Family Life With Tweens | Days Out | Holiday Ideas

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review


Yes, we are that family who visited Father Christmas before Bonfire Night but when my friend messaged me to ask if I wanted her spare tickets to see Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle, how could I resist? We sadly missed out on Fenwick Window's launch this year as we had already booked into Matfen Hall that night to celebrate our wedding anniversary and a trip to visit Santa on the Rooftop seemed like a very good alternative way to experience some of that special Fenwick Christmas magic.

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - elves on roof


Tickets cost £11.50 each (per adult and child) and the experience lasts 45 minutes - 1 hour. There are still some tickets available for off-peak times here but you may struggle to book popular dates and weekends now. I think the experience will be back next year though so don't worry too much if you've missed out this time.  I spotted a lot of people moaning about the price to visit Father Christmas at Fenwick this year. As long as I can remember, Father Christmas has been free to visit at Fenwick and visiting the big man in the Newcastle department store is a tradition for many families. The fact that tickets for peak dates sold out very quickly and you now have to pay is frustrating and I can understand why people are upset. However, times change and like most retailers, Fenwick is having to make cut-backs (profits have fallen by 94% in recent years). As a business, it's not their job to provide a magical Christmas - it's their job to make money and I don't blame them for commercialising the experience. Personally, I think the experience was definitely worth £11.50 per person (so £35 ish for the 3 of us) and I think it offered a magical experience. I'd probably pay £20 ish if they added a couple of extras. I honestly walked around the whole time beaming. The elves even managed to get a smile out of Jack who normally walks around with a dead-pan expression at this kind of thing. If you're looking for a FREE Father Christmas visit, I highly recommend intu Metrocentre - you can read about our trip last year here.

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick - Arrival 


Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review - life doors and entrance

Your ticket will state your arrival time. You need to head to the doors next to the lifts on the lower ground floor of Fenwick. It's towards the back of the Christmas department. There's no waiting area and you just need to hang around by the decorations until an elf pops her head around the door, calls your name and you're invited behind the scenes. We visited at 11am and there was only one other child in our group (I think we might have been the second group up there on a Sunday). We were lucky in that we had plenty of time and there weren't any queues for anything. As we were leaving at 12 ish it seemed a lot busier.

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - fenwick behind the scenes

The elves are honestly fantastic. They're so good with the kids and involve everyone. The first elf sets the scene - you must not tell anyone that they've landed on Fenwick's rooftop and we all must keep it a secret. As you walk around the experience, children are invited to pick up any mittens they spot to hang on the wishing tree later on. After our initiation was over, we took the magical lift up to the roof where we were greeted by more elves. I loved all the theming and attention to detail all around - kudos to Fenwick for this.

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review - elves at work sign

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - emergency chocolates

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review - no naughty children sign

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick - Barbour Catwalk 

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - barbour clothing

Fenwick has teamed up with Barbour and you are invited to try some coats, scarves, hats and boots from their collection next. This isn't as commercialised as it sounds and it is a genius piece of marketing - how many cute photos of Barbour scarves are we going to see off the back of this I wonder? Heidi actually really suited her green Barbour scarf and I am quite tempted to buy her one now.....

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - Holly Sprinkles makeover

The elves encouraged us all to walk the catwalk with our new looks which was a silly bit of fun whilst we waited to meet the main man himself.

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - barbour catwalk

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick - Meeting the Reindeer 

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - rooftop views

Suitably wrapped up in Barbour, we were ready to head out onto the rooftop. I loved it and that initial first step out was a real pinch-yourself moment for me. The Newcastle skyline looks fantastic as a backdrop against the festive trees and snow on the roof. Two elves introduced us to Santa's reindeer. There is a bit of a sing-song and time for cuddles and photos. Everything is pretty fast-moving without ever feeling rushed.

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - santa's reindeer

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - meeting rudolph

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick - Santa's Cabin 

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - santa's cabin

When the reindeer drifted back off to sleep, we were asked to knock on Santa's cabin and it wasn't long before we heard his trademark 'Ho Ho Hos'. In we popped.....

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - knocking on santa's cabin

Santa was lovely - we visited with another girl and her mam in our group. I *think* groups are limited to 6 but don't quote me on that. It's not a personalised experience like some places offer (Santa won't know your child's name for instance) and you don't receive a gift but it's still nice. We had the chance for a little chat about what we'd like for Christmas and Santa asked Jack and Heidi to keep their bedrooms tidy if they'd like to stay on the good list. Santa definitely looked the part! There were photo opportunities at the end. In fact, you can take as many photos as you like throughout the experience and I like that Fenwick hasn't tried to commercialise the experience further by offering 'official photos only'.

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - meeting santa claus

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - santa by the tree

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - santa claus in cabin

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - photo with santa



After around 5 minutes, Santa performs some actual magic and we find ourselves in the elves' workshop.

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - magical door opening

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick - The Toy Workshop 


Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - crafting in the toy workshop

Santa's workshop is filled with real elves and toys. The elves teach the children how to make their very own Christmas toy which is basically a wooden snowman or reindeer which you can cover in PVA glue, wrapping paper and glitter. Heidi's turned out really well and she loves it. There's Christmas music playing and the elves spend time chatting with you all - it really is lovely. You get 10 minutes in this room which is long enough. Children are given a random pink bag to pop their toys inside and are offered extra paper to finish at home if needed. I would have liked to have seen a Christmas or Fenwick-branded bag provided but that's just me being fussy (scroll down to the snowman photo to see what I mean about the bag - it really doesn't fit in with the theme).


Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - inside the toy workshop

Before leaving the workshop, the elves make magic snow in your hands. I loved this little touch and the fact that you can see a genuine smile on Jack's face.

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - making magic snow



Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - snow


Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick - The Rooftop Terrace, Magical Snow & Mitten Tree 


Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - snow on roof terrace

Leaving the workshop, we found ourselves all alone on the rooftop terrace which was nice as we could take things at our own pace. It was snowing here and was like a real winter wonderland. We threw our snow over the trees, hung the mittens we'd found on the branches and made a wish and admired the views. It's the perfect spot for a Christmas photo.

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - photo on roof terrace

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - Quayside views from Fenwick roof


Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick - Cafe Claus 


Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - mulled wine and mince pies in Claus' cafe

The final stop is Cafe Claus. There's a choice of mulled wine, non-alcoholic mulled cider and hot chocolate to drink (included with your ticket - other drinks are available to purchase too) and you're offered Christmas popcorn and homemade mince pies too - all absolutely delicious. If I visited a Christmas Cafe and ordered all of this I'd be looking at spending around £15 so it's fantastic that it's all included. The elves in here are again, absolutely lovely and invited all of the children around the popcorn machine to say some magic words and watch the popcorn pop.

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - hot chocolate in Claus' cafe

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - Christmas popcorn


Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick - Ending 


Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - the snowman photo op

The only disappointing part of the whole experience was the ending. As we left the cafe there was nobody there to tell us what to do or where to go. The elves were busy with new arrivals and there were also people waiting to watch The Snowman at the rooftop cinema. We assumed we'd have to hand our Barbour clothes back to somebody but didn't know where. There was a lot of hanging around and feeling like a spare part which just ended our experience on a low. I eventually caught someone's eye after they'd finished checking the next group in. There really should be some kind of 'exit elf' taking your hats and scarves off you and directing you to the lift. It's not explicitly clear that you can't keep the Barbour merch and I reckon if they're not careful, some scarves and hats could easily go missing........

This is just a teeny niggle and I'm sure it's something Fenwick will change as time goes on - we were there on opening weekend and teething problems are expected.


If you'd like a peek at Fenwick's Rooftop Cinema, here it is - I had no idea what to expect but thought it would be outside. It is in fact indoors but still looks really sweet.

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - Fenwick rooftop cinema

We met the original elf back in the lift and said our goodbyes. Our hour had flown by and I loved every second. I would say it's one of the most magical experiences we've ever tried. One hour is the perfect length of time to enjoy something like this as we didn't end up bored and everything flowed really nicely. I'd recommend this experience to all ages from birth to grown-ups.

Obviously, we had to stop by Fenwick's Window as we left.......

Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review  - Fenwick's window 2018



Let me know if you fancy visiting Santa on Fenwick's rooftop this Christmas.

If you love Christmas and live in North East England, why not join my FREE North East Christmas Lovers Facebook Group Here

Disclosure - this is NOT a brand collaboration, we visited as paying customers. 

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Santa on the Rooftop at Fenwick Newcastle | A Review



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5 comments

  1. This is just the most magical thing ever! I am feeling so festive this year and wish I
    1. Had a child to take as a good excuse to enjoy this myself, and
    2. Had managed to get tickets!
    I am so first in the queue for tickets next year to take my friend’s children! Thanks so much for sharing it just sounds so wonderful. Melis x

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for another great review, I was unsure what to expect from the whole experience and a little dubious as I have booked for my daughters 9th birthday as a surprise but worried it might be a bit babyish for her but this sounds fantastic ��

    ReplyDelete
  3. Absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!!! Someone needs to lend me their children because I want to go up there so badly, I'm very glad you've taken all these beautiful photographs so I can share the experience with you!

    PS ... at the end, just run off with the designer coats? ;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. This sounds absolutely magical. Personally, I think it's reasonably priced, but I imagine it might come as a bit of a shock if people are used to not paying at all. Let's hope they listen to your comments about the end, to make the experience even better for people.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This looks and sounds amazing, I wish I had booked with the little two now but wasn't sure what it would be like and we are already going to see santa at Whitehouse Farm this year. If it is on next year I will be trying to get tickets as it looks like you had a great time x

    ReplyDelete

I always love reading your thoughts and comments - Sam x

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