Belfast Christmas Market
16 November – 22 December, Belfast City Hall
Children can visit Father Christmas in a magical grotto nestled among the market’s beautiful lodge-style stalls. After, they can take a ride on the vintage carousel or whizz down the helter skelter. Proceeds from visits to Santa go to a local charity, and kids will receive a letter back from him when they post a letter to Santa.
Santa’s Steam Train to Whitehead
Weekends in December, Lanyon Place Station
All aboard Santa’s Steam Train to Whitehead! Bring the little ones along for a magical journey by steam train from Belfast’s Lanyon Place station to Whitehead. Children will get a chance to meet Father Christmas, pose for a photograph and receive a gift. The two-hour round trip includes a brief stop at Whitehead Excursion Station and the Edwardian Tea Room. All tickets £15.
Santa’s Grotto in Victoria Square
After switching on the Christmas lights in Victoria Square, Santa will take up a seat in his magical grotto for the festive season. He’ll be there to meet children seven days a week up until Christmas Eve; while parents can enjoy some late night shopping.
Santa’s Grotto in CastleCourt
16 November to 24 December, CastleCourt
After his highly anticipated arrival in the Santa Parade, Santa has taken up residence at CastleCourt for the festive season. Little ones can visit him in his magical grotto and tell him what’s on their Christmas list. Photo packages are available and include a photo book, bauble and glitter frame.
Santa Street at W5
30 November to 23 December
Feel the magic of Christmas come to life at W5 with a seasonal visit to Santa Street. Follow the small winding alley – an enchanting maze of shop fronts that bring the beloved tradition of Christmas windows to life. See Santa in his workshop at the end of the street, then be transported to the chilly rooftops in time to see him set off on Christmas Eve night! Free with W5 admission.
Black Santa at Belfast Cathedral
16-23 December, Belfast Cathedral
Take the kids along to give to the Black Santa appeal at Belfast Cathedral, which raises money for over 500 charities across Northern Ireland each year! Black Santa takes place the week before Christmas when the Dean, dressed in a black Anglican clerical cloak, and collects funds at the Cathedral entrance. From the first appeal back in 1976, Dean Crooks was described by the local press as ‘Belfast’s Black Santa’ and the description stuck. Charities involved range from mental health and homeless charities to medical research and those caring for children, youth and the elderly.
Magical Christmas Experience at Titanic Belfast
24 November – 23 December, Titanic Belfast
Step through the Old Curiosity Shop to enter the Magical Workshop, where little ones can join the elves and meet Mrs Claus before heading through the an enchanting forest to meet Santa. There will be festive snacks and arts and crafts too. Children £16. Adults £5.
Santa and Gruffalo’s Grotto at Colin Glen Forest Park
14-15 and 21-22 December, Colin Glen Forest Park
Visit Santa in his grotto, listen to the Gruffalo story and take a guided trail walk through the forest to the Gruffalo, meeting all the characters from the book. Kids can also enjoy storytelling and festive arts and crafts, and will receive a gift and certificate stating that they met the Gruffalo!
Santa Sunday at Clayton Hotel
15 December, Clayton Hotel
Join the Clayton Hotel this Christmas for their Santa Sunday celebrations. Enjoy a full cooked buffet breakfast available from 9.30am followed by a viewing of the Elf movie. Santa will also pay a visit on the day! Children £9.95. Adult £13.95.
Skate with Santa at Dundonald Ice Bowl
Saturdays in December, Dundonald Ice Bowl
Skate with Santa at Dundonald International Ice Bowl, every Saturday afternoon in December. Glide onto the ice and enjoy Christmas music and a wonderfully festive atmosphere! Normal admission price applies and no pre-booking is required.
Places to Visit Santa in Ards and North Down
Visit Santa Experience at Ulster Folk Museum
13-15 and 20 December, Ulster Folk Museum
Make a visit to the Christmas experience at the Ulster Folk Museum extra special this year with a visit to Santa. Meet Santa as he warms his toes by an open fire; tell him your Christmas wishes, and receive a small gift before leaving.
Christmas at Castle Espie
Weekends from 7 December, Castle Espie
Visit Santa in his cosy living room with a roaring fire at Castle Espie. Children can make their own decorations, take part in a colouring competition and help Santa’s little helpers count down to best day of the year. Children £14.50. Adults free for WWT (£8 for non-members).
Story Time with Santa at Castle Ward
18-22 December, Castle Ward
Santa will return to Castle Ward for the festive season, and will be settled in the main hall of the house this year to meet all the families who’ve come to visit. Each child will receive a special gift from Santa and families are welcome to take their own pictures. Children £12. Adults £6.
Places to Visit Santa in Lisburn
Visit Santa at The Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum
30 November to 24 December, The Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum
Santa will be waiting in a beautiful Victorian grotto at The Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum from 30 November. Visits to Santa include a small gift and kids can post their Christmas letter in the special postbox before 16 December. There is a minimum donation of £1 per child with all proceeds going to Air Ambulance NI.
Santa Steam Train to Lisburn
15 December, Portadown Train Station
Hop aboard Santa’s Steam train at Portadown Train Station for an enchanting journey to Lisburn on this two-hour round trip. Children will receive a small gift, meet Santa on board and get a free photograph with him and his elves. All tickets £15.
Visit Santa and Mrs Claus in the Parlour Room at Ballance House this Christmas, where parents can enjoy mulled wine and shortbread while the kids tell Father Christmas what’s on their Christmas list.
Places to Visit Santa across Northern Ireland
Visit Santa at the Ulster American Folk Park
14-22 December, Ulster American Folk Park
Pay a visit to meet Santa and Mrs Claus when they pop into the Ulster American Folk Park to meet visitors in the run up to Christmas. Gather around the warmth of the turf fire and enjoy readings from ‘The Night Before Christmas’. Children can visit Santa’s special workshop, tell him what’s on their wish list and receive a little traditional gift too.
Enchanted Winter Garden at Antrim Castle
6-22 December, Antrim Castle
Antrim Castle’s award-winning gardens will be transformed into a magical world of enchantment this December! Among the beautiful illuminations and fairground rides, you’ll find the Santa Express. Hop aboard to be whisked through the Forest of Fire and candy cane trees to find Santa in his workshop at the end of the line. Kids can get a selfie with Saint Nick and collect a Christmas treat. Children £2, adults £1.
Christmas Wonderland at the Jungle NI
Weekends from 30 November, Jungle NI
Meet Father Christmas in his magical grotto at this unique Christmas event at the Jungle. Enjoy exciting adventure activities, get creative with arts and crafts or cuddle the animals in the Woodland Petting Farm. For older kids who don’t want to hang out with Saint Nick, there are a host of Jungle activities to choose from, including archery, bungee trampoline, clay crafts and rodeo reindeer.
Santa at Sea
Selected dates from 23 November, Stena Line from Belfast Port
Take Stena Line Superfast non-landing ferry for a fun day at sea that includes games, crafts, snacks, a disco and most importantly, a visit to Saint Nick! This unique event will be a visit to Santa children will never forget. Children £28. Adults £15.
Santa at the Argory
5-8 and 12-15 December
Visit Santa inside the stunning Victorian stately home, The Argory. Santa and his helpers will be there to meet all the good boys and girls and the elves will be providing entertainment in the courtyard. Pop into the tearoom for delicious mince pieces, hot chocolate and festive treats. Children £16. Adults £8.
Weekends with Santa at Galgorm
Weekends from 30 November, Galgorm Resort & Spa
Visit Santa in his magical grotto after a festive lunch at Gillies or Fratelli Ristorante. Kids can enjoy face painting and hot chocolate, and deliver their Christmas list to the big man himself. Children’s menu from £17.50. Two courses for adults from £25.
Winter Wonderland at Todd’s Leap
From 1 December, Todd’ Leap
Santa and his elves have returned to Todd’s Leap for one of the best Santa grotto experiences in Northern Ireland. Travel through the magical tunnel, visit the elves’ workshop, post a letter to Santa and visit both Mrs Claus and Father Christmas himself. There’s also an off-road road sleigh ride, animal village, reindeer, arts and crafts and complimentary tea and coffee for parents! Children £16. Adults £14.