Southside is set to be transformed into a winter wonderland this December, as Santa, snowmen and much more head to Hurst Street for SantaSide.

Starting on Saturday 7th December, a specially curated sensory grotto will be open to the public, with young visitors enjoying an interactive story with one of Santa’s elves before meeting Father Christmas for an eco-friendly gift and photo opportunity. There will also be reserved sessions throughout December for children who require assisted access.

With a giant 10 metre Christmas tree as a backdrop, festive street entertainers will be spreading the Christmas spirit, stopping for pictures with visitors and encouraging families to join in with the free craft sessions hosted each weekend with SEN specialists.

The area known as Hippodrome Square will also host a fairground with rides suitable for all ages and a family photo kiosk offering big prints, keyrings and customisable baubles and snow globes.

All the festive celebrations are being funded by Southside BID, with the sensory grotto and street entertainers provided by Twisted Attractions. Any profits raised from SantaSide will be donated to the Safe Space Charity, which will help to fund the Safe Space initiative that has helped hundreds of night time revellers in the area over the past six months.

Julia Robinson, manager at Southside BID, said: “Hippodrome Square has become a real entertainment hub since the summer, and SantaSide will continue to bring new visitors of all ages to the area. There will be plenty going on for the whole family.

“Our outdoor cinema produced amazing results for our local businesses, and the Halloween ScareSide activity brought more than 2,500 extra people into Southside. With Hippodrome Square undergoing development in spring 2020, showing residents and tenants what can be done with the space continues to be a priority.”

The SantaSide grotto is open every weekend in December in the run up to Christmas, with selected other dates also available. Tickets to the SantaSide grotto are priced at £10 (plus booking fee) and include an eco-friendly gift and mounted photo. Tickets can be purchased here.