Visiting Santa & Christmas at Beamish

Thanks to our writer Gaia for this post. Photo credits Toon Fun Club and Andy Hudson. This post is based on a visit in December 2022. Please check with Beamish for the most up to date information before visiting. 

Visiting Santa & Christmas at Beamish

  • One of the best value Santa visits in the North East at £6 (plus entry to Beamish) 
  • Santa was very chatty, had lots of time for the kids and really put them at ease
  • Good quality traditional toys
  • Beautiful traditional grotto
  • Lots of other fun festive things to do
  • Tickets don’t sell out immediately
  • Entry ticket to Beamish lasts a year so if you time it right, you can use it for two festive visits  
  • Under 5’s get free entry to Beamish

Christmas at Beamish

Beamish is a brilliant day out any time of year but it’s especially magical during the festive period. The traditional decorations are really beautiful and there are lots of extra things to see and do.

Visiting Santa & Christmas at Beamish

The 1900’s town has stalls selling Christmas decorations and sweets, and there are carts selling mulled wine too, all helping you get in the festive spirit.

The kids loved spotting the elves which were hidden around the museum, which we collected a free trail sheet for at reception.

If you spotted all of them and emailed your answers you got a certificate, we didn’t quite manage to find them all but enjoyed colouring in and cutting out the elf decoration on the back of the sheet. There is also a special 'Elf Woods' which is fun to walk through. 

Visiting Santa & Christmas at Beamish  - Elf Trail

Father Christmas at Beamish

There’s two ways to see Santa at Beamish, and one is free! He rides around the museum in a horse and cart, stopping at various places to meet and greet and take photos with visitors on selected dates.

He was really jolly and friendly and it was a treat to see the horses and beautiful carriage too.

Santa’s Grotto at Beamish

You have to pre-book tickets to see Santa in his grotto. I managed to get 2 tickets for the week of Christmas only booking 3 weeks in advance, but if you want weekend tickets it’s best to book when they go on sale as they sell out first.

It’s only £6 per child, which is great value and one of the cheapest santa visits in the north east. You do have to pay for admission to Beamish too, but that gives you entry for a year so well worth the investment.

Santa's grotto is in the train yard near the fairground, and is festively decorate with nutcrackers, trees, snowmen and fake snow. We were offered a chocolate Brussel sprout while we waited, which was a nice touch.

There were Christmas jokes in the waiting area but we didn’t have to wait long before seeing the big man (you get a time slot which means you see him within half an hour of the time of your booking).

The staff were really funny and jolly, having a laugh and joke with the kids and adults while we waited. We were then led to an area outside the grotto to wait which was surrounded by Christmas trees and made a lovely photo backdrop.

When Father Christmas was ready for us we made our way into the grotto and the kids sat on a wooden bench for a chat with Santa.

Santa's Grotto at Beamish Review

Our 4 year old was a little shy but he instantly put her at ease with his lovely, calm manner and by asking questions about themselves and what they wanted for Christmas.

We didn’t feel rushed, he took plenty of time to chat to them and listen to their stories, and answer their questions.

The grotto itself was nicely decorated in a traditional style with a mini toy workshop behind santa. When they were finished talking Santa picked a present from his sack that he thought they would like – a game of pick up sticks for our 8 year old and a summersalting monkey toy for our 4 tear old.

They were both chuffed with them. I saw that smaller children were getting little reindeer cuddly toys, which were very cute too.  

Fun things for under 10’s at Beamish

We hadn’t been to Beamish for 3 years so the 1950’s town was a new area for us to explore. The kids loved the playground, something that we always thought Beamish was missing.

There’s also a mini golf course next to the playground but it wasn’t open when we visited, probably due to the weather.

We popped into the 1950’s village hall and there were tables set up with Christmas crafts, some children were making paper chains and we had a go at making paper lanterns. It was lovely and warm and they were playing Christmas music, very festive. 

Funfair at Beamish 

The funfair was a big hit with our kids too. Most of the rides (carousel, helter skelter, throw balls in jars) you need tokens for which are £2 each.

My 4 year old wanted to go on the helter skelter but she wasn’t tall enough to go alone so I had to go on with her – which is fine, but I then had to pay £2 as well which I found unreasonable. So £4 for one go on the helter skelter basically.

Also there’s a stall which is operated by Beamish (the other rides are an outside company) where you throw balls into painted mouths and roll balls along shuffle boards and they don’t accept the tokens (you pay at the stall) so I wasted £4 on tokens that I couldn’t use there.  

Nevertheless the kids loved the rides, the carousel was good fun and they both won a cuddly toy on the ball toss (we ended up getting more tokens for that too!) so all was well.  

Food and drink at Beamish (and where to eat a packed lunch)

In the 1950’s village hall they have a room that you can eat packed lunches in if the weather’s not good enough to have a picnic outside and there is a marquee in the funfair where you can also enjoy your own food and drinks (dogs welcome in the marquee).  The village hall also has toilets and craft activities when we visited.  

There’s a cute diner-style café in the 1950’s town with a juke box selling ice creams, sundaes and milkshakes, and a fish and chip shop next door.  

We ate at the fish & chip shop in the Pit Village, where they still heat the oil over a coal fires. It take a while to get served but is worth the wait!

We paid £35 for two fish and chips, two coffees and two apple juices. Not cheap (but then fish and chips isn’t these days!) but the portions are huge and it was the perfect amount for the four of us sharing.  

There’s a café in the 1900’s town and at the entrance too, and a few takeaway places for hot drinks and snacks.

Visiting Beamish at Christmas without Kids 

Just a quick jump into this post from Sam - we visited Beamish in December for a nice, festive dog walk with Fozzy and just had the best day. I love the atmosphere and decor. Dogs are welcome in the outdoor areas, the Sun Inn Pub and in the undercover marquee. Here are a few of my photos: 

Christmas at Beamish

We had a fantastic day at Beamish and will definitely be back to visit Santa again there next year. We were really impressed by him and all the staff for that matter, they really make the day more special and the decorations, elf trail and crafts really put us in the festive spirit.

There are lots of things to do at Beamish that we didn’t manage on the day we visited, but the beauty of the Unlimited pass is that you can visit for a year and we’re very lucky living in the North East that it’s not far to travel to.  


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