Last year I needed a Santa’s Grotto at short notice and so I settled on Elf School at the Eden Centre, High Wycombe. I was so impressed that we went back again this year! This year it is next to House of Fraser, but it is still completely FREE.
Sessions should ideally be booked in advance via their website, but you can walk up as well.
The Santa’s Grotto experience
At the Eden Centre’s Elf School it’s not just meeting Santa. The children have a little briefing about what’s going to happen by the Head Elf. She’s every enthusiastic about all things elf but the kids loved her. They’re all given hats and have their elf cheeks painted on (with bright red lipstick). Each child has to find out what their elf name is and recite the Code of Elves. Then they’re separated into small groups. Most of the kids start a craft activity but a few are taken off to start their elf training. They have to learn how to feed the reindeer and sort the post. Don’t worry though, each child will get chance to do all of the activities.
To feed the reindeer they have to take a small scoop of reindeer food and decide which reindeer’s box to put it in to. They’re then given a small bag of reindeer food to keep for Christmas Eve.
Next up is sorting the post. The children have to choose a letter and then put it in the right continent’s sack.
There’s a make and take craft for each child. They get a Christmas tree which they can decorate with 6 stickers (no more, no less). As you can see, the room is decorated really nicely with lots of little details. It feels very festive in there!
The Santa at Elf School, High Wycombe
After all of those have been done it’s time to meet the big man himself. One thing I really liked about this Santa’s Grotto is that there’s no long queue. Each child is taken up in groups of two of three families when they have a break between activities so they only have to wait for a couple of minutes max.
There is no additional photo packages on offer, but the elves are more than happy to take a photo for you.
Santa has a little chat with each child / family and then gives them their Elf School certificate. I know that it’s important for a lot of people so just FYI, the beard isn’t real. He is a lovely Santa though and was great with the kids.
Our review of Elf School at the Eden Centre
4.5 / 5 – We were there for about 25 minutes. It is a shorter time slot than last year, but we were actually in the room for the same amount of time. The experience was even better than last year, which we also really enjoyed. There’s more things to do with the addition of the post sorting and reindeer feeding. There isn’t a present as such (which Middle Child was disappointed with because Santa always gives you a present) but they do get the reindeer food, elf hat and certificate. Given that it’s free and you are there for so long I think it’s a fantastic offering.
The Elf School at the Eden Centre is FREE. You’re advised to book online, but there are a few spaces available on the day. The Santa’s grotto doesn’t run every day, just on selected dates in December. Book via the website.
Parking / How to get there
Eden Shopping Centre, High Wycombe. HP11 2DQ
You can park in the Eden centre car park, which is chargeable.
On-site, including baby change
Various food outlets on-site