He’s about to embark on his annual world tour, but it’s not all work and no play for Santa – he’ll get to visit some of the UK’s finest chimney stacks on his way round.
And if Father Christmas needs a little help choosing which ones he should definitely visit, here's our favourites:
Hampton Court Palace, London
There’s no better way for Santa to kick off his tour de flues than by visiting Hampton Court Palace in Surrey.
Not only is it a beautiful historical landmark that looks magical in winter, but it also has the largest number of decorative chimney stacks in the country - 214. What Santa may not know, though, is that the brick chimneys of the palace were an integral part of the 1514 design for Thomas Wolsey’s palace.
The number of chimneys continued to grow after Henry VIII added four more after purchasing the palace in 1528. This winter, Santa can explore Hampton Court Palace’s gardens by night, as the area will be lit with an interactive light trail. However, those who aren’t night owls like Santa can enjoy the palace on a more traditional daytime visit.
Oxo Tower Restaurant, London
The Oxo Tower chimney looks a lot less fancy than the famous intricate structures of Hampton Court, but there’s still plenty of history to them.
What was built as a power station in 1900 was later turned into a warehouse and a manufacturing facility for Oxo beef cubes. The name remained but the building was rebuilt in Art Deco style and the famous chimney morphed into a tall crowned tower.
Now Oxo Tower is home to a restaurant specialising in modern British dishes. As the party season is in full swing, we would suggest booking your table well in advance to avoid disappointment. With stunning views across London’s landscape, Oxo is also a great venue for trying to spot Santa’s sleigh navigating between the clouds.
Tate Modern, London
We don’t know if Santa is into modern art, but we’re sure he will appreciate the sturdy and tall chimney of the Bankside Power Station.
Towering at the height of 99 meters (325 feet), the chimney is an integral part of the London’s Bankside Power Station, home to Tate Modern. Interestingly, the famous chimney was supposed to have a twin, according to the early designs.
Often referred to as an ‘industrial cathedral’, Bankside Power Station was designed by the architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who also designed the red telephone box, Battersea Power Station and Waterloo Bridge.
The Three Chimneys, Isle of Skye
Ironically, The Three Chimneys on the Isle of Skye building has six chimneys, but we’re sure that Santa won’t mind the confusion as the restaurant offers supreme high-end cuisine at its very best. The Michelin-starred seafood is one of Isle of Skye’s finest food establishments.
And if Santa has a bit too much food or feels tired and needs to have a nap, there’s also a 5-star accommodation, situated right next to the restaurant building, by the sea. The remote location is also perfect for Santa’s reindeer to stretch their legs and graze on some Scottish grass.
Black Country Living Museum, Dudley
This chimney should mix things up for Santa’s tour. One of the finest and largest open-air museums in the United Kingdom, located in Dudley, is home to Anchor forge, which houses a 1.5-ton steam hammer, furnace and chimney, which were all collected from Isaiah Preston of Cradley Heath.
The museum’s chimney may not be the tallest or the best-looking, but it packs in more history than most chimneys in the UK. As Santa is a rather traditional fella, we’re sure he will like Black Country Living’s chimney, along with the other exhibits of this award-winning museum.
SS Great Britain, Bristol
The most unusual chimney on this list for Santa isn’t exactly a chimney but a ship’s funnel.
As the lungs of SS Great Britain, the funnel is part of the revolutionary mechanics that made this ship legendary. The former passenger ship is now a museum in Bristol, with numerous interactive exhibits and actors recreating life on board of the ship.
There’s also plenty of festive activities scheduled for December, including a Dickensian Christmas dinner and a Christmas party night.
Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds
Towering over Leeds’ Millennium Square, this is quite possibly the most famous and recognisable chimney in the city. The chimney of the Electric Press building, home to the Carriageworks Theatre, is a dominant square brick construction.
The chimney has ‘The Electric Press’ spelled out on all sides in white square tiles, making it rather hard for Santa to miss.
The Caledonian Brewery, Edinburgh
If Santa feels like having a pint, the Caledonian Brewery will be very easy for him to find, thanks to its massive chimney. The brewery is part of Edinburgh's fabric and the reason the west of the city smells of hops.
The Caledonian brewery feels very welcoming and would make a great last stop for Santa - perfect for a quick tipple before stumbling back to North Pole and an awaiting Mrs Santa.