It’s beginning to look a lot Christmas all over the Isle of Wight. Shops are stocking up with lots of festive goodies and twinkling lights are appearing in store windows. All of this to children means Santa will be on his way soon, so to capture the magic of this time of year here are some of the best places to see the man himself.
Isle of Wight Steam Railway – Santa Specials
A truly traditional Christmas awaits you at the Steam Railway. Take a wander through Santa’s winter wonderland complete with snowy scenes and an enchanted woodland feature. Meet the friendly elves who will guide you to the man in red. Settled in his cosy grotto tell him all your Christmas wishes, you’ll leave with a most splendid gift.
Festive music creates a jolly atmosphere, and to warm you up mulled wine and mince pies are complementary for the grown-ups in the group and children receive sweet treats too.
Board the majestic steam train and snuggle up in a beautifully restored carriage before embarking on a 10 mile round trip through the Island’s wintery countryside.
Arreton Barns – Meet Father Christmas
If Santa’s elves were ever going to have a workshop on the Island, it would be at Arreton Barns. The Island’s largest arts and crafts village is packed with artisans creating gifts in the most traditional of ways.
This year Father Christmas will be meeting all the good girls and boys in his grotto where he will be waiting to hear how good you’ve been all year with a gift ready for you take home and pop under the tree.
The cheeky Arreton Barns elves will be taking over on the afternoon of 23 December with a special Elves Tea Party. There’ll be tasty treats, dancing and a guest appearance from Father Christmas himself. Booking is essential for all events – with some pre-payments required.
The Needles – Star of Wonder
One of the most iconic attractions on the Island, The Needles has one of the most popular Santa’s Grottos. An unforgettable magical experience awaits visitors during weekends throughout December, the team will be spreading Christmas cheers for all to hear.
There’s ‘sacks’ of festive fun in-store, where you can join in the festivities with workshops, rides, food and entertainment for the whole family.
When booking your Santa’s Grotto experience it will also allow for some extra special festive fun, including free rides, free elf workshops, there’s even free parking!
For more info go to and book early to avoid disappointment by calling 01983 752401.
Tapnell Farm – Tapland
Something magical is happening at Tapnell Farm this Christmas. Escape to a place of wonder and adventure as your little elves go on the search for Santa. Your journey starts from the moment you book your ticket. Download a letter from Santa – which is also your child’s personal invite. The hour-long experience is lead by a team of trained elves who will tell you stories and help solve the fun interactive puzzles. They’ll be treats to scoff and lots to admire.
Take part in rollerblading, elf yoga and gingerbread decorating all before experiencing the rest the park has to offer, including soft play and cute fluffy animals to pet.
So immerse yourself in the magic, Tapnell Farm is the place where adults can be kids too (even if just for a few hours).
Busy Bee Garden Centre – Christmas World
You’ll be walking in a Winter Wonderland when you make your way downstairs at Busy Bee. A huge Christmas tree towers through the swirl in the staircase, marking the way to Christmas World. As you enter, watch the children’s eyes fill with wonder as they take in the embodiment of Christmas. Shop all you could need from trees, baubles, tinsel, singing characters, door wreaths, lights and so much more. Sit in the model train and take a snap, the little ones will love pretending to drive the Polar Express. All this before you get to meet Santa in his grotto. Find your way through snow caves, enchanted woodlands, all the while excitement grows as you edge closer to Santa. Visit him in his comfy grotto where all children will receive an early Christmas gift.
Why not make the day a little extra special and take a ride in Santa’s Sleigh, via virtual reality?