Christmas is coming to Sherwood Forest

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Christmas is coming… and it is also the season for festive grottos at Nottinghamshire County Council’s country parks at Sherwood and Rufford.

This weekend the Yuletide Grotto begins at Sherwood Forest Country Park and people can then see the annual lively entrance from St Nicholas at 11am – however rumours are abound that the Sheriff of Nottingham (Mark Williams) is planning to spoil the party – can Robin Hood (Steve Warrington) save the day?

Following an exciting opening to proceedings, children will then get the opportunity to visit the medieval styled grotto and meet Saint Nicholas and receive a gift.

There’s also great news for dog lovers with a Dog Grotto taking place for one day only on Sunday at the country park between midday and 3pm! Santa Paws (one of the county council’s intrepid country park team) will be wearing a Dalmatian outfit with the event being organised in partnership with the local Jerry Green Dog Rescue Centre which is providing treat bags for our four-legged friends.

For those pets on a diet or not particularly bothered about foodie treats, there will be an alternative toy gift. The Rescue Centre will be at the event and all the proceeds from the grotto (it’s £2 a tail!) are going to the charity.

Santa Paws will be in his forest grotto, close to the visitor centre, with plenty of space for dogs to stretch their legs while queuing.

Izi Banton, site manager for Sherwood Forest, at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “A large number of visitors to Sherwood Forest do come with their dogs and we felt sorry for them last year when they had to sit outside Santa’s Grotto while their owners went inside, so we came up with the idea of a Dog Grotto.

“And of course dogs believe in Santa Claus – well at least Santa Paws. Why wouldn’t they?”

Meanwhile, around 100 children enjoyed the first taste of the season with Rufford Abbey Country Park’s Victorian style Grotto at Rufford Mill cottages which opened last weekend for the first time and like Sherwood will be operating for every weekend up until Christmas.

There are also lots of gift ideas at Rufford Mill and Rufford Abbey shops and traditional Christmas lunches at the Savile Restaurant. The Christmas trails at both Sherwood and Rufford are also popular with children giving them the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors and enjoy the festive theme.

Further details of the events:

Sherwood Forest Country Park, near Edwinstowe

In 2014 Sherwood Forest is celebrating its Diamond Jubilee – it is 60 years since this amazingly wildlife rich area was designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. In recognition of this anniversary we are running a series of events throughout the year celebrating the area’s diversity and introducing you to some of Sherwood’s natural treasures and conservation awards.

St Nicholas’ Yuletide Grotto

29 November – 21 December 2014 (weekends only), 11am - 4pm (last admission 3:45pm)

£5 per child including small gift (£3 car parking charge)

The forerunner to Father Christmas, and the traditional bearer of Yuletide gifts, St Nicholas will be in his medieval-style grotto each weekend until Sunday 21 December, ready to welcome visitors. For more information call 01623 823202

St Nicholas Arrives

30 November, 11am

£3 car parking charge

Rumours abound that the Sheriff of Nottingham is in Sherwood Forest today to try and put a stop to any Yuletide celebrations – let’s hope Robin Hood is around to save the day! Come along to cheer for St Nicholas as he arrives at his medieval grotto. This event involves some stunt fighting which may be worrying for younger children unless it is explained to them. For more information call 01623 823202.

Dog Grotto

30 November, 12pm - 3pm

£2 minimum donation, includes small gift for pet (£3 car parking charge)

No we haven’t gone barking mad, but knowing how much so many of our regular visitors love their pooches, we thought it was about time they had the chance to treat their canine companions to their very own visit to Santa Paws!

• For more information call 01623 823202

Yuletide Treasure Trail

29 November 2014 - 4 January 2015 (every Saturday and Sunday)

Time(s) 11am - 3pm

£1 (car parking charge may apply)

Enjoy some of the forest’s midwinter magic on this self-guided weekend trail around the Major Oak complete the clues! For more information call 01623 823202.

Rufford Abbey Country Park, near Ollerton

Santa’s Grotto

15 November - 21 December 2014 (weekends only), 22 - 23 December 2014

11am - 4pm (last admittance 3:45pm)

Cost: £5 per child including small gift, accompanying adults free

Visit Santa Claus in his traditional Victorian style grotto at Rufford Mill cottages - a great opportunity to spread some Christmas magic for younger children. Santa is a popular chap so come early if possible and be prepared for some queues at busy times.

Santa’s Christmas Trail

15 November - 24 December, 10:30am - 3:30pm

£1 for leaflet from Tourist Information Centre

Santa and his elves are celebrating the 12 days of Christmas up at the North Pole but as they came through the park they lost all their decorations. Following the clues, find your way through the park to the Mill and discover their location along the way! Collect a sweet reward from the Outdoor Living Shop when you complete the trail.

Further ahead at Sherwood Forest:

Sherwood Forest, Tree Dressing Day is on December 7, 11:30am - 1pm and 2pm - 4pm. A seasonal highlight in Sherwood’s Christmas calendar. Join in the ancient custom of Tree Dressing. This weekend all over the country people will be gathering together to show their appreciation for trees, and where better to celebrate the wonder of trees than in one of England’s most famous forests?

In relation to Sparkling Sherwood, from December 5-7, please note that tickets are now sold out for the Sunday, with limited spaces available for Friday and Saturday. It is an all ticket event. Please do not attend without a ticket. For more information call 01623 823 202 or visit: www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/christmas