As the leaves start to change, 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
Special offer! Enjoy a 20% discount on midweek tickets until 6th December using promo code XMASPROMO19 when booking online.
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-1/5412
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 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/
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: £10
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 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
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
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
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/