UPDATE - this list is from 2016. For over 30 locations offering Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner with Santa in 2017 then please click here
Can you believe we have only just had Bonfire night and I've already started banging on about Christmas? It's 7 weeks until the big day, but festive events start from early December so if you are looking for family Christmassy things to do in the North East then it is time to get booking.
Hot on the heels from the sell out successes that were Halloween parties (where it seemed that any event with a couple of cobwebs in the window were fully booked back in September, leaving us unorganised parents wondering where to take our little pumpkins for their obligatory photos and E numbers) are the Christmas events!
If anything I think the tinsel is a bigger seller than the Halloween parties. So many festive events are sold out already! Our chances to sing Christmassy power ballads with Chalk, join the Snow Puppies for a party at 7 Stories or take the North Pole Express from Tanfield Railway are gone. The tickets disappeared shortly after they went on sale!
There are still lots of family festive events to choose from though, so keep your eye's peeled for my upcoming posts with loads of suggestions. But what is Christmas without a mince pie? I'm always first in the queue for every buffet I've ever been to, so I'm kicking off the Christmas posts with one devoted to food. Below are the places you can feast with Father Christmas.
Wyevale Garden Centre - Gosforth
Choose from breakfasting or having your tea with Father Christmas. A popular choice with the closest dates to Christmas already sold out. But there are still tickets to be had. Hot off the press at the time of writing you could share a sausage sarnie with Santi as late as 21st December. If you're hoping for the tea-time slot then the latest in December available is 16th December. Kids are priced at £9.99 including their meal, present from the Big Man himself, biscuit decorating and some festive crafts. Accompanying adults can choose to pay either £7.99 for a proper meal, or £3.99 for a snack. Selected dates 26th November - 24th December 2016.
We have a table reserved for As You Like It for Christmas Eve for a big group of our friends. It's perfect for us with kids, as they get to meet Santa in a fairly small group, party with him and the elves for a bit and even get a present with a personalised message (I managed to refrain from writing on the baby's that there will be no presents coming her way unless Santa hears that she has slept past 5am every once and a while). The food is served from the usual menu, so at least the child-free amongst our group are going to get a good meal whilst indulging us parents. Having been there previous Christmases I know it will be absolutely heaving, with kids everywhere you look, but there is a great atmosphere. I've never been to Liberty Brown over the festive period, but owned by the same company, they are hosting the same event as As You Like it. £10 per child. Food available from the regular menus. Weekends then daily 19th - 24th December 2016.
If you fancy a little drive out the coast to meet Santa, then this event could be for you. At the absolute bargain price of £5.95 for the kids, and £9.95 for the adults you both get a meal with a free drink. The kids get juice but wait for it, it's a free glass of prosecco for the adults. Of course it isn't just the bubbles you'd be going for there are some extra special Christmas guests from the North Pole. Every child will receive a gift from Father Christmas and one of his Elves... as long as they've been well-behaved, of course! 15th December 4pm until 6pm.
VALLUM FARM - EAST WALLHOUSES
**UPDATE - This event is sold out. If you want to see Santa at Vallum Farm he will be available on 19th November at their Christmas Market with free entry.** A bit of mystery surrounds this event as details on their website are very sparse at the moment, but there is promise of more information being added soon, and when it is I'll update this page. What we do know is that last year this event included meeting santa in the grotto, a little disco, tractor rides, party tea boxes for the kids and plentiful teas and coffees for the grown ups. Vallum Farm is a lovely place to visit, and their home made ice cream is amazing. Santa's Tea Party 17th December
If you are feeling flush this Christmas then this one could be for you. It's not cheap at £25 for an adult and £12.50 for a child, but it does sound like a lovely event. The Marriott invite you to a Winter Wonderland Afternoon Tea. Apparently the adult can sit back and inhale the mini cakes, whilst the kids enjoy entertainment including a classic Christmas film and a visit from Santa. Sunday 11th and 18th December 2016.
SEAHAM TOWN HALL - SUNDERLAND
Another one where the information is quite vague, but at this Breakfast with Santa the kids get a selection box as well as their brekkie so it's won me around already. Party games and music are on the menu too. £11.95 for adults, £6.95 for kids. 18th December 9am.
Rising Sun Country Park - North Tyneside
I've heard really great things about this Santa's grotto. People say that the gifts are of a high quality, and that you get a good amount of time with Santi himself. It's another one which isn't particularly cheap, but the promise is that you get a great meal too. Children get to meet Santa in his wood hut grotto, make crafts using materials from the park, look for reindeers and have a warm cup of juice around a campfire. A proper Christmas dinner with all of the trimmings is one of the options for the meal. A two course meal, including the trip to see Father Christmas is £17.95 for adults, £15.95 for kids.
Ramside Hall - Durham
At Santa's Fairytale Show you can take your pick from a breakfast of lunchtime meal and show. Very little information on the website, but the picture would lead me to believe there will be a host of princesses joining Santa in handing out the selection boxes. Prices vary depending on if you go for breakfast or lunch but start at, £17.50 for adults and £12.50 for kids including the meals. 4th and 18th December.
Fenwick - Newcastle
At the moment there is nothing to tell you about Fenwick. They are keeping schtum about their traditional breakfast and tea time experiences with Santa. Quite a few people have asked for info on their Facebook page, but they are giving nothing away as yet. They are hugely popular so when tickets are available I'm in no doubt they will go quickly - but make sure you have liked my page on Facebook and I shall share info with you as soon as I know anything.
What have I missed off? Any great places to share a scotch egg with Santa or a nightcap with St Nick? Did you go to any of these events last year? Want to share with us which one to pick and miss one to miss? Leave us a comment in the box below.