £15.00 per adult and £12.00 per child (3-16). Location : Marwell Wildlife, Thompsons Lane, Winchester, Hampshire, SO21 1JH.

Colchester Zoo

The Magic of Christmas at Colchester Zoo Dates : Select dates from 26th November to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : £12.50 per ticket (on top of zoo entry). Location : Colchester Zoo, Maldon Road, Heckfordbridge, Colchester, Essex, CO3 0SL.

Santa with children

Christmas at Banham Zoo Dates : 23rd November to 23rd December 2022. Ticket Price : From £16.95 per person. Under 1 – FREE. Location : Banham Zoo, Kenninghall Road, Banham, Norfolk, NR16 2HE.

Bristol Zoo Gardens (see Wild Place Project)

Santa’s Grotto at Bristol Zoo Gardens Dates : TBC Ticket Price : TBC Location :Wild Place Project, Blackhorse Hill, Bristol, BS10 7TP.

4 Kingdoms Adventure Park

Christmas Experience Dates : 26th November to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : Adult – from £30.00. Child – from £40.00. Under 1 – £10.00. Location : Newbury Road, Headley, Thatcham, Berkshire, RG19 8JY.

YouTube video

Paradise Wildlife Park

Paradise Wildlife Park Dates : Every weekend from 3rd December and then 17th to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : Adult: £22.00, Child £20.00 – entry to the grotto is included in your park ticket. Location : Paradise Wildlife Park, White Stubbs Lane, Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, EN10 7QA.

See also Broxbourne Woods Scultpure Trail which is right next door if you’re feeling like a family-friendly walk.

Drusillas Park

Christmas at Drusillas Park Dates : 19th November to 23rd December 2022. Ticket Price : £17.50 per person to visit Santa (doesn’t include entry to park). Location : Drusillas Park, Alfriston, East Sussex, BN26 5QS.

See here for more things to do at Christmas in Sussex .

Drusillas Park Santa's Grotto

Mead Open Farm

The Magic of Christmas Dates : 2nd to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : From £22.00 per adult and £29.00 per child (1-15 yrs) and non-participating child under 1 year – £10.00 plus £0.50 booking fee. Location : Mead Open Farm, Stanbridge Road, Billington, Bedfordshire, LU7 9JH.

Willows Farm

Santa Spectacular

Dates : 19th November to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : Adults (and children under 2) £23.00 – £29.00, Children 2+ £45.00 – £51.00 (non member prices). Location : Willows Activity Farm, Coursers Road, London Colney, Hertfordshire, AL4 0PF.

Wroxham Barns

The Santa Experience – see also other Christmas events in Norfolk and family-friendly activities in Norfolk .

Dates : 25th November to 24th December 2023. Ticket Price : Adults from £20.95, Children from £27.95 & Under 2 from £16.95. Location : Wroxham Barns, Tunstead Road, Hoveton, Norfolk, NR12 8QU.

Willows Farm Santa Spectacular

Willows Farm Santa Spectacular

Meet Santa and his Reindeers Dates : Select dates from 12th November to 18th December 2022. Ticket Price : Normal entry price applies PLUS £8.50 to meet Santa. Location : Folly Farm, Begelly, Kilgetty, Pembrokeshire, Wales, SA68 0XA.

Reindeer Centre Bethersden

Christmas Grotto Dates : Weekends from 12th November to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : Adults – from £12.000 and children £18.00. Location : Capralama Farm, Pluckley Road, Bethersden, TN26 3EQ.

Bethersden Reindeer Centre Christmas Grotto

Bethersden Reindeer Centre Christmas Grotto

Winter Wonderlands and Light Shows

Thursford magical journey.

Dates : Santa’s Magical Journey – weekends from 26th November to 11th December and then 17th to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : From £20.00 per child. Adult – from £14.00. Location : Thursford Collection, Thursford, Fakenham, Norfolk, NR21 0AS.

See also Enchanted Journey of Light dates 19th November to 28th December 2022 – one of the many Christmas light trails in the UK and Christmas Spectacular from 8th November to 23rd December 2022.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland (also home to the largest outdoor ice rink in London ). If you’re in London, make sure to check out the London Christmas lights . London is one of the best cities in the UK to visit at Christmas with kids .

Dates : 18th November 2022 to 2nd January 2023. Ticket Price : From £5.00 per person (which is refunded if you book over £25.00 worth of activities). Location : Hyde Park, London.

Kew Gardens

Christmas at Kew

Dates : 16th November to 8th January 2023. Ticket Price : Adults from £21.50, Children (4-16) from £14.00, Family of 4 – £65.00 and Under 4 Free. Location : Kew Gardens, Kew, Richmond, London, TW9 3AE.

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace Illuminated Light Trail

Dates : 18th November to 2nd January 2023. Ticket Price : Adults from £35.00 (with parking), Children (3-16) from £18.00. Under 2 Free. Location : Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, OX20 1PP.

Light Trail at Blenheim Palace

Light Trail at Blenheim Palace

Kielder Water & Forest Park

Kielder Winter Wonderland

Dates : Select dates from 19th November to 23rd December 2022. Ticket Price : From £29.50 per person. Under 2 – £5.00. Location : Kielder Water & Forest Park, Hexham, NE48 1BT.

Chester Zoo

The Lanterns

Dates : 11th November to 23rd December 2022. Ticket Price : Adults from £15.00, Children from £12.00 (under 2 free). Location : Chester Zoo, Upton-by-Chester, Chester, CH2 1EU.

The Lanterns Chester Zoo

The Lanterns Chester Zoo

The Snow Centre

Santa’s Grotto at the Snow Centre Dates : 24th, 26th December and 31st December and 1st January 2023. Ticket Price : TBC. Location : The Snow Centre, St Albans Hill, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP3 9NH.

Tamworth Snowdome

Winter Wonderland Dates : 12th November 2022 to 1st January 2023. Ticket Price : From £15.95 per person Location : SnowDome, Leisure Island, River Drive, Tamworth, Staffordshire, B79 7ND.

The Snow Factor

Dine with Santa Dates : TBC. Ticket Price : £29.00 per child including a meal with Santa, a story, a gift and 30 minutes of sledging. Location : The Snow Factor, King’s Inch Road, Glasgow, Renfrew, G51 4BP.

Lotherton Hall

The Christmas Experience Dates : 26th November to 31st December 2022. Ticket Price : Tickets on sale from 9th September 2021. Location : Lotherton Hall, Off Collier Lane, Aberford, Leeds, LS25 3EB.

The Ice Village

Santa’s Grotto Dates : TBC. Ticket Price : NA Location : Cathedral Gardens, Corporation Street, Manchester, M4 3BG.

The Ice Village Manchester

The Ice Village Manchester

Christmas at Theme Parks

Gulliver’s land.

Gulliver’s at Christmas Dates : Weekends from 3rd December to 18th December and then 21st, 22nd and 23rd December 2022. Ticket Price : From £27.00 per person (Under 90cm £9.00). Location : Warrington, Milton Keynes, Rotherham, Matlock Bath.

1 Day Winter’s Tail Dates : 25th November to 30th December 2023 (meet Father Christmas available until 24th December 2023). Ticket Price : From £20.00 per person. See the Chessington website for more event info and tickets. Location : Chessington World of Adventures, Leatherhead Road, Chessington, Surrey, KT9 2NE.

Drayton Manor

Drayton’s Magical Christmas Dates : 26th November to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : Adult (4+) £36.00, Child (2-3) £22.00 and Under 2 – £5.00. Location : Drayton Manor Park, Near Tamworth, Staffordshire, B78 3TW.

Paultons Park

Christmas at Paultons (Santa’s Grotto is closed but Santa will appear on stage). Dates : Select dates from 3rd to to 23rd December 2022. Ticket Price : Children 1m and over – £35.00, Family of 4 – £140.00. Location : Paultons Park, Ower, Romsey, Hampshire, SO51 6AL.

Alton Towers

Alton Towers Resort at Christmas Dates : From 25th November to 2nd January 2023. Ticket Price : From £16.00 per person. Buy Alton Towers tickets here. Location : Alton Towers Resort, Farley Lane, Alton, Stoke-on-Trent, ST10 4DB.

The LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort at Christmas Dates : From 26th November to 3rd January 2023. Ticket Price : From £32.00 per person. Check here for tickets. Location : The LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort, Winkfield Road, Windsor, SL4 4AY.

Christmas at Paultons Park

Santa Train Rides

There are so many Santa Train Rides in the UK. Here is a small selection of them. We have more information in these posts –  40+ Seriously Festive Santa Train Rides and A Handy Guide to the 11 Polar Express Train Rides in the UK.

Heading to the US? We have a guide on where to find a US Polar Express train ride .

If you’re going to take a Polar Express train ride, how about brushing up on the movie or reading the book before you go?

*These are affiliate links. If you buy something from them, we may earn a small commission, but this is at no extra cost to you. Thank You!*

Polar Express Movie – on Amazon.

Polar Express Book – on Amazon.

Wensleydale Railway

Polar Express Dates : 18th November to 23rd December 2022. Ticket Price : From £29.95 to £36.95 per person. Location : Wensleydale Railway, Leeming Bar Station, Leases Road, Leeming Bar, Northallerton, DL7 9AR.

Mid Norfolk Railway

Polar Express Dates : 13th November to 23rd December 2022. Ticket Price : From £27.50 for standard and £41.95 for premium. Location : The Railway Station, Station Road, Dereham, Norfolk, NR19 1DF.

South Devon Railway

Polar Express Dates : 18th November to 23rd December 2022. Ticket Price : From £29.95 to £39.95 per person. Location : South Devon Railway, The Station, Dartbridge Road, Buckfastleigh, Devon, TQ11 0DZ.

The Polar Express Train Ride

Bure Valley Railway

Festive Express Dates : Select dates from 3rd to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : £13.00 per person. Location : Bure Valley Railway, Aylsham Station, Norwich Road, Aylsham, Norfolk, NR11 6BW.

Isle of Wight Steam Railway

Santa Specials Dates : Select dates from 3rd to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : £16.75 for adults, £13.75 for children 5-17 and £10.75 for children under 5. Location : The Railway Station, Main Road, Havenstreet, Ryde, PO33 4DS.

Great Central Railway

Santa Steam Trains Dates : 26th November to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : £69.00 – £89.00 for a compartment for 4 people or £75.00-£95.00 for a compartment for 6 people. Location : Quorn and Woodhouse Station, Woodhouse Road, Quorn, LE12 8AG.

Churnet Valley Railway

Santa Steam Trains Dates : Churnet Valley is now running the Polar Express – see above section for details. Ticket Price : N/A Location : Churnet Valley Railway, Kingsley & Froghall Station, Froghall, Staffordshire, ST10 2HA.

Avon Valley Railway

Avon Valley Railway Santa Special

Address : Avon Valley Railway, Bitton Station, Bath Road, Bitton, Bristol, BS30 6HD Dates : 26th November to 24th December 2022. Tickets : From £13.00 – £20.00 per person. Under 1 – FREE.

See also the best Christmas events in Bath .

North York Moors Railway

Santa Reimagined Dates : Select dates from 3rd December to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : £100.00 for a compartment for 4 people (+£25.00 per additional adult up to 6 people max). Location : Pickering Station, Pickering, YO18 7AJ.

North Yorkshire Moors Railway Santa Train

Kent & East Sussex Railway

Santa Specials Dates : Select dates from 3rd December to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : Standard table of 4 from £90.00, First class from £120.00 for up to 4. Private compartment for up to 6 – from £180. Location : Tenterden Town Station, Station Road, Tenterden, Kent, TN30 6HE.

See here for more Christmas events in Kent .

Santa and Steam Specials Dates : Select dates from 3rd December to 23rd December 2022. Ticket Price : Table for 4 – £65.00, Compartment for up to 6 – £95.00. Location : Matlock Station, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 3NA.

Llangollen Railway

Santa Specials Dates : Select dates from 3rd December to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : £20.00 per person or £80.00 for a compartment of 4. Location : The Station, Abbey Road, Llangollen, Denbighshire, LL20 8SN.

Audley End Miniature Railway

Audley End Christmas Special Dates : 19th November to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : From £22.00 over 92cm and £11.00 under 92cm. Under 1 – FREE. Location : Audley End Miniature Railway, Audley End Road, Audley End, Saffron Waldon, Essex CB11 4JB.

Audley End Christmas Special

Audley End Christmas Special

Seaton Tramway

Polar Express Dates : Selec dates from 25th November to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : From £19.95 per person (under 2 free). Location : Seaton Tramway, Harbour Road, Seaton, Devon, EX12 2NQ.

Stuart Line Cruises (this is a boat trip, not a train ride)

Sail with Santa

Dates : Weekends in December and 21st & 22nd December 2022. Ticket Price : £12.00 per person (under 12 months – £4.00). Location : Sailings from Exmouth, Exeter, Topsham and Sidmouth.

Steam Trains Ireland

Santa Train

Dates : 3rd, 10th, 17th & 18th December 2022. Ticket Price : TBC. Location : Whitehead Excursion Station, Castleview Road, Whitehead, Carrickfergus, BT38 9NA

Bodmin and Wenford Railway

Santa by Steam Dates : Weekends in December and then 19th to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : From £19.95 per person. Location : General Station, Bodmin, Cornwall, PL31 1AQ.

Bodmin and Wenford Railway Santa by Steam

Bodmin and Wenford Railway Santa by Steam

Department Store and Shopping Centre Santa’s Grottos

Harrods Christmas Grotto (only open to customers who spend over £2000 in Harrods). Dates : TBC Ticket Price : N/A Location : 87 – 135 Brompton Road, London, SW1X 7XL.

Selfridges Breakfast with Santa Dates : TBC Ticket Price : Various – see website. Location : London     Birmingham     Manchester

Hamleys Santa’s Grotto Workshop Dates : 12th November to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : London (£39.99) – Glasgow (£20.00) – Lakeside (£20.00). Location :  Addresses for individual stores can be found here.

Santa’s Grotto – Meet Santa in John Lewis

Dates : 22nd November to 24th December 2023 (dates will vary slightly by location). Ticket Price : Child – £20 (plus £2 booking fee). Adult – £2 (plus 20p booking fee). Location :  9 UK John Lewis locations will be offering a Santa’s Grotto. See here.

Magic Alley Stratford

Christmas at Magic Alley Dates : 27th November to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : £14.00 per adult. Babies – £5.00. Location : 1st Floor, Bell Court Shopping Centre, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6EX.

Santa's Winter Wonderland at Tamworth Snowdome

The Olde Watermill

Santa’s Grotto – tickets on sale now. Dates : Select dates from 25th Novembwer to 24th December 2023. Ticket Price : Adult – £5.49, Child – £15.99. Location : The Olde Watermill Shopping Village, BartonMill Lane, Barton-le-Clay, Bedfordshire, MK45 4RF.

Christmas at Bluewater Dates : 25th November to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : Adult – from £5.00, Child – from £12.50 (plus booking fee). Location :  Bluewater Shopping Centre, Greenhithe, Kent, DA9 9ST.

Christmas Wonderland Dates : TBC. Ticket Price : See site for details. Location :  The Quay, Lakeside Shopping Centre, Grays, Essex, RM20 2AD.

Hamleys Santa's Grotto Workshop

Hamleys Santas Grotto Workshop

Santa’s Grottos at Castles and other tourist attractions

Castles are some of the most visited tourist attractions in the UK and are a fantastic setting for Christmas events. Here are some of the best castles in the UK with Christmas events.

Some of these castles are run by English Heritage. We highly recommend an English Heritage membership . Just a couple of visits to English Heritage properties during the year will cover the cost of your pass.

Hever Castle

Santa at Hever Castle – one of the most impressive castles in Kent Dates : Selected dates from 19th November to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : Adults – £20.00, Children (5-17) £26.00, Children Under 5 – £14.00. Location : Hever Castle, Hever Road, Hever, Edenbridge, Kent, TN8 7NG.

Belvoir Castle

Santa’s Grotto at Belvoir Castle

Dates : 18th November to 23rd December 2022. Ticket Price : £15.00 per child. This does not include entrance price to the castle. Location : Belvoir Castle, Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG32 1PE.

Gwrych Castle

Christmas Grotto at Gwrych Castle

Dates : TBC. Ticket Price : N/A. Location : Gwrych Castle, Abergele, Conwy, LL22 8ET.

Christmas at the Castle (loads going on including ice skating, a light trail and a Christmas market)

Dates : 26th November to 2nd January 2023. Ticket Price : Tickets from £14.00. Buy tickets here . Location : Warwick Castle, Warwick, Warwickshire, CV34 6AH.

Leeds Castle

Father Christmas at Leeds Castle (one of the best castles in Kent ). See more here for the best things to do in Kent .

Dates : 25th November to 1st January 2022. Ticket Price : Adults – £28.00, Child (4-15) – £19.50, Under 4 – FREE. Location : Leeds Castle , Leeds, Maidstone, Kent, ME15 1PD.

Leeds Castle

Bolsover Castle

Christmas at the Castle

Dates : Weekends from 26th November to 18th December 2022. Ticket Price : Adult – £8.00, Child (5-17) – £8.00 (on top of usual entrance fee), Location : Bolsover Castle, Castle Street, Bolsover, Chesterfield, S44 6PR.

Castle Howard

An Audience with Father Christmas

Dates : Select dates from 1st to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : from £47.00 per child (accompanying adults from £20.00 before 3pm must book Gardens ticket, after 3pm must book Light Trail ticket). Location : Castle Howard, York, YO60 7DA.

Oxford Castle and Prison

Santa’s Grotto

Dates : TBC. Ticket Price : £17.95 per child, £15.95 per adult, Under 2 – £6.95. Location : Oxford Castle and Prison, 44-46 Oxford Castle, Oxford, OX1 1AY.

Kenilworth Castle

Dates : Weekends from 26th November to 18th December 2022. Ticket Price : Adult – £8.00, Child (5-17) – £8.00 (on top of usual entrance fee). Location : Kenilworth Castle, castle Green, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 1NG.

Bodium Castle

Father Christmas at Bodium Castle

Dates : TBC. Ticket Price : TBC. Location : Bodium Castle, Bodium, Robertsbridge, East Sussex, TN32 5UA.

Santa at Hever Castle

Santa at Hever Castle

Dover Castle

Dates : TBC. Ticket Price : Adult – £17.00, Child (5-17) – £10.20. Location : Dover Castle, Dover, Kent, CT16 1HU.

Whitstable Castle

Santa’s Magical Grotto Dates : 3rd to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : £6.50 per child. Location : Whistable Castle, 15 Tower Hill, Whistable, Kent, CT5 2BW.

National Trust Santa’s Grottos

If you like visiting National Trust properties, we highly recommend getting a National Trust membership . Just a couple of visits will cover the price of your pass and you will be able to get into a lot of these seasonal events for free.

Meet Father Christmas in the East

Meet Father Christmas in the Midlands

Meet Father Christmas in Northern Ireland

Meet Father Christmas in the South East

Meet Father Christmas in the South West

Meet Father Christmas in Wales

Places to see Santa in London

There are lots of Santa’s Grottos in London this year – including the infamous Harrods Santa Grotto (but this is almost impossible to get into!). We have already mentioned a few above such as Hamleys and London Zoo – but here are a few more London Santa’s Grottos:

Alexandra Palace

Santa’s Grotto at Alexandra Palace

Dates : TBC. Ticket Price : £14.50 per child. Location : Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, London, N22 7AY.

Shrek’s Adventures

Santa’s Grotto at Shrek’s Adventures

Dates : Weekends in December and then 17th to 24th December 2022. Ticket Price : From £24.00 per person. Location : Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7PB.

Broadgate Circle

The Winter Forest

Dates : TBC.. Ticket Price : TBC. Location : Exchange House, 12 Exchange Square, London, EC2A 2BQ.

Fortnum & Mason

Storytelling with Father Christmas

Dates : Tickets have now sold out. Ticket Price : N/A. Location : Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London, W1A 1ER13.

See here for more places to see Santa in London this year.

If you’re visiting London and looking for family-friendly hotels, make sure to check out our top London hotel recommendations . See also – the most magical things to do in London at Christmas with kids .

The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences – Located in Mayfair , this is a 5 star luxury aparthotel with a difference. We find it so useful when staying in hotels in with kids to have a kitchen. They also have a kids’ concierge service where they arrange your kid’s favourite DVDs and treats for the room. Guest can use all of the hotel facilities and they have a pool.

The Ritz – Located on Piccadilly near Hyde Park Corner . One of the most well-known hotels in London. The Ritz being the Ritz, they have a Very Important Kids programme providing anything a child could want in their hotel room. Children under 15 stay for free with their parents in a Junior Suite or above.

The Rubens at the Palace – Located near Buckingham Palace . This boutique hotel has their own Director of Fun and Adventure to organise activities for kids. Children under 12 stay and eat for free and there’s a 6pm check out on Sundays.

St Ermin’s – Located near St James’s Park . They offer a kids concierge to take care of the kids needs with fun and games inside of the hotel as well as outside. They even have their own bee hotel within the hotel. There are 2 new rooms that cater for families of 6. They also do a fabulous afternoon tea for kids .

Park Plaza County Hall – Located   near the London Eye , this is an excellent, centrally located mid-range family hotel in London. If booking the Family Getaway Package, they offer goody bags for kids at check-in and ‘Park Plaza money’ to spend in the Spectrum Bar and complimentary breakfast for children up to 12 years old. There are also interconnecting rooms for larger families.

Premier Inn Waterloo – Located by Westminster Bridge near the London Eye. Family hotels in London can be eye-wateringly expensive but the Premier Inn is a great, no-frills budget family hotel in London option if you are looking for a central location.

Other places to see Santa

Missed out on booking a visit to Santa’s Grotto? Here are a few more ideas for seeing the big man.

Royal Albert Hall – Storytime with Father Christmas – 2nd to 20th December 2022.

Coca Cola Truck

The Coca Cola Truck (Photo Credit www.thedrum.com)

The Coca Cola Truck (Photo Credit www.thedrum.com)

Seeing Santa virtually

If all else fails and a visit to see Santa in person is not possible, here are a couple of ideas to help keep the magic alive..

Santa @ Home

PortableNorthPole App

CatchaCharacter

30 Classic Christmas Movies For Kids

  You might also like…

The 15 Best Christmas Markets in the UK

13 Magical Things to do in London with Kids

A Quick Guide to the London Christmas Markets

40+ Gift Ideas for Kids Who Travel

Seriously Festive Santa Train Rides to Try

A Complete Guide to the Christmas Light Trails in the UK

The Best Places to See the London Christmas Lights

What a great resource!! I love the one with the live reindeer!! So coo!!

I know! That one looks super cool. My kids would love it!

Wow, what an incredible resource! You’re making me want to head to the UK for Christmas!

Great! We’ve also got loads of Christmas markets that are getting bigger each year in some beautiful historic locations. The UK is really lovely at Christmas.

Wow – this is a really thorough post. It’s making me miss Christmas :) I never knew there were so many options for Santa in the UK – we may need to consider spending our winter holidays there sometime soon.

I don’t think I even scratched the surface! It’s become so huge in the UK. We just need the snow now… :)

Hi, is this information still accurate in view of the latest Covid restrictions? Are these still happening?

Hi, most of them are still running. I am trying to update as and when I hear of changes. Each link takes you to the website for the grotto / experience and they will also update. In terms of government guidelines and restrictions as to who can visit based on Tiers, that is something that each individual must determine themselves.

Is there anything in Scotland?

There are a few Dobbies garden centres around Scotland and it looks like they’re still running – although suject to local restrictions. A lot of places were already cancelled and didn’t make it on here.

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19 of the Absolute Best Places to Visit in North Wales

19 of the Absolute Best Places to Visit in North Wales

  • Last Updated 4 September 2023

Some posts on this site contain affiliate links. If you book or buy something through these links, I earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). Take a look at my privacy policy for more information.

Best Places to Visit in North Wales

Over the last few years, many of us have been planning holidays a little closer to home.  I’ve always been a big advocate for UK travel, so I couldn’t be happier! If you want to explore a few new places, this guide to the best places to visit in North Wales is full of awesome recommendations.

I asked locals and top travel bloggers for their favourite must-visit spots! From the wild and rugged landscapes of Snowdonia National Park, to quaint villages and pretty seaside towns, there are a lot of incredible gems to discover in this stunning region of Wales.

Although this list is by no means extensive, it certainly covers a few of the most incredible places to visit in the North of Wales. Get ready for some serious travel inspiration!

Places to Visit in North Wales – Map

Snowdonia national park, north wales.

  • Mount Snowdon

Llandudno, Conwy

Portmeirion, gwynedd, isle of anglesey coastal path, caernarfon castle, gwynedd, betws-y-coed, conwy, talacre, flintshire, pontcysyllte aqueduct, wrexham, trearddur bay, anglesey, amlwch, anglesey, menai strait, anglesey.

  • Harlech Castle,

Beddgelert, Gwynedd

  • Aber Falls,
  • Porthmadog and Ffestiniog via Welsh Highland Railways, Gwynedd
  • Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Gwynedd
  • Llandwddyn & Lake Vyrnwy Reservoir, Powys

Coed y Brenin Forest Park, Gwynedd

  • Llyn Peninsula, Caernarvonshire 

READ MORE: A Wild Wellness Retreat in North Wales

Places to Visit in North Wales Map

19 Best Places to Visit in North Wales

Recommended by: Laurence, Travel Photography Course

Best Places to Visit in North Wales

The Snowdonia National Park is the largest national park in Wales, and one that I’m very familiar with as my grandparents lived here for all the time that I knew them. Whilst many people are familiar with the park for its titular mountain, there is a great deal more to see and do here.

Obviously, hiking and hill-walking are some of the most popular activities. There are many routes to choose from, but one of my favourites is the hike up Cader Idris . This is a fairly easy day hike that departs from near the cute town of Dolgellau at the head of the Mawddach river estuary.

If you’re not a hiker, fear not. From cute seaside towns to impressive castles to copper and slate mine tours to steam-driven rail tours, there is something to do in Snowdonia for everyone!

Mount Snowdon, North Wales

Recommended by: Sophie and Adam, We Dream of Travel

19 of the Absolute Best Places to Visit in North Wales

Mount Snowdon is located in the heart of the eponymous Snowdonia National Park in North Wales. Known as Yr Wyddfa in Welsh, it stands at 3,560ft (1,085m) and is the highest mountain in Wales and England.

Reaching the peak of Mt Snowdon is one of the best  things to do in Snowdonia . For those that are able, hiking is perhaps the most rewarding way of reaching the peak.  There are a number of tracks of varying difficulty, and all provide breathtaking views. The Llanberis trail is considered the easiest route. Whichever you choose, expect to be hiking for 5-7 hours.

For a quicker and easier alternative, from April-October you can travel 3/4 of the way up on the Snowdon Mountain Railway. You will still need to hike another hour to reach the summit. Although you can just admire the scenery from the train if you prefer!

READ MORE: Best Things to do in Llanberis

Recommended by: Travel Dave

19 of the Absolute Best Places to Visit in North Wales

A trip to North Wales wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the delightful and charming coastal town of Llandudno.

Walk along the North Shore Beach and the 19th-century Llandudno Pier. But make sure you protect your fish and chips from the local seagulls who love a chip or two!

Walk along Mostyn Street for a spot of shopping. Its stunning Victorian facade has been well kept throughout the years and adds a cosy vibe to the town’s main street.

From town, take the tramway constructed in 1902 to the top of the Great Orme for some incredible views overlooking the North Wales coastline.

Keep your eyes open for the local celebrities too! The world-famous Kashmiri goats that live on top of the Great Orme are often roaming about… unless they’re causing havoc in town when it’s empty!

Llandudno is also well connected to Conwy Castle, with a coastal path that will take a few hours from the Westshore.

Portmeirion Wales - Romantic Destinations in the UK

It’s as though someone has selected the best parts of lots of different styles and mixed them together to create this random but magical village. There are Italian style houses, pastel colours from the British seaside, art-deco designs, Christian monuments next to golden Buddha’s and palm trees next to fern trees. Monica Stott, The Travel Hack

Portmeirion is a magical Welsh village known for its eclectic, colourful architecture and romantic vibes. This Italianate-style village on the coast of North Wales is well known as one of the best places to visit in the country.

This stunning town is so exclusive it requires a day ticket  to visit (£12 per adult when booked in advance)! But it’s worth it for the chance to visit one of the prettiest towns in North Wales.

Porthmadog’s Heritage Railways, Gwynedd

19 of the Absolute Best Places to Visit in North Wales

The picturesque seaside town of Porthmadog is the historic centre of two of North Wales’ stunning heritage railways. Almost 200 years old, The Ffestiniog Railway is the world’s oldest narrow-gauge railway, connecting Porthmadog harbour with the slate-quarrying town of Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Then there’s the Welsh Highland Railway, the UK’s longest heritage railway, running for 25 miles between Caernarfon and Porthmadog. Along the way, the railway passes through some of Snowdonia’s most spectacular scenery.

Porthmadog on its own is one of the best places to visit in North Wales, with its pretty harbour and rich history. But the two heritage railways mean you can create some amazing day trips as well, making the town an ideal base for exploring the area.

Llanwddyn & Lake Vyrnwy Reservoir, Powys

Lake Vyrnwy North Wales

Llanwddyn has a pretty fascinating history. The original town was completely submerged when the Lake Vyrnwy Reservoir was created in the 1880s. Llanwddyn was rebuilt on the shores of the lake, but the remains of the original village still stand at the bottom of the lake!

On the shores of the reservoir is a very pretty tower rising out of the water. It looks like part of a half-submerged fairy tale castle, but it’s actually the straining tower, where the water leaves the reservoir and enters a 70-mile-long pipeline to Liverpool.

Recommended by: Nathan, All About Glamping

Llanddwyn Lighthouse in Anglesea North Wales

The Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path is a 200km long-distance route that winds along the North Wales island’s coastline. Most visiting walkers tend to partake in a section at a time. But those that complete the entire path are awarded a badge of completion. 

There are approximately 20 towns and villages along the coastal walk with the official starting point at Holyhead. The region is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and provides an array of dunes, cliffs, farmland, marshes and woodlands to enjoy.

Although you can arrange a local tour company to set up your adventure, each section can be completed using public transportation. You can book B&Bs or glamping spots along the way for each night if you are travelling fairly light. 

It takes about 8-15 days to complete the whole thing for most people. There are visible blue tern way-markers along the path to find your way. Make sure to plan your trip from March to September as some sections close in the Winter.

Recommended by: Victoria, Guide Your Travel

19 of the Absolute Best Places to Visit in North Wales

Caernarfon Castle was constructed in the 13th century and is one of the most significant medieval buildings in the world. At the time, the construction of the castle cost more than 90% of the country’s annual income! The building took nearly 50 years to complete.

Today tourists can visit this incredible landmark and explore its impressive interior for a £9 entry fee. Located at the estuary of the River Seiont it’s hard to miss this beautiful building.

You can still see a lot of the castle’s original construction and get a glimpse of what life here used to look like. As one of Wales’ most famous landmarks, this castle is definitely one of the best places to visit in North Wales. Especially if you’re interested in Welsh history.

READ MORE: Top things to do in Caernarfon

Recommended by: Dylan, Shoot From the Trip

Betws-y-Coed North Wales

A mountain village surrounded by pine forests, Betws-y-Coed is the gateway to Snowdonia from the north. A haven for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, the village is a lively hub of activity. It features numerous natural and purpose-built attractions.

There are riverside walks and beauty spots such as the Fairy Glen and Swallow Falls – one of the most spectacular waterfalls to visit in North Wales. For outdoor adventurers, attractions such as Zip World Fforest and Go Below are on the doorstep.

With a great range of accommodation and hospitality options within the village, Betws-y-Coed has a true alpine vibe. It also makes a great base for visitors to North Wales.

Recommended by: Kathryn, Wandering Bird

The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

If you’re visiting North Wales, be sure to add the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct to your itinerary. 

This impressive aqueduct carries the Llangollen Canal across the large valley and can be seen from miles around. It was built around 1800 and is now a World Heritage Site. 

There are two ways to experience the aqueduct. You can walk from the carpark (which has a museum nearby sharing the story on how it was built). But by far the best way to experience it is by crossing over the aqueduct on the water at the top – either by hiring a canal barge or paddling across in a kayak. The views across the valley and the welsh countryside are well worth the effort. 

There is plenty of parking near the aqueduct. There’s space for larger vehicles, so you can still visit even if you’re on a  motorhome holiday . There’s also plenty more to see nearby, so be sure to spend a day or two exploring the local area.

Recommended by: Ucman, BrownBoyTravels

Trearddur Bay North Wales

Trearddur Bay and its beach are both absolutely stunning. The view of the entire bay on a clear day is with crystal clear water, with emerald green colours slowly dissolving into a sapphire blue.

The beach is barely 20 minutes away from the airport so it’s quite easy to reach. Trearddur Bay also has a caravan park, parking and a cafe close so you’re sorted for logistics. The beach at Trearddur is vast with over 2 miles of soft sand. It is an ideal place for swimming, surfing or just chilling out on a nice day with a good book.

It is not just a beach though. Trearddur also hosts the oldest working lighthouse in the UK: South Stack lighthouse. The view of the entire bay from the old house of Craig Y More is worth the visit alone.

Recommended by: Alex, Career Gappers

Amlwch Copper Kingdom

In Amlwch, nestled on the peaceful north coast of Anglesey, you can discover the island’s industrial history while enjoying its charming seaside scenery. This pretty town is close to some of the UK’s loveliest secluded coastal spots; Lligwy Beach, a ten-minute drive away, is a particular beauty.

In the 18th century, Amlwch was a thriving mining town and an important port, standing on the doorstep of Parys Mountain, which was the world’s largest copper mine at the time. You can visit the site today and wander its colourful pathways. A new Copper Kingdom Centre in the town itself tells the story of the local mining history dating back to the Bronze Age, featuring a reconstruction of an underground mine.

Amlwych is, in fact, the northernmost town in Wales. With its peculiar harbour, quaint cottages and three old windmills it is perfect for a quiet getaway on the coast.

Recommended by: Jenni, Monopoly Land

Talacre - Places to Visit in North Wales

Talacre is a village in Flintshire on the North Wales Coast. The main reason to visit Talacre is the beautiful sandy beach. It’s absolutely huge, with plenty of space for kids to play. It’s also dog-friendly all year round. Behind the beach are some sand dunes which are a lot of fun to explore.

The main focal point of Talacre Beach is the lighthouse which dates back to 1776. You can walk to it when the tide is out, but you must be careful not to get cut off as the sea comes in!

In this seaside village, you’ll find a few nice cafes and pubs that serve food, some tourist shops and a couple of arcades. The village is popular with holidaymakers staying in the nearby caravan parks. But it still remains something of a hidden gem and is well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Conwy, Conwy

Recommended by: Shobha, Just Go Places

Conwy Castle North Wales

The small town of Conwy is not only dominated by the enormous shadow of its UNESCO Heritage site listed castle, but also encircled by medieval city walls that reach out from the castle. There is plenty to do in Conwy other than  visit Conwy Castle  and walk the city walls.

Conwy is full of historical houses, including the smallest house in the UK according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Open for tourism, this small house is only 6 feet wide but has a prime location on Conwy Harbor.

There is also a small Mussels Museum because the area is renowned for pearl fishing. You can also visit the Conwy Suspension Bridge and Tollhouse, one of the first suspension bridges in the world.

Beddgelert Snowdonia - best places to visit in north wales

Beddgelert is known as one of the loveliest villages in Snowdonia. This picturesque stone-built village, nestled amongst mountains and forests, is ideally positioned for exploring the National Park.

It’s also a place of incredible legend and history. According to local tradition, this pretty village in North Wales is t he final resting place of Gelert, the faithful hound of the medieval Welsh Prince Llewelyn the Great.

The story may have more myth than truth to it, but it’s a good story nonetheless. And a tombstone along the banks of the Glaslyn river is one of Beddgelert’s most famous attractions.

Recommended by: Katharina, Beautifully Travelled

Menai Strait Anglesey North Wales

If you’re planning a trip to North Wales, then you should definitely consider spending some time on the Menai Strait. This 25km narrow stretch of tidal water separates Anglesey from the mainland. And it’s a wonderful place to spend a day immersed in nature with the family. There is so much wildlife to spot from seals and sea lions to birds, including egrets, oystercatchers, curlews and redshanks.

Furthermore, there’s plenty of history. The Menai Suspension bridge certainly is a highlight. Opened in 1826, it was the first of its kind in the world. Another fantastic historic building on the Menai Strait’s shores is Plas Newydd House. Built in the 18th century, it is now home to a military museum, Whistler’s painting and an Australian Arboretum.

The most fun and adventurous way to  explore the Menai Strait is, without a doubt, on a rib ride . But be warned this isn’t for the faint-hearted!

Harlech Castle, Gwynedd

Recommended by: Larch, The Silver Nomad

Harlech Castle North Wales

When it was first built in 1283, one of four royal castles built by Edward the First, the sea came up to the foot of the rocks below Harlech Castle. With a background of the hills of Snowdonia, Harlech Castle still stands on a rocky crag looking out towards Ceredigion Bay, but the sea has now receded.

One of four castles that have been designated as a World Heritage Site, Harlech Castle is an interesting day out. Cross over the floating footbridge into the castle and explore the double-walled interior.

Throughout the castle, there are boards explaining the history and the construction of the castle. As you climb up through the towers, you see slivers of the surrounding area through the windows and arrow slits.  On the ramparts, you get to enjoy the spectacular 360-degree view.

Mawddach River and Old Bridge in North Wales

Down in the southern half of Snowdonia National Park, the Coed y Brenin Forest Park is known for its world-famous mountain biking trails.

The park was Britain’s first purpose-built mountain biking centre. There are eight trails starting from the visitor centre, ranging from easy to expert level. So this is a brilliant destination if you’re looking for a biking adventure!

It’s not all about bikes, though. There are many walking and running trails in the forest, as well as orienteering courses and geocaching trails.

Llyn Peninsula, Caernarvonshire 

19 of the Absolute Best Places to Visit in North Wales

Known as “Snowdon’s Arm”, the Llyn Peninsula is a 30-mile stretch of land curling out into the Irish Sea from North West Wales. It’s an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, known for its stunning beaches, rich wildlife, and brilliant watersports.

Expect pretty seaside towns like Abersoch, Porthdinllaen, and Pwllheli. Spot wildlife from seabirds to seals and dolphins. Or get out in search of adventure: hiking, biking, watersports, and camping are all prolific here.

With so much to see and do, and some seriously stunning scenery to enjoy, it’s easy to see why the Llyn Peninsula is one of the most popular places to visit in North Wales.

READ MORE: Best Beaches on the Llyn Peninsula

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4 thoughts on “19 of the Absolute Best Places to Visit in North Wales”

Dear Sir/Madam, I am putting together a project for Penderyn Welsh Whiskey, which is about the beauty and purity and the uniqueness of Wales, and I want to kindly ask if I can include the image of The Snowdonia National Park at the head of your page. I realise that, rightly so, this image may be subject to copyright. Would it be possible to send me a high res image or perhaps give me the contact details of the owner of the image. I/we really do appreciate your help in this project. Warmest regards..

Hi Andy – thanks for commenting. I’m afraid I don’t own the rights to that image so I can’t give you permission to use it. It’s a stock image which I bought from Adobe Stock. If you need stock photos on a regular basis I can recommend a subscription with them, I use mine frequently. Hope that helps :)

Beautiful places and very useful information for visitors especially for first timer traveller n love nature. Perhaps more info on good time to visits n accommodation.

Thanks for the feedback! I’ll try to add some more practical info into future posts :)

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Christmas Markets and days out the whole family will love

As that familiar chill returns to the air, it’s undeniable: winter is approaching and it’s bringing Christmas with it!

You might not have begun your Christmas shopping yet, but now is the perfect time to embrace the holiday spirit and plan an enjoyable day out. Throughout November and December, you don’t have to endure endless car rides into crowded city centres to experience the magic of Christmas. North Wales boasts its own splendid selection of Christmas fairs and markets!

Browse unique gifts for your loved ones, discover exquisite handmade decorations for your home, or stock up on seasonal food and drinks. Christmas markets provide a delightful outing for the entire family, and here’s our roundup of the finest along the North Wales coast.

Remember, when planning your festive day out by train, we recommend you check with Traveline Cymru for the most up-to-date public transport and travel information before you go.

Llandudno Christmas Extravaganza, Llandudno – November 16-19

Your nearest station: llandudno.

Visit North Wales’ renowned seaside resort for the annual Christmas Extravaganza, a major event in the town’s calendar. Enjoy traditional festive entertainment, including carol singing and a visit to Santa’s grotto, while perusing numerous food, craft and gift stalls. The choice of stalls here rivals many of the bigger markets across the border – there’s everything from homemade treats to one-off gifts and homewares – and with free entry it’s a great value family day out too.

As usual, Mr and Mrs Claus will be on hand to meet your little ones and assess their Naughty or Nice status, but booking is essential! And if the unpredictable Welsh weather threatens your festivities, why not rent an igloo? Yes, you read that correctly!

For the full list of vendors, to book Santa or an Igloo, and to find out what’s on each day, click here .

St. David’s Hospice Christmas Fair, Llandudno – November 25

This year, the event takes place within The Arena at Venue Cymru and promises to be bigger and better than ever before. With over 75 local stallholders showcasing the finest food, beverages, gifts, and handmade goods, along with beloved hospice games and stalls, it’s the ideal opportunity to complete your Christmas shopping.

After your shopping spree, sit back and enjoy live festive performances by local bands, choirs, and singers.

Father Christmas will also be in attendance at his grotto, along with some special guests throughout the day. The grotto will be open from 12pm – 3pm and costs just £2 per child. Children will receive a small gift and have the chance to chat and take a photo with the Man In Red.

Fancy supporting this amazing charity at Christmas? Find out more here .

Traditional Christmas at Penrhyn Castle, Bangor – November 25 to January 1

Your nearest station: bangor.

This year, Penrhyn Castle, a National Trust property, celebrates the activities and pastimes that bring families together during the holiday season. Whether it’s playing board games or baking seasonal treats, the castle invites you to share quality time.

The stunning Victorian kitchens are busy preparing for Christmas, and the castle’s public spaces are adorned with beautiful trees and decorations. After exploring the house, venture into the castle gardens for a brisk winter walk, where you’ll feel at one with nature on the trail to the bird hide at Afon Ogwen, offering breathtaking views.

Of course, no festive visit to Penrhyn is complete without a group photo in front of the massive Christmas tree which takes pride of place in the Great Hall!

For more information, visit the Penrhyn Castle webpage on the National Trust website.

Christmas at Plas Newydd, Anglesey – December 2 to January 1

Your nearest station: llanfair pg.

Immerse yourself in the holiday spirit at Plas Newydd this Christmas. Twinkling lights and decked-out halls bring warmth to Plas Newydd during the Christmas period, with plenty of festive cheer.

The lavish interiors provide an excellent spot for a silent disco! Follow in the footsteps of the 5th Marquess, who hosted many lavish parties here. Put on your dancing shoes and dance the day away your way in the Music Room!

If you head to the Old Dairy Café, grab a festive hot drink to keep warm or treat yourself to a 3-course festive lunch (booking essential). Alternatively, embark on a wintery walk around the garden and explore the 150 acres of gardens, woods, and parkland.

To learn more about Plas Newydd at Christmas, click here .

Colwyn Bay Christmas Artisan Market, Colwyn Bay – December 9

Your nearest station: colwyn bay.

Kickstart your Christmas shopping with a visit to Colwyn Bay’s annual Christmas Artisan Market. Featuring a diverse range of stalls offering everything from continental deli treats and craft beers, to beautiful handmade jewellery and crafts, it’s a wonderful opportunity to find unique gifts for friends and family.

Enjoy a drink from the pop-up bar as you browse the traditional stalls, where you can explore the arts and crafts, handmade gifts and delectable treats at your leisure. Additionally, enjoy live music and festive street entertainment, suitable for all ages.  Keep an eye out for the Man In Red, known to make appearances for photos.

Conwy Winterfest, Conwy – December 9

Your nearest station: conwy.

Immerse yourself in a medieval atmosphere and celebrate Christmas as it was seven hundred years ago. Conwy Winterfest features historical street performers, hot chestnut vendors, minstrels, Morris Dancers, jousting knights and late-night shopping. The culmination of this fabulous evening? A grand torchlit parade through the town – truly magical!

Father Christmas will be in residence at the Jester’s Tower during the Winterfest (as well as on several dates throughout the Christmas period) but booking is essential as he’s naturally a very popular chap! Book your visit here .

For full details on the Winterfest, including the torchlit parade start time click here .

Bangor ‘Christmas Cracker’ Market, Bangor – December 10

Experience Bangor in a whole new light with its special Christmas Artisan Market, transforming the city into a winter wonderland. There’s so much to enjoy here: glide across the ice rink, jump aboard the Santa Express, visit Father Christmas and meet his reindeer, and enjoy a ride on the festive fairground.

And if that isn’t enough, Christmas carols, seasonal fayre and a fireworks display will provide a festive atmosphere as you explore a variety of stalls with a festive drink in hand from the holiday bar.

There’s something for everyone this Christmas

Whether you plan to visit Santa to ensure your place on the Nice List or simply need to complete some last-minute Christmas shopping, there’s something for everyone, young and old, to enjoy along the North Wales coast in the coming weeks.

With quaint villages boasting boutique shops and eateries, towns hosting all the big name stores and shops, and garden centres bursting with sparkling lights and decorations, it’s a great destination for a festive trip this winter. What are you waiting for? Get your (ice) skates on and climb aboard the North West Wales Coast and Conwy Valley Railway for a very merry Christmas visit!

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Christmas Events 2023 – Where to see Santa / Father Christmas in Cardiff and South Wales

visit santa north wales

Christmas events became available to book as early as June in 2023. It seems that each year Christmas Events for the Family are being advertised earlier and earlier. So this is my earliest ever where to see Santa in Cardiff and South Wales guide. This covers seeing Father Christmas in Cardiff, Newport, Swansea, the Valleys and everywhere in between, but does not cover West or North Wales.

Chat to others planning Christmas in the Christmas in Cardiff Facebook Group !

visit santa north wales

This page will be updated frequently and I post updates on Facebook. Follow me on Facebook or Twitter for updates whenever something new is added to this page. Remember to always check with the venue before traveling to events for the most up to date information and to ensure no one is disappointed in Christmas 2023. Christmas Events 2023 – Christmas in Cardiff and South Wales was last updated on 9th August 202 3. If you need to contact me to add an event or discuss anything else about Christmas in South Wales then email or direct messaging my page on Facebook is the best way.

This year for the first time I have included a section which highlights any ASD or sensory friendly “quiet” events. These can be found both in the main listing for their region and separately highlighted. Feel free to click the headings to go straight there. List in starting date order, organized by region.

Cardiff Christmas Market – 9th November to 23rd December 2023

The dates announced are 9th November to 23rd December for Christmas 2023. Cardiff Christmas Market will once again bring local independent food and craft stalls to Cardiff city centre. For more informations and a list of exhibitors visit Cardiff Christmas Market .

Elsa and Anna’s Christmas Celebration at The Coal Exchange Hotel – 12th November & 17th December 2023

“Join us for an enchanting Christmas celebration with Elsa and Anna! This magical event is perfect for families looking to create unforgettable memories this holiday season. Meet and greet with the princesses, enjoy festive food, and participate in fun activities.” Check out the Coal Exchange website.

Cardiff Winter Wonderland 2023 – 16th November 2023 to 2th January 2024

Once again for 2023 Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland will be taking place in two locations, with Cardiff Castle hosting the Winter Wonderland Ice Rink and Ice Walk. It will have an undercover 40m x 15m ice rink and a 150m Ice Walk. Skate Aids will be available for younger ages and there are accessible sessions. At City Hall Lawn there will be a family funfair, including the traditional Giant Wheel. The Ice Bar will be returning, made out of ice, and Sur La Piste, the two story Ski Lodge Bar will also be back for festive drinks. There’ll be food and drink stalls around too. For more information visit Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland 2023 .

Santa’s Grotto at Queen Street, Cardiff – 16th November to 24th December 2023

For the 17th year Santa’s Grotto will be running at Queen Street, and is very cost effective at just £8.99 per child and two adults included! For more information visit Santa’s HQ on Facebook . There is no need to book for this event.

Christmas at Bute Park – 24th November 2023 to 1st January 2024

This is my favourite event and we visit on Christmas Eve every year. For 2023 Wales’ biggest ever festive light show will have some new features. It has been extended by half a mile, improved pathways, new audio and a newly decorated Christmas Village, new food and drink traders, more toilets and improved accessibility. Visit Christmas at Bute Park for more information.

The Royal Mint Christmas Experience at The Royal Mint, Llantrisant – 25th November 2023 to 24th December

“This Christmas, visit The Royal Mint Experience and see it as never before, glistening with snow and ready for the busiest night of the year. Take a magical festive tour that both adults and children will love, with plenty to do and see to make a day of it. At The Royal Mint Christmas Experience, you will take a tour of our festive coin factory and discover why we might find coins in our stockings on Christmas morning. Learn where the tradition of sixpences in Christmas puddings came from and see where the elves sort your letters, ready to make the right toys for each child! The Royal Mint Christmas Experience is a magical chance for the whole family to make precious memories. All children will meet Santa and have the opportunity to have their photo take, before leaving with a special gift to take home.”

I’ve booked! If you’d like to book, visit The Royal Mint Christmas Experience page.

Visit Santa at Cefn Mably Farm Park, Cardiff – Weekends from 25th November to 17th December & 22nd December 2023

Explore the winter garden, visit Santa and receive a gift. You will also need to pay for entry to the park. For more information or to book visit Cefn Mably Farm Park.

The Christmas Speigeltent at Cardiff Bute Park – 1st December 2023 to 24th December 2024

This year the European Spiegeltent will be in the grounds of Bute Park with three different shows. For more information click the links below:

  • Welsh of the West End – 17th December 2023
  • Castellana (16+ only) Burlesque & Comedy – 6th December 2023 to 24th December 2023
  • Santa’s Wish (Family Musical) – 1st December 2023 – 24th December 2023

Santa’s Grotto at ‘Believe’, St David’s Cardiff – 1st December until 24th December 2023

“Opening on 1 st  December, Believe at the city shopping destination, will have a magical makeover for 2023 with a new story, theming and family activities but, most importantly, children will still get to meet Santa! On arrival, guests to Believe will discover Santa’s enchanting post room where they’ll be immersed in festivity and fun with the mischievous elves as they sort through Santa’s letters from children around the world ready for the big day. Children will be able to decorate their own delicious Christmas gingerbread treat* and capture Christmas cheer at the Elfie Selfie posting point before being invited to meet the big man himself. Families will be hosted personally by Santa in his warm, cosy study where they can share their Christmas hopes and dreams, pose for professional photographs as well as receiving a special present to take home.” For more information or to book visit Believe, St David’s Cardiff .

Breakfast with Santa at Harvester Restaurants (Various Locations) – 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th, 21st-24th December

Harvester is one again hosting Breakfast with Santa at its various locations, priced at £9.99 or £10.99 on the 24th December. Includes breakfast, fruit shoot, chocolate treat, activities book, goody bag and a visit from Santa. Visit Harvester for more information or to book.

Festive Film Screening (The Snowman and the Snowdog) at National Museum Cardiff – 2nd & 3rd December 2023

There will be a story from Father Christmas and then the family favourite movie “The Snowman and the Snowdog” in Reardon Smith Lecture Theatre at the National Museum Cardiff. Tickets are £6 and you could pair it with a visit to the rest of the museum, which is free. Visit Festive Film Screening for more information.

Carols in the Chapel at St Fagans National Museum of History – 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th December 2023

In the 18th century chapel there will be traditional tunes and contemporary Christmas classics for you to sing a long to. Tickets required at £6 per person, but entry into the museum is free. Visit Carols in the Chapel to book tickets.

Father Christmas and Friends at St Fagans National Museum of History – 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th December 2023

Meet Father Christmas and receive a gift as well as have a photograph taken. There will also be an interactive story session and craft opportunities. Visit Father Christmas and Friends to book. Tickets are £14 but entry into the museum is free.

Santa Dash at Cardiff Bay – Sunday 3rd December 2023

“Each year we love watching the Santa Dash, but maybe you’d like to take part? This is a 5k fun run (can be walked!) to raise money for Calon Heart Screening, raising money for an excellent cause. Anyone can take part, prams and dogs are welcome. People dress up in Christmas fancy dress, so if you’re watching it’s tons of fun, and you can still support the charity and cheer people on. There’ll be a Santa in attendance (probably lots, let’s be fair) and the Rock Choir will be singing as well. “ For more information visit Santa Dash 2023 .

Meet Santa at Santa’s Christmas Celebration at The Coal Exchange Hotel – 3rd December 2023

Food, party games, a disco, a meet and greet with Santa and Present. Check out the Coal Exchange website.

Sunday Lunch with Santa at Future Inns, Cardiff Bay – Sunday 3rd, 10th & 17th December

3 course festive Sunday lunch, children’s disco and a meet and greet with Santa in his Grotto. For more information visit Future Inns Sunday Lunch with Santa .

Breakfast with Santa at Cedar Tree Farm, Cardiff Bay – 10th, 16th, 17th, 23rd December 2023

For £8.99 (children) / £6.99 (adults) you can have a buffet breakfast, meet Santa and take photos at Cedar Tree Farms, Cardiff Bay. Booking required, for more information visit Facebook .

Christmas Eve Breakfast with Santa at Future Inns, Cardiff Bay – 24th December

A breakfast brunch and a meet and greet with Santa in his Grotto on Christmas Eve. Visit Breakfast with Santa for more information.

Barry, Penarth, Cowbridge & Vale of Glamorgan

Christmas 2023 at fonmon castle including meet father christmas, rhoose – 23rd november to 23rd december 2023.

Silver and Gold experiences available. Silver at Fonmon Christmas 2023 include Santa Shows every 30 minutes, meet Mrs Claus, meet The Crazy Elf, Festive Story Trail, live music, 32 acres of festive lights and illuminated gardens, up-close Owl experience, Christmas magician and even more. Gold adds a private meeting with Santa Claus and more. For more information and to book tickets, visit the Fonmon Christmas booking page .

Christmas Experience and Meet Santa at Forage Farm Shop, Cowbridge – Various dates from 1st to 23rd December 2023

Forage Farm Shop’s (Cowbridge) Christmas Experience returns for another magical experience. It includes a 20 minute Elf show and a visit to Santa, with opportunities to write letters, roast marshmallows, Christmas crafts and meet the festive alpacas. For more information or to buy tickets visit Forage Farm Shop Christmas Experience .

Festive Film “Elf” and Afternoon Tea at St Donat’s Castle – 9th December 2023

A family-friendly screening of festive film “Elf”, a festive themed afternoon tea, and a visit from Santa! Find more information and book tickets .

Breakfast with Santa and Festive Film “The Polar Express” at St Donat’s Castle – 10th December 2023

Have a Welsh breakfast, sing Christmas songs accompanied by piano, take a photo with Santa, and watch the family movie “The Polar Express”. Find more information and book tickets .

The Magic of Christmas with Simon Sparkles at St Donat’s Castle – 15th December 2023

This experience includes a 2 course hot buffet and then a magic show suitable for the whole family. Find more information and book tickets .

“Elves Overboard” pantomine at Cowbridge Town Hall – 16th & 24th December 2023

Featuring your favourite Christmas songs, sparkly costumes and laughs aplenty, this brand new pantomime promises to be a Christmas cracker you’ll want to see again and again! More information at Cowbridge Panto .

Swansea, Port Talbot & Carmarthenshire Area

Luminate wales at margam country park, bridgend – 22nd november 2023 to 31st december 2023.

Luminate Wales is back for 2023 at Margam Country Park and Castle, an amazing venue which is well worth a visit any day, but when lit up with thousands of illuminations, is absolutely unbelievable. Visit Luminate at Margam Country Park for more information.

Swansea Winter Wonderland and Santa’s Grotto at Gower Fresh Christmas Trees – 25th November 2023 to 24th December 2024

An extensive themed Santa’s Grotto complete with Elves, Reindeer and a visit to Santa. Visit Swansea Winter Wonderland to book tickets.

Breakfast with Santa at Dobbies Garden Centre, Swansea – Various dates from 25th Nov to 24th December

Dobbies Garden Centre is hosting Brekafast with Santa with adult and children’s options. The children ticket includes breakfast, juice, activities and a gift from Santa. You will need to sign up for the free Dobbies Club and get your membership number from your profile in order to see what dates/times are available and to book at Dobbies Breakfast with Santa .

Christmas Elf Workshop at National Waterfront Museum, Swansea – 25th, 26th November & 2nd, 3rd December 2023

Guided by Mother Christmas, each child will create their own sparkling snow globe to treasure.  Enjoy fun, imagination and a sprinkling of seasonal magic in this festive factory production line. Visit Museum Elf Workshop .

Santa’s Grotto (including a Quiet Grotto) at Dobbies Garden Centre, Swansea – Various dates from 25th Nov to 24th December

This Santa’s Grotto comes with a crafting activity, a visit to Santa and a gift. You will need to sign up for the free Dobbies Club and get your membership number from your profile in order to see what dates/times are available and to book at Dobbies Santa’s Grotto . There is also a Quiet Grotto available on December 8th where all music and twinkling lights are switched off, you can choose to have the child’s gift wrapped, and you’ll get a photo of the grotto in advance so you can be prepared.

Luminate Wales at National Botanic Garden, Carmarthenshire – 29th November 2023 to 24th December 2023

Luminate Wales is running two trails, one at Margam Country Park and the second at the Garden of Wales, that’s the National Botanic Gardens in Carmarthenshire, not far from Swansea. This is about an hours drive from Cardiff city. I’ve no doubt this is going to be spectacular. Visit Garden of Wales to book tickets and for more information.

Showcaves Christmas at Dan Yr Ogof Showcaves, Swansea – 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th, 22nd, 23rd, 24th December 2023

Access to Dan-yr-Ogof cave, a visit to the dinosaur trail, access to the indoor and outdoor play areas, and a visit to see Santa in Cathedral Cave. For more information visit Showcaves Christmas .

Santa Specials on board Gwili Railway Steam Trains, Carmarthen – 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th, 23rd, 24th December 2023

A 1.5 hour scenic steam train trip with a present from Santa, photographs and special memories. Compartments start from £150 for six people. Visit Santa Specials .

Big Waterfront Christmas at National Waterfront Museum, Swansea – 3rd December 2023

Visit the National Waterfront Museum and get a special storytime with Santa, live music, Christmas kids crafts and real donkeys! Visit Big Waterfront Christmas .

Valleys, Rhonda and elsewhere in South Wales – Bridgend, Caerphilly, Newport

Santa’s grotto at woodland walk garden centre, pontypridd – various dates from 25th november to 24th december 2023.

Visit Santa in his Grotto and feed real reindeer at Woodland Walk Garden Centre in Pontypridd. Includes one free photo with additional photos costing £5. For more information and to book visit Woodland Walk Garden Centre .

Santa’s Toy Mine at Rhonda Heritage Park – 25th November to 23rd December 2023

Visit the Welsh Coal Mining Experience at Rhonda Heritage Park and meet Santa Claus in the magical grotto. Quiet sessions available on 6th and 13th December. For more information to to book visit Santa’s Toy Mine .

Santa’s Tea Party at Celtic Manor Resort, Newport – Various dates between 26th November and 24th December 2023

“Join us for unforgettable holiday festivities, as we welcome Santa and his helpers back to the Celtic Manor Resort – a magical experience for all the family. Get in the Christmas spirit with our festive Afternoon Tea, in magical surroundings, packed with treats and festive cheer & a chance to meet the man himself – make this Christmas one to remember.” For more information visit Santa’s Tea Party .

Santa’s Grotto at Christmas Fayre, the Hi Tide Inn, Porthcawl – 26th November 2023

The Hi Tide Inn in Porthcawl are hosting a Christmas Fayre with over 50 stalls offering gifts, crafts and food treats. There will also be a Santa’s Grotto where kids can Meet Santa. No booking required, autism quiet time visits from 10:30am to 11am, then doors open to the fayre and grotto for everyone at 11am to 4pm. For more information visit Christmas Fayre .

Tower Christmas Grotto at Zip World, Hirwaun – 1st December to 24th December 2023

Head up the Zip World Tower for a complimentary mince pie and hot chocolate, or mulled wine. Write a letter to Santa then meet the big man himself, take photos and receive a gift and a Welsh slate bauble. Then the kids will head over to the crafting station to decorate their Christmas bauble. Book or find more information at Tower Christmas Grotto .

Christmas at The Meadows 2023, Caerphilly – 1st December to 24th December 2023

Christmas at The Meadows includes full farm access with animal petting, take part in a Christmas hunt with passport and stickers, Christmas activities including Santas letters and reindeer food, Meet Santa and his Reindeer and choose from a selection of Christmas soft toys. Optional ice skating at additional cost. For more information visit The Meadows .

Santa Experience at Colliers Adventure Farm – 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th, 22nd, 23rd December

Meet Santa and his reindeer in his Christmas Lodge, write and post a letter and enjoy some Christmas crafts. Includes full access to the farm facilities. For more information or to book visit Christmas at Colliers .

Visit Santa at Pontyclun Christmas Fair – 2nd December 2023

Pontyclun Community Council are holding a Christmas Fayre which will include a Santa’s Grotto.

Visit Santa for FREE at Newport Christmas Craft and Gift Fair – 2nd December 2023

There will be a Christmas Craft and Gift Fair at Newport Masonic Hall which will have a free to visit Santa. More information.

Breakfast with Santa at Best Western Heronston Hotel Bridgend – 2nd, 9th, 16th December 2023

Best Western Heronston Hotel in Bridgend is hosting Breakfast with Santa which includes a cooked breakfast with juice and a visit from Santa with a gift. Adult options available as well. For more information visit Breakfast with Santa .

Family Buffet Sunday Lunch with visit from Father Christmas at Vale Resort – Sunday 3rd, 10th & 17th December

This includes a classic Christmas carvery buffet lunch, and for the kids has a Visit from Father Christmas, Entertainer and Disco! View more information at Vale Resort .

Festive Afternoon Tea with Santa at Miskin Manor Hotel, Pontyclun – 3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th, 23rd December

Meet Santa, storytime, kids festive afternoon tea, treats and more. For more information visit Miskin Manor Hotel .

Breakfast with Santa at The Cherry Laurel, Bridgend – 9th, 16th, 23rd December 2023

The Cherry Laurel pub in Bridgend is hosting a meet and greet with Santa and then a cooked breakfast. Visit The Cherry Laurel for more information or to book this Christmas event.

Breakfast with Santa at Parc Slip Nature Reserve, Bridgend – 14th, 15th, 16th & 17th December 2023

Parc Slip is a 300 acre nature reserve with lovely family walking trails, visitor centre and a cafe. They will be hosting Breakfast with Santa, for more information head to Breakfast with Santa .

SKATE at the ICC (Newport) – 15th December 2023 to 4th January 2024

“Get your S K A T E on this Christmas and feel festive with ICC Wales. Our indoor ice rink is the perfect activity for all the family. Glide across the smooth synthetic ice and take in the sights and sounds of Christmas. Whether you’re a seasoned skater or beginner, this is an experience you won’t want to miss!” More information and Tickets.

Cinderella On Ice at the ICC (Newport) – 15th December 2023 to 4th January 2024

“The world-renowned Imperial Ice Stars bring their spectacular new adaptation of this enchanting fairy tale to ICC Wales this festive season… With state-of-the-art animated scenery, dazzling costumes and  original music and songs from Tim A. Duncan and Edward Barnwell, Cinderella On Ice is a breath-taking show for all the family.” More Information and Tickets.

Breakfast with Santa at Collier’s Adventure Farm – 15th & 22nd December 2023

A meet and greet with Santa including photo opportunity is followed by a continental breakfast. After breakfast you’ll have storytime with Santa, post a letter and help Mother Claus decorate some delicious cookies! This event includes full access to the Farm Park facilities as well. For more information or to book visit Christmas at Colliers .

Storytime with Santa at Big Pit National Coal Museum, Blaenafon – 16tth & 17th December 2023

Visit the Big Pit National Coal Museum and have a story told by Santa, with a gift and photo opportunities. To book visit Storytime with Santa.

Three Christmas Events at Maes Manor Hotel, Blackwood – 17th to 23nd December

There are three events being held at Maes Manor Hotel in Blackwood. These events include:

  • Santa’s Sunday Lunch, Disco and Meet Santa -17th December
  • Festive Afternoon Tea & Princess Ball – 18th & 20th December
  • Santa’s Breakfast – 23rd December

Visit the Maes Manor Christmas 2023 page for more information or to book tickets.

Christmas Afternoon Tea with Santa Claus at Llanerch Vineyard Hotel – 18th to 22nd December

Llanerch Vineyard is an independent Welsh vineyard located just outside Cardiff. We had an amazing time here celebrating our anniversary ! This magical event includes a festive afternoon tea, party games and children’s disco, and a visit to Santa. You can buy tickets here .

Not South Wales but still an Easy Drive away and Christmas events that are worth travelling for!

Santa’s grotto at folly farm – weekends from 11th november to 23rd december 2023.

“Not only do we have the main man himself but you can also pay a visit to his reindeer on our zoo. And the Folly Farm elves are on hand to bring that extra little bit of sparkle to your grotto experience. Santa’s brought gifts for the little ones. Plus there’s mulled wine and a mince pie for the adults which always helps spread the Christmas cheer.” Prebooking not required, but more information can be found on Santa’s Grotto .

Santa Special at Brecon Mountain Railway – Various dates from 25th November to 21st December 2023

“Come see Santa at our beautiful Heritage Railway! Travel by a Steam Train from Pant Station to Pontistcill to meet Santa in his Grotto where every Child and Baby will receive a lovely present.” This very popular trip often books up quickly so book as soon as possible at Brecon Mountain Railway .

Meet Santa at Cantref Adventure Farm, Brecon – 25-26th Nov, 2rd-3rd, 9th-10th, 16-17th, 21st-24th December 2023

In addition to all the animals and play opportunities at Cantref Adventure Farm, on select dates in November and December you can book a time slot to meet Santa. Cantref says, “Come and meet the elves and have fun in the workshop. The elves will take you to meet Santa who can’t wait to meet you. Santa will check his official Naughty and Nice list and if you have been very good, Santa will present you with his magical golden key which opens the Present Room where you can choose your own gift!” For more information visit Cantref Adventure Farm .

Winter Wonderland at Wookey Hole, Somerset – Various dates from 25th November to 24th December

Wookey Hole Caves is in Somerset near Wells, and is about a 1hour 45 minute drive from Cardiff. You can explore the extensive caves, as well as play adventure golf, visit the Enchanted Valley, Cave Diving Museum, Dinosaur Grove, soft play, and a 4D cinema. Whilst it is a bit of a drive, I’ve included it as it is a full day out as well as their Winter Wonderland.

“Your Winter Wonderland ticket encompasses a comprehensive Wookey Hole experience, including a journey into the caves and all other attractions on-site! Each child will have the special opportunity to meet Santa and receive a gift from Santa’s Elves in the Wookey Hole Toy Factory.” For more information visit Wookey Hole Winter Wonderland .

Santa Specials at Dean Forest Railway – Various dates from 25th November to 24th December

Experience a magical Christmas train ride through the forest and meet Santa and his elves, with extra special Christmas Afternoon Tea or Christmas Picnic Box available as an additional purchase. Dean Forest Railway is about an hours drive from Cardiff. Check out the Santa Specials page on Dean Forest Railway.

Christmas Events at Perrygrove Railway Adventure, Forest of Dean – 1st December to 22nd December 2023

  • Down the Chimney Shows – train ride and visit to the festive carriage shed theatre for a theatrical show and complimentary drink.
  • Christmas Twilight Trains – a ride on the Twilight Express, illuminations and meet Father Christmas

Visit the Perrygrove Railway Adventure website for more information.

Santa’s Enchanted Woodland at the Bristol Zoo Project – 16th December 2023 to 7th January 2024

Only the dates announced so far, but watch Bristol Zoo Project for more news.

ASD / Sensory Friendly Events

Santa’s quiet grotto at dobbies garden centre, swansea – december 8th 2024.

This Santa’s Grotto comes with a crafting activity, a visit to Santa and a gift. You will need to sign up for the free Dobbies Club and get your membership number from your profile in order to see what dates/times are available and to book at Quiet Grotto . All music and twinkling lights are switched off, you can choose to have the child’s gift wrapped, and you’ll get a photo of the grotto in advance so you can be prepared.

Events that ran in 2022 but not yet confirmed for 2023 at time of last update or events without published dates

These events ran last year, or have been discussed in news stories but have no dates or confirmed details. I’ve left the links up so people can check themselves but I will check and update all these events regularly.

A Christmas Fairy Tale – No dates confirmed – Magical Wishes .

Breakfast with Santa at The Fox & Hounds, Whitchurch – No date for 2023 – The Fox & Hounds on Facebook .

Barry Island’s Christmas Wonderland and Ice Skating at Barry Island, Confirmed for 2023 but no dates – Information at the moment on Facebook .

Festival of Light & Christmas Market at Central Park, Barry – Unconfirmed – Festival of Light

Christmas Post Office at Barry Library – Unconfirmed – Christmas Post Office .

Santa 2K Fun Run at Barry Island – Unconfirmed – Santa Fun Run

Swansea’s Waterfront Winterland – Dates not confirmed – Swansea’s Waterfront Winterland

Swansea Christmas Parade – Date not confirmed – Swansea Christmas Parade .

Events at Margam Country Park, Bridgend – Dates not confirmed – Margam Country Park.

Santa and The Owls at the British Bird of Prey Centre and National Botanic Gardens, Carmarthenshire – Dates not confirmed – Santa and the Owls

Swansea Christmas Market – Dates not confirmed – Swansea Christmas Market .

Events at Re:Make Newport – Unconfirmed – RE:MAKE Website

Christmas at Tredegar House, Newport – Dates not confirmed – Christmas at Tredegar House

Tea with Santa at The Plough, Llandeilo – Dates not confirmed – The Plough is a country hotel near Llandeilo, about 1 hour 15 – 30 minutes from Cardiff. They’ve invited Santa over for tea, where children and adults get a meal, whilst children also get to meet Santa and have a present. For more information .

Christmas at Clearwell Caves – Dates not confirmed (End of Sept) – Clearwell Caves .

Noah’s Ark Santa’s Grotto and Reindeer Run – Coming Soon

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World News | Kate, Princess of Wales, says she has cancer…

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World News | Kate, Princess of Wales, says she has cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy

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By BRIAN MELLEY and JILL LAWLESS

LONDON — Kate, the Princess of Wales, has cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy, she said Friday in a stunning announcement that followed weeks of speculation about her health and whereabouts.

The princess disclosed her condition in a video message recorded Wednesday in Windsor and broadcast Friday. It came after relentless speculation on social media ever since January, when she was hospitalized for unspecified abdominal surgery.

Kate asked for “time, space and privacy” while she is treated for an unspecified type of cancer that was discovered after what she described as “major” surgery.

A message from Catherine, The Princess of Wales pic.twitter.com/5LQT1qGarK — The Prince and Princess of Wales (@KensingtonRoyal) March 22, 2024

Wearing a casual striped sweater and jeans, Kate sat on a wooden bench in front of a lawn dotted with daffodils. The flowers, which bloom in early spring, are often used as a symbol of hope for people fighting cancer.

“I am well,” she said. “I am getting stronger every day by focusing on the things that will help me heal.”

Kate, 42, hadn’t been seen publicly since Christmas until video surfaced this week of her with her husband, Prince William, heir to the throne. It showed them walking from a shop that sells produce grown on the royal family’s Windsor estate.

FILE – Britain’s Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, leaves BAFTA, after...

FILE – Britain’s Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, leaves BAFTA, after she delivered a speech to launch the “Taking Action On Addiction” campaign, in London, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali, File)

FILE – Britain’s Prince William, right, and Kate, Duchess of...

FILE – Britain’s Prince William, right, and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, pose for the media with their newborn daughter outside St. Mary’s Hospital’s exclusive Lindo Wing, London, Saturday, May 2, 2015. The Duchess gave birth to the Princess on Saturday morning. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

A person watches an announcement on a smart phone outside...

A person watches an announcement on a smart phone outside Buckingham Palace by the Princess of Wales, Friday, March 22, 2024. Kate, the Princess of Wales, says she has cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. The video announcement Friday came after weeks of speculation spread on social media about her whereabouts and health since she was hospitalized in January for unspecified abdominal surgery. (Yui Mok/PA via AP)

People stand in front of Kensington Palace in London, Friday,...

People stand in front of Kensington Palace in London, Friday, March 22, 2024. Kensington Palace contains the offices and London residences of The Prince and Princess of Wales. Kate, Princess of Wales, says she has cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

A statue of Queen Victoria stands in front of Kensington...

A statue of Queen Victoria stands in front of Kensington Palace during sunset in London, Friday, March 22, 2024. Kensington Palace contains the offices and London residences of The Prince and Princess of Wales. Kate, Princess of Wales, says she has cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

FILE – Kate, Princess of Wales, and Prince William travel...

FILE – Kate, Princess of Wales, and Prince William travel in a coach following the coronation ceremony of Britain’s King Charles III in London, Saturday, May 6, 2023. The Princess of Wales has been hospitalized for planned abdominal surgery and will remain at The London Clinic for up to two weeks, Kensington Palace said Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024. (AP Photo/David Cliff, File)

In this file photo dated Monday March 9, 2020, from...

In this file photo dated Monday March 9, 2020, from back, Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex, Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, with Prince Charles, front, as the family members leave the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London. (Phil Harris/Pool via AP, File)

From left, Kate, the Princess of Wales, Prince William, Prince...

From left, Kate, the Princess of Wales, Prince William, Prince of Wales, Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex walk to meet members of the public at Windsor Castle, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday., in Windsor, England, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022. (Kirsty O’Connor/Pool Photo via AP, File)

Britain’s Prince William, second right, Kate, Princess of Wales, right,...

Britain’s Prince William, second right, Kate, Princess of Wales, right, Prince Harry, left, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, second left, leave after they paid their respects to Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Hall for the Lying-in State, in London, Sept. 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, file)

Britain’s Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales are greeted...

Britain’s Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales are greeted by Hannah Jones, CEO of the Earthshot Prize, as they arrive for the the second annual Earthshot Prize Awards Ceremony at the MGM Music Hall at Fenway Park, Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND – APRIL 13: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge...

DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND – APRIL 13: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge watch ‘Rippa Rugby’ in the Forstyth Barr Stadium on day 7 of a Royal Tour to New Zealand on April 13, 2014 in Dunedin, New Zealand. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are on a three-week tour of Australia and New Zealand, the first official trip overseas with their son, Prince George of Cambridge. (Photo by Anthony Devlin – Pool/Getty Images)

Britain’s Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales, watch the...

Britain’s Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales, watch the NBA basketball game between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, in Boston. (Brian Snyder/Pool Photo via AP)

Britain’s Prince William, Prince of Wales, and Catherine, Princess of...

Britain’s Prince William, Prince of Wales, and Catherine, Princess of Wales, arrive at Boston Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachussetts, on November 30, 2022. (Photo by John TLUMACKI / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JOHN TLUMACKI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Britain’s Kate, Duchess of Cambridge watches as a child holds...

Britain’s Kate, Duchess of Cambridge watches as a child holds up five fingers to indicate his age during a visit with Prince William to School21, a school in east London, Thursday March 11, 2021. (Justin Tallis/Pool via AP)

Britain’s Kate, Duchess of Cambridge talks with a child in...

Britain’s Kate, Duchess of Cambridge talks with a child in the water area of the playground during a visit with Prince William to School21, a school in east London, Thursday March 11, 2021. (Justin Tallis/Pool via AP)

Kate, Duchess of Cambridge holds her newborn baby son as...

Kate, Duchess of Cambridge holds her newborn baby son as she leaves the Lindo wing at St Mary’s Hospital in London London, Monday, April 23, 2018. The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth Monday to a healthy baby boy — a third child for Kate and Prince William and fifth in line to the British throne. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Britain’s Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge wave as...

Britain’s Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge wave as they hold their newborn baby son as they leave the Lindo wing at St Mary’s Hospital in London London, Monday, April 23, 2018. The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth Monday to a healthy baby boy — a third child for Kate and Prince William and fifth in line to the British throne. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

Britain’s Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge wave as...

Britain’s Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge wave as they hold their newborn baby son as they leave the Lindo wing at St Mary’s Hospital in London London, Monday, April 23, 2018. The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth Monday to a healthy baby boy — a third child for Kate and Prince William and fifth in line to the British throne. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

In this Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017 file photo Britain’s Prince...

In this Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017 file photo Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge smile as they walk through the memorial garden in Kensington Palace, London. Kensington Palace says Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, are expecting their third child. The announcement released in a statement Monday Sept. 4, 2017 says the queen is delighted by the news. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

Britain’s Prince William looks on as Kate, Duchess of Cambridge...

Britain’s Prince William looks on as Kate, Duchess of Cambridge dances with Paddington Bear at Paddington Station in London, Monday Oct. 16, 2017, as they and Prince Harry attend the Charities Forum event to join children from the charities they support and to meet with the cast and crew from the upcoming film Paddington 2. (Jonathan Brady/Pool via AP)

The news is another jolt for the royal family since the announcement last month that King Charles III was being treated for an unspecified type of cancer that was discovered while undergoing a procedure for a benign enlarged prostate.

Charles said he is “so proud of Catherine for her courage in speaking as she did,” according to a statement released by Buckingham Palace. The king, who received prostate treatment in the same hospital and at the same time Kate had her surgery, remained in the “closest contact with his beloved daughter-in-law” in the past weeks.

The king and Queen Camilla “will continue to offer their love and support to the whole family through this difficult time,” the palace said.

Before Friday, Kensington Palace had given little detail about Kate’s condition beyond saying it wasn’t cancer-related, the surgery was successful and recuperation would keep the princess away from public duties until April. Kate said it had been thought that her condition was non-cancerous until post-surgery tests revealed the diagnosis.

“This of course came as a huge shock, and William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family,” she said.

Kate said it had taken her time to recover from the surgery before starting “preventative” treatment, which she said was in the early stages.

Dr. Shivan Sivakumar, associate professor in oncology at the University of Birmingham, said it’s unclear what the princess meant by “preventative” chemotherapy but he presumed that it’s what is known as “adjuvant” chemotherapy in the medical profession.

“This is chemotherapy after an operation to prevent recurrence,” he said. “This is to attempt to destroy any circulating cancer cells.”

Kate said it has been “an incredibly tough couple of months” for her family. She said it had taken time to tell her three children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis in a way “appropriate for them” and reassure them she will be OK.

The announcement came after the start of the Easter holidays, which will shield the children from media coverage of the news.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement that Kate “has shown tremendous bravery.” He added: “In recent weeks she has been subjected to intense scrutiny and has been unfairly treated by certain sections of the media around the world and on social media.”

Keir Starmer, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, also sent his best wishes to the princess at this “distressing time.”

“We are incredibly sad to hear of the news,” said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who opened her briefing with reporters moments after news of cancer treatment broke. “We are taking this in, this terrible news, as all of you are.”

Charles, 75, has withdrawn from public duties while he has cancer treatment, though he’s appeared frequently in photos carrying on meetings with government officials and dignitaries and was even seen going to church.

Kate, on the other hand, had been out of view instead of appearing at charity events and promoting causes such as supporting children early in life, leading to weeks of speculation and gossip. Attempts to put rumors to bed by releasing a photo of her on Mother’s Day in the U.K. surrounded by her three smiling children backfired when The Associated Press and other news agencies retracted the image because it had been manipulated.

Kate issued a statement the next day acknowledging she liked to “experiment with editing” and apologizing for “any confusion” the photo had caused. But that did little to quell the speculation.

Even the footage published by The Sun and TMZ that appeared to show Kate and William shopping sparked a new flurry of rumor-mongering, with some armchair sleuths refusing to believe the video showed Kate at all.

Earlier this week, a British privacy watchdog said it was investigating a report that staff at the private London hospital where she was treated tried to snoop on her medical records while she was a patient for abdominal surgery.

The former Kate Middleton, who married William in a fairy-tale wedding in 2011, has boosted the popularity and appeal of the British monarchy worldwide more than any royal since Princess Diana.

The princess is the oldest of three children brought up in a well-to-do neighborhood in Berkshire, west of London. The Middletons have no aristocratic background, and the British press often referred to Kate as a “commoner” marrying into royalty.

Kate attended the private school Marlborough College and then University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where she met William around 2001. Friends and housemates at first, their relationship became widely publicized when they were pictured together on a skiing holiday in Switzerland in 2004.

Kate graduated in 2005 with a degree in art history and a budding relationship with the prince.

Pan Pylas in London and Chris Megerian in Washington, contributed to this report.

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Christmas 2023 events and activities in Wales you can book right now

It's almost that time of year again, Christmas is just over the horizon but if you want to go to some Christmas events in Wales, you'd best book now

  • 16:48, 4 SEP 2023
  • Updated 14:51, 3 OCT 2023

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Christmas 2023 is, of course, still more than three months away but it's not too early to start planning which big events you'd like to experience here in Wales. Now is a good time to book the shows, light trails and other festive events - and then you can forget about the baubles and tinsel for a while.

But by being organised it means that when December rolls around, you'll have the fun and festive activities already booked and you definitely won't miss out.

We've started to round up all the Christmas events you can book right now and we shall be adding to this list as more pop up, so please, email [email protected] or @[email protected] and we'll take a look.

Read more: Free TV channel playing Christmas films 24/7 to return this week

Christmas essentials : Cardiff Christmas Market 2023 dates confirmed

Santa's Toy Mine, Rhondda

Go and see the big man at the Welsh Coal Mining Experience, Rhondda Heritage Park, as Santa Claus transforms the former Lewis Merthyr Colliery into a magical grotto for the season.

Dates run from November 25 to Christmas Eve and can be booked here.

Cardiff Christmas Festival

This event, which will run from Friday, December 1 to Sunday, December 24, presents three live shows filled with family fun, jaw-dropping cabaret and a BGT choir. The shows will be performed in the ornate and intimate 550-seat Fortuna Spiegeltent in the beautiful surroundings of Sophia Gardens and promises to transport audiences to a nostalgic and magical world. Last year the shows were at Cardiff Castle.

Santa's Wish and Castellana will be returning and a new show, Welsh of the West End, will also take place during this year's festival and see some of Wales' top singers perform a one-off concert, for full details on the event, click here . Tickets are on sale for the festival now and you can buy them at seetickets.com .

Luminate, Carmarthenshire and Port Talbot

The spectacular light trail returns to two Welsh locations for Christmas 2023. From Wednesday, November 22 to Sunday, December 31 it's at Margam Park and from Wednesday, November 29 to Sunday, December 24 it's at the National Botanic Garden of Wales in Carmarthenshire . There's a mile-long walk at both locations with interactive elements, ambient music and beautiful light displays.

For more on these events and to book tickets, click here.

Bute Park Light Trail, Cardiff

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Another light trail, this time in the centre of Cardiff, where it's been for the past two Christmases. Event organisers promise that this year's trail will be "longer, brighter & more festive than ever before!"

In previous years the trail was 1.4km and you were transported to a sparkling world of light and colour as you walked through the magical Starlit Boulevard and "light canyon", which was decorated with "a thousand mesmerising stars". The start date for this year's event is Friday, November 24 and it will run until January 1, 2024.

Click here for tickets .

Forage Christmas Experience, Vale of Glamorgan

Meet Father Christmas, see the Elf show and see some alpacas before roasting marshmallows at the Vale of Glamorgan farm shop, which is once again putting on a Christmassy experience.

Dates over the weekends in December as well as weekdays in the run up to Christmas Day. More, here.

Santa Train Rides, across Wales

Get swept away by the magic of Christmas and meet Father Christmas while on a vintage steam train. There are sites around Wales that offer this gorgeously seasonal day out including, Blaenavon Heritage Railway (From Saturday, December 2 and on weekends throughout), Brecon Mountain Railway f rom Saturday, November 25 and selected dates up until Christmas week). Tickets go on sale this month for the former and are already on sale for the latter.

Swansea's Winter Wonderland at Gower Fresh

Visit Santa in his magical grotto

A favourite with many for a day trip, Gower Fresh Christmas Tree farm brings us sunflower fields in the summer, Halloween fun in autumn and their big Christmas grotto in December - and a little of November, too, as it opens on November 25. Take a trip through a snowy winter wonderland and meet the big man himself! Book for Gower Fresh, here .

Pantomimes in Wales

  • Jac and the Beanstalk is on at Cardiff's New Theatre from Saturday, December 9 - book tickets, here .
  • Beauty and the Beast at The Riverfront, Newport , from November 29 - January 6. Book here .
  • Cinderella is at the Swansea Grand from December 9 to January 7. Tickets, here .
  • It's Jack and the Beanstalk again at Carmarthen's Lyric, from December 14 to December 28. Click here.
  • RCT's theatres, Parc & Dare in Treorchy and Aberdare's Coliseum have Cinderella, too. For details of dates and tickets, click here.

Aladdin, Cardiff

Disney's Aladdin is coming to Birmingham Hippodrome in 2024

The Christmas show at the Wales Millennium Centre this year is the Disney stage musical version of Aladdin.

With astonishing special effects, over 350 lavish costumes and a fabulous cast and live orchestra, Aladdin features all the songs from the classic Academy Award-winning film including Friend Like Me, Arabian Nights, and A Whole New World.

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  1. 15 family Christmas events in North Wales and Cheshire for 2023

    Here are the Christmas events in North Wales and Cheshire we did last year: (There's more detail about each one below) Christmas at Gulliver's Theme Park. BeWILDerwood Presents Christmas. The Polar Express from Telford. Zipmas at Zipworld. Chester Zoo Lanterns. Bolesworth.

  2. Zipmas

    North Wales' most magical Christmas Grotto experience is back this year, with some wonderful new additions and the same exciting festive spirit we all know and love. Venture deep underground aboard our special cable railway, where you'll be greeted with 3 enchanting chambers. First up is the light maze, where you'll weave your way to the ...

  3. Forget Lapland, Santa's grotto is located underground in North Wales

    Christmas is coming early to North Wales this year - and families have the opportunity to visit Santa himself, in a magical wonderland buried deep underneath the ground.

  4. Christmas: 10 places to see Santa in Wales

    How do I find out more and book my tickets? Visit the Gregynog Hall website, tickets can be booked on 01686 65022. 9. Santa's Grotto at Cardiff Castle. When? The grotto is open between December ...

  5. Where's Santa Claus in North Wales?

    Santa's Tea Party at Fron Goch Garden Centre on the 11th of December from 4p.m. £11.99 per ticket. Wrexham: Festive Food & Gift Extravaganza Weekend - Mr and Mrs Claus will both be attending on the 7th and 8th of December at The Plassey! Arrive between 10:30 and 4:30 for a free weekend of fun! Cerrigydrudion: Christmas Fair at Llyn Brenig ...

  6. > BOOK TICKETS

    Indulge your imagination with our awesome 2024 Enchanted World at the Reindeer Lodge... and with the Mad Hatter in charge of tickets this month, get 25% off tickets in our March Madness offer! USE PROMO CODE: Madhatter2024 We are going FULL walk-in for Christmas 2024!

  7. Christmas Events in North Wales

    Children can give their Christmas letter to Santa directly or post it in the Zip World North Pole post box. Zipmas Times and Prices 2022. Santa's Grotto opens at Zipmas on November 25 th and runs until December 24th. Tickets are £22 to visit at the weekend or the week before Christmas between 9am-6pm. Off-peak dates between 3pm-6pm are £18.

  8. Christmas

    Landscapes around North Wales change (sometimes overnight) to a glorious bright white. The untouched snow makes it look like a photograph, but there's no need to rub your eyes, this is North Wales at Christmas. We like to think North Wales is Santa's favourite destination. He makes plenty of stops in North Wales leading up to the big day ...

  9. Visit Santa in his underground grotto in North Wales this Zipmas!

    THIS Christmas, Zip World is inviting visitors to meet Santa in their underground Christmas grotto, within the famous Victorian Llechwedd slate mines in Blaenau Ffestiniog. Tickets are on sale now for between November 29 and Christmas Eve. For bookings, tickets are £22 to visit at the weekend or the week before Christmas between 9am-7pm, or ...

  10. The Santa trains you can book in Wales for Christmas 2022

    Tickets start at £23.50 for adults and children and £4.50 for babies and you can book tickets online, here. The second way to meet Santa is from Porthmadog Harbour Station, where you will find ...

  11. A memorable visit to Santa in an underground north Wales mine

    05:00, 20 DEC 2021. (Image: Amelia Shaw) When Zip World announced that it was inviting visitors to meet Santa in their underground Christmas grotto, within the famous Victorian Llechwedd slate ...

  12. what's on this Christmas in North Wales

    Santa's Enchanted Grotto & Elf Academy. 10:00 - 15:00. Abergele, North Wales. more info. 1/3. Make the most of the festive experience this year whilst your in North Wales with these Christmas events that are on.

  13. Santa experiences in Wales ranked from most expensive to cheapest

    In north Wales, in Y Felinheli you will be able to enjoy wandering through the illuminated forest and meet Santa in his cosy cottage. Tickets cost £18 for adults, £22 for children and £6 for ...

  14. Christmas days out

    Dinefwr, Carmarthenshire. Dinefwr kicks off the Christmas period with their annual Christmas Fair on the 24, 25 and 26 November where the frontage of Newton House will host festive stalls, selling a range of beautiful wares from handmade jewellery to tasty preserves. A highlight not to be missed.

  15. 100+ Of The Best Santa's Grottos And Santa Experiences In 2023

    1 Day Winter's Tail. Dates: 25th November to 30th December 2023 (meet Father Christmas available until 24th December 2023). Ticket Price: From £20.00 per person. See the Chessington website for more event info and tickets. Location: Chessington World of Adventures, Leatherhead Road, Chessington, Surrey, KT9 2NE.

  16. 10 of the BEST places to see Santa this year

    Best Santa grottos to visit this year 1. Lapland UK, Whitmoor Forest, Ascot, Berkshire. Lapland UK is known as one of the most magical places to see Father Christmas in the UK. A visit to Lapland UK is an experience the kids will never forget. Families will visit The Enchanted Forest, children will help the elves to make toys, enjoy a story ...

  17. 19 of the Absolute Best Places to Visit in North Wales

    Mount Snowdon, North Wales. Recommended by: Sophie and Adam, We Dream of Travel. Mount Snowdon is located in the heart of the eponymous Snowdonia National Park in North Wales. Known as Yr Wyddfa in Welsh, it stands at 3,560ft (1,085m) and is the highest mountain in Wales and England.

  18. Amazing Christmas 2022 events in Wales you can book ...

    You can read more about Christmas at Bute Park 2022 here. You can enjoy the light trail from Thursday, December 1 to Sunday, January 1, 2023. Tickets are on sale now for £19.50 for adults and £ ...

  19. Christmas Markets and days out the whole family will love

    Visit North Wales' renowned seaside resort for the annual Christmas Extravaganza, a major event in the town's calendar. Enjoy traditional festive entertainment, including carol singing and a visit to Santa's grotto, while perusing numerous food, craft and gift stalls. The choice of stalls here rivals many of the bigger markets across the ...

  20. 21 BEST Things to Do in North Wales [2024 Guide]

    1. Explore the castle and town walls in Conwy. Visiting the town of Conwy sits right at the top of this list, not just as a great activity in North Wales, but as one of the best things to do in Wales as a whole. It's an enchanting town with an old-worldly feel that's dominated by its medieval castle and town walls.

  21. Christmas Events 2023

    Access to Dan-yr-Ogof cave, a visit to the dinosaur trail, access to the indoor and outdoor play areas, and a visit to see Santa in Cathedral Cave. For more information visit Showcaves Christmas . Santa Specials on board Gwili Railway Steam Trains, Carmarthen - 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th, 23rd, 24th December 2023

  22. 14 magical places to visit Santa in south Wales in the ...

    Where to go: Begelly, Kilgetty, Pembrokeshire, SA68 0XA. Get in touch: Visit www.folly-farm.co.uk or call 01834 812 731. 6. Zoar's Ark. Take a stroll through the magical Ice Kingdom at Zoar's ...

  23. Kate, Princess of Wales, says she has cancer and is undergoing

    FILE - Britain's Kate, Princess of Wales smiles during her visit to Sebby's Corner in north London, Friday, Nov. 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool, File ) By Associated Press | ap ...

  24. Christmas 2023 events and activities in Wales you can book now

    Luminate, Carmarthenshire and Port Talbot. The spectacular light trail returns to two Welsh locations for Christmas 2023. From Wednesday, November 22 to Sunday, December 31 it's at Margam Park and ...