It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and, if you have small people in your home, then a trip to see Santa in his grotto is a must. On Tuesday I was invited to the launch of this year’s grotto at Birmingham’s iconic House of Fraser store (forever known as Rackhams to a certain generation). The grotto is well renowned for being the most beautiful in the city, and for supporting worthwhile causes. This year, its chosen charity is the UK wide Action for Children which helps disadvantaged children across the UK through fostering or adoption, by intervening early to stop neglect and abuse, by influencing policy, and by making life better for disabled children.
The grotto is, as ever, a wonderful Winter wonderland, with shining Christmas trees, animatronic reindeers, a friendly Yeti and a row of special Christmas rooms that range from a toy shop, a post office (where you can post your letter to Santa) and a Christmas stable. The grotto is entered on the 5th floor of the Birmingham store, with the Christmas Shop and Hamleys Toy Department, where of course there is the opportunity to meet Santa and his elves in his very cosy living room.
At the end of the Grotto there is a television area where children can write a letter to Santa whilst also enjoying a Christmas movie. There is also a photograph station where you can pick up a range of photography gifts including snow frames, baubles and professional photographs taken with Santa, a lovely memento of your visit.
The entrance fee is just £6 which is so reasonable when you actually see just how wonderful and beautiful the grotto is. I had two children with me, Joe (almost 9) and Renee (4) who were both absolutely enchanted with the grotto, literally lingering to drink in all the wonderful sights. The entrance also includes a really good quality present from the man in the red coat. All profits from the grotto go to Action for Children.
Mike O’Sullivan, Operational Director for the Midlands for Action For Children said, “We’re delighted to have the support of House of Fraser particularly at this time of year, demonstrating the true spirit of the season. Christmas can be a difficult time for vulnerable children, young people and their families. Our services in and around Birmingham give essential help to children, parents and carers, and with this kind of support we can make sure that more local people who need our help are able to get it when they need it.”
Parminder Sahota, Store Manager at House of Fraser said: “We are delighted to bring back the ever popular magical grotto for another year. The grotto at House of Fraser brings back so many memories for people in the city, and year after year we get such wonderful feedback from parents and children.
“Christmas is all about spreading goodwill and I am proud to be supporting Action for Children charity during this festive period.”
The House of Fraser grotto will be open from 11am-5pm every day, until 7pm on Thursdays, 6pm on Saturdays and until 3pm on Christmas Eve. Tickets can be pre-booked online at the House of Fraser website (a £1.50 booking fee per transaction applies). Tickets can also be purchased on the day from the Grotto reception, subject to availability.