Animals? Tick. Garden centre and fresh food hall? Tick. Restaurants? Tick. Ruxley Manor offers a nice way to spend a few hours on a day out. Add to that a Santa’s Grotto and the kids are even more satisfied.

Date Visited: Sunday, 24th November 2019

Location: Maidstone Rd, Orpington, Sidcup DA14 5BQ

Getting There: Easiest method is by car (not ideal and car park does fill up quite quickly on weekends). There is a buss (233) that stops outside, and closest station is Sidcup.   

Cost: Entry is free – however cost for Santa’s Grotto is additional (comes with a gift and activities). 

Approximate Run Time: 45 minutes – there is a shorter 20 minute session for those under 2.  


A lovely way to spend a day out with the family, Ruxley Manor feels like you’re a world away in the English countryside. However, you’re still in South-East London. It consists of different departments, ranging from a food hall, garden centre and Cara’s favourite – the pet store. 

  • Food Hall – great range of fresh produce, especially the meats. Depending on when you visit, they usually have some great special.
  • Garden Centre – huge store, with a great variety of items, although not sure how useful a lot of them are if you live in a small house. 
  • Restaurant – tasty options, including hot food and desserts.
  • Pet store – lots of fish, a snake, some bunnies, turtles and hamsters. Cara could stay there for ages watching them.
  • Play area – located just outside the restaurant, it’s a small soft-play area for the kids. Does get quite busy but keeps them entertained

Cara Ruxley Manor 

The Grotto…

The main purpose of our visit on this occasion was to visit the Santa’s Grotto again. Cara has attended the same one since she was one and each year she seems to enjoy it more.  Each year, it sells out quite quickly, so be sure to book early. You get to choose a day and time slot, and enter the details of your child to ensure they get the appropriate gift from Santa. 

On the day, you’re ushered in to the waiting area where the kids can have a go at throwing fake snowballs and make up their reindeer name. There are two activities they go through before meeting Santa – 1. making reindeer feed with Mrs Claus. This included some singing and dancing. 2. This seems to change each year, this year was decorating a stocking. It’s very interactive and Cara seemed to enjoy it with her friend.  

Finally, everyone’s shuffled in to Santa’s living room where each child receives a nice gift and gets to meet Santa. Cara sat patiently with her friend in the front row this year. Once every child has received their gift, it’s family photo time with the option to purchase it at the gift shop for £10.

At this time of year, they have real-life reindeer in the garden centre so be sure to check them out before heading off.

Cara Ruxley Manor 2
  1. If you wish to visit the Santa’s Grotto – BOOK EARLY! It is sold out every year… 
  2. Book early…
  3. Book early…

More Information:


Burn Time: 4 out of 5 – you can spend a couple of hours there, and then explore nearby Bexley or Chislehurst.
Value: 4 out of 5 –
It can be free if you choose to just browse, but once you add in the Grotto visit and food, it all adds up, especially if you have a large family.
Overall: 4 out of 5 –
we’ve been a few times now, and it must be good if we keep going back!  Nice day out.

Have you been to Ruxley Manor before? Any other recommendations for Grottos or farm centres?