Each year I write an extensive guide to visiting santa in Cardiff and South Wales, sharing every place you can see Father Christmas. Unfortunately as we will all know very well, 2020 has been a year unlike any other, and this year many Christmas events have been cancelled. Others will still be running but at much reduced capacity, so if you’re hoping to take the family to see Santa, you definitely need to plan ahead of time.
Due to the current restrictions and ever changing situation, this blog post is designed to be a starting place for you to find out what Christmas events are available. It’s super important you check with the venue as things are always subject to change. This will be regularly updated, if you know of an event not listed here, please drop me a comment at the end!
Victorian Santa at Cardiff Castle, Ice Walk and Fairground
Winter Wonderland will be at Cardiff Castle this year instead of in front of the civic buildings. It will feature an ice skating walk, a 33m big wheel, fairground rides and Victorian Santa Tours. Entry to the public square will be available unticketed and free, but you should book in advance or the Ice Skating or Santa. More information on the Cardiff Castle Christmas 2020 Website.
Santa at Cottrell Park Golf Resort
Cottrell Park Golf Resort is offering Santa visits, including photo and gift, with an outside marquee available for snacks and festive drinks. You’ll need to call to book, but there’s more information on their Facebook page.
Brunch or Lunch with Santa at The Exchange Hotel
The Exchange Hotel are running multiple events, either brunch or lunch with a visit from Santa. Visit their Christmas Page for more details.
Lunch or Afternoon Tea with Santa at Future Inns, Cardiff Bay
Future Inns are doing a three course Sunday Lunch, or Afternoon Tea, followed by a family disco and a meet and greet with Santa in his grotto and it’s actually very affordable at just under £20 for adults, £10 for over frees and free for under! More information here.
Santa’s Grotto at St Andrews Church Hall, Roath
There seems to be a small Santa’s Grotto open for photo opportunities on Saturdays which will be £3 per family. At the last update this couldn’t be booked in advance so couldn’t say what queues will be like or how busy it will be! Here is some information on Facebook.
Breakfast with Santa at your Local Harvester
The Harvester is offering kids breakfast, a drink, and a visit from Santa for £6.99. Pre-booking is essential and you’ll need to check availability at a Harvester near you.
Virtual Santa Dash
Usually there is a fun 5k run down Cardiff Bay for Welsh Hearts Charity where runners are dressed up as Santa or Elves or other Festive Fancy dress. Unfortunately this will not be going ahead, but it will be running virtually and you can find more details about there here.
Santa’s Grotto, Elf Workshops and Reindeer Grotto at Playworks The Meadows, Caerphilly
Playworks the Meadows who have a whole host of animals including Reindeer, Meerkats, Wallabies, Racoon Dogs and farm animals are hosting Christmas Elf Workshops, Santa Walk Through and Reindeer Visit and General Farm Entry. For more information click here.
Gower Fresh Christmas Trees Santa Grotto and Reindeer
Gower Fresh Christmas Trees are offering a Santa’s Grotto and Reindeer Visits. You can also visit the Reindeer without Grotto tickets if you’re purchasing a fresh Christmas Tree from them.
Fonmon Castle Festival of Lights with Santa Show
Fonmon Castle – near Barry – is doing a Christmas Festival of Lights from November 27th to 24th December, 3pm to 9:30pm. This is an outdoor light show with a Santa show every hour on the hour. Although your kids won’t get up and personal with Santa for photos, they will still get to see the big man so it’ll bring some magic to their visit. For more information and tickets, visit here.
Gilestone Manor Winter Wonderland and Santa’s Grotto
Gilestone Manor (30 minutes from Cardiff) are running a Winter Wonderland with feeding the animals, visiting the Grotto with Santa, and fairground attractions. Note that this one is very expensive, with adults at £48 and children at £45 (free for under 2s), but fairground rides do appear to be included.
Blaenavon Heritage Railway will still be running some steam train journeys with Santa on board. Each bubble will have their own train compartment.
Santa’s Tea Party at the Celtic Manor (Virtual Santa)
The Celtic Manor Resort are offering Afternoon Tea with a virtual meet and greet with Santa direct from the North Pole. Santa’s Elves will be offering entertainment, and there will be a gift for each child.
Other Locations within Easy Drive of South Wales
Father Christmas at Clearwell Caves
Christmas is still going ahead at Clearwell Caves in Gloucester. This is about a 1 hour drive from Cardiff, or 1 hour 30 from Swanesa so very accessible for travel from South Wales. There will be a magical underground woodland, cafe, festival stalls and a visit with Father Christmas.
Unfortunately Pugh’s Garden Center confirmed early on that they would not be holding a Santa’s Grotto or Winter Wonderland experience this year. Pugh’s in Radyr was previously the largest place to visit, so this will leave many disappointed.
Winter Wonderland at Swansea Waterfront have cancelled their Santa, but are still running a festive village.
Margam Country Park had a Christmas Tree Festival running throughout December as well as Luminate Wales running an illuminated trail, but these have been cancelled. Luminate are already selling tickets for their 2021 event instead!
Santa’s Toy Mine at Rhondda Heritage Park has been cancelled.
Brecon Mountain Railway and Gwili Railway in Carmarthenshire have both cancelled their Santa Train events.