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Santa's workshop at Heathrow

Heathrow has unveiled a collection of periscopes, revealing the buzz of magic elvish Christmas preparations happening underneath terminals.

By Heathrow

Given the magical feat achieved by Santa and his team of elves each year – it’s no wonder 2.6 million 1 children up and down the country wonder and question their parents about Santa’s delivery logistics.

To help parents this Christmas, Heathrow has unveiled a magical installation of periscopes at Terminals 2 and 5 that will allow children (and adults) to immerse, and witness, themselves of the inner workings of Santa’s incredible logistical feat for the very first time.

By peering though the periscopes, innovative 360-degree films will give passengers the chance to watch a range of elvish activity taking place right underneath them – with scenes from Santa’s Toy Factory, Department of Wrapping and Mail Room all acted out by Heathrow’s very own colleagues.

The scenes reveal Heathrow’s long held secret: that Santa, like many others around the world, relies on the UK’s hub airport to get to where he needs to be during the holidays, and what’s more, has built his entire workshop right underneath Heathrow’s terminals.

New research reveals toughest Christmas questions from kids

The revelation follows new research 2 by Heathrow, which shows the toughest questions kids under 10 ask their parents in the run up to the big day - with the top question being “How does Santa really get to every house in the world?”

  • How does Santa really get to every house in the world? (32%)
  • How come Santa doesn’t run out of time delivering presents to children all over the world? (24%)
  • How does Santa know what I'd like for Christmas? (24%)
  • How does Santa know if I have been naughty or nice? (23%)
  • Do Santa and his elves make all of the toys? (22%)
  • How can Santa speak all the different languages around the world? (14%)
  • How do Santa's elves know how to make toys? (12%)
  • How many elves work with Santa? (12%)

As the UK’s global gateway connecting more than 200 destinations around the world, Heathrow makes the perfect destination for Santa to base his workshop - with its long runways, cargo facilities and world-class air traffic controllers, Santa can deliver around the world on schedule.

Operating at near-full capacity, Europe’s largest airport expects 6.5m passengers to go in and out of its doors this December 3 with 255,133 passengers expected to fly in and out on the busiest day – December 20th – alone.

"Tall tales" help keep the magic alive

Until now, parents around the UK have had to rely on telling ‘tall tales’ to keep the Christmas magic alive for their children, such as:

  • It takes Santa's elves year-round preparation in the workshop for the big night - they help Santa with his Naughty/Nice list and keep tabs on children's whereabouts for when he is doing his rounds (35%)
  • No one knows, its magic (33%)
  • Santa's reindeers have special powers: they can balance on rooftops, can see well in the dark, and can travel at lightning speed (33%)

But it’s not just children who Heathrow is keeping the magic alive for, nearly three quarters (74%) of British adults say they still believe in the magic of Christmas.

Elizabeth Hegarty, Director of Customer Relations & Service commented , “Christmas is a magical time, whatever your age, so we are excited to offer all our passengers the chance to see right into Santa’s workshop, seeing first-hand how hard his Heathrow elves work.

“December is a busy time for Heathrow, with lots of families travelling over the Christmas period. This experience hopefully provides a little festive fun during their time at the airport – and helps parents to answer curious children’s questions!”

The films can be viewed by passengers travelling through the departure lounges at Terminals 2 and 5 throughout December and on Heathrow's social media channels (links below).


1 The 2.6 million stat is calculated using the UK population of children under 10 of 8,052,552

  • 32% of parents said that their children who are under ten asked How does Santa really get to every house in the world?
  • 32% of 8,052,552 = 2,576,816


2 Source: Research conducted by Censuswide, on behalf of Heathrow.

Censuswide surveyed 2,005 UK respondents aged 18+ who celebrate/have celebrated Christmas, with 716 parents with children 18 and under – between 4th and 8th October 2019. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.


3 Passenger numbers forecasted December 1st – 31st 2019

Total forecast departing passengers in December = 3,366,607

Total forecast arriving passengers in December= 3,145,160

* Heathrow would also like to thank its elf colleagues from Security, Engineering and HR departments for starring in the new Christmas films: Katie, Theo, Nataly, Hannah, Caroline, Morven, Sinae, Simba, Samantha, Donna and Jayne