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Children to meet Father Christmas via ZOOM as 2020 festivities impacted by coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 13:38 18 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:31 18 September 2020

Children can still meet Santa at Dobbies Garden Centres, including in Bury St Edmunds and Woodbridge Picture: WALNUT WASP

Children can still meet Santa at Dobbies Garden Centres, including in Bury St Edmunds and Woodbridge Picture: WALNUT WASP

Copyright © Walnut Wasp

A popular Christmas attraction is putting its Santa’s grotto online in an effort to “keep everyone as safe as possible” due to Covid-19.

A previous Christmas at Blackthorpe Barn Picture: TOM SOPERA previous Christmas at Blackthorpe Barn Picture: TOM SOPER

Blackthorpe Barn, on the Rougham Estate, near Bury St Edmunds, has announced that its country Christmas shop, crafts and Santa’s grotto will all be on the web this year.

But it hopes to sell its real Christmas trees in the normal way from November 27.

MORE: Bury Christmas Fayre falls victim to coronavirus

On Facebook the Rougham Estate said “things have changed so much since we were open for Christmas last year”.

It said: “Your family will still able to meet Santa live from our grotto by Zoom and his presents will come straight to your door.

Blackthorpe Barn's Christmas experience will be online this year, including Santa's grotto, but you can still buy real trees there Picture: DAVID GARRADBlackthorpe Barn's Christmas experience will be online this year, including Santa's grotto, but you can still buy real trees there Picture: DAVID GARRAD

“All will be revealed during the next few days. Watch out for our posts which will tell all. We are sure you are going to love what we have planned!”

On its website, it said tickets for the virtual grotto would go on sale from October 1.

“Youngsters aged between two and nine years old will still be able to meet Father Christmas face-to-face and enjoy the same magical and inspiring experience, albeit virtually.”

Also from October 1, the crafts event will be accessible from the website, with detailed images of makers’ work, which can be ordered for home delivery or some hard-to-send pieces can be collected from the barn.

For the country Christmas shop, there will be a click and collect service from October 1 from the shop entrance on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11am to 3pm.

During these hours the café will be open in the courtyard, from the kiosk. And for those who want to have their shop purchases sent to them, there is a delivery option too.

Many Christmas events have fallen victim to the coronavirus pandemic this year, including the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre that draws in thousands of people and features a Santa’s Grotto.

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MORE: Town’s Christmas lights cancelled because of public safety worries

Felixstowe’s big Christmas lights switch-on has also been cancelled because organisers are worried that social distancing will not be possible at the event.

The afternoon would have featured yuletide entertainment, Santa and his Elves and Rudolph parading through the town and then meeting families in the grotto.

Where can you see Santa this year?

Dobbies Garden Centres is still giving families the opportunity to meet Father Christmas in person at its stores in Bury St Edmunds and Woodbridge.

Its festive events include the popular Breakfast with Santa, which gives children the chance to spend a magical morning with Santa himself, and the Winter Wonderland experience before seeing Father Christmas in his grotto and receiving a gift.

This year, the grottos will be in open spaces to allow for social distancing.

Graeme Jenkins, CEO at Dobbies, said: “Our Christmas events programme has something for all ages as we have focused on bringing communities back together over the festive period.

“We will be following Government guidelines to ensure our events are safe and enjoyable for both customers and team members. We look forward to welcoming customers in all 68 stores for seasonal fun.”

Dobbies’ Christmas events schedule is available to view online here.

Bury St Edmunds Round Table is planning on extending the already established Santa Sleigh Run in the town and surrounding area, with all proceeds going to local charities.

As other events are confirmed, they will be included in this article.


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