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13 November 2014

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You are in: Coventry and Warwickshire > Local Radio > Radio Features > Take a sleigh ride down memory lane

Sleigh ride

Reindeer lead the sleigh to Santa

Take a sleigh ride down memory lane

If you're around 50 or under and grew up in Coventry, chances are you spent a magical childhood moment on the Co-op sleigh ride. We took a trip down memory lane.

It's fairly safe to say that one of the most enjoyable moments in the build up to Christmas is visiting Father Christmas. And generations of children growing up in Coventry have been treated to a special sleigh ride to see Santa at the Co-op in the city centre.

Because the ride has been open for more than 50 years we decided to return to the shop on Corporation Street to see if we could re-capture the magic. And as well as taking a trip to the grotto, we took a trip into Christmas past!

Bridging the generation gap

The grotto and sleigh ride are almost exactly the same as when they opened over half a century ago.

An elf ensures the ride goes smoothly

An elf ensures the ride goes smoothly

The two white reindeer glow in the dark as they lead children and parents to Santa's grotto, via magical landscapes of houses, castles and churches.

Children who experienced the ride have returned as adults from locations around the world with their children and grandchildren to show them why the ride is so special.

Santa greets a child after the sleigh ride

Santa greets a child

For sleigh ride opening times ring 024 7663 0606.

But remember ... only the well-behaved can visit Father Christmas.

last updated: 08/12/2009 at 11:04
created: 15/11/2005

Have Your Say

Valerie Caldwell
We had a similar sleigh ride at Kiddermister's Co op, it always felt magical

carol mcenery
i love the sleigh ride i took all 3 off my children and am lucky enough to be able to go again with my grandson cant wait it still has the magic off christmas

justine Gardner
We travelled from Aylesbury.. two trains and a taxi later we arrived ready to wait our turn.. but no!.. Where was everyone? We were the only ones there... had the sleigh to ourselves and a good old chin wag with Santa.. It has been 10 years since we came with our older children and to be able to enjoy it again was a real treat.. But were was everyone.. surely this has to be the best kept secret in the world..

Lauren Wood
I love the santas grotto and whent there when I was little. It is a magical ride to take for all those who beleive in santa clause.

Tasha Clews
This one of my favourite parts to Christmas, I could never work it out and I loved it along with my 2 sisters. Now it's the kids turn & one of my sisters travel from Berkshire every year for this. Fantastic !!!

im 34 and still cant work this ride out its magical!cant wait 2 travel back 2 cov with my 4 kids 2 share the magic .

becky willis
The sleigh ride is brilliant, when i was little i was convinced it was magic because we ended up in a different place at the end of the ride!my children have both loved it and we are excited to take our twins for their first sleigh ride experience!

clare hart
i remember going on this sleigh when i was a little girl with my sister... we are now 32 and 34 and we are taking our kids to have a ride on it.. I am sooo excitd i cant wait.. it will be the first time taking my daughter who is 2 X

Joy Dehany
Im hoping I can take my step grandson to see Santa this year, he only 15 months but he will be mesmerised. It's moments like this we need to cherish, and to keep the magic alive.

Gail Brooks
my husband and I have been desperate to have grandchildren so that we could go on this magical ride - our wish has been granted

I have very fond memories of the sleigh ride at the Co-op in Corporation Street. Every year I would look forqward to seeing Santa, but the most memorable was the actual sleigh ride. Once seated you would really believe you were travelling. When I had children, my Mum carried on the tradition and they loved going with her to see Santa on the sleigh ride. I hope this magical ride will be going for many more years.

Dionne & Katie-May Wallace
the Co-op Sleigh ride really is the best there is. My mum used to take my sister and I when we were younger. Now I have my own daughter who is 3 1/2 and tomorrow we are going to visit Father Christmas for the fourth time. I wouldn't dream of going anywhere else. I love it just as much as she does (probably more) They make Santa's house so wonderful and authentic, much better than some other places that I see year after year. I hope it stays around for another 50 years and more for my grand children and great grand children.

Ian Smith
I have very fond memories of the sleigh ride from when I was a child. Sadly when I took my own children tonight I was very disappointed to see the ride had been closed more than half an hour earlier than scheduled even though it didn't seem to be particularly busy.

Nikki Dunn
I had very fond memories of the sleigh ride from my childhood and took my five year old son last year he loved it and really thought that we were in lapland! after visiting father Christmas he did'nt notice when we came out into the curtain department! Neither did I when I was little.

Debbie Gaines
I remember going to the co-op as a child with my sisters to see Santa. I have magical memories taking the sleigh ride to visit him. I am going back 50 years now so lets hope it continues another 50 years

Tracey Freeth
I used to go on the sleigh ride 46 years ago now living in California but would go onit again if i was in Cov. My daughter threw me for a loop one year whe she told Santa she wanted a tortoise telephone it took us days to know where she got the idea from, then suddenly my sister saw one as you go into the sleigh ride....PHEW we were saved!!

I work on the grotto, come along!

Carey Lewis
Every year my mum and my nan used to take us to the co op to see santa and it was always soooo magical. This year I am taking my 11 month old son cant wait to see his eyes light up!!!!

julie garrett
remember going to see santa when i was a child i enjoyed it so much i take my children there and they love it

Sue Durden
oh my! I'm 47 and remember going on this every year as a child, and could never understand why, when we had been on a journey, we didn't get off and be somewhere else! I took my four children on the ride and am now taking my grandchildren, it's fabulous! I loved this ride.

sharon jordan
i went on the one in kidderminster and have very magical memories, and have been searching for somewhere to take my children a bit of a way to come but ,would love to relive the trip no where round kidderminster area ,merry christmas hope you all enjoy sleigh ride

I took my niece to the sleighride at Coventry Co-op in its early years. Over the next 40 odd years we took our 3 sons and in the early 90`s our 2 eldest grandsons. We now live in Cornwall but will be coming up to Cov this year to take our 5 year old grandson Connor. The sleighride is a very important part of Christmas for our family and countless others,

Carrie Havard
i am soooo excited, my daughter is 21 months old and i can not wait to take her to see santa at the co-op. Just thinking about my childhood visits makes me believe in santa all over again, i am a big kid at heart and really looking forward to this christmas, i can start to re-live my childhood through my daughters eyes, and what better excuse to have to go for a ride on santa sleigh Ho Ho ho!!

Sarah W Cannock
Well what can I say since being married my husband takes us back every year so he can remember those happy childhood times. Please keep this ride going and going all children and adults from the past still love it we dont have kids yet but we hope to take them in the future.

A magical ride still!! age 37 now i visited this ride in tamworth coop so magical ! correct me if i am wrong their used to be another santa ride at tamworth santas rocket? if anyone has any information on this this !anyone remember??. Santas sleigh ride coop coventry a must!!

There was one exactly like this in Kidderminster and I used to love it. It really was such a treat and you felt as though you'd gone such a long way. Wish I'd know it was on ealier as I would have taken my mum (now 82) like she used to take me! Hope they do it again next year - preferably near Worcester (hint hint).

Took my daughter on Saturday, reindeer ride still just as good as when I went about 35 years ago, Santa was a bit disappointing though alot younger than myself and beard kept falling down!

How amazing was that ride !! i got butterflies every time i went and i also took my godchildren too and they loved it. i am hoping to take my 9 month old daughter with me this year i can't wait to see her face.

very good sleigh ride i use to love going on this as a child

Amanda Edgar
When does it open this year!!!!

Kay Grainger
Me and my sister used to love this ride, and since having children ourselves, have returned every year to now let them share the joy. Me and my sister were convinced that the ride went around the store and even now (aged 37 and 32) won't let our Dad tell us any different. The sleigh ride was great, you used to look for your house as you went by and YES, the ride did go round the store!!!

David Paynter
I loved this magical ride, it was simply fabulous , the excitment the fun seeing santas deer and his fluffy white beard.

Simon Bull , Warwick
I loved visting Santa , I always remember being so happy when i was bouncing on his knee. The inital sleigh ride was the most exciting thing.

Robert Smith
I remember visiting the grotto each year at the co-op and Owen and Owens's. It was great and we gota gift too! Just innocent fun times without any 'religious' conotations attached to it. My Friend Anthony and I always looked forward to Santa and was a smashing childhood memory from the 60's.

i hope the tradition carries on for many years too come. I loved it ,my kids love it . Magical is the only way to describe it !

Andrea Daly
I loved this ride so much. I could never work out how it worked and why it looked like it was snowing? (OK, I was only 5!!!). Taking my own kids this saturday, I hope they enjoy it as much as I did.

Raj Sailopal
I remember Adrian!

Sara Stanton
It was definitely real because when you got off the sleigh ride you were in a different place. How good is that? Santa was irrelevant - it was the ride that mattered. Like the market roundabout it should go on forever.

I enjoyed this ride, couldnt wait for mum and dad to take me, i will be taking my kids too this year!

Adrian Martin
I loved santas sleigh. I can still remember sitting on santa's lap with a massive smile on my face, while he would ask me what i wanted. I remember asking for a pet rabbit called rudolph and santa asked if the rabbit would have a red nose too. this made me chuckle so hard that i weed myself!! how embarassing!

Simply magical! I used to take my two kids when they were little. Come to think of it, I used to take half the kids in the neighbourhood! The kids used to love it and I couldn't wait for that time of year, I used to get just as excited as the kids, maybe more! Now I take the grandchildren! It's great to see it back!!!!

I use to love this ride at Christmas and I now take my kids and they love it too. I get as excited as them I could go on it again and again.

I loved this sleigh ride as a child and i cant wait to take my own children . I think i will be the biggest kid going on it this christmas.

Amanda Lane
it was brilliant,as a child my grandparents took me every year.But when i reached the inevitable age of 8 things weren;t so magical and everyone thought I was too old to go on the sleigh! ah

I'm with Robbie. Oh My God! How could we forget? It was amazing!

I loved the sleigh ride when I was little. And I got some brilliant presents off Santa, like some flicking frogs and a yo yo. Can't wait to take my own kids one day.

Oh My GOD!!! i forgot all about that ride!!! :)

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