My website seems to have gone crazy recently with parents searching for Santa’s grotto info and in particular the best places to see Santa in Gloucestershire. Last year we visited Santa at Cotswold Farm Park. It wasn’t a hosted visit. We paid for our own tickets. I’m sharing this info now as it seems to be exactly what you are all looking for! Here’s a quick summary of our fun festive day out visiting Santa at Cotswold Farm Park, which will hopefully help you decide where to take your kids to see Santa this year.
What to expect at Cotswold Farm Park
We are big fans of Cotswold Farm Park. The attraction offers a real mix of fun activities for kids from bottle feeding lambs and kid goats, to animal talks & milking demos, playgrounds, tractor trailer rides, sand pits, a soft play area, bouncy pillows and in the spring, even live lambing demos. We used to be annual pass holders and so have visited many times however last December was our first time visiting at Christmas.
Since my eldest son starting questioning Santa and his magical abilities we’ve tried to only visit one Santa a year with him and so I deliberated for a while about which local attraction we should book. I opted for Cotswold Farm Park as it offers a full festive family day out, rather than just a quick stop at a Santa’s grotto like some of the other local options.
Christmas at Cotswold Farm Park
All of the regular daily activities take place in December (the bouncy pillows are weather permitting) plus they put on a live nativity show which was absolutely hilarious. They invite children from the audience to join them on stage, provide them with fancy dress costumes and give them a role from the nativity. The children were not the stars of the show though as they were completed upstaged by the donkeys and sheep who just refused to do as they were told, much to both of my boys delight.
We booked our visit with Santa for mid afternoon so had a few hours to enjoy the attraction before meeting the main man himself. My boys throughly made the most of the farm park being quiet and ran around from one activity to the next. (We went on the first day our school broke up for the Christmas holidays and I think a lot of schools in the area were still open).
Santa at Cotswold Farm Park
When it was time for us to meet Santa we went along to check in with his elves in a large wooden hut near the animal barn. We were instantly made to feel very welcome. They made a huge fuss of my boys, asked lots of questions about our day at the farm and then gave them some Christmas activities to play with whilst waiting for our turn in the warm and cosy room.
We only had to wait a few minutes before we were asked to follow an elf outside and along a corridor. My boys were so excited when the elf asked them to open up Santa’s magic door with a huge key. We stepped into a beautifully decorated grotto and spent a good 10-15 minutes chatting with a very jolly Santa.
Cotswold Farm Park advertise a luxury grotto and it certainly lived up to this description. It was a fully decorated room with fireplace, Christmas tree and even book shelves.
I didn’t take any photos whilst inside Santa’s grotto as we just purchased the official photograph however the Santa did look exactly like the photo on their website (see below). Very authentic with a luxury red suit and real life looking beard. Even my eldest son, who like I said above has been questioning the concept of Santa, was totally convinced.
After a memorable chat with Santa he bid us farewell with a friendly reminder to tidy bedrooms on Christmas Eve (cheers Santa!) and leave out some mince pies and carrots for his reindeer. We were then invited into his toy room where my boys selected their own presents.
My hubby and I were really impressed to see lots of lovely quality toys to choose from. (Some Santa’s grottos give out some plastic tat don’t they?!) My eldest chose a vegetable growing kit and my youngest choose a wooden rocket ship which he built himself and painted.
My only very slight criticism of our visit was the quality of the original photo of us with Santa. There was an extra charge for this photo. (I can’t remember how much it was now if I’m honest but I’m sure it was less than £10). On the computer screen it was really bright with a great resolution but when printed out it looked like the printer was running out of ink. Without wanting to cause a scene in front of my boys, (who were still bouncing around with excitement!) I mentioned that I wasn’t happy with the photo quality. Rather than offer to reprint it I was just offered my money back. The guy had completely missed my point as I obviously wanted a memento of the magical time we had shared with Santa. It was eventually sorted out and they did reprint it for us after changing the ink.
This small issue did not impact on our special day and we would thoroughly recommend a visit to see Santa at Cotswold Farm Park. We very nearly booked to go again this year to be honest but decided to try somewhere different so have booked Lapland UK instead. The farm park is great value for money for a festive day out. I’ve just noticed that this year they are advertising an extra activity too, making Christmas Eve boxes, which sounds good fun. (Although there is no mention of the Live Nativity so you may wish to check this before you book).
Let me know if you do decide to visit this year or if you’ve been to see Santa at Cotswold Farm Park before. I would love to know if you enjoyed it as much as we did.
Details – Santa at Cotswold Farm Park
Address – Cotswold Farm Park, Guiting Power, Cheltenham GL54 5FL
Child 4-15 & adult 15+ – £20 non member/£7.50 member includes farm park entry.
Toddler 2-3 £16 non member/£6.50 member. Babies £5 non member /free member.
Tips for visiting Cotswold Farm Park
You need to book to see Santa asap as it’s a very popular event. Also make sure you wear lots of layers and wear wellies. The farm park is mainly outdoors and it can get very cold up there, even on a bright day. Other tips can be found here – Top tips for visiting Cotswold Farm Park.
Other ideas of where to see Santa in Gloucestershire in 2018
Check out our review of visiting Santa at Clearwell Caves in the Forest of Dean, 30+ Christmas events in Gloucestershire 2018 inc. best places to see Santa! and FREE Christmas events in Gloucestershire 2018.