I realise that some of you reading this are already super organised for Christmas and I can say with all certainty that I’m unlikely to ever join your ranks!
So far the only Christmas presents I’ve purchased for my boys were disguised and hidden so well that my hubby threw them away…that will teach me, I’ll stick to my usual December rush from now on!
A big part of my problem is that I need to feel Christmassy (not sure if that’s a word?) before I can start to plan our festivities. So with that in mind, and especially for all the last minute mums out there like me: here’s a round of up of where you can go [in Stoke and the surrounding area] to see Santa and have a great day out at the same time!
The first two, you’ll have to be quick as the events are happening this week but will earn you bonus mum points for ‘spontaneity’.
A long time favourite destination of ours, Trentham Shopping Village is yet to have it’s Christmas lights switch on. This looks to be a great event and will take place on Wednesday 27th November and marks the start of festivities at Trentham Estate. And, the bonus is…this is a FREE event!
With free parking and a traditional village atmosphere, our shops and restaurants offer you a warm welcome this Christmas. Packed full of treats for you and your loved ones, this is Christmas shopping made easy. The switch-on brings our twinkling village to life and adds sparkle to the festive season.
This year’s Christmas parade is celebrating 50 years of the first moon landing with an ‘out of this world’ theme, with the man himself Santa Claus there to turn on the Christmas lights!
Why not combine it with a visit to Trentham Garden Centre to see the singing reindeer (read more here) or ride the NEW magical virtual reality sleigh ride?
Find details here.
Hanley Indoor Market
The indoor market will be holding a late night opening for the whole family on Thursday, November 28th. This is one not to be missed if the photos are anything to go by, it looks incredible.
To launch the market’s festive activities throughout the end of November and December, a giant animatronic snow lion, direct from the Forests of Eternal Snow, will be entertaining shoppers on the night at 4:30pm, 5:45pm and 7pm for 30 minute showings.
Christmas is a magical time and the snow lion will be a unique and enchanting experience for all. We would encourage anyone who has the time to pop along to the market and join in the fun.
As well as a visit from this magical creature, Santa while be flying in from the North Pole for his first visit to the market this festive season. Visit him in his Grotto and receive a free gift.
This event is FREE to attend, you can find out more here.
Apedale Light Railway
Apedale are running two weekends of Santa Specials in December. We’re booked on as a little treat on 22nd December, it’s a short journey time so that makes it perfect for those with younger children. It will be a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and we are really looking forward to it.
Board the steam train at the platform adjacent to the Apedale Heritage Centre. During the festive round trip, Santa will meet the train and come back with you to the Heritage Centre. Then, children can meet Santa in his grotto.
You can wait for your train in the warmth of the Apedale Heritage Centre and café, and maybe enjoy a snack or meal (Santa recommends the oatcakes, apparently!).
What’s in the ticket price?
- A ride on the steam train
- Meet Santa in his grotto
- A present for each child
- Hot drinks for adults
At Apedale Santa has gifts for children in the following age groups, birth to 1 year, 1 to 3 years, 3 to 8 years and 8 years plus. Older children who do not require a gift can travel as an adult. Babies-in-arms can also travel free of charge if no present is required
There are still places available, to book please visit the website.
Winter Wonderland is situated in Hanley and is fast becoming the go to site for festive fun with families across the city.
Winter Wonderland Stoke-On-Trent is FREE to enter so join us and enjoy the festive atmosphere as it returns to the City for a fourth year!
Entry to this fantastic event is made through a huge festive gateway, you will be greeted by thousands of beautiful lights, a wooden walkway, Christmas characters & real Christmas trees.
They’ve got it covered, because once again the real ice rink will be undercover enabling you to skate in comfort whatever the weather…which let’s face it isn’t the best at this time of year!
Santa will of course be in his grotto and other attractions such as; a Bavarian style bar and swing grill, that are all housed in traditional wooden chalets are awaiting you. Theme park style rides (only otherwise seen in London at this time of year) will light up the sky for miles.
For more details visit the website.
Northwood Garden Centre
Santa will be in his Winter Wonderland from Thursday 28th November until 22nd December.
If you’ve not been here before it really is a lovely place to visit. The garden centre stocks a huge range of Christmas decorations which are lovely to look around. The grotto is well managed and uses a zig zag queue route that is fully decorated, and has (in the past) included a miniature train and animatronic animals as well as light displays.
Once the children have met Santa in his cosy grotto they are given access to the magical toy workshop. They can then choose their own gift from the great selection on offer.
This year Northwood also have Dancer and Prancer the singing reindeer to keep you entertained within the garden centre.
There is no pre booking required. For more information follow the Facebook page.
And, if you’re willing to travel a bit further afield:
Churnet Valley Railway
The ever popular Santa and Steam returns to Churnet Valley Railway 2019.
Get Christmas off to a magical start by riding the Santa Express. Sit back and enjoy the ride as it steams through the Staffordshire Moorlands.
As Santa strolls through the train bearing wonderful gifts for each little boy and girl. Mums, Dads, Grandmas and Grandpas can relax with a mince pie and a glass of sherry in festive filled coaches which are sure to delight all.
Begin your journey from the Froghall or Cheddleton stations which are filled with festive atmosphere. Hot & cold food is available from the Signals Tea Room, or gifts from the Signals Souvenirs at Froghall or pop up shop at Cheddleton. Ample free parking is available at both sites.
The Santa Express train ride lasts approximately 1 hour 20 mins.
To check availability and book, visit the website.
Rode Hall are holding their Christmas Market on 7th December 9-2pm.
The Christmas Market will be full of festive cheer! The barns will be packed with wonderful presents for Christmas as well as mouthwatering treats for the festive season.
The Rode Hall Silver Band will be playing live and Father Christmas will be in his grotto. There will be a festive menu in the Courtyard Kitchen including delicious homemade mince pies and mulled wine!
Heath House Farm
Head to Heath House Farm in Forsbrook for their annual Christmas Market on Saturday 30th November.
FREE to enter, you can browse over 30 stalls selling a gorgeous range of unique gifts made by local crafters, makers & bakers (all indoors in the Glasshouse, so out of the wind & rain, but wrap up warm…!) Enjoy a mulled wine whilst you shop, and maybe a home-made mince pie too.
Hot food & drinks are available, and the Tea Room will be open too! The gift shop will be brimming with Christmas gifts and decorations, so make sure you have a browse in there before you leave.
For little ones there is the famous Scottish Santa is back in his Grotto again (tickets £5, payable on the day), and the friendly festive ponies will also be in the Barn ready to say hello to you all!
Please note: parking on the hardstanding will be limited & reserved for visitors with mobility issues. You may need to park in a field, so please wear wellies/suitable footwear as it may be muddy!
Find more details here
What better way to start Christmas than with the magic of Santa and his Reindeer!
Come along and visit our real life reindeer, who live alongside all our other farm life, get up close and personal to these famous creatures and our keepers will tell you everything you need to know about Santa’s favourite companions!
Oakleys Farm also have their resident animals from donkeys to pigs, goats, meerkats and even rheas which are a breed of ostrich.
The Christmas Barn will transport you to the North Pole where you can meet Santa and his elves, write a letter that is delivered directly to him and watch the elves working in their workshops!
An onsite café serves hot drinks, Christmas specials and buffalo burgers produced on the farm itself!
It is set to be a fun filled and interactive day out for all the family where you can learn about animals on a traditional working farm, and experience Christmas magic!
Please visit the Facebook page for more updates or call Oakley on 07447028015.
I do ho ho hope (sorry) that you’ll track down Santa in Stoke, don’t leave it too late!
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