– Thistles welcomes a new Santa’s grotto this year donating all proceeds to a local charity as part of its #ThistlesHelps campaign-

Thistles Shopping Centre in Stirling has today announced the opening of its brand new  Santa’s grotto, a festive experience which will be sure to get visitors of all ages into the Christmas spirit. This year the centre has partnered with local charity Strathcarron Hospice for the event, introducing a £5 ticket cost, with every penny of ticket sales donated to the local charity.

Opening its doors to believers young and old from Saturday 20th November, families from across Stirling and Forth Valley will be welcomed into Santa’s grotto, located next to the Barrhead Travel store, every Saturday and Sunday between 11am-1pm and 2-5pm. In the week running up to Christmas, Santa’s grotto will be open Monday 20th – Friday 24th, giving more families the opportunity to experience the magic.

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.

After a Christmas rife with lockdowns and cancellations last year, Thistles is pleased to be able to bring festive cheer to Stirling this year and is encouraging families from all over to come along, have fun and support a good cause.

Gary Turnbull, Centre Director at Thistles, said: “We are delighted to have partnered with Strathcarron Hospice for our Santa’s grotto this year. An event which has proven popular with residents in Stirling and beyond, we wanted to use this opportunity to give back to a local charity which means so much to so many people. By introducing a £5 ticket charge we will be able to make a substantial donation to Strathcarron, with every single penny from ticket sales being donated directly to the charity. I know they’ve given so much to their residents in the Forth Valley area, and in true Christmas spirit we want to give back to them through our #ThistlesHelps initiative.

“We hope to bring festive cheer to visitors this year, after the events of last Christmas, and look forward to bringing the community together to experience our magical grotto and support a worthy cause.”

Claire Kennedy, community fundraiser at Strathcarron Hospice, commented: “We are thrilled to  be part of Thistles Santa’s Grotto and know it will be a magical experience for everyone coming along to meet Santa! Every penny raised will help us provide specialist end of life care to people and families in Stirling and across the Forth Valley this Christmas – both in our Hospice and in people’s own homes.”

Partnering with Strathcarron Hospice is the latest in Thistles’ continued efforts to support local charities and businesses. Since the centre fully re-opened in April this year it has delivered charity partnerships with foodbank Start Up Stirling and Reanimate, a local animal charity with a focus on improving people’s mental health and wellbeing. The end of August saw the winner of the #ThistlesHelps local business campaign, Centre Stage Dancewear, settle into its new shop space as the dancewear business started its free five-month lease.

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