Close up of Christmas decorations hanging on a tree

Taking the Kids to See Santa

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Sun 10 Dec 2017

Yesterday was a very Christmassy day and it started with a visit to the man in red himself! My kids are now 5 and 2, so they are the perfect age for Santa’s Grotto. They saw him last year during a holiday at Centre Parcs. But this was our first time visiting him in Edinburgh. They seemed more excited to see Santa this year. I think that’s because they are more aware of who he is now.

There are lots of Santa’s Grottos in and around Edinburgh. My husband and I decided to take our kids to the official Edinburgh’s Christmas Santa’s Grotto, which is on George Street this year. The half-hour sessions are for groups of 20 children, who get a group story from Santa. Plus, there’s the chance to speak to him individually and receive a little gift. We thought this sounded a bit different to the usual grotto experience and it was good value for money. The price was £8 per child, but as we live in Edinburgh we got 20% off, making it just £6.40 each.

Santa in his Grotto in Edinburgh

We arrived about ten minutes before our 10.30 am time slot and joined the queue, which had already formed outside the grotto. One of Santa’s elves was busy checking tickets and handing out ‘wish tags’ to all the children. These were blank white tags on which the kids (with help from parents if needed) had to write down the gift they most wanted from Santa. Then, when everyone was ready, we were led into the grotto. The children were encouraged to take a seat down at the front on cushions, while grown ups sat on benches behind. My kids were really excited to see Santa, and very happy to sit down at the front with the others.

Santa was brilliant. (I mean, obviously, he is Santa Claus after all!) He introduced his elves and explained that the wish tags the children had filled in , which had been hung from the ceiling, would be sent off to the North Pole that night, so the elves could get to work on the gifts.

Wish tags hanging in Santa's Grotto

Then, the children had to get up and queue so that they could each have a chat with him individually. This bit was rather chaotic. It’s quite a small room and there were lots of people moving around. So we couldn’t see the kids and they couldn’t see us. It was quite hard to see if they were ok and to get down to the front in time to get a picture of them with Santa. But we managed and it was all fine. Santa was really lovely with them. They had a little chat, got their gifts and sat back down on the cushions to open them. They both got little craft sets, which they loved. It was quite nice to see all the different age groups that came to see Santa, from really tiny little babies to older children. He was so great with them all!

Once everyone had seen Santa individually, we sat back down and he told us a little more about his reindeer, Mrs Claus, and life at the North Pole. By this time my 2 year old was ready to go, but my 5 year old was still enthralled. I have to admit, I was enjoying it very much too. Definitely feeling the magic of Christmas! Afterwards, we went down to Santa Land in Princes Street Gardens for a ride on the Carousel.

We had such a lovely time visiting Santa this year. We are sure it was the real Santa, no doubt about it! I believe availability is quite limited now, but you might still manage to get tickets to see Santa on the Edinburgh’s Christmas website. Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas!

Santa’s Grotto, George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4JZ