Santa’s Grotto Experience

Come and meet Santa! At Christmas Wonderland, we have a special Santa’s Grotto Experience set within the Santa Land part of our Starry Nights illumination trail. Join the Elves and make up a package of special reindeer food (for sprinkling on your doorstep on Christmas Eve), before heading into Santa’s Grotto, where your children will meet Santa and receive a gift from Santa’s Elves as they leave.

There really is simply no better way to get you and your children into the Christmas spirit than a visit to Starry Night’s Santa’s Grotto Experience at Dean Castle Country Park. 

Grotto FAQS

Where is Santa's Grotto Experience?

Santa’s Grotto’s Experience can be found within the grounds of Christmas Wonderland at Dean Castle, as part of the Starry Nights illumination trail. Once through the castle, passed the Festive Food arena, and over the small bridge on your way into Starry Nights, you will see signage for Santa Land, where you will find Santa’s Grotto Experience. You will spot our Elves ready to admit you, so please have your QR code tickets at the ready. Please arrive 5-10 minutes early for your Grotto time slot. Do not worry if you are late. We will fit you in.  

What if i am early (or late) for my slot?

We will be filtering guests into our Santa Grotto Experience in groups. Please aim to arrive 5-10 minutes early for your Grotto time slot, but please do not worry if you are late. We will fit you in. No one will miss out. If you arrive early, and there is space, we will do what we can to put you into an earlier slot. This is entirely at the discretion of our Elf team, and decisions will be made solely in the interests of ‘elf & safety. 

Please be prepared to queue outside whilst our guests in the time slot before you enjoy the Santa Grotto Experience. If it is raining, or very cold, please ensure you dress appropriately. On occasion, there might be queues due to circumstances out with our control. If that is the case, please can we ask that you are patient. We want everyone to enjoy this special occasion. Thank you. 

What can I expect at the Grotto?

At our Santa’s Grotto Experience, children can expect to enjoy a welcome by Santa’s elves, make a packet of reindeer food to take away, then visit Santa himself before receiving a gift from Santa’s elves on the way out.

Can I take a photo of my child with Santa?

Every effort will be made to enable you to take an unofficial individual photo of your children with Santa (using your phone) if you would like that. All we ask is that you are mindful of time, and other people who are also wanting to visit Santa.

We are working on a ‘fair play’ policy, to ensure that that everyone is able to get what they want and enjoy the Santa Grotto Experience within the time slot allocated. Thank you.

Who needs a ticket?

All children, including children under 3, require a ticket to access Santa’s Grotto Experience. The accompanying adult does not require a ticket.

How many adults can accompany children within Santa's Grotto?

Children can only be accompanied by 2 adults due to space restrictions. This is to ensure there is adequate space for the children. 

Can I buy Grotto Tickets separately to the Starry Nights Experience?

Tickets for Santa’s Grotto Experience can only be purchased when buying your Christmas Wonderland Starry Nights Experience tickets. Tickets to Santa’s Grotto cannot be sold seperately. You must attend Santa’s Grotto Experience on the same date as your Starry Night Experience tickets.

Should I attend Santa's Grotto before or after the Starry Nights trail experience?

You decide! On arrival and once admitted into Christmas Wonderland at Dean Castle, you will either attend the Grotto first and then walk the Starry Nights magical illuminated Christmas experience or vice versa.

If you decide to attend Starry Nights first, we would recommend allowing 1 hour to 1.5 hours to enjoy the illuminations and festive food and drink before heading to Santa’s Grotto Experience. Otherwise, if attending the Grotto first we would recommend booking into the same time slot as your Starry Nights tickets. We encourage you to buy tickets early to secure your preferred time slots. 

If I didn't pre-book my Santa's Grotto Experience, can I book on the night?

Subject to availability, we will hold any remaining tickets available for those in our Festive Food & Drink area. Tickets on the evening will cost £2 more than pre-booking online + booking fee. 

My question isn't listed on this page? What do I do?

Please head over to our main Frequently Asked Questions tab (FAQS), or contact our customer service desk on