The annual trip to Santa’s grotto at the shopping or garden centre was once a certain for families as Christmas loomed.
But mega winter wonderlands are sprouting up all over the West Midlands offering magical experiences the humble grotto simply can't match.
From steam engine rides down the Severn Valley Railway with Father Christmas, to watching pantomime as you journey into Santa’s caverns on the Dudley canal on a narrowboat – these incredible experiences are some of the amazing festive frolics on offer.
West Midlands Safari park is offering a Winter Safari while at Blithbury Reindeer Lodge in Staffordshire you can meet Rudolf and his friends at what is England’s largest reindeer reserve taking a sleigh ride or feeding the young reindeer.
If you are dreaming of a white Christmas then make your way to the Tamworth SnowDome where the white stuff is guaranteed, while just down the road at the Belfry golf course two-and-a-half acres of woodland has been transformed into the ultimate Lapland experience dubbed the Magical Journey.
Santa will also be found at Dudley Zoological Gardens and Castle and the magic of Christmas is captured at Wightwick Manor, where there will be a breakfast with Santa event on December 6 and 7, carol concerts on fours days in December and
And of you fancy escaping the hustle and bustle of the madness that comes with this time of year pop down to the Black Country Living Museum and enjoy a traditional Victorian Christmas entertainment set against a magical period backdrop.
The whole family can enjoy a traditional Christmas evening with musical entertainment, street performers, brass bands and carol singers.
Sing along with the pianist in the Bottle & Glass Inn and get a real taste for the season with hot roast chestnuts, traditionally cooked fish and chips and mulled wine.
Elsewhere, at Alton Towers they are running Santa Sleepovers that include a stay in one of the park’s themed hotels, a scrumptious Christmas dinner and breakfast, seeing Santa Claus in his secret hideaway grotto and meeting his special reindeer.
At Drayton Manor they are promising a magical Christmas in Thomas Land for families to enjoy during the school break.
Spectacular decorations will run throughout the park with festive music and more than 21 rides and attractions, including the chance to meet Father Christmas in his very own ‘Castle of Dreams’.
In Thomas Land there will be live shows with the Fat Controller and his friends, snowfall at least three times a day, a Christmas tree light show throughout the day, an ice skating rink, fireworks, and The Polar Express showing in its 4D Cinema.