It’s that time of year again where the little ones in your life are clamouring to visit Santa. While it is a lovely experience for children coming up to Christmas, Santa’s grotto is in high demand. Most of these events require pre-booking, meaning spaces fill up fast.
Fret not, however, as some of the country’s most magical experiences with Santa have been compiled here, with spaces still available for each one.
At Donegal’s Wild Ireland, the Wild Arctic experience is returning to transport you to the magical North Pole this Christmas.
Wild Arctic will include some of the most beautiful Arctic animals, including the snowy owl, Arctic foxes and an Arctic wolf.
Also on display are spectacular dancing polar bears, singing reindeer, light up animals, Santa’s igloo and elves working hard in the toy shop. You can also see the other gorgeous animals that Wild Ireland is home to, including the brown bears, lynx, wolves and monkeys.
Send off your Santa list in the magical post box and then meet the man himself in his cosy log cabin. Each child will receive a gift on their Santa visit. The cafe is open with pizza, soup and hot drinks so you can stay warm on your visit. If you get lucky, the very beautiful and magical Northern Lights may even be visible during the experience.
From 1 - 23 December. Tickets cost €15 per adult and €19 per child. Visit www.wildireland.org/wild-arctic to book.
Set over three buildings and four floors, Elf Town Galway has an array of festivities this Christmas season.
The magic begins before your visit, when you will be sent a gift pack with an official invite to Elf Town from Santa, a golden ticket and a map.
At the Castle Gates entrance, families will be greeted by Glitterpants, Santa’s head elf.
From here there is loads to enjoy. Join Boogie the Elf on the disco dancefloor, write and post your Santa list with Postie the Elf, or listen to stories on the elf terrace. You can also decorate a cookie with Mrs Claus, see Santa’s reindeer Dasher and Dancer, and take the elf town express.
Upon meeting Santa, each child will receive a gold coin to be used in Santa’s Toy Shop, where the coin can be exchanged for any gift.
This event is running until 23 December. Tickets are priced at €29.95 per adult, €43.95 per child and €9.95 for babies under 13 months. Visit elftown.ie to book.
From 26 November to 23 December, Wells House will offer a wonderful Santa experience that includes new elements this year.
The new elf village attraction will feature an opportunity to post your Christmas list off to Santa in the new mail room. You will also have an opportunity to decorate your own Christmas bauble in the elf village that you can bring home for your Christmas tree.
The Wells express train will bring you on a magical journey through the woods, where the head elf will guide the way and you will go on an adventure to help save Christmas.
Visit the North Pole workshop to meet Mrs Claus and more elves as they prepare for Christmas, and round off the experience by meeting Santa in the library of Wells house and gardens. You can choose your own special gift from Santa in the Versailles Room.
Tickets are €16.95 per adult, €23.95 for children up to 16, and €10 for children under one. Book online at www.wellshouse.ie
Drumhierny Woodland Hideaway, Leitrim
At Drumhierny Woodland Hideaway, the picturesque wooded trails will lead you to a magical visit with Santa this Christmas.
You can decorate yummy Christmas cookies with the help of the elves and post your letter to Santa in Drumhierny’s Santa Express post box. At Drumhierny’s cosy lodge, little ones can have hot chocolate while adults can treat themselves to mulled wine.
Among the natural wooded landscape of Drumhierny Estate, children can meet Santa and the elves in Santa’s grotto at his Christmas Lodge to round off the experience.
This experience runs from 10 until 18 December. Tickets start at €11 per adult, €25 per child and €15 for babies from under two. To book your visit, see www.drumhiernyhideaway.ie/en/santa-experience