The countdown to the big day has begun and the feeling of Christmas is all around at intu Watford.

Filled with thousands of twinkling lights, the sounds and smells of festivities and with more places to shop, eat and entertain, intu Watford is set for its biggest Christmas ever.

Here we look at what’s on offer as we head towards the big day.

Santa’s Grotto

The big guy will be wrapped up cosy and warm in his Nordic Winter Wonderland log cabin, along with his helpful elves located in the Gallery above Next.

To find him, just follow the ho, ho hos. Families are invited to visit everyone’s favourite jolly gent, where they can have a photo with the man himself and receive an early Christmas gift. Entry to the grotto is £4 per child (plus £1.50 booking fee), adults do not have to pay to enter.

There will be minimal walk-up slots available, so intu advises visitors to book online in advance to ensure they get their preferred time slot.

Santa will be welcoming visitors to his grotto at intu Watford until Christmas Eve.

Book at

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The magical colour-changing tree

The incredible, interactive, colour-changing, LED Christmas tree is lit up in the mall outside Next, where it will help raise money for Home-Start Watford. Every time someone donates, they will be able to choose which colour the tree should change to, while supporting local families in need.

Give A Gift

Give a Gift returned this year to help the elderly in the community at Christmas.

Shoppers can pop a gift into the giving box at intu until December 19, ready for it to be passed on to a local elderly person.

intu Watford is working with the Watford & Three Rivers Trust and its ‘Getting Together’ charity, which supports local social, health and wellbeing groups and activities across Watford & Three Rivers. It brings people together to help keep fit, stay active and, most importantly, make sure they don’t spend Christmas alone.

The gifts collected will be distributed to elderly guests at Christmas parties put on by the charity. Members of the intu Watford team are also hoping to go along and help on the days.

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The Gift Wrap

If you are all thumbs and toes, don’t worry, the charity gift wrap team is back – armed with tape and reams of paper to make your gifts look beautiful.

To see list of charities each day go to

Christmas opening hours

intu Watford’s extended late-night opening hours started this week, giving shoppers more time to get Christmas sorted. People can shop to their heart’s content from 9am to 8pm every day except Sundays – and don’t forget parking costs £2 after 5pm.

For everything you could possibly want this Christmas, the intu Watford Gift Card gives your loved ones the gift of all sorts of possibilities – especially for those slightly-awkward-to-buy-for ones.

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Spreading festive joy

Families who are being supported by local charities Home-Start Watford and Watford Mencap were invited to visit Santa’s Grotto at intu Watford.

Children were given a VIP experience and each had some time with the man himself and received a gift to take away, as well as a photo to help them remember their special visit.

Home-Start Watford supports families who are struggling by sending out volunteers who can offer a listening ear, help with the children, provide practical assistance or signposting to other services. Watford Mencap looks after people with learning disabilities, their families and carers.

Vicki Costello, centre director at intu Watford, said: “It was so lovely to put on an engaging event like this for members of the community who really deserved it.

“It was wonderful to see these families smiling and experiencing so much joy. It’s brilliant to be able to do something that has such a positive impact on the community at Christmas.”