We have understandably received a lot of queries regarding our Christmas plans and particularly in relation to whether we will be hosting a Santa’s Grotto this year. We therefore wanted to share our decision with you, and the reasons behind it.

After much thought, consideration and discussion, we have decided NOT to host a Santa’s Grotto this December. We appreciate the huge disappointment that this decision may cause to our grotto loyalists, as our hope was always to return to hosting a magical grotto experience in the aftermath of the pandemic, when it was ‘safe’ to do so.

However, the pandemic isn’t the only factor now in the mix. We have all been presented with a number of other challenges over the past year – the cost of living crisis perhaps with the biggest impact and causing the most worry for a huge proportion of the British public. As a small, independent business we are certainly not immune to the impact of price hikes across the board – be it for stock from suppliers or the cost of utilities required to keep the place open and running 362 days of the year.

The cost of building and running the grotto through the festive period is huge, into many – even tens of – thousands of pounds. From electricity demand to staffing demand, there are so many additional costs that come out of the business to fund the grotto, and this year these costs just aren’t manageable. We have never made any money from the grotto, (it has always be charitable, with many excess costs swallowed by the business) but we have always viewed it as an important event for the community, and a thank you to our many customers who support us throughout the year. It is with a very heavy heart that we can’t bring the joy of the grotto to our younger (and older!) visitors this year, but it is a sacrifice we unfortunately have to make.

We’re very hopeful that this is goodbye for now but not forever, however. When things do settle down and we have the means to once again create and host a magical grotto, we will do so… and we will do our utmost to make sure it has been worth the wait!

Thank you for your understanding – and please know that we will still be doing everything in our power to bring some festive magic to visitors this December. We will have lots of free festive photo opportunities, Father Christmas in attendance to say hello/for photos (but without his grotto and without 1:1 visits) mini market weekends, snow, Christmas trees, a shop full of Christmas… Read more here!