The best festive things to do in and around York and where to see Santa this Christmas 2020

Christmas York kids

New Year’s Eve is something we’ll all be looking forward to more than usual this year – farewell 2020 and good riddance! – but first, Christmas. Things might be different this year, but there are still plenty of places around York offering a fun and safe festive experience for families. We’ll be updating this guide all the time as events are confirmed, so you can get planning. If there’s one thing we can guarantee, it’s that we’ll all need to pre-book! Here’s the latest news on what’s happening in and around YOrk this Christmas for kids.

Christmas family activities around York in 2020

York kids Christmas

Santa’s Sleigh Ride at Piglets Adventure Farm

Piglets Santa York

Every day from 21st November to 24th December 2020, jump aboard the Magical Sleigh Ride to Santa’s Woodland Village for a truly unforgettable Christmas experience at Piglets Adventure Farm with NEW activities for this year! Highlights include a gingerbread workshop, a ride on Santa’s sleigh, a meeting with Santa, a gift from Santa’s toy shop and a free mince pie for grown-ups.

Dates – 21st November to 24th December 2020

Prices – From £5.95 for under 1s and £10.95 for over 1s


Christmas at Fountains Abbey 2020

Fountains Abbey Christmas 2020

Story time with Father Christmas

Good news – Father Christmas is coming to Fountains Abbey for 2020! Hear a festive Fountains tale, meet the big man yourself and receive a little gift. Keep your eye out for when tickets go on sale – we’ll keep you posted!

Sing-a-long at Music and Lights

You’ve been to see Father Christmas, explored the family trail and been revived by a warming mug of energy giving hot chocolate. Now it’s time for Music and Lights. See the abbey aglow with all the colours of the rainbow and hear live music fill the cellarium.


The Christmas Experience at Lotherton

Lotherton Hall Christmas Experience

The Christmas Experience returns to Lotherton for 2020! Enjoy the interactive 12 Days of Christmas woodland walk: count the calling birds and drummers drumming as you wander through the woods, discover the fairies in their secret hideaway fairy dell and listen to the giggles and whispers as you tip-toe through. Don’t miss the house, either, where you can see the rooms dressed in their festive finery. If you’d like to visit Father Christmas, you’ll need to book a separate 40-minute experience in the Elf Village (shorter visits are available for pre-schoolers at different times).

Dates – 27th November 2020 to 3rd January 2021

Prices – From £12 per child


Christmas on the Home Front at Eden Camp

Eden Camp have a Christmas experience like no other this year – join them for an exciting adventure as an evacuee this festive season! Christmas during the Blitz is hard work for Father Christmas and his helpers. With children spread all over the country through evacuation, so the team at Eden Camp thought they would lend Father Christmas a hand and invite the children to come to him! Explore a 1940s bedroom, hear the story of an evacuee first-hand and explore the Winter Wonderland on the way to finding Father Christmas. Your ticket includes a meet and greet with the elves, a gift, a nice (or naughty) list certificate, a magical expedition through a 1940s Winter Wonderland and admission to the museum.

Dates – Tickets available from 1st October 2020; prices to be confirmed


An Enchanted Audience with Father Christmas at Castle Howard

New for 2020, join Father Christmas and WonderPhil in the splendour of the Long Gallery, inside the House this year, for a magical Christmas show like no other. Your ticket will include exclusive access to Castle Howard where you will enjoy a one hour show featuring your favourite festive duo, available on selected dates from Saturday 28th November until Wednesday 23rd December 2020.


Santa Experience with City Cruises York 2020

Santa City Cruises York

Hop aboard a City Cruises boat for a magical festive experience on the river Ouse in York. Santa and his team have made a few changes this year, to make sure that you can have a secure and comfortable visit, without missing out on any of the fun. Your ticket includes a glass of red or white house wine or a refillable cup of tea or coffee, an apple or mince pie for adults; a soft drink and novelty biscuit for kids; present for each child, colouring-in sheets and a letter template to write a letter to Santa and 50-minute cruise.

Dates – 22nd November to 23rd December 2020

Prices – £13 adult; £16 child


York Christmas Festival 2020

York City Lights Christmas

York is a wonderful place to visit at any time of year, but really comes into to own at Christmas when it really sparkles (literally!). There are plans for the St Nicholas Fair to return, providing that government guidelines allow, with lots of lovely things to eat, drink and buy. 12th November to 23rd December 2020 – Keep checking back for more details.


Wish Upon A Frozen Star

Castle Howard Christmas 2020

Jack Frost has cast an icy spell and turned the Walled Gardens into a beautiful winter wonderland. As twilight falls, journey through this enchanted world lit up by festive illuminations and immersive soundscapes. The only way to thaw the frosty spell and bring good cheer back in time for Christmas is to make a wish under Yorkshire’s starry skies and step out into a golden landscape of warmth, joy and wonder. Your journey will climax with an epic story, projected as a light show onto the iconic facade of the House. Will the trees be bedecked this year? Will the band strike up and the dancing in the Great Hall begin? And most importantly, will Father Christmas make it in time to save Christmas?

Dates – Saturday 28th November 2020 to Thursday 31st December 2020

Prices – From £17 per adult and £12 per child


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