How cool is this handmade Santa’s grotto?

It was made from recycled doors and windows by Huddersfield carpenter Allan Robinson who designs and builds children’s treehouses and timber cabins for adults to work and even sleep in.

His latest creation was this one-off grotto for Trinity Walk shopping centre in Wakefield which is raising money for Huddersfield’s Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice.

The grotto is made from fire retardant recycled wood, doors and windows and took around four weeks to make.

Allan, who lives at Golcar and runs The Secret Shed Company, said: “Building these houses – and now grottos – started as a hobby and turned into a business.

Allan Robinson, left, and colleague outside a handmade cabin

“So it’s great to see so many kids getting to meet Santa in one of my creations and seeing how much fun they’re having. My work is a little bit different to the norm, but I think that’s what people like – including Santa.”

His previous creations have included treehouses with windows made from the round glass windows from discarded washing machines. He has travelled all over the country building bespoke timber creations for boys, girls, mums and dads.

Allan has also designed and built timber cabins for gardens which have been used as work spaces and even sleeping quarters.

Children can visit Santa in his grotto for free, three days a week and families can donate to Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice.

Santa (actor Pete Toon) and his elves outside the grotto at Trinity Walk

The hospice’s volunteer team have taken on the role of Christmas elves and last year the centre raised more than £2,000 for the charity.

Lucy Grice, Trinity Walk’s marketing manager, said: “The free grotto and free parking is our way of saying thanks to the families who shop here all year and our Santa is one of the best in the country – but we know we’re biased.

“We’ve done a lot of work with this great charity, who make such a massive difference to the lives of children and their families during extremely challenging times.”

Allan Robinson with bespoke cabins at Holmfirth Art Market

Nicky Fox, community fundraiser at Forget Me Not, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Trinity Walk again, they have been a massive support to us on a number of projects, including a Guinness World Record attempt, so it’s brilliant to be back here again this Christmas.

“Our volunteers are doing a wonderful job as elves and helping make Christmas that bit more magical for the visiting children. Thanks to supporters like Trinity Walk, our volunteers and the help of the community we are able to continue helping children and their families with life shortening conditions across West Yorkshire.”

For grotto opening times and more see