11 places to see Santa in Suffolk this Christmas

Santa Claus is a busy man and will be trying to meet as many people as possible in Suffolk this year

Santa Claus is a busy man and will be trying to meet as many people as possible in Suffolk this year Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

As December draws closer Father Christmas aka Santa Claus seems to be getting increasingly busy. His schedule looks more hectic than a X Factor winner’s gig list. The great man is popping up all across Suffolk during the next few weeks. Here are some of the places where you can pop along and have a Christmas chat.

All aboard for the Santa Specials Photo: Archant

All aboard for the Santa Specials Photo: Archant - Credit: Archant

Buttermarket Centre, Ipswich: December 7 and 21

Santa Claus will be making time in his busy schedule to visit Buttermarket. Each child will get the chance to meet Santa and his two elves and receive a special free gift to get their holiday off to a great start.

Santa will be installing his grotto on the first floor of the Buttermarket Centre, and will be available to receive young visitors from 11am - 5pm.

Father Christmas to arrive by an historic Thames sailing barge at Snape Maltings ready for its big C

Father Christmas to arrive by an historic Thames sailing barge at Snape Maltings ready for its big Christmas events. Photo: Gregg Brown - Credit: Gregg Brown

For those wanting to see the world through Santa's eyes, then the Buttermarket will be offering a free virtual reality sleigh ride on Sunday 1st December from 11am - 5pm. Thanks to the magic of virtual reality, you'll be Santa sitting in his magic sleigh. The experience is 3 mins long and is suitable for children 3 and up.

All events are free, but registration is required. Sign up on the day or register online to collect your free gift.

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Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich: Meet Father Christmas: December 8,14,15

Father Christmas has taken up residence at Kentwell Hall as part of their Dickensian Christmas exper

Father Christmas has taken up residence at Kentwell Hall as part of their Dickensian Christmas experience. Photo: Paul Sillence - Credit: Archant

What better place to visit Santa Claus than in the grand Tudor mansion in Christchurch Park? Children visit in groups for the experience, which includes stories, singing, seasonal craft activities and a small gift. Make the most of the day and also spend time discovering the rest of the Mansion, admiring the decorated Christmas trees, listening to jolly live music and enjoying seasonal refreshments. This is a family activity for children accompanied by parents/ carers, who must remain with their children throughout. Book online here

Santa Special Train Rides: Mid-Suffolk Light Railway, Wetheringsett, Stowmarket, most weekends in December

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All aboard for one of the most fun festive rides this year. Passengers will travel on a steam train from Brockford Station to the North Pole Halt. Each child will receive a special ticket and be given a present by Santa in his 'magic brake van'. There is also entertainment after your journey. A band of elves will be on hand to ensure everyone is having fun. The Christmas special trains will depart every Saturday and Sunday from Saturday, December 7 to Sunday, December 22.

Christmas at Kersey Mill - Santa's elf workshops are going to be very popular Photo: Gregg Brown

Christmas at Kersey Mill - Santa's elf workshops are going to be very popular Photo: Gregg Brown - Credit: Archant

All tickets must be pre-booked

Snape Maltings: Father Christmas arrives by barge: December 14 at 2.30pm

This wonderful spectacle is a becoming a tradition for many families as they watch Santa arrive into Suffolk in style on a historic Thames sailing barge. Children also have the chance to meet him later on inside the shop.

Stonham Barns at Christmas: Saturday November 30 & Sunday December 1

Visitors to Stonham Barns this festive period will be able to get up close to some of Suffolk's best loved birds at the venue's famous 'Christmas with the Owls' event.

Father Christmas will be welcoming visitors to his grotto, Thomas the Tank Engine will be offering rides, there will be free face painting, live music alongside the fantastic Christmas shopping.

The Suffolk Owl Sanctuary birds will be on hand for free at the Christmas Craft Fair to visitors alongside plenty of family activities and market stalls selling locally produced gifts that are not found on the high street.

The free Suffolk Owl Sanctuary event, in aid of the venue, a registered charity, features elves, a free gift for all children and Elf Natalie will be on hand to sign the festive visit for deaf children.

There is no entry fee to the site and dogs are welcome. Visit stonhambarns.co.uk

Kersey Mill: Santa's Workshop: December 1 onwards

Helping the elves in Santa's workshop will be a memorable Christmas occasion for children aged three to 10 years. The journey will start with a short story to prepare the children for their magical experience, then heading to "Santa's Workshop" and will take part in various activities - along with loading the sleigh and singing with Santa.

Each child will receive a small gift and meet the candy Elf where they are also offered a traditional clementine. They will mix reindeer food and help the elves with other festive preparations, before making a craft to take home with them. Each event lasts around 60 minutes.

Call to book on 01473 829317.

Hollesley, near Woodbridge: Santa's Farmyard Grotto, Suffolk Punch Trust: December 13-15

Head on down to the Suffolk Punch Trust this December and see if you can spot Santa in the stables. This is an ideal treat if you want to combine seeing the animals (including the beautiful Suffolk Punch horses) and the jolly man in red. Grotto tickets must be bought in advance by phoning 01394 411327 or onlineKentwell Hall, Long Melford: Dickensian Christmas: first two weekends in December

Visit the fascinating moated mansion this season and experience a Victorian Christmas. It is 1869 in Kentwell's lovely moated Hall - meet the Victorian family and their staff; children can visit Father Christmas or St Nicholas and then everyone can join Mr Dickens as he reads an abridged version of his 'A Christmas Carol', complete with Victorian special effects.

Enjoy traditional games of the period, join in with the carols by lantern and train to be an elf. There is plenty of activities to keep the whole family entertained. To book go online

Ickworth House, Bury St Edmunds: Family Christmas Sparkle: various dates in December

Families can create new memories at Ickworth this Christmas. Visit Father Christmas in his decorative living room and tell him your secret Christmas wish and that special present you have been wanting all year.

After you've met Father Christmas, sung songs and recieved a gift, you can visit our 1930s Kitchen and decorate your own biscuit to take home with you.

Families can also get creative doing festive crafts in the comfort of our West Wing Gallery - something to take home to remember the occasion.

This will be the last chance to enjoy this beautiful tradition at National Trust owned Ickworth House (they have new plans for 2020).

Call 0344 249 1895 to book or go onlineStowmarket: Christmas at Museum of East Anglian Life: Every weekend from November 30

Ever wondered what Santa's living room looks like? Well now you have the chance to see because the clever folks at the museum have created recreated his digs. There will also be the chance to hunt for the elves in Abbot's Hall, visit the Christmas trees and meet the man himself. If you've been good then you'll receive a personalised gift from the man himself.

Contact the museum for booking information on enquiries@eastanglianlife.org.uk

Blackthorpe Barn: Santa's Grotto, Rougham Estate, Bury St Edmunds: from November 23 with an 'extra special grotto experience' available on December 21-22

Visit Father Christmas in his miniature grotto, offering the ultimate Santa experience this festive season.

New for this year there will be a Santa's Treasure Hunt and a special prize for all successful children.

The grotto is ideal for ages nine and under and all children visiting will receive a small token gift from Santa Claus (if they have been good!).

Specific dates are available - with each child having the chance to make their own unique Christmas decorations to hang on their tree at home.

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