Thank you to everyone who has shown an interest in our Santa’s Grotto, it has now sold out!


Get ready for a Christmas experience like no other…

Herefordshire’s most-loved Santa experience returns in December bigger and better than ever. This year, Mrs Claus has travelled to St Michael’s with Santa and you can join her cooking class!
With even more lights, a ride on the St Michael’s Express and some extra special surprises along our path to the Grotto, come and experience the magic for yourselves this Christmas.

Our carefully crafted grotto offers a personalised and heartwarming experience, giving your children the chance to share their holiday wishes with Santa himself. Capture those precious moments forever as they embark on a journey filled with joy and laughter.
Secure your spot now and make this holiday season truly special for your family.
This event is ideal for children 13 and under.

Pick your experience

Introducing the all-new Premium Grotto Experience for 2023 – an enchanting upgrade that takes your festive journey to extraordinary heights. Immerse yourself in the wonder of the season with all the delights of the beloved Original Grotto Experience, now elevated with an exclusive and magical encounter in Mrs Claus’ very own Kitchen.

Dive into the heartwarming world of baking as you join Mrs Claus for a captivating Cookie Class, a true highlight of this premium adventure. Uncover the secrets of crafting delectable cookies from scratch, from selecting your own premium ingredients to infusing them with your chosen flavours. Under Mrs Claus’ expert guidance, embark on a masterclass in transforming your cookies into delectable works of art.

The magic reaches its peak as you collect your freshly baked and exquisitely boxed delights – a treasure trove of sweetness that you can share with loved ones or savour all to yourself. Every step of this enchanting journey is a testament to the spirit of the season, and with the Premium Grotto Experience, you’re not just a spectator; you’re a participant in a tale of wonder and joy. All this, in addition to the splendid offerings of the Original Grotto Experience, is available for an exceptional value. Don’t miss your chance to create unforgettable memories with the Premium Grotto Experience – a truly special chapter in the story of your holiday season.

This experience is aimed at 0-13 year olds.

The Premium Grotto Experience runs at 3.45pm and 4.00pm each Saturday.

Children 13 and under: £25
Over 13s and Adults: Go free!
*

Round-up of what’s included:

  • Visit to Mrs Claus’ Cookery Class (30 minutes)
  • Learn how to bake cookies
  • Create your own flavour
  • Collect 4-6 baked and boxed cookies to take home
  • Photo opportunities with Mrs Claus
  • Sleigh Selfie opportunity
  • Magical Light trail 
  • Quiz sheet and gold coin
  • Visit to the Naughty Elf garden
  • Visit to the Reindeer stables 
  • Toasted Marshmallows
  • A meeting with Santa 
  • Photo opportunities with Santa
  • Christmas Gift for each child 
  • Ride on the St Michael’s Express for the whole family*
  • Visit the Christmas Cafe
  • Children 13 & over and adults go free!*

*Train ride: 6 passengers maximum. Extra passengers can walk alongside the train on the marked footpath. *Maximum of five free over 13s per booking slot.

  • There will be the option to flavour with vanilla or nutmeg & add chocolate chips/chunks
  • Low gluten & dairy-free ingredients will be available – not vegan 
  • Due to the nature of the workshop we cannot guarantee a celiac, gluten-free, dairy-free or nut-free environment so would suggest anyone with an allergy does not take part in this activity.

The Premium Grotto Experience runs on the following dates:


• Saturday 2nd December
• Saturday 9th December
• Saturday 16th December
• Saturday 23rd December

Tickets are limited, so book yours before they are gone!

Step into a world of enchantment with our captivating Original Grotto Experience – a journey tailored for young adventurers and believers of all ages. Follow the mischievous Elves on a whimsical adventure winding your way through the enchanting Grotto-grounds, where dazzling lights and captivating displays set the scene for holiday magic. You’ll even have a chance to toast a marshmallow or two!

But the true wonder awaits as you venture into the heart of the Grotto, where the jolly old man himself, Santa, eagerly awaits your arrival. Share your Christmas dreams with him, and watch your child’s eyes light up with joy as they receive a special gift from Santa’s Toy Store, handpicked with care by the elves.

And the enchantment doesn’t end there – embark on a return train ride aboard the St Michael’s Express, creating moments of wonder that will be cherished for years to come. Treat yourselves at the Christmas Cafe and capture the magic with photographs that encapsulate the joy of the day.

This extraordinary experience, priced at just £15 per child, invites adults to join the adventure at no extra cost.

Let the spirit of the season come alive as you revel in the beauty of the Original Grotto Experience, creating memories that will warm your hearts for a lifetime.

This experience is aimed at 0-13 year olds.

Round-up of what’s included:

  • Sleigh Selfie opportunity
  • Magical Light trail 
  • Quiz sheet and gold coin
  • Visit to the Naughty Elf garden
  • Visit to the Reindeer stables 
  • Toasted Marshmallows
  • A meeting with Santa 
  • Photo opportunities with Santa
  • Christmas Gift for each child 
  • Ride on the St Michael’s Express for the whole family*
  • Visit the Christmas Cafe
  • Adults go free!*

*Train ride: 6 passengers maximum. Extra passengers can walk alongside the train on the marked footpath. *Maximum of five free over 13s per booking slot.


The Grotto booking slots run every 15 minutes between 4.15pm – 6.30pm.
Children 13 and under: £15
Over 13s & Adults: Go free!
*

The Original Grotto Experience runs on the following dates:

• Friday 1st December
• Saturday 2nd December
• Sunday 3rd December
• Wednesday 6th December
• Thursday 7th December
• Friday 8th December
• Saturday 9th December
• Sunday 10th December
• Wednesday 13th December
• Thursday 14th December
• Friday 15th December
• Saturday 16th December
• Sunday 17th December
• Wednesday 20th December
• Thursday 21st December
• Friday 22nd December
• Saturday 23rd December

Tickets are limited, so book yours before they are gone!

grotto

“The most magical Santa experience around,
we loved it so so much!!

Emma

The journey starts on the terrace where children and parents can hop into Santa’s sleigh for a festive selfie. Children can then collect a fun quiz sheet before families descend the winding slope down to the grounds below where the adventure really begins.

The magical light trail takes families to the Naughty Elf garden, Reindeer stables – complete with singing reindeer, and Snow Garden and they can even toast Marshmallows along the way!

As you pass through the light tunnel you’ll meet the Elves. Your very own Elf will escort you to the Grotto where Santa will be waiting to meet you and hear your Christmas wishlist! The entire family are welcome to say hello and you’ll be invited to take your own photographs to capture the special moment.

After you meet Santa you’ll enter the toy store where each child will be able to choose from a vast array of gifts; there really is something for everyone. 

The fun doesn’t stop there! You’ll then climb aboard the St Michael’s Express train which will take you back up to the walkway where you head to the Christmas Cafe to enjoy a hot drink and snack before you head home.

  • The event is mainly outdoors so please dress appropriately.
  • Buggies, pushchairs and mobility scooters are permitted and all routes are accessible.
  • Unfortunately, we cannot allow dogs however, assistance dogs are permitted.
  • Please aim to arrive no more than 10 minutes before your allocated slot.

Parking:

There is ample free parking at St Michael’s Hospice. Please park in the main car park (follow the fluorescent car park signage). Once parked, follow the walkways to the Hospice main reception being careful of passing cars.

Registration:

Once within the Hospice, follow the signs and you will be met at the Grotto registration desk. Please register at least 5 minutes before your booking slot.

Tickets:
Please bring your ticket with you either printed or ready to display on your phone. As 4G can be patchy in the countryside, we’d recommend taking a screenshot of your ticket.

Your child/children will receive a quiz sheet when they arrive, which is not compulsory but adds a sense of fun during your walk to Santa and the children can exchange it for a gold coin when they return to the terrace at the end.

If you are early, you can wait in the Christmas Cafe which is open from 4.15pm or enjoy the Sleigh Selfie Station on the terrace.

The latest time you can arrive is 7.00pm as Santa will be heading back to the North Pole for the night at 7.30pm. 

Photography:

You are more than welcome to take photographs during the experience. Please be mindful of other families and do not share images with children in who are not from your group.

There may be professional photographers on-site. Please do let the staff know if you and/or your children do not wish to be photographed.

Adverse weather:

In the event of adverse weather forcing the postponement of a Grotto day(s), we will be in touch with those affected as soon as possible to offer alternative slots.

If you have any questions, please email us.
Our office hours are 9.00am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday.
Ask a question

Original Grotto Experience – £15

  • Sleigh Selfie opportunity
  • Magical Light trail 
  • Quiz sheet and gold coin
  • Visit to the Naughty Elf garden
  • Visit to the Reindeer stables 
  • Toasted Marshmallows
  • A meeting with Santa 
  • Photo opportunities with Santa
  • Christmas Gift for each child 
  • Ride on the St Michael’s Express for the whole family*
  • Visit the Christmas Cafe
  • Over 13s & Adults go free! 

*Train ride: 6 passengers maximum. Extra passengers can walk alongside the train on the marked footpath. *Over 13s & Adults go free: Maximum of five over 13s per booking slot.

Premium Grotto Experience – £25

  • Visit to Mrs Claus’ Cookery Class (30 minutes)
  • Learn how to bake cookies
  • Create your own flavour
  • Collect 4-6 baked and boxed cookies to take home
  • Photo opportunities with Mrs Claus
  • Sleigh Selfie opportunity
  • Magical Light trail 
  • Quiz sheet and gold coin
  • Visit to the Naughty Elf garden
  • Visit to the Reindeer stables 
  • Toasted Marshmallows
  • A meeting with Santa 
  • Photo opportunities with Santa
  • Christmas Gift for each child 
  • Ride on the St Michael’s Express for the whole family*
  • Visit the Christmas Cafe
  • Adults go free!* 

*Train ride: 6 passengers maximum. Extra passengers can walk alongside the train on the marked footpath. *Over 13s & Adults go free: Maximum of five over 13s per booking slot.

Our Christmas Café will be open on all Grotto nights with card and cash payments taken.

 Drinks 

  • Tea or Coffee (decaff available) £1.50 
  • Hot Chocolate £2.50 
  • Hot Chocolate – cream, marshmallows & sprinkles £3 
  • As above with Flake +50p 
  • Children’s drinks £1 

Cakes 

  • Mince Pies (free-from available) 50p 
  • Christmas Cake (free-from available) £1 
  • Chocolate Log £1.50 

Hot Food 

Please pay for hot food, receive a token and exchange it for food at the BBQ or pizza station; 

  • Oglebys Chipolata Sausages in a crunchy Baguette* £3 
  • Frankfurter Sausage in a Brioche Roll* £2 
  • 10/12” Pizza with a selection of toppings, selection subject to availability £6 

*Gluten free bread alternative available—please request at the time of ordering  
*Pizza’s can be pre-ordered at time of booking your Grotto tickets

PLEASE NOTE THAT PIZZA’S ARE ONLY AVAILABLE ON FRIDAYs & SATURDAYS 

Can I add/remove adults to/from my booking? You can have a maximum of 5 adults accompany each booking (eg 1 child and 5 adult, 5 children and 5 adults or 5 children and 1 adult). You don’t need to tell us if you are adding or removing an adult from your booking as long as there is a maximum of 5 and a minimum of 1.

Can I add/remove children to/from my booking? You can add or remove children from your booking by emailing events@smhospicehereford.org with at least 24 hours’ notice. Please be aware that it is unlikely we will be able provide a refund for removing children. Transferring children is fine (eg, your son is not able to make it so you bring your nephew instead).

My child is ill, can I change my slot? If we have availability we can transfer booking slots, however, it is very unlikely we are able to do this. You can bring another child if this is possible. It is unlikely that we will be able provide a refund.

What happens if it’s raining? In heavy rain or other adverse weather conditions we may need to postpone or cancel your date. We will endeavour to postpone, and have Monday and Tuesday ready to swap to. If we need to cancel, we will refund your fee. If there is only light rain, the event will continue; the terrace area is covered and the grotto is inside. Please bring an umbrella to move around the gardens.

Can I resell my ticket? No. Resold tickets will be invalidated.

When do I find out the Toy Bundle prize draw result? The toy bundle tickets, a chance to win a toy bundle worth £690, will be drawn from those with correct answers on Wednesday 8th November. Everyone will be emailed the result.

I/my child has an allergy, who do I tell? If you have booked the premium grotto experience, please email us before Friday 17th November with details. You can let us know of someone with an allergy at any time on the day, the café staff have an allergy sheet; please be aware some products might not be available.

What food is available? When you visit us you’ll have the option to purchase sausage baguettes, hot dogs and a selection of cakes. On Friday and Saturday these is also the option to order freshly made 12” pizzas (these are also available to pre-order). We have a selection of refreshments to accompany food.

What is the Christmas Draw? The Christmas Draw is our annual raffle which gives you the chance to win £2,500 plus other prizes, before Christmas. Tickets are available on the day at £2 each. This is a great way to give a little more to the Hospice with a chance of winning even more back!

Who are the elves? Our elves are hand selected from the community, often people who work with children in their usual roles. They go through Elf School, so they know all nine reindeer, and understand that accompanying adults are always referred to as grown-ups (assumptions are never made). The elves will be the ones greeting you, taking you to see Santa, helping you select a gift from the toy store and saying goodbye as you board the St Michael’s Express.

How do the gifts from Santa work? After you’ve seen Santa, he’ll ask one of his elves to take your little one through to the toy store, where there is a selection of toys to choose from. The selection can be a little overwhelming, but the elves are there, on hand to support, and you’ll have a enough time to choose before the St Michael’s Express arrives. NB We don’t age/gender children with specific wrapped gifts, we like children to be able to choose what is special to them.

Is the grotto completely accessible? Everything about the grotto has been made accessible with the following exceptions;

  • The St Michael’s Express is not wheelchair friendly and those with serious mobility issues may not be able to ride. You are able to follow directly behind the train.
  • Some food is not vegan and we may not have a full stock of alternatives.
  • Although we endeavour to make the grotto suitable for those with additional needs, some areas may trigger sensory overload, if you are unsure and would like more information, please request a callback by emailing events@smhospicehereford.org

Is there any merchandise available? Yes, in the entrance area we will have some merchandise available to purchase; lighting up your attire ready to see Santa.

Can we take photos/are photos available? You are able to take photos throughout the grotto experience and the characters love having their photos taken. This includes photos of the grotto. We will have photos available to purchase, placed in a photocard, on the day. All additional revenue spends on the day go directly to care.

Can my dog come? Dogs, with the exception of assistance dogs, are strictly prohibited.

Terms and conditions

Santa’s Grotto is an outdoor experience which can be affected by the weather. If the event is cancelled by St Michael’s Hospice you will get an opportunity to join us on another date or have a full refund.

Tickets are non-refundable for any other reason.

Tickets are not to be re-sold unless transferred to another person under the direction of the Events Team. Transferred tickets will not be valid unless given clearance prior to attendance.

Unfortunately our train cannot take a wheelchair and may be difficult for those with mobility issues. The rest of the experience is wheelchair and pushchair friendly.

Children must be accompanied by an adult and remain seated with their arms and legs within the train at all times.

One free toy/gift included per child ticket. Over 13s or adults do not receive a gift.
Please note that some toys/gift may not be suitable for babies and very young children. It is at the parents\guardians discretion when selecting a toy to check that it is age-appropriate.

The Premium and Original Grotto Experiences are aimed at children ages 0 – 12.

All proceeds from the Grotto go directly to providing essential care for those who need it most, at any time they might need it. By booking tickets to events like this one, you are helping us to care for patients and families this Christmas – thank you, from all of us at St Michael’s.

Your St Michaels Hospice

Need some help?

Our Grotto helpline will be open from 11am – 4pm on Wednesday 1st November.
Call: 01432 852601