THE countdown to Christmas has begun....

List making is part of the seasonal preparations; those who are entertaining will be inviting their nearest and dearest and beginning to put the planning in process.

Of course, the most important lists are those being penned in letters - or perhaps more likely tapped out in an email these days - to the Man in Red who will be gathering children's gift wishes from around the world ready for his traditional Christmas Eve delivery.

With such an important task to fulfill, Father Christmas will be sending out his associates to grottos far and wide to meet and greet young visitors - and he'll be popping into our home county of Yorkshire too.

From Saturday November 11 until Christmas Eve Santa and his Reindeer arrive at the magical Enchanted Forest at Stockeld Park, near Wetherby.

Home to the Christmas Adventure, Stockeld Park provides the perfect atmosphere to celebrate the festive season with walks through the enchanted forest and winter-themed activities such as ice skating and the Nordic Ski trail.

Stroll through the forest, illuminated by thousands of twinkling lights and see Santa's Sleigh Parade. Young visitors also have the opportunity to meet Santa and his reindeer during special meet and greet sessions.

For more information, or to get involved, visit

Over in Tong Village, near Bradford, Tong Garden Centre's Festive Family Fun Weekend takes place from 11am on November 18 and 19.

Father Christmas and his helpers will be waiting to greet their young guests in the magical grotto and there is also the opportunity to join him for breakfast in the garden centre restaurant. For dates, times and to find out about the other festive activities visit

Young travellers can literally step back in time when they climb aboard the iconic steam locomotives festooned for the festivities as the carriages host Father Christmas and his pixies.

The Santa Specials are a popular calendar occasion for the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway giving young passengers the chance to meet Father Christmas during the 10 mile return steam trip through breathtaking Bronte Country on the railway famed for providing the back-drop to the film The Railway Children. To find out more visit

Father Christmas is the special guest at Oakwell Hall, Nutter Lane, Birstall, during the 'Christmas Weekend.' Countdown to the festivities and glean some festive gift inspiration browsing craft stalls. There will be food and music at the event which runs from 11am until 4pm on Saturday December 2 and Sunday December 3.

Kershaws Garden Centre, Halifax Road, Brighouse, will be hosting Father Christmas when he takes up residence in his grotto there from 11am on Saturday December 17. To find out more call 01484 713435 or email

One of the more unusual places to meet the Man in Red is the underground grotto at the National Coal Mining Museum at Caphouse Colliery, New Road, Wakefield.

Visitors can travel underground to see Santa during the Christmas event running from November 25 until December 23. Visit for more information.

Join Father Christmas for a cruise along the River Ouse in the beautiful historic city of York. City Cruises are hosting the York Santa Experience giving young visitors the chance to meet Father Christmas during this unique water ride. Visit or call 01904 628324.

Returning to the breathtaking Bolton Abbey estate in North Yorkshire, Father Christmas and his Elves will be spending some of the festivities in their beautiful Romany caravan nestled amidst the enchanted woodland.

This event is already proving popular and pre-booking is recommended. Visit or call 01756 718000.