Santa will be celebrating the 12 days of Christmas a bit early at Greenwich - he’ll be at the world famous Market from the 13 December. Children can do arts and crafts as their wait their turn to see Santa. It’s only £5 per child and all the proceeds will go to Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice. If you want to make a family day of it, you can get to Greenwich by boat with our sister company Thames River Services which runs from Westminster Pier, St Katharine’s Pier and then all the way to Greenwich Pier.
Father Christmas needs help to get ready for Christmas and the Chief Elf needs help to plan his route around the world on Christmas Eve. This is an interactive experience with arts and crafts and games, not to mention a sprinkling of magic, at the end of which the children get to meet Santa himself. The Ministry is located at the Ragged School Museum near Limehouse in Docklands. The Ministry of Christmas is open on Saturdays and Sundays, and every day from 14 December to Christmas Eve.
In a more traditional setting - a Victorian grotto to be precise - Santa has taken over one of the shops in the immersive Sailortown part of the London Docklands Museum. Entrance to the museum is free so the whole family can explore London’s history at the same time as meeting Victorian Santa.
Typically children love animals as much as they love Santa, so make them extra happy, take them to visit both at Battersea Park Children's Zoo. There’s an adventure playground in addition to the animals, birds and reptiles, meaning the whole family should have a great day out.
A short walk away from Embankment Pier is Leicester Square which has been completely taken over by Christmas! The whole square is now a festive market that includes a grotto where the kids can listen to a Christmas fairytale before meeting the big man himself.
A Christmas trip to London wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland. Santa is based in the Toy Factory fun house in Santa Land which also has rides suitable for the little ones. You could probably spend the whole day there, but if the pace gets too much, jump on the 148 bus at Hyde Park Corner and come down to Westminster Pier to end your day with a much more relaxing Circular Cruise!
Just over the bridge from Circular Cruise’s mooring at Westminster Pier is Shrek’s Adventure! where the kids can get a 75 minute tour of Far Far Away, meet the characters, and end up at Shrek’s magical Swamp where they’ll find Santa’s Grotto and get to meet Santa himself.
Why not combine your Christmas visit to meet Father Christmas with a boat trip along the Thames. The kids’ll love being on the river and looking at all the lights and Christmas activities on the South Bank, and you’ll get a nice rest as you learn more about the landmarks you’re passing. Click here for more information, special offers, and to book your tickets.