There are few things more magical for a family at Christmas than experiencing Santa’s Grotto. Wherever you are in Ireland, from late November to Christmas Eve, some of the country’s most exciting and beautiful festive attractions are open for business. Browse five of the finest examples below, to start the festive season in style.
Winter Wonderland — Todds Leap Activity Centre, Ballygawley
Opens 3rd Dec
Todds Leap hosts a magical Winter Wonderland each year, that is perfect for all the family. The elves here are particularly active and mischievous, and your little ones can see them up close in Santa’s workshop. This exceptionally popular Christmas experience features a fantastic off road sleigh ride, beautiful real-life reindeer, and of course, Santa’s breathtaking festive grotto. Added exciting features include visiting Mrs Claus’ cabin, a present from Santa Claus himself, and complimentary tea and coffee for parents. Wrap your hands around a warm mug and feel the magical glow of the season. You will make memories here that will last a lifetime, so don’t forget to purchase your family photograph online after the experience for just £5.
Children under one year old go free, with other tickets retailing at £10 per adult and £13 per child. You can book for larger groups online and over the phone on 028 855 67170. Act fast, as places can go quickly from the end of November onwards.
Santa’s Cottage — Newry Co Down
Opens 19th November to 24th December
This stunning Christmas attraction has been named as the Official Residence of Santa In Ireland. An honour bestowed by none other than the Greenland-Denmark World Congress of Santas – so you know you can rely on their judgement. Santa’s cottage has become instantly recognisable as a staple of the festive season. Marvel at the spectacular lights, cosy cabins, a classic Nativity scene and even Santa’s igloo. This is the perfect place for families to relax in seasonal surroundings. You can stay up to date with offers and dates on the Santa’s Cottage Facebook page, and book well in advance to avoid disappointment. You can also take a video tour online to experience the magic and build the excitement.
Santa’s Island — Redcastle Hotel, Donegal
Opens 25th November to 22nd December
The Redcastle Hotel takes special steps to make sure their rooms and activities are magical for every family. Upon arrival, all boys and girls will receive a letter from Santa in their rooms. Children can also enjoy complimentary hot chocolate and cookies on a frosty Winter morning, before the whole family embarks on an exciting trip to Santa’s Island. Santa himself will make an appearance and give a gift to every child. Finally, you can explore Santa’s Village as a family, marvelling at Santa’s sleigh and his fascinating toy workshop. Visit the Redcastle Hotel’s website for more details and book for Santa’s Village via the Donegal Lapland website. It will be a Christmas getaway that the whole family will love and remember for years to come.
The Santa Experience — Dublin, Cork and Limerick
Late November to 20th December
Voted as the Number 1 Santa Experience in Ireland, this event’s popularity has seen it take place in three venues across the country. This is a traditional, visually stunning grotto experience with Santa himself. Check The Santa Experience website for available dates and times.
Santa’s Grotto, Arnott’s on Henry Street, Dublin
Opens 20th November to 24th December
Santa’s arrival on the second floor of Arnotts department store has become a favourite festive tradition for many families. The level is transformed into a magical Christmas grotto, complete with friendly elves, sparkling lights, and gifts galore. The store’s innovative “Santa Q” system also means that you can book your time with Santa and browse in store until you receive a text message that it is time to meet the man himself. The visit is also completely free, leaving you with more cash to splash on Christmas shopping instead.