SANTA has arrived at Merry Hill and he’s brought the Midlands’ first interactive 5D grotto experience along to boot.

New to the shopping centre this year, the grotto features an animated 3D film telling the story of Elbow the elf who saves Christmas. It also includes wind and snow effects - and even a touch of elf dust.

Children visiting the grotto have chance to star in the film alongside Elbow, with their name and photo forming part of the story - and afterwards they can meet Santa in person and tell him what they want for Christmas.

Kelly Reed, Westfield Merry Hill’s marketing manager, said: “With special effects, and an animated film which they get to feature in, kids won’t have experienced anything like this before and we’re sure it won’t disappoint.

“This year, we are pulling out all the stops to give children and families the best Christmas shopping experience they have ever had.”

Children with hearing impairments can visit a signing Santa who will be putting in an appearance at the grotto one day each week.

Located on the lower mall by Debenhams, the grotto is open until Monday December 24.

Entry is £3.95 for children and £2 for adults and visits can be booked online at

The centre's new outdoor ice rink, part of the new Quest leisure complex, is also now open.