15 of the best places to see Santa in Suffolk and Essex this Christmas
PUBLISHED: 18:11 22 November 2016 | UPDATED: 14:57 25 November 2016
Where is the best place to see Father Christmas in the build up to Christmas 2016?
He is a busy fellow and will be criss-crossing the region, stopping off at Christmas fetes, shopping centres and even touring housing estates.
Here we offer a guide to where Santa will be and when - make sure you don’t miss out.
Bury St Edmunds
Meet Santa at Moyse’s Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds between 1pm and 4pm on Saturday, November 26 and Sunday, November 27.
Children can tell him their Christmas wishes, have their photo taken by one of his friendly elves and receive a gift. Tickets cost £6.
Santa will also be at the museum from 11am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm on Saturday, December 3, and across the weekend of December 17 and 18.
Booking is recommended and you can secure your tickets here
Tickets are now on sale for the miniature Santa’s Grotto at Blackthorpe Barn, on the Rougham Estate.
The grotto offers a more personal experience with a limited number of tickets available for each day. Children who have behaved all year will receive a token gift from Santa Claus.
Santa will be there from November 26, but many dates have now sold out.
There are still tickets available for the week leading up to Christmas, book tickets here.
Visit Santa’s Grotto at the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre between Thursday, November 24 and Sunday, November 27.
The grotto will open at 2pm Thursday, midday Friday and 9am Saturday, closing at 7pm each night, Sunday it will open from 10am to 4pm.
You can visit the Post Office and write or send a letter to Santa, meet the elves in the workshop and, for those paying the £6 fee, there is the chance to meet Santa himself and get a little present.
The Round table will be touring Ipswich, bringing Santa and his pal Rudolph to homes across the town nightly from Monday, December 5.
Check the schedule here for details and keep your eye out for the sleigh passing your front door.
Learn to fly at Santa’s super flight school at Sailmakers in Ipswich town centre this Christmas.
The elves will help you guide Santa’s sleigh, pen a letter to the big man and make your own magical reindeer food.
The free workshop is open between 11am and 4pm on Saturday, December 3, Saturday, December 10, Saturday, December 17 plus Wednesday to Friday, December 21 to 23. See more here
Santa and Rudolph will once again tour the streets of Felixstowe in the lead-up to Christmas.
During December, between 6pm and 8.30pm on weekday evenings, Santa and his sleigh, led by Rudolph, will visit residential streets in the town. He will also be paying a visit to Hamilton Road one Saturday and Morrisons on another Saturday.
His little and big helpers will be collecting money for Rotary charities as well as Save the Children.
See here for full route details
Father Christmas will be at Colchester Castle between 3pm and 8.30pm on Wednesday, December 14.
Christmas at the Castle is free and runs from 3pm to 8.30pm. There will be a chance to enjoy entertainment, Christmas carols and mince pies and meet Santa - although there is a £3 charge for entry to Santa’s grotto.
Visit the museum website for details.
On December 23, in association with Ellis Amusements, Charter Hall in Colchester presents its first ever indoor inflatables event. The main hall will be packed with bouncy castles, slides and loads more, with tickets only £5 per child for a three-hour session.
You can also book a time to meet Santa and receive a gift for £7. Booking is essential via Charter Hall
Santa comes to visit the Festive Day Out With Thomas event at the East Anglian Railway Museum on December 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18.
Always popular and busy, attractions include unlimited rides on at least four character trains, storytelling, crafts and the chance to visit Santa. Booking is essential to guarantee you don’t miss this.
Santa will be sailing into Snape Maltings on an historic Thames sailing barge.
Spot him between 3.15pm and 5pm. There will also be carol singers and Martlesham Brass Band.
Celebrate with a Christmas meal at Easton Farm Park, near Woodbridge, and take a sleigh ride to meet Santa.
The events run on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in December as well as Monday, December 19 Wednesday, December 2, Thursday, December 22 and Friday, December 23
Children can also make a decoration in the elf workshop and meet the animals, while parents get a hot drink and a slice of cake or a sausage roll.
Entry is £12 for children and £5 for adults.
Santa Special trains will be running at Mid Suffolk Light Railway on December 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18.
On each of the dates, eight trains will run from Brockford Station to North Pole Halt. Each child will receive a special ticket and be given a present by Santa in his brake van grotto.
All visitors will receive a drink and a mince pie or a cookie and there will be children’s entertainment after the journey.
Tickets cost £12 and must be booked in advance here
Suffolk Owl Sanctuary is celebrating with a Christmas-themed weekend on November 26 and 27.
Santa will be in his grotto offering a free gift for each visitor and you can meet Holly Owl, live reindeer, the Christmas elves and the other residents.
Be guided by your own elf through Father Christmas’s magical base at the ancient Cressing Temple site.
Learn the secrets of the wrapping machine, mailing systems and landing pad. Then meet the man himself in his grotto, where you can have your photo taken with him in his full-size sleigh.
Tell Santa what your Christmas wish is and then head over to the toy shop, where an elf will help you choose the perfect gift to take home as a memento.
The experience costs £12.50 per child with one adult per child free and additional adults £3.
Take the Santa Express train into the woods of the Audley End estate and arrive at a winter wonderland where Santa and his cheeky elves will perform a Christmas dance – and children will receive a gift.
Back at base, there’s a craft area and a spot where youngsters can write letters to Santa and post them.
The experience is open on selected dates between December 3 and 24 and costs between £11 and £12 per person.
Santa will also be dropping by to see the lights switched on in towns and villages all over Suffolk, see details here
If Santa is coming to your event this Christmas, let us know - send details via email