In 1879, American cartoonist Thomas Nast exclusively revealed that the location of said grotto is the North Pole. Since then, several other countries have claimed to play host to Santa’s grotto. Norway claims he lives in Drøbak. In Denmark, he is said to live in Greenland, while in Finland, he is claimed to live at Korvatunturi.
The answer may be closer to home. This year, Santa is claimed by one of the West Country’s finest – Wookey Hole Caves.
The caves, on the Southern edge of the Mendip Hills, were formed through erosion of the limestone hills by the River Axe. They are a tourist attraction steeped in myth and legend – most notably “the Witch of Wookey Hole”, whom you may see (with the squint of an eye, tilt of your head and a dose of vast imagination) as a human shaped out-crop within the cave. Allegedly turned to stone (limestone for anyone interested) by a Monk from nearby Glastonbury as punishment for her witchy ways.
So, back to Santa at Wookey Hole Cave (or Cave, Cave, Cave to give its literal translation). Nestled amongst the stalactites and stalagmites, visitors can trek through the most accessible of the caves chambers (where scenes from Harry Potters Chamber of Secrets were filmed) in search of Santa’s grotto, and catch the Christmas Panto. Or if this is just all too much for you, grab some of the cheese maturing in the cave and have a nibble sitting amongst the (plastic) dinosaurs in Dinosaur Valley.
If nothing else, the presence of a dinosaur valley and Santa’s grotto in the same cave formation may, at last, solve the mystery of how he manages to deliver all those presents in just one night…