There'll be ho ho hos wherever you go go go in London this Christmas.
Santa's Grotto in Leicester Square
Christmas in Leicester Square is a new event for this year, with Christmas markets, a circus and of course, Santa's grotto. Visits are of "an audience with Santa" style — groups of up to 20 children visit Santa at once, and listen to him reading a festive story before each child has a chance to sit on his knee and receive a gift.
Santa's Grotto, from £10 (discount for Westminster residents), book in advance, 11 November-24 December
Santa Land at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Santa Land sounds like the obvious place to encounter Saint Nick, and the good news for parents is that this one's free — and (good) kids still get a present from Santa. The bad news is that there's no booking, and in past years it's not been uncommon for people to queue for two(!) hours.
Santa Land at Winter Wonderland, free - no booking, 18 November-2 January 2017
Victorian grotto at Museum of London and Docklands
Both Museum of London and Museum of London Docklands have Victorian themed Santa's grottos, with Victorian carols being sung, and a gift for every child. Over in Docklands, Sailortown will undergo a festive transformation, while in the main museum, visitors can stroll down a Christmassy Victorian walk.
Victorian Santa's Grotto, from £7 per child, book in advance, 2-23 December
Husky sleigh rides at London Wetland Centre
For one weekend only, Santa is at the London Wetland Centre in Barnes. As well as visiting him in his woodland grotto, younger children can take a husky sleigh ride, or a donkey ride. They can also help Santa's elves prepare for Christmas by helping to make decorations and gifts.
Meet Santa Weekend. Husky/donkey rides are included in admission fees, visit to Santa is £6 per child (cash only). No advance booking, 3-4 December
Breakfast with Santa at London Zoo
As well as a chance to visit Santa in his grotto and get a gift, young visitors to London Zoo can have a VIP breakfast experience with Saint Nick. You'll visit the zoo with Santa's elves before it's open to the public, have breakfast with Mrs Claus, and meet the reindeer, before finally coming face to face with the man himself. There are also festive arts and craft activities.
Meet Santa, £10 per child, book in advance, 3-24 December. Breakfast with Santa, £40 per child/£15 per adult, book in advance, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24 December. Note, for both you'll also have to pay normal zoo admission as well as Santa event charges.
Storytelling with Father Christmas at Fortnum & Mason
OK, so it's not strictly a grotto, but it's still a chance to meet Santa. Fortnum & Mason is running Storytelling with Father Christmas sessions in its fifth floor boardroom on Piccadilly. Kids can hear Santa read a story before addressing him with the important issue of present requests and taking home a goody bag.
Storytelling with Father Christmas, £20 per child (age 3-11), book in advance, 3-23 December
Perhaps London's most famous grotto, Harrods has already sold out for this year, and the big guy's in such high demand, we'd recommend registering for 2017 ticket alerts right now.