Jingle bells! Christmas will be here before we know it and, after a funny old year, we could all do with something festive to look forward to. As always, there’s plenty of choice of family-friendly Christmas events in and around York for children of all ages, from meetings with Father Christmas to pantomimes and days out with added sparkle. Here’s our pick of the best things to do this Christmas in York with kids – do keep checking back as we’ll be adding more events as we get them. Top tip – book early as the popular events do tend to sell out and we don’t want you being added to the naughty list…
Christmas Festival at The Web Adventure Park
For a full festive day out, The Web Adventure Park is a perfect place to park your sleigh. Enjoy an audience with Father Christmas, meet the elves and reindeer, watch Dazzling Darren’s Christmas performance and the Elf on the Shelf show. That’s on top of the usual indoor and outdoor fun, from unlimited fairground rides and more indoor play options than you can imagine. Pre-booking required.
27th & 28th November, 4th, 5th, 11th, 12th and 18th – 24th December 2021 – Visit The Web Adventure Park website
Meet Father Christmas at Mother Shipton’s
Following the twinkling lights to Mother Shipton’s in Knaresborough this Christmas where you can wander through the winter wonderland, visit the Christmas village and meet Father Christmas himself. Say hello, take an ‘elfie and have a little chat. If you’d like to receive a gift, you can buy this separately to receive from Santa’s elf helper. Why not visit the Elf Post Office to post a letter to Santa while you’re there?
20th November to 24th December 2021 – mother-shiptons.co.uk
Get your skates on at Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland
If you missed your ice skating fix last year, don’t worry. Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland returns to York Designer Outlet for 2021 with 975 sq m of real ice to glide, slide and wobble around. There will be two skate hire marquees for extra space, and a viewing platform too. The Chalet will be open too, serving hot chocolate, mulled wine, sizzling sausages and more. You can even visit Father Christmas there too!
19th November 2021 to 9th January 2022 – yorkshireswinterwonderland.com
Watch Cinderella starring CBeebies’ Andy Day
In this timeless rags to riches story, relocated to our very own city of York, expect magical transformations, sparkling sets, stunning costumes, catchy songs and heaps of hilarity. Starring Cbeebies’ Andy Day, this brand new pantomime runs from 3rd December 2021 to 2nd January 2022, so we’d recommend booking early to guarantee your seats.
3rd December 2021 to 2nd January 2022 – Visit the York Theatre Royal website for more info and tickets
See the gardens sparkle at Harlow Carr
See the garden sparkle this festive season and follow dazzling displays lighting a magical trail at Harlow Carr near Harrogate. Wander the enchanting trail around twinkling trees and shrubs and enjoy more light features than ever. There’ll be mince pies and hot drinks on offer from Bettys Tea House too. 18 November to 18 December 2021 (Thurs/Fri/Sat); then 20 to 29 December (Mon/Tues/Weds) – Visit the Harlow Carr website
See The Snowman at York Minster
Make it a Christmas to remember with a special screening of The Snowman, accompanied by a magnificent live orchestra, in the incredible surroundings of York Minster. As well as The Snowman, you’ll also enjoy the stunning story The Bear and the Piano, complete with an exclusive big-screen animation and narration recorded by Joanna Lumley.
11th December 2021 – Visit the York Minster website for more details
Visit York’s Christmas Market
York’s popular Christmas market, St Nicholas Fair, is set to return for 2021 with local businesses selling an array of gifts and treats. While children might not fancy the shopping element, they’ll love the twinkling lights and tasty food and drink on offer.
18th November to 23rd December 2021 – Visit the Visit York website for more info
Experience Narnia at Castle Howard
Step through the wardrobe into a magical adventure this festive season. An ice spell has been cast on this mystical land where it is always winter, but will Christmas spirits be restored and will warmth and joy return? The grand interiors of Castle Howard will be lavishly decorated, and a series of theatrical installations, lighting, projection and soundscapes will evoke all that we love about this special time of year.
Saturday 13th November 2021 to Mon day 3rd January 2022 – Visit the Castle Howard website
Meet Father Christmas at Nunnington
Step back in time whilst you explore the house and then meet Father Christmas. Enjoy traditional festive crafts before meeting Father Christmas in his grotto to receive a gift. Normal admission prices apply. £8 per child, booking essential – 27th November to Sunday 19th December 2021 (weekends only – Book online at nationaltrust.org.uk/nunnington-hall or on 0344 249 1895
Festive Afternoon Tea at The Grand, York
Enjoy afternoon tea with a festive twist at The Grand, Yorkshire’s only five-star hotel. Filled with Christmas delights and even served with a festive cocktail, it’ll be a sparkling experience to remember. There’s even an option for a special children’s menu. Visit The Grand’s website for more details and to book
The Christmas Experience at Lotherton 2021
There’s a variety of festive experiences on offer at Lotherton’s Christmas Experience for 2021, from a one-on-one meeting with Father Christmas to a shorter experience for younger children or just a Christmassy day out including a new winter woodland walk. Booking is required for all elements. 27th November 2021 to 2nd January 2022 – thechristmasexperience.co.uk
Storytime with Father Christmas at Beningbrough
Pre-book your place for the long-awaited return of Father Christmas to Beningbrough’s Victorian laundry. Take a seat for half an hour to hear first-hand tales of travels and mishaps along the way. He’s such a generous man and has told us he’ll bring a few sacks of gifts for the children. The event runs over the first three weekends in December 2021: Saturdays and Sundays 4th & 5th, 11th & 12th and 18th to 19th – Visit the Beningbrough Hall website
Christmas crafts at Rowntree Park
Enjoy afternoon tea with a festive twist at The Join The Friends of Rowntree Park for a festive time as they craft decorations made from natural resources. Think pine cones, fern, cinnamon sticks, willow, dried oranges, log circles and more! You can even make your own mini wreath and learn basic willow weaving. 27th November 2021 – Visit the Friends of Rowntree Park website