Ho Ho Ho

Rachel asks:

“I’m wondering if you or any of your readers could recommend a good place in or near Greenwich where I could take my wee daughter to see Santa and have a picture taken. Ideally I’d love to not have to queue for hours on end. Any help with this would be great.”

The Phantom replies:

I’m glad you asked me that, Rachel, as it gives me an excuse to use another of Rich’s jolly images, this one very festive indeed.

The obvious place to go is the grotto that’s part of the market celebrations. The grand switch-on of the lights is next Friday, 27th November – with the Mayor and the cast of the always-fantastic Greenwich Panto (if your daughter’s old enough, I thoroughly recommend it.)

According to the website, the festivities begin at 3.00pm when the lantern parade weaves its way through the market, making the lights switch on – Good Lord – as if by magic! Father Christmas must be sprinkling extra magic Oofle Dust. Between 12.30 and 7.30pm kiddies can visit Santa in his grotto while the adults drink mulled wine and eat mince pies.

To be honest, if I remember from last year, it was a bit of a bunfight (or should I say pudding fight) to get into the grotto on the day of the switch on itself so you might prefer to take your daughter to enjoy the general fun of the event, and visit His Hollyness separately another day. He’ll be receiving young visitors on the weekends of the 5th and 6th, 12th and 13th and 19th and 20th December between 11.30am and 5.30pm.

Other places I know Santa turns up for include the Westcombe Society’s Dickensian Fair – you’ll have to get your skates on though – it’s today, at Blackheath High School in Vanbrugh Park between 11:30am to 4:00pm (I vaguely remember that they provide a Rent-a-Santa service where he does special home-visits in the last week before the Big Day – the gen will be in next month’s Westcombe News – if, like me, you don’t get it delivered, you’ll be able to find it online here (there’s a small item about it in this month’s edition, in the ad about the fair.)

Another event to look out is the Friends of East Greenwich Pleasaunce, who for the last few years have had a Christmas event with Father Christmas bowling up to his grotto in the park in ever-more exotic modes of transport. I’ve looked on their website but can’t see any sign of one being planned this year. They’ve had some rotten luck with weather in the past; maybe they’re hedging their bets and waiting for the last possible moment.

I confess I don’t know of any more places he’ll be turning up this year – but it’s entirely possible someone else does.

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