25th November 2019 – Updated with even more Santa experiences now on sale!
With Halloween now behind us, thoughts turn towards the Christmas period and booking the all-important Santa visits! Last year we left booking our preferred Santa experience too late (a bit of Christmas magic helped out in the end though!), so in 2019 we thought we’d give you a round up of some of the best places to visit Santa in Northern Ireland this Christmas, so you can book early!
All details below are correct at time of publishing but can change. Please review all details with the providers directly, and don’t forget to book! Some of these experiences book up very early.
We know that not everywhere that usually has Christmas events have published details just yet, and this page will be added to as more events and details are released. If you’d like to send us details of your event, you can do so using the details on our Contact Us page.
Enjoy your visit with Father Christmas, and fingers crossed you make the nice list!
Location: Titanic Quarter, Belfast
Dates: 24th November – 23rd December
Child cost: £16, includes individual Photo with Father Christmas (and print) & individual gift and candy cane
Adult cost: £5, includes tea/coffee and shortbread
Description: Enter the Magical Workshop and watch the excitement unfold as Father Christmas and his elves count down to Christmas! See the toy shop where the elves have been working hard and meet Mrs Claus to hear Christmas tales. Kids can enjoy arts and crafts or work with Father Christmas’ elves to write and post their Christmas letter. Children can have their name checked on the ‘Naughty or Nice’ list by the Chief Elf, before journeying through the enchanted forest to meet Father Christmas!
For more information and/or to book visit https://titanicbelfast.com/Explore/whatson/A-Magical-Christmas-Experience-at-Titanic-Belfast.aspx
Christmas at Castle Espie
Location: Castle Espie, near Comber
Dates: Santa visits and festive activities run throughout December, on Saturday 7th, Sunday 8th, Saturday 14th, Sunday 15th, Friday 20th, Saturday 21st, Sunday 22nd & Monday 23rd December between 10am – 4.30pm.
Child cost: £14.50
Adult cost: £8, free for WWT members
Description: Castle Espie is a wonderful place at Christmas time and this is a lovely traditional Santa experience. Kids can make their own decorations to hang on your Christmas tree at home before journeying through the Elves’ Workshop. You’ll then get to meet Santa himself, who is cosied up by a roaring fire in his traditional living room.
There’s lots of other activities on across the Castle Espie site, including a Reindeer Trail, which the Family Travel Pro loved last year!
For more information and/or to book visit https://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/castle-espie/whats-on/christmas-at-castle-espie-2/5413
The Polar Express at Slieve Donard Hotel
Location: Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle
Dates: Saturday 14th – Sunday 22nd December from 3.15pm to 8.15pm, every 15 minutes.
Child cost: Under 14 £25. Under 1 £10. Price includes refreshments, a personal photo with Santa and gift for every child.
Adult cost: £18
Description: The Polar Express at Slieve Donard includes a winter wonderland, story-telling with Mrs Claus and of course the Polar Express train adventure which will take you on a magical journey to visit Santa and his elves in their workshop as they prepare for their busiest time of the year.
For more information and/or to book visit https://www.santapolarexpress.com/santas-polar-express-at-slieve-donard-2/
The Polar Express at Culloden Estate
Location: Culloden Estate, Cultra
Dates: Tuesday 19th – Saturday 23rd November from 4.45pm to 9pm – running every 15 minutes .
Child cost: Under 14 £25. Under 1 £10. Price includes refreshments, a personal photo with Santa and gift for every child. Booking fees apply.
Adult cost: £18. Booking fees apply.
Description: The Polar Express at the Culloden Estate includes a winter wonderland, story-telling with Mrs Claus and of course the Polar Express train adventure which will take you on a magical journey to visit Santa and his elves in their workshop as they prepare for their busiest time of the year.
For more information and/or to book visit https://www.santapolarexpress.com/santas-polar-express-culloden/
Santa at Sea Cruise with Stena Line
Location: Non-landing ferry trip between Belfast and Cairnryan
Dates: 23rd, 24th, 30th November and 1st, 7th, 8th, 14th and 15th December
Child cost: £28
Adult cost: £15
Description: A really unique way to see Father Christmas! Visit Santa at sea onboard Stena Superfast ferry between Belfast and Cairnryan. Children can enjoy face painting, balloon modelling, games, surprises and the all-important visit to see Santa.
For more information and/or to book visit https://www.stenaline.co.uk/ferries-to-britain/day-trips/belfast-cairnryan-santa-at-sea
Christmas at W5 – Santa Street
Location: W5, Titanic Quarter, Belfast
Dates: Various dates from 30th November
Child cost: Free with standard admission to W5
Adult cost: Free with standard admission to W5
Description: This December feel the magic of Christmas come to life at W5 with a seasonal visit to “Santa Street”. Deep within a magical kingdom, you will find Snowtown. At the heart of Snowtown there is a small winding alley – “Santa Street”. At the end of the street you will discover Santa’s Workshop, where you can peek through the windows and watch Santa and his elves get up to all kinds of fun, and some mischief, as they prepare for the big night!
When you venture through the last doorway on Santa Street you’ll be magically transported to the rooftops of Snowtown. Feel the chill wind and catch a snowflake or two as you look out into the crisp night sky, just as Santa sets off on his epic journey while the clock approaches midnight on Christmas Eve!
You’ll have the opportunity to meet Santa for a selfie too of course!
Please note ‘Santa Street’ and ‘Meet Santa’ are two separate experiences.
For more information or to book visit https://w5online.co.uk/whats-on/santa-street
Santa’s Grotto at Victoria Square
Location: Victoria Square, Belfast
Dates: Various from 8th November
Child cost: £7 per child including a gift. Option to add photo package from £7.
Adult cost: No charge with accompanied child
Description: Santa returns this year to Belfast’s Victoria Square, where festive activities including Santa’s Grotto, dining and shopping are on offer for the whole family.
For more information visit https://victoriasquare.com/christmas/santas-grotto/
Location: Milford, Co.Armagh
Dates: 1st – 15th December
Child cost: £18, under 1s are £5
Adult cost: £16
Description: With all proceeds going to the charity iCare, this Santa experience really embodies the true spirit of Christmas. Meet Santa in this traditional experience, visiting the different rooms in his Gatelodge to enjoy Christmas fun and activities as well as meeting Santa himself.
For more information or to book visit https://www.santasgatelodge.com/
Cancer Connect NI Winter Wonderland
Location: The experience starts at the Railway Station at Hollyhill, Enniskillen, BT74 6GG (adj to Lidl).
Dates: 29th November, 30th November, 1st December, 6th December, 7th December, 8th December, 13th December, 14th December.
Child cost: £12 for over 2-years old, £5 for under twos
Adult cost: £12
Description: Cancer Connect NI is delighted to announce the return of its Winter Wonderland event in Enniskillen. Families will begin their experience at the railway station located at Hollyhill (adjacent to Lidl). Once checked in at the ticket booth, you will be greeted by Mrs Claus and her elves who will treat everyone to complimentary seasonal refreshments. Following some games and fun entertainment you will be invited to board our favourite Polar Express and travel through the beautiful town of Enniskillen, discovering the festive windows along the route and ending at Santa’s Grotto at this year’s secret location in the heart of Enniskillen.
For more information and/or to book visit: https://www.facebook.com/CCNIwinterwonderland or
Christmas Wonderland at the Jungle
Location: The Jungle, Magherafelt
Dates: Selected dates between 30th November and 23rd December
Child cost: £18.50, babies under 12 months are £8
Adult cost: £10
Description: Perfect for kids of all ages, this festive family event not only includes meeting Santa, but kids can also have a giggle with his colourful Elves, enjoy The Jungle’s exciting adventure activities, get creative with arts and craft activities, and visit the Woodland Petting Farm. Mrs Claus will also be there for festive story-telling. Children can visit Father Christmas in his magical Christmas Grotto, delivering Christmas gifts and posing for the all-important family photo. Older kids are able to enjoy a host of Jungle adventure activities such as archery and paintball target range as well as arts and crafts.
For more information and/or to book visit https://www.thejungleni.com/event/christmas-wonderland/
Ark Farm Christmas Festive Fun
Location: Ark Farm, Bangor Road, Newtownards
Dates: From 30th November 2019
Child cost: Costs vary by activity
Adult cost: Costs vary by activity
Description: Wow! So many great ways to see Santa this year at the Ark Farm. You can visit him at
* Santa’s Grotto in the daytime
* After Dark on selected evenings (including Autism and ASN friendly Quiet Nights)
* Breakfast with Santa on a Sunday morning
* Mother and Tots Mornings
Each of the activities includes access to the farm, where you’ll also be able to meet the Ark farm’s family of reindeer! Check out their website for more information as each of the different activities has lots of great activities for children and adults alike.
For more information and to book: https://www.thearkopenfarm.co.uk/christmas/
PickleBerry Pop Santa Experience
Location: Greysteel, Derry/Londonderry
Dates: From 1st December
Child cost: £15
Adult cost: Free with child place
Description: At this state of the Art Multi Sensory centre, Santa will be making his first appearance this year! This fully visual immersive Santa experience has set times, no queues and includes 30 minutes of interactive and sensory play as well as 10 minutes with Santa himself! Price also includes a sensory gift for children.
For more information and to book: Call 07921216097 or visit https://www.facebook.com/PickleBerryPopNI/
Santa’s Grotto at CastleCourt
Location: CastleCourt, Belfast
Dates: Various from 16th November. A number of dates are available with ‘quiet hours’ for children with autism or other additional needs.
Child cost: £4.50 per child. Various photo gift packages are available at an additional cost.
Adult cost: Accompanying adults are free.
Description: CastleCourt is full of festive cheer this holiday season and Santa will be in his Grotto to make sure he knows what the children are wishing for this Christmas!
For more information visit https://www.castlecourt-uk.com/whats-on/events/2019/november/christmas-at-castlecourt
Todds Leap Winter Wonderland
Location: Ballygawley, Dungannon
Dates: November: 30th.
December: 1st, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd
Child cost: £16, under 1s are free
Adult cost: £14
Description: The elves are taking over Todds Leap this Christmas! You can tour their amazing Winter Wonderland. Travel through the magical tunnel, help the elves in Santa’s post office and post your own letter to Santa. Mrs Claus will be there too and of course, you can visit Santa in his grotto. There is also an off-road sleigh ride, animal village, reindeer and Christmas activities and arts and crafts to enjoy. A great choice for where to visit Santa in Northern Ireland in 2019!
For more information and/or to book visit https://toddsleap.com/events/winter-wonderland/
Santa’s Magical Grotto
Location: Coalisland, Co. Tyrone
Dates: 29th November to 22nd December
Child cost: £17.95, under 1s are free
Adult cost: £14.95
Description: This interactive grotto features a train simulator, theatre show experience, a fantasy frozen world with 3D carved ice caves and walls and a Christmas Village, as well as the traditional visit to Santa. There’s also a Christmas shop for all your decoration needs!
For more information and/or to book visit https://www.santasmagicalgrotto.com/
Santa at The Ballance House
Location: The Ulster New Zealand Trust at The Ballance House, 118a Lisburn Road, Glenavy, BT29 4NY
Date: 30th November 2019
Child cost: 5-14 years – £1, under-5s free. Visit to Santa £3.50
Adult cost: £3
Description: Santa arrives at The Ballance House at 11 am, Saturday 30 November. Lots of festive fun and flavour awaits you – visit Santa & Mrs Claus in the Parlour by lamplight and a warming turf fire, it’s old-fashioned and quaint! Enjoy hot mulled wine and apple juice. There’ll be plenty of free fun in the kids’ barn with lots of take-away Christmas-themed crafting decorations, and don’t forget to have your face painted. Craft market and tea barn open.
For more information and/or to book visit: https://www.theballancehouse.com/events-1/2018/7/18/santa-at-the-ballance-house
Streamvale Open Farm Magical Christmas Experience
Location: Streamvale Open Farm, Belfast
Dates: Various dates between 30th November – 23rd December
Child cost: Varies from £7.20-£18 depending on age and visit time/date
Adult cost: £10
Description: Go down to the farm for this magical Christmas experience, complete with crafts, storytelling, gingerbread-decorating and visiting with some of Streamvale’s animals. You’ll get to make your own reindeer food as well as enjoying a tractor ride up to see Santa! This is a Santa experience with something for everyone!
For more information and/or to book visit https://streamvale.com/magical-christmas-experience
Santa at Castle Ward
Location: Castle Ward, Strangford, Downpatrick
Dates: 1st – 22nd December
Child cost: £16 plus booking fee, free for babies under 6 months without a gift
Adult cost: £8 plus booking fee
Description: Come and visit Santa at ‘the big house’ this Christmas! Enjoy some warm refreshments and festive treats while the kids enjoy Christmas crafts before visiting Santa and Mrs Claus. Santa’s elves will collect you and take you through the magical tunnel to the basement for your festive visit with Santa and Mrs Claus. Each child will receive a special gift from Santa. A lovely traditional place to visit Santa in Northern Ireland.
For more information and/or to book visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/castle-ward/features/santas-house
Project Santa – Specialist Joinery Group Charity Event
Location: Specialist Joinery Group, Specialist HQ, 100 Coleraine Road, Maghera, Co. Derry, N. Ireland, BT46 5BP
Dates: Saturday 7th December & Sunday 8th December
Child cost: ALL Inclusive VIP Event Pass £25 -30 depending on the shows. Children under 2 years free
Adult cost: ALL Inclusive VIP Event Pass £25 -30 depending on the shows.
VIP pass includes: VIP Character Welcome – Disney & Pixar Favourites, Fast Track Electronic Entry & Guest Registration, Magical Santa Experience, Free Digital Family Photo with Santa in his Grotto with a small gift for all children, gourmet food market with one meal voucher per ticket. It also includes unlimited rides and attractions for all age groups, and free parking.
Description: This fully indoor event is brought to you by Specialist Joinery Group’s charity team and is aiming to raise £50,000 for the ten charities that have been selected by the company to benefit from all the proceeds of the event. These charities are Marie Curie Cancer Care, Air Ambulance, STEPS, Chest Heart & Stroke, Charis Cancer Care, Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice, Northlands, Roberta’s Wish, Alzheimers Society and The Olive Branch.
For more information or to book: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/specialist-joinery-group-staff-charity-committee-17911639910
Lapland Express – Downpatrick and County Down Railway
Dates: Saturday 30th November and Sunday 1st December, Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th December, Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th December, Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd December.
Child cost: £10.50
Adult cost: £10.50 (concessions available)
Description: Take the steam train to visit Santa his magic workshop at Ireland’s only full size heritage railway.
For more information and/or to book visit http://www.downrail.co.uk/santa/
Glenarm Castle Christmas Experience – NOW SOLD OUT!
Location: Glenarm Castle, Ballymena
Dates: Thursday 28th November – Thursday 12th December 2019, from 4.00pm – 8.30pm each day.
Child cost: £20, under 1 £6
Adult cost: £18
Description: Set within the courtyards of Glenarm Castle, you’ll find a host of attractions for all the family, including a charming nativity scene with real animals, story-telling and gingerbread making with Mrs Claus and the Polar Express train adventure. Father Christmas and his elves will of course be there too, ready to welcome the children into their workshop. A lovely traditional place to visit Santa in Northern Ireland this year.
For more information and/or to book visit https://www.glenarmcastle.com/events/christmas-experience
Magical Experience at Castle Coole
Location: Castle Coole, Enniskillen
Dates: 8-18th December
Child cost: £16, under 1s free
Adult cost: £6
Description: Castle Coole is home to Santa, Mrs Claus and the elves this year as they prepare for Christmas. Visit Santa in his kitchen and make sure he know’s what you’d like for Christmas this year!
For more information and/or to book visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/castle-coole/whats-on/magical-christmas-at-castle-coole
Santa at the Argory
Location: The Argory, Dungannon
Dates: 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th December
Child cost: £16 (0-12 years)
Adult cost: £8 (13+ years)
Description: Santa and his helpers are looking forward to welcoming families to The Argory this Christmas. The Elves will entertain you in various fun areas of the courtyard and you will all visit Santa in the big house.
For more information and/or to book visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/8689af39-68c6-49fa-b14a-b88fcb8ed471/pages/details
Santa’s Cottage, Newry
Dates: Friday 22nd November 2019 until Tuesday 24th December 2019
Child cost: £20, under 1 year old £8
Adult cost: £14
Description: Renowned for being one of the most unique Christmas experiences, Santa’s Cottage is a great place to visit Santa In Northern Ireland. Santa’s Cottage is the Official Residence of Santa in Ireland (awarded by the “Greenland-Denmark World Congress of Santas”) and really is the complete Christmas package. Check out their videos to see for yourself!
For more information and/or to book visit http://santascottage.co.uk/
Galgorm Castle Fairy Trail – The Missing Magic Christmas Experience
Location: Galgorm Castle, Galgorm
Dates: Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th December, 11am – 4pm
Infant under 12 months: FREE (No gift)
Children under 2 years: £10
Children from 2-12 years: £15
Adult Ticket 12 years + : £8 (Hot drink & mince pies / shortbread included)
Description: Holly the Christmas Fairy recently visited the North Pole to arrange Santa’s visit to Galgorm Castle Fairy Trail. But a naughty elf has followed her home and stolen Santa’s magic reindeer dust! Now he is hiding somewhere in the woodlands at around Galgorm Castle Estate. Come and help Santa find the missing magic dust to put into the reindeer food; for Rudolph and the gang before their long journey on Christmas Eve!
For more information and/or to book visit https://www.galgormcastlefairytrail.co.uk/
Mission Santa – Armagh Planetarium
Location: Armagh Planetarium
Dates: Every Saturday & Sunday 30 November – 22 December, Monday
23 December. ‘Relaxed sessions’ are available with fewer numbers, lower sounds and more lighting on Sat 30th Nov at 9.45am and Sat 21st Dec at 9.45am.
Child cost: £14 per Child (under 2’s FREE)
Adult cost: £12 per Adult
Description: A new event for 2019! Join the E.L.F. crew on Mission Santa and blast off on a brand new Christmas adventure like never before. Your out-of-this-world adventure will include admission to “The Alien Who stole Christmas” full-dome show in the star dome theatre, a visit to the elves’ mission control with sing-a-longs, arts and crafts and a visit with Santa. You’ll also receive a present for each child and a printed family photograph to remember your visit.
For more information and/or to book visit www.Armagh.space