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Review The Grotto : Dear Santa at The Trafford Centre

Review Trafford Centre Santa
19 Nov 2023

Santa has arrived at The Trafford Centre with The Grotto: Dear Santa experience. Discover everything you need to know with our review and top tips. 

Back with a brand new experience, Santa’s Grotto is now open at the Trafford Centre

We were invited along to check it out and meet the big man himself. You can discover what to expect, our top tips and what we thought below.

Tickets were gifted for the purpose of an honest review and all thoughts and opinions are of their own. 

Discover >>> Review of Tinsel Town Fun at The  Trafford Centre 

Read >>> Whats On This Christmas in Manchester 

Where To Park At The Trafford Centre For Santa’s Grotto?

Review Trafford Centre Santa Photos

The Trafford Centre has an abundance of free parking spaces available on each side of the centre. If you would like to park as close to Santa’s Grotto as possible we recommend heading to the John Lewis end of the centre. 

The Grotto: Dear Santa is located on the lower floor near to the Dolphin Fountain and M&S. 

Can You Buy Tickets for the Day at The Trafford Centre To See Santa?

Review Trafford Centre Santa tickets

To make sure that you get the day and time slot you would like it is recommended to purchase tickets for The Grotto: Dear Santa experience online in advance. 

However, there is a ticket office outside of the experience where you can purchase tickets whilst in the centre, but there will be no guarantee that slots will be available. 

What Time Should Arrive At The Grotto Before Your Time Slot? 

When booking your tickets it is advised that you arrive 15 minutes before your slot. 

Of course, the Trafford Centre can get very busy at Christmas so you therefore might want to allow extra travel time. 

What To Expect At The Grotto: Dear Santa Experience?

Review Trafford Centre Santa Candy Cane Lane

On arriving at The Grotto: Dear Santa we joined the queue outside and had a short wait for our turn to enter. 

Before long we were handed letters to Santa templates and invited through the curtains into Candy Cane Land. 

Here we were greeted by the sight of huge candy canes, red Christmas lights, a snowy tree background and “snow’ flakes on the floor – the kids were instantly excited. 

Review Trafford Centre Santa writing letters

We were then directed to little tables and the children were asked to complete their letter to Santa. I had taken along my 11-year-old daughter, her ten-year-old besties and a friend’s 8 and 3-year-old daughters.

The letter templates had room for the children’s names, ages, where they lived, if they had been naughty or nice and what gifts they would like for this year. On the back, there was a Christmas scene to colour in. 

I was told to make sure the letters to Santa were legible and therefore I helped the 3-year-old fill out her letter. 

Review Trafford Centre Santa letter to santa

After everyone had completed their letters and coloured in the back, there was time for some cute pictures and for the 3-year-old time to roll in and throw around the snowflakes.

Next, it was time to move on to the Enchanted Forest (this is in the same room as Candy Cane Land) which was full of snow-topped Christmas trees. 

Review Trafford Centre Santa Fun will elves

Here we were greeted by one of Santa’s elves Sparkle. Sparkle chatted with the children, read their letters and then asked them to close their eyes, hold their arms up and wiggle their noses so that they could move to the next step of their journey. 

It was then time to step into the magical mailroom where Miracle the elf had got into a bit of a mess and needed some help to sort it. 

Review Trafford Centre Santa Stamping letter

First, the children were tasked with finding the gold stamp. Once found Miracle helped them all stamp their letters and post them to Santa in the magic mailbox. 

Review Trafford Centre Santa posting letter

She then realised that she lost three golden letters that she needed to find quickly. The children had just 15 seconds to locate them in the piles of mail.

All the kids loved doing this and were over the moon when they all managed to find the letters in the nick of time. 

Review Trafford Centre Santa searching for mail activity

After helping in the mailroom it was time to see Santa, escorted by Holly the Elf we entered Santa’s Grotto. 

Santa was sat in the corner of the room and looked great – the kids were mesmerised. 

They all got to chat with Santa and tell them what they wanted for Christmas and were all really happy to hear that they were on his good list. 

Review Trafford Centre Santa meeting Santa

There was also plenty of time to pose for pictures ( we were allowed to take our own) and Santa gave them all a wrapped little gift before we left. 

In all the whole experience took around 3o minutes. 

What Gifts Did We Get From Santa at the Trafford Centre 

Review Trafford Centre Santa Gifts

After we left the experience the kids couldn’t wait to unwrap their gifts and they weren’t disappointed. 

They all received a toy suitable for their age. The 3-year-old received a cute Christmas jigsaw, the 8-year-old received bouncy balls and the older two opened a Classic Tower Game and juggling balls. 

The Grotto: Dear Santa Gift Shop 

Review Trafford Centre Santa gift shop

After leaving the Grotto we entered the gift shop. 

Here you can view any professional photographs that were taken in the Grotto, although we didn’t have any.

You can also purchase themed gifts which include a round bauble for £12.50, flat ornaments for £7.50, mugs for £6.50, reindeer toys for £12.50, tote bags for £4.50 and reindeer toys for £12.50.

Trafford Centre Mini Christmas Market 

Outside of the grotto, there is also a little Chrismas Market with log cabin stalls selling hot drinks, sweet treats and more. 

Plus Face painting is available for £6 per child. 

What We Thought of  The Grotto: Dear Santa at The Trafford Centre?

Review Trafford Centre Santa Enchanted forest sparkle

We all had a lovely time at The Grotto: Dear Santa experience. 

The kids enjoyed writing their letters to Santa and colouring and playing with the snowflakes in Candy Cane Land and thought Sparkles the Elf was really funny. 

They also loved the magical mailroom, especially the hunt for the golden letters which the older three declared as their favourite part of the journey. 

Every aspect of the experience looked magical and perfect for the lots of cute photos. 

We all know the most important part of a Santa visit is seeing the special man himself. It was great to see that Santa was looking his best and there was plenty of time to chat and have pictures. 

Having two older kids in tow I had worried they may have outgrown this festive tradition. Although they weren’t as excited as the younger two they still had a great time and looked relieved that they are on the nice list.

Tinsel Town Fun Fair and Ice Rink at The Trafford Centre

Review Tinsel Town Fair Trafford Centre Tickets

If you are looking for more festive fun whilst at The Trafford Centre, their Tinsel Town event and Ice Rink are both back for 2023. 

Both are located outside the Great Hall and offer lots of fun. 

The Trafford Centre Ice Rink is undercover and a great activity even in the Manchester weather. 

Again Tinsel Town offers a huge Christmas Fun Fair at the Trafford Centre with rides for all the family.

If that is not enough Gandey’s will be bringing back a brand new Circus Ice Show to the Trafford Centre Snow Storm 3.

Discover More >>> Review of Tinsel Town Fun Fair at The Trafford Centre 







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