FATHER Christmas gets to so many places so quickly that it sometimes seems as if the jolly old man is in many places at once.

This is why he’s able to receive visits from excited children at dozens of locations during the run-up to the big day. Of course, for a person who reaches every home on the planet between sunset on Christmas Eve and sunrise on Christmas Day, appearing simultaneously in various shopping centres and other locations is a piece of cake.

A piece of Christmas cake, in fact.

At the Brunel Centre, the grotto is open every day until Christmas Eve, and the opening and closing times can be found at www.thebrunel.co.uk. For £4.50 per child, parents can ensure their youngsters’ wish lists go straight to the man who brings the presents if they’ve been good. There's also a fun Christmas trail to enjoy.

At STEAM, Swindon’s museum of the Great Western Railway, Father Christmas and his elves will be in residence today and tomorrow from 10am to 5pm, and there will also be music and stalls selling gifts, art, crafts, confectionary and other items to get visitors into a festive frame of mind. There is a special admission price of £2 for adults and £1 for children aged 3-16 and concessions. Children under three go free. There is a charge of £7.50 to visit the grotto, which includes a gift and craft activities.

Roves Farm Visitor Centre in Sevenhampton promises its biggest and best celebration yet, with Christmas activities this weekend and every weekend until the last one before Christmas itself.

Prices for the first two weekends are £4.50 for children aged under three, £8.50 for three and over and £6.50 for adults. For the latter two weekends, these prices increase by £1. Admission includes a gift from Santa and plenty of activities including special farm tours and the chance to take part in a Nativity play. The farm’s website is www.rovesfarm.co.uk.

Father Christmas is also fond of visiting garden centres, and in the Swindon area he and his grotto will be at Blooms in Hay Lane near Wroughton until Christmas Eve, as well as at Swindon Garden Centre in Hyde Road. It’s best to check dates and times by calling Blooms on 01793 852736 or Swindon Garden Centre on 01793 832934, or visiting www.thegardencentregroup.co.uk.