Home Christmas 2019 Where to visit Santa in Kent and East Sussex?

Where to visit Santa in Kent and East Sussex?

Wondering where to visit Santa in Kent and East Sussex? With only 9 weeks left until Christmas, it’s time to start stock piling Quality Streets and fishing out your elasticated trousers, as well as planning your festive family days out and booking your trip to see the big man. We have put a list together of the top places Father Christmas can be found near to Tunbridge Wells this festive season.

Please note, this post is from last year!!!


Whichever Santa sighting spot you choose. we hope you and family have a thoroughly magical experience! 

[a few things to note – there are a few ‘wild cards’ in here that aren’t in Kent and East Sussex but are close enough to Tunbridge Wells to be able to do a day trip there. Also a lot of these places require advanced booking – please do check on the website beforehand.]

Tunbridge Wells Ice Rink Father Christmas

♥  Combine your Father Christmas visit with a spot of ice skating in Calverley Grounds   

Father Christmas and his friendly elves will be welcoming families visiting the Tunbridge Wells Ice Rink in Calverley Grounds on selected dates from Saturday 30th November to Tuesday 24th December 2019. A fab family day out in the heart of our beautiful town.

♥   Visit Millbrook Garden Centre in Staplehurst for some grotto magic

Enjoy some festive crafts and games before boarding the Millbrook Express to see Santa at Millbrook Garden Centre in Gravesend and Staplehurst. Also find out about their Mother Christmas Storytelling sessions and Festive Make-and-Take Workshops at the Crowborough branch as well as Paulos Christmas Circus HERE.

♥    See Santa in his Winter Wonderland at Sussex Country Gardener

The Sussex Country Gardener grotto has moved location within the garden centre which means it is larger than ever before!  Expect new games and crafts, including making new magical reindeer food and Christmas badges with Santa’s elves then picking your elf name before delving into the wonderful winter wonderland walk with animation and surprises galore, before finally arriving at Santa’s cosy home. Find out about this plus additional festive activities at Sussex Country Gardener HERE.

♥    All aboard the Christmas express at the Spa Valley Railway

Take in the traditional Christmas music and board the train for the Spa Valley Railway Santa Special. A 45 minute train journey to meet the main man, travelling from Eridge to Tunbridge Wells West and return.

♥  Venture down the rabbit hole and see Father Christmas at Hever Castle 

Enjoy the welcoming log fires and twinkling Christmas trees of Hever Castle. Outside you can follow the whimsical Alice on a Christmas Wonderland themed interactive trail before meeting Father Christmas. Tickets to see Santa can be pre-booked (though there is now only availability on 11th December) and there are drop-in sessions on selected dates too.

 See Santa at Salomons Estate in Tunbridge Wells

Santa will be welcoming little visitors to his gorgeous grotto at Salomons Estate from Thursday 19th to Monday 23rd December. Meet him and his hard-working elves as they take up residence in the beautiful grounds of the estate. Tickets includes visiting Santa in his grotto, a gift from Santa for each child, Christmas colouring in and entry to the Winter Woodland Treasure Hunt where children can win a hot chocolate for finding all the Christmas clues. There are also options to dine with Father Christmas in December too!

♥  Enjoy a family day out at Groombridge Place this Christmas

Visit Father Christmas at Groombridge Place on selected days from Saturday 7th to 24th December 2019. Discover this magical place on a fun day out in the forest, with wooden bridges and a huge boat to play on at Crusoe’s World before discovering the giant tree swings deep in the enchanted forest.  Book a special family visit to see Father Christmas in his delightfully decorated home in the grounds and children can also enjoy making Christmas decorations in the café while Mum and Dad enjoy a hot drink and a mince pie or something delicious from the festive menu.

♥   Join in the festive fun at Kent Life

Board the land train driven by Head Elf and meet Father Christmas alongside some Farmyard friends at the fantastic Kent Life. Make it a day out and enjoy everything else that Kent Life has to offer too.

♥   Phileas Fogg’s Winter Wonderland Experience

Immerse yourselves in Phileas Fogg’s action-packed pantomime as you search the world to meet some Magical Elves, visiting many countries on the way and ending up in Santa’s grotto.

♥   Bewl Water Christmas Experience

Be greeted by the Christmas Elves before coming face to face with Santa himself in his home from home at Bewl Water!

Where else to visit Santa in Kent and East Sussex?

♥  Make a day of it at Bluewater

Bluewater are offering a Nutcracker themed experience against the magical backdrop of their lakes at The Village.

♥   Enjoy fun on the farm at Bocketts

Meet Father Christmas and receive a special golden coin to spend at his very own toy shop at Bocketts Farm.

♥   Try Chessington Garden Centre’s Christmas Wonderland

As well as their usual Christmas Wonderland Chessington Garden Centre also offer designated SEND sessions, which mean that the lights and music are turned down to create a calmer atmosphere for everyone. A wonderful option for those who find the multi sensory aspect of Christmas overwhelming and the only place on this list (to our knowledge) to offer such an option. If you know of more, please let us know?

♥ Take your little monkeys to Drusillas

Visit Santa Claus in his cosy cottage at Drusillas this Christmas – tickets are available to book online this year for the first time.

♥  Join Wiglet’s Christmas Adventure at Godstone Farm

There will be interactive fun in Wiglet’s Workshop at Godstone Farm plus Christmas crafts and cookie decorating.

♥  Santa Specials on the The Kent & East Sussex Railway

Jump on board the Kent & East Sussex Railway’s festively decorated steam train and enjoy a 1 hour 10 minute return journey during which you’ll meet Father Christmas.

♥   Splash out on the trip of a lifetime at Lapland UK

If you are feeling flush and don’t mind going a bit further afield, Lapland UK is reportedly great! A four hour immersive experience of interactive activities and of course, a visit from Father Christmas.

♥   Combine your love of Lego with a love of Christmas

Take your Lego fan to Legoland at Christmas to see Santa and enjoy the theme park.

♥  Combine a Santa sighting with seeing some Llamas

You get free entry to The Llama Park, Forest Row, to see the animals when you buy a ticket to Santa’s Grotto.

♥   See Santa at Notcutts in Pembury. Visit Santa in store or book a special breakfast or tea with him for a fun-filled mealtime.

♥  Have a story with Santa at Polhill Garden Centre.

♥  Visit the woodland grotto at Standen House and enjoy a Christmas story in the company of the man himself.

♥  Visit Santa’s Magical Fireside Grotto at Royal Victoria Place – we don’t have information about this as yet but will add it in when we do…

♥  Meet Mother Christmas, Father Christmas and the elves at the Grotto at Ruxley Garden Centre.

♥  Have a special family encounter and see Santa in his festive cabin at The Reindeer Centre.  No need to book except for Christmas eve!

More ideas for where to visit Santa in Kent and East Sussex…

♥   For the full Christmas experience spend a day at Tulleys Farm

Gingerbread decorating, a ride on a tractor and a 3D Christmas tree light experience are just a  few of the things you can experience alongside seeing Santa at Tulleys Christmas Experience.

♥    Visit the Big Red Grotto at The Hop Farm!

See Father Christmas at The Hop Farm and get free entry to the Family Park, animal farm and indoor soft play centre.

♥  Father Christmas Saves the Day – Something a bit different at Penshurst Place?

Instead of a Christmas Grotto at Penshurst Place this year, there’ll be a panto-style show ‘Father Christmas Saves the Day’ – an interactive, panto-style storytelling performance that’s sure to get all the family joining in and having fun.

♥   Have a grotto-like experience with the Bedgebury illuminated trail

This shouldn’t strictly be on this list as there isn’t a Santa’s grotto but Bedgebury Pinetum certainly puts the sparkle into Christmas with their after-dark illuminated trail.


If you know of any other places to visit Santa in Kent and East Sussex which you think should be included in this blog post, please email me on clare@mytunbridgewells.com..

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Tunbridge Wells half term kids