The Best Santas Grottos in Manchester this Christmas

Fancy treating your mini Mancunians to a meet and greet with the big guy this Christmas? Well, if so, check out our list of the best places to see Santa in Manchester this year!

Skiddle Staff

Last updated: 18th Dec 2023

When it comes to Christmas, the littleuns all go into a state of festive frenzy. Scouring the internet for the next item to add to their lists for Santa, ambling around the house in their annual set of Christmas PJs, and helping you decorate the tree with tinsel, baubles, and a star on top for good measure - although they usually need help from the adults for that one. Yet, as we're sure you'll agree, one of the most magical memories you can have as a child around Christmas is going to see Santa in one of his Grottos that he tours all around the country. 

When looking for Santas Grottos in Manchester we've got you more than covered. Greater Manchester is no stranger to the big man and is one of the busiest spots for him in the UK when it comes to meet and greets. From traditional grottos in sprawling, festively lit, parks; to a hearty winter breakfast with the Clauses, to warm you up for the chill outside; to even taking a train journey with Santa around the stunning surroundings of Greater Manchester countryside; the opportunities for your littleun' to see the man in red are plentiful. 

So scroll down and check them out! Plus, if you're after more ways to make your festive season in Manchester extra special check out some of the Manchester Christmas Eve and Boxing Day events, also on sale on Skiddle!



Free Santa's Grotto at Merseyway

When: Saturday 2nd - Sunday 17th December 2023

Where: Merseyway Shopping Centre in Stockport

Families are invited to visit Santa and his elves this Christmas at Merseyway’s, brand new free-to-attend Grotto! Taking place each weekend on the run-up to Christmas, children will be able to meet Santa Claus himself and receive an early gift ahead of Christmas Day. Located in a festive, cosy hut in the outdoor mall, the Grotto will be decorated with colourful candy-cane lollipops, fairy lights and cosy interiors, ready to make Santa feel welcome during his visits to the town. Families will be able to visit Santa from December 2nd – 3rd, 9th – 10th and 16 – 17th.

As this is the first Grotto to be hosted at Merseyway for several years, visitors are encouraged to come along early each day of opening to avoid disappointment, with Santa visits taking place from 11am – 3pm on a first-come first-served basis!


Tickets for Free Santa's Grotto at Merseyway

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East Lancashire Railways Santa Special

When: 16th – 17th, 20th – 22nd, 23rd, & 24th December 2023

Where: Bury Bolton Street Station in Bury

Now this one is exceptional! Join the team at East Lancashire and immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere as you take a steam train trip with a host of happy elves and Father Christmas himself, for what is bound to be one of the most memorable trips of your littleuns childhood. Bury Bolton Street Station has transformed into a winter wonderland, where you’ll meet Mrs Claus and a magical talking Christmas tree. 

Once the steam train arrives you'll journey to Rawtenstall Station and back again, an 80-minute round journey, and along the way, there will be loads of festive fun. While you travel, Santa himself will visit your carriage with a gift for every little one and there will be plenty of time to have a chat with him and take a Santa selfie or two. Plus a brass band will be playing all the classics throughout the train. It's the ultimate Santa experience, and one you just can't miss out on!




Breakfast with Father Christmas

When: Saturday December 16th 2023

Where: Salford Museum and Art Gallery in Salford

Taking place once again this year, the family-favourite Breakfast with Father Christmas at Salford Museum and Art Gallery is set for another edition of scrumptious early-morning festivities and Christmas joy. You and your kids will be able to share an indulgent breakfast, a winter storytime session, a Christmassy craft session, and then finally a meet and greet with Father Christmas himself, who may even have a small gift for you in his sack. However, as you know Santa is a very busy man, and with only one date this year, spots at this exclusive brekkie are limited. So make sure to book and secure your family's spot, as tables will go very quickly!



Christmas at Dunham Massey

When: Sunday 4th - Sunday 18th December 2022

Where: Dunham Massey in Manchester

When Christmas comes around it is truly the most wonderful time of the year at Dunham Massey. Their picturesque ground will be filled with more than a million lights, lasers and seasonal sounds filling the air with festive fun. There are sparkling tunnels of light, dancing waterside reflections and trees drenched in jewel-like colour. You and the kids will be hard-struck not to pause at mesmerising flickering flames in the fire garden or marvel at larger-than-life illuminations. Not only will the park transform into a burst of colour, but there will be a Santa to meet as you're going around, so watch out for him! 



Christmas on the Farm!

When: 3rd - 24th of December 2023

Where: Lancaster Park and Animal Farm in Oldham

We all know that Santa loves his animals - the man has eight reindeer for goodness sake - but whereas you may know the big man to prefer his winter animals, this year at Lancaster Park and Animal Farm, he's going to be testing his chops as a farmhand and getting down and dirty with the pigs and sheep from his grotto in the Farm for selective dates in the festive season. You will be able to journey through their magical Christmas grotto, meet the elves, and even hear a Christmas story from Mrs Claus! Then, later on, meet the big man himself and receive a great little early Christmas gift. Plus, he may even let you get in his sleigh!



The Grotto: Dear Santa

When: Saturday 18th November – Saturday 24th December 2024

Where: The Trafford Centre in Manchester

In a land filled with wonder and enchantment, a magical winter wonderland awaits at the Trafford Centre for all the family. From the Candy Cane Land, where you will adventure through towering candy canes and sparkling lights, to the Enchanted Forest, where you’ll seek out Santa’s Merry Mailroom. Inside, the delightful disarray of Santa’s Merry Mailroom will go beyond the imagination. With letters zipping across the room, blanketing every visible surface, it’s a whirlwind of festive communication. All before entering Santa's Grotto, and meeting the big man himself, where a cosy cabin awaits for your meet and greet opportunity. Head to their site for more details!



Check out our What's On Guide to discover even more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.