Father Christmas on his perfect Surrey weekend

As Christmas' key protagonist these days, the festive season often leaves FATHER CHRISTMAS with little time for leisure. Here, however, he finds five minutes to share what he most loves about his Surrey stopovers

People always seem to assume that I spend one frantic evening flying about, while relaxing for the rest of the year – actually, I often think that might not be a bad plan when passing Pennyhill Park, Bagshot. But I have to be honest; the property prices in Surrey do mean that for now at least, Lapland will remain home (although I'm tempted by Painshill Park's wonderful grotto - I just need to find a suitable sponsor. Any offers?).

While in the air I always find Leith Hill particularly tricky when flying over the county - sometimes it can be easy to forget about the tower, especially if the mince pie brandy content is a little higher than I’m used to.

I’m rather fond of my food you see. When I was a lad, I was much trimmer and you’d imagine carrying all these presents around might work up a bit of a sweat. Sadly, all the hospitality in Surrey is such that I rather too often end up dining out.

I’m glad to see that pubs in Surrey largely seem to be bucking the national trend. They do all seem to be putting more food on though and it’s so delicious that it really isn’t any wonder why the reindeer seem to be finding our journeys a bit more of an effort these days.

I do try to keep in shape. In fact, you might not have realised, but I’m a keen golfer. Mrs Claus always says that if I spent less time on the world’s golf courses, I might not have to leave everything to the last minute!

But, I’m a man of leisure at heart and so nothing gives me quite such a thrill as flying over the likes of Wentworth, Queenwood and Foxhills – I’ve made dodging stray balls something of an art.

Surrey is always something of a puzzler for my reindeer. We pass Richmond Park and they are never quite sure where to look. While our passes of Hambledon are accompanied by gawps and stares - Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen and co have been to many an exotic destination but I don’t think they ever get used to the sight of llamas in the Surrey Hills.

Anyway, the Christmas lights are starting to twinkle in Farnham, Guildford, Reigate and the rest. It’s always my favourite time of year. It’s so relaxing soaring over the festivities below and, as I recce Surrey, I’m once again glad of my reindeers extraordinary abilities; I just don’t think the old sled could take the many potholes I see Surrey drivers bouncing through.

Really, it’s no surprise that suspension kits and pillows are so high on many peoples’ lists.

For now, I shall leave you to your Surrey lives, looking forward to my return on Christmas Eve. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, and, as I’ve avoided it until now ho, ho and indeed ho.


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