From Oxford Street to the Albert Hall; a restored town hall in Fulham to a magical train in Kent, here are our top places to hang out with the man himself.
Sadly the Meet Father Christmas sessions at Hamleys starting this weekend are sold out, as are the Storytelling with Santa activities at Fortnums and Liberty and the Festive Breakfast with Santa and Mrs Claus at Selfridges. Harrods meanwhile had a strict 'by invitation only' policy to its Grotto this year - bah humbug we say!
Santa is in store in Selfridges with a Rock 'n' Roll parade at 7pm daily in December (4pm at weekends). And there is still availability to book kids onto the Selfridges Rock School workshop for ages 5–12, 1, 8, 15 Dec. Ages 5–12. Tickets £25. Click here to book.
Fortnum & Mason
At Fortnum & Mason there is also some space left on this weekend's Christmas Biscuit Decorating Workshops 11am and 12.30pm on both Saturday and Sunday. Ages 5+, £20 per child. Click here to book.
Special Venues Across Town
Royal Albert Hall
There are only a very few spaces left next week and the first week of December for the magical Father Christmas at the Hall. An hour-long interactive experience where little helpers explore the Hall and meet fairies, elves, toymakers and of course Father Christmas. Really delightful. Tickets from £30 per child, adults free. 60 mins. Ages 2+, best suited for ages 3–8. Click here to book.
If you don't manage to get onto this, do check out their family Christmas programme - wonderful family films, orchestras and Michael Rosen! Click here for details.
Museum of London
Santa’s Victorian Grotto 1, 2, 7–9, 14–23 Dec. Father Christmas as we know him today is largely a Victorian legacy, so head to the City and indulge in some gorgeous Victoriana. Take a stroll through the twinkling Victorian Walk, transformed with festive decorations and the sound of carols and discover Santa in his secret grotto. Once you’ve found him, tell Santa your Christmas wishes and receive a special gift. Ages 1–7. £10, includes gift. Click here to book.
Elizabeth Street, Belgravia
Story-time with Father Christmas 7–9, 14–16 Dec. For two weekends in December, little ones can visit Father Christmas in his new log cabin at 25 Elizabeth Street, SW1. Enjoy a storytelling session complete with festive photographs and a sweat treat by Dominique Ansel Bakery. Tickets: £7.50 per child. Click here to book. Father Christmas will also be making an appearance the previous Sunday, 2 December at the Belgravia Christmas Sunday
Market Hall, Fulham
Sharky & George Christmas Grotto 1, 2, 8, 9, 15-23 Dec. The party supremos are moving into Fulham's latest foodie stop, Market Hall on the site of the old Town Hall. Children will be welcomed by the effervescent S&G team at the authentic old ticket hall before being whisked off to the North Pole on an hour long party of epic Christmas games and crafts in a beautiful and magical snowy grotto. Ages 2–10. Separate "My First Grotto" sessions for under two year olds. Tickets from £25. Click here to book or telephone 020 7924 4381
Christmas in Leicester Square 9 November–5 January. Santa's Grotto 10 November–24 December. Tickets from £11.50. Come and hear festive fairytale, meet Father Christmas's and his helpers, and receive a wee gift.
Grotto Weekends from 10 November, daily 3–24 December. Visit Santa in his snowy woodland grotto. Experience includes 2-course meal and goodie bag. £40 per child.
Snowflake Grotto 24 November–24 December. Visit Santa in his state-of-the-art Snowflake Factory Grotto. Tickets: £7.50 per child.
Out of Town
Crockford Bridge Farm
Santa's Secret Forest Weekends from 1–22 December. We had great fun shooting our Winter fashion pages in this lovely farm shop and Christmas tree forest a few years ago. (Pic above is from our shoot, not the Santa Experience!)
Wander through a real forest while a cast of performers entertain you. Visit Father Christmas in his log cabin then buy a Christmas Tree. Really lovely. Check web for prices.
Kent & East Sussex Railway
Santa Special 1–2, 8–9, 15–16, 22–24 December. Tickets: £19–£24. Clamber onboard a magical steam train and meet Santa. Unlimited rides on the Victorian Carousel back at Tenterden station. Includes gift and refreshments. 70 min return journey.
17 November–24 December, 9.30am–5pm. Tickets from £85. There is some availability midweek in December to visit Father Christmas in his Arctic UK homeland (Whitmoor Forest, near Ascot). 4-hour immersive theatrical experience. Enter the Elf Emporium and help in the Toy Factory; meet real reindeer in the Elves' village and then visit Mother Christmas in her kitchen. Includes personalised invite, Elf passport, all activities, ice skating, gift, photo and a Christmas morning thank you card from Father Christmas.