Thistles looks to surpass last year’s £5,853.50 raised for Strathcarron Hospice for latest #ThistlesHelps campaign-

Thistles Shopping Centre in Stirling has announced the return of its popular Santa’s grotto, a festive experience which will be sure to get visitors of all ages into the Christmas spirit. Following the success of last year’s grotto raising nearly £6000, Thistles has partnered again with charity Strathcarron Hospice for the event with the aim of surpassing the amount raised in 2021.

Opening its doors from Saturday 19th November until Sunday 18th December, believers young and old across Stirling and Forth Valley will be welcomed into Santa’s grotto, located next to the Barrhead Travel store, every Saturday and Sunday between 10am-1pm and 2-5pm. In the week running up to Christmas, families will have more opportunities to experience the magic as Santa’s grotto will be open daily from Monday 19th – Friday 24th.

The grotto is proving popular early this year as Thistles has already received over 200 bookings before opening and urges everyone to book in advance to avoid missing out. Those visiting the festive grotto will be able to write their very own letter to Santa, take a photo in his magical sleigh and receive an age-appropriate gift from the man himself for just £6.95 per child with all proceeds going directly to the hospice.

Gary Turnbull, Centre Director at Thistles, said: “We’re excited to welcome the people of Stirling and further afield back to our new and improved Christmas grotto. Last year we saw the kindness and generosity from everyone that visited and we managed to raise almost £6000 for Strathcarron Hospice. We’re delighted to be partnering with them again for this year’s grotto and looking forward to going above and beyond last year’s donation.

It was wonderful to see the popularity of last year’s grotto, and if last year is anything to go off we would urge everyone to book their spaces as soon as they can because spaces will fill up fast.”

Claire Kennedy, Community Fundraiser at Strathcarron Hospice, commented: “Last year it was fantastic be partnered with Thistles and even better to continue the partnership as the selected charity for the Christmas grotto this year. We were thrilled to see the popularity of the event last year and all of the money the local community raised for us to continue to provide specialist end of life care across Stirling and Forth Valley. Last year’s donation was a massive help to the hospice and it just showed once again the heart that we know the people of Stirling for.”

Partnering with Strathcarron Hospice is the latest in Thistles’ continued efforts to support local charities and businesses. Thistles will also be hosting its annual Giving Tree in aid of Start-up Stirling allowing visitors to purchase a gift for those in need while shopping. This year the Giving Tree and gift drop off point will be located outside Superdrug 17th November. The giving tree in past years has been an extremely popular and useful way for the Stirling community help each other through what can be a tough time of the year.

Tickets for the Santa’s grotto experience at Thistles are required to be pre-booked and can be purchased online at

For more information on Thistles or their festive events, visit