Santa goes down a storm on Swanage Pier

Due to popular demand from children and adults alike, Santa’s grotto on Swanage Pier looks set to return next Christmas along with a visit from the donkeys.

The team at Swanage Pier have been thrilled at the very positive response to its first Santa’s grotto and other Christmas events including Santa arriving on Swanage’s all weather lifeboat at the beginning of December 2022.

Donkeys on the Pier 2022 at Christmas
Rena Lang

Kelly’s Donkeys from Somerset are stars of stage, screen and many a nativity play

Celebrity donkeys proved a big attraction

Swanage Pier has glowed in the dark with the multi coloured lights from its Lighting up Lives event where a light can be dedicated to someone special. This was the second year of the display and was back bigger and brighter.

Also returning was the Barnet Christmas tree donated by the Avery family in memory of their mother and grandmother Jean Holman. Now an annual tradition, people are invited to hang a bauble on the tree in memory of loved ones.

However the biggest draw this year was a visit from the donkeys on Saturday 17th December 2022. This was the first time the donkeys from Kelly’s Donkeys had visited the pier and it’s unlikely to be the last. The donkeys are stars of film and stage and are used to appearing in nativity scenes.

Santa's grotto on Swanage Pier
Swanage Pier

All the volunteers put in a lot of effort to make the experience special

“It’s so lovely seeing so many families on the pier”

Dolly Brown from Swanage Pier said:

“The donkeys were fabulous and we can’t wait to get them back next year. Meeting Father Christmas has also been very popular. The feedback has been amazing!

“It’s so lovely seeing so many families on the pier. There are a few slots left to visit Father Christmas – we’re here until Friday if anyone wants to make a last minute booking for their children or grandchildren.”

Donkeys on the Pier 2022 at Christmas
Rena Lang
Donkeys on the Pier 2022 at Christmas
Rena Lang

Volunteer elf Rena Lang gets to meet the donkeys

“Loved every moment!”

Volunteer Swanage Pier elf Rena Lang added:

“It was a wonderful and magical experience to be a part of the first Santa’s grotto on the pier. As a volunteer and an elf it was very rewarding to see the children’s faces light up with excitement to see Santa as well as the parents.

“It’s been fantastic to be part of the experience. Loved every moment and will definitely volunteer as an elf again next Christmas!”

Santa on the Pier at Christmas 2022
Lynn Berry
Santa on the Pier at Christmas 2022
Lynn Berry

Lynn Berry’s grandchildren get to meet Santa at the pier

“Most special visit to Father Christmas I have ever experienced”

The effort by all the volunteers that has gone into making the visit to Santa very special has been appreciated by lots of families.

Local resident Lynn Berry said:

“We would just like to say a big ‘thank you’ to Father Christmas, Elfie and all his helpers at Swanage Pier. It was such a lovely, special visit, and made a very special memory for two little girls.

“I have four children, and four grandchildren, and by far, this is the most special visit to Father Christmas I have ever experienced. Thank you to all involved!”

Further information

  • Santa will be available to visit in his grotto on the pier until 4.30 pm on Friday 23rd December 2022. To book a slot go to the Swanage Pier website
Santa arrives on a lifeboat to light up Swanage Pier
Alison Pettitt

Santa gets delivered to the pier by the crew from Swanage Lifeboat Station

The tree donated by Julie Avery and her daughters Natalie and Joanne is lit up

The Barnet Christmas Tree with baubles for loved ones

Santa arrives on a lifeboat to light up Swanage Pier
Alison Pettitt

All lit up and glowing out to sea

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