Families are in for a truly magical Christmas experience at Clacton Pier.

Preparations are underway to transform the attraction into a winter wonderland with a host of festive fun, activities and decorations.

Santa’s popular purpose-built North Pole grotto will form the centre-piece of the event, along with singing reindeer in their stables, elves and animatronic characters including Frosty the Snowman.

The entire indoor area will be decked out in colourful festive fayre and a giant Christmas tree will welcome visitors at the entrance to the site.

Santa is arriving on the weekend of November 25 and 26 and will be back in his grotto on December 2/3, 9/10 and then from December 16-24. It opens from 10am to 6pm on each of the dates.

Pier mascot Sidney the Seagull will be out and about greeting his young fans in his festive outfit.

Director Billy Ball said every effort is being made to create a very special Christmas atmosphere for all the family.

“We have worked hard in recent years to fine tune this very important festival which really stepped up a level when we introduced the permanent grotto and the animatronic characters,” he added.

“We have a range of packages available with a choice of magical experiences to suit all ages and to make many happy memories.

“Santa is looking forward to visiting the pier again this year but will have to be away in time to make his deliveries for the big day.”

The grotto adventure is £14.99 per child and includes a visit to Santa and his elves, a super-sized festive cuddly toy, a cookie from Mrs Claus and entry for one adult who receives a hot festive drink. Additional adults pay £3.50 with a hot drink.

There is also a Christmas Cracker deal for £14.99 with adventure golf, big wheel, entry to Jurassic Pier 4D encounter, Santa’s magical sleigh ride 4D, unlimited dodgems, unlimited video games and one luxury hot chocolate. For a £5 upgrade either unlimited rides, soft play or one game of bowling can be added.

The pier is also offering a winter rides band for £10 with unlimited rides, excluding go-karts and big wheel from November 25 up until February half term.

Full details and to book visit clactonpier.co.uk.