Looking for a Santa’s Grotto experience with a difference? Live within travelling distance of Portsmouth?
Then I’ve got a treat the whole family will love!
This Christmas Emirates Spinnaker Tower is once again home to a Tower Toymaker’s Workshop, where children are invited to join Santa’s elves and help them put the finishing touches on the latest batch of toys in the workshop.
We were invited to see what it’s all about on the opening weekend of the workshop, which you’ll find nestled inside the iconic Spinnaker Tower next to Portsmouth’s Gunwharf Quays.
Meeting Father Christmas at Portsmouth’s Tower Toymaker’s Workshop
If you haven’t come across the Spinnaker Tower before, it’s the building with the needle-like spire you can see on the horizon as you approach Portsmouth.
At 170 metres high with views up to 23 miles away from the viewing deck on top, Santa’s Tower Toymaker’s Workshop can be found at the bottom of the tower in an area not usually open to the public.
What does the experience include?
The Tower Toymaker’s Workshop is a 30-minute grotto experience including a visit to Father Christmas. Before our visit the kids received personalised invitations through the post in bright red envelopes asking them to come and help in the workshop in the run up to Christmas.
On arrival we were greeted by two of Santa’s elves who took us inside the workshop and explained that Father Christmas needed some help finishing off his latest batch of toys – which is why we’d been specially invited that day.
The kids got to choose a cuddly toy from the workbench in front of them and were then charged with the task of choosing and placing a magic charm inside before stuffing their toy and sealing it up.
While this hive of activity was going on the children were invited to meet the big man himself in individual family groups, tell him what they’d like for Christmas and of course have a photo too!
Afterwards they got to keep their cuddly toy, which also came with a birth certificate, and we were free to explore the rest of the Spinnaker Tower.
The Spinnaker Tower
The tower boasts a high-speed lift which travels at 4 metres per second and takes you to the top in just 30 seconds. From there you can see for miles, across to the Isle of Wight and out to sea as well as inland as far as your eye can see.
There’s also a glass floor which isn’t for the faint hearted but which the kids absolutely loved, with views right down to the ground and the Tower Toymaker’s Workshop too.
There’s a café serving tea and cake and something a little stronger if it takes your fancy – it was a shame we had the kids with us as the tables set up for festive afternoon tea looked rather inviting!
How much does it cost?
Entry to the Tower Toymaker’s Workshop is £15 per child which includes a soft toy to take home and unlimited entry to Emirates Spinnaker Tower on the day of your visit (accompanying adults pay the standard tower admission price of £11.50 per person). Alternatively, the Toymaker’s Workshop experience without admission to the tower is £10 per child.
Compared to other Santa’s Grotto experiences we have done I thought the Tower Toymaker’s Workshop was great value for money – as well as meeting Father Christmas, the kids got to make and keep a plush cuddly toy, and access to the Spinnaker Tower afterwards meant we spent several hours at the attraction. We were in a relatively small group with just two other families which made the experience more personal and less commercialised than others, and the elves were super friendly and really good with the kids. If you’re in the area this Christmas it’s well worth a visit!
We were gifted tickets to Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower Toymaker’s Workshop in exchange for this post. As always all opinions are my own and based on our own honest experience. The Toymaker’s Workshop is open on selected dates until Tuesday December 24, 2019. For more information click here.