Children whooped in delight as the Gingerbread House opened its doors for the first time this year next to Donatello restaurant in Brighton.

They all agreed it was even better than last year's magical grotto, which raised £25,000 for The Argus Appeal.

The children were given a sneak preview of the toy-themed house, which will be officially opened by Father Christmas on Saturday.

His arrival will follow a tour of the city centre in a horse-drawn carriage.

Santa will start his tour from the Royal Pavilion at noon, arriving at the house at approximately 1.45pm.

Children met Father Christmas for a chat and a present on Monday evening, in advance of his tour.

The outside of the house is decorated with toys, teddy bears, dolls, jumbo jigsaws and pencils.

The structure will be open from 10.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Snow falls from an upstairs window and inside there is a woodland glade and snow scene.

Those making the Gingerbread House possible are: Legal & General, the sponsors and Sue and Pietro Addis, of Donatello, for providing the building;

Colin and Geoff Thomas of EPS Newhaven for their polystyrene figures; Kerry and Evan of Bramble and Co gift shop in Brighton Square for the loan of decorations and the winter wonderland window display; Ron, Steve and the carpentry students of City College, Brighton, who built the house; Des Pywowar for working on the roof top display; Malcolm Dockerill of Dockerill's for supplying and fitting equipment; Norman Mayhew of Sussex Signs, Newhaven, for his help with the soldiers; Gamley's for supplying the toys; Woodstock Crafts of Brighton Road, Shoreham, for the miniature window display; staff from American Express who painted and glittered the house; builders merchants Travis Perkins for supplying materials; Harvey's of Hove for supplying the costumes and Brighton City Centre Business Forum for arranging for Father Christmas to arrive in the city in style.

Not forgetting "Mr Fixit" Paul Fowler.