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Christmas in York – The best shows, festive days out and where to see Santa around York this year

Christmas York 2022

Jingle bells! Christmas will be here before we know it, and it’s looking good for a sparkling festive season. 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 twinkle. Here’s our pick of the best things to do this Christmas in York in 2024 with kids – do keep checking back as we’ll be adding more events as we get them. For now, you’ll see a selection of 2023’s Christmas events to give you a taste of what to expect this year. 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…


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📗 Read the Little Vikings Family Guide to York

😎 The best things to do with older kids and teens in York

Aladdin York Theatre Royal

Aladdin at York Theatre Royal

York Theatre Royal’s ever-popular pantomime returns for 2024 with a much-loved classic, Aladdin. CBeebies and CBBC superstar, Evie Pickerill, will bring her sparkle and flare as Spirit of the Ring and York favourite, Robin Simpson, returns too. This fun-filled extravaganza is guaranteed to delight the whole family, but tickets will move like flying carpets so book early for the best seats at the best prices.

3rd December 2024 to 5th January 2025 – Visit the York Theatre Royal website for more info and tickets

Christmas Raby Castle

Christmas at Raby Castle

There is truly no other place to go to embrace the magic this Christmas than Raby Castle. From meeting Father Christmas in the grand Entrance Hall to discovering the enchanted trail through their very own Christmas tree plantation, to shopping, a deer park and hot chocolates galore it has it all. Visit the Raby Castle website.

City Cruises York Santa boat

Meet Father Christmas on the river with City Cruises’ Santa Experience

Get ready for an extraordinary Christmas adventure aboard a City Cruises boat, where you’ll be joining Santa himself for a magical cruise along the stunning river Ouse! Explore Santa’s North Pole Grotto then step onto the most festively adorned boat in York, accompanied by one of Santa’s treasured elves and St. Nick himself. This is your chance to bask in the unparalleled joy of Christmas on a truly exceptional Santa experience that stands out as one of the finest in York.

Selected dates in November and December 2024 – Visit the City Cruises website for information

beauty and the beast york grand opera house

Beauty and the Beast at the Grand Opera House York

Belle and The Beast will be joined by a host of larger-than-life characters as they’re transported to a cursed castle under the spell of an evil enchantress. Can the arrogant Hugo be defeated? Can Belle see beyond the Beast and fall in love with her captor? And will the Beast’s heart be melted by Belle’s beauty? Suitable for audiences of all ages, the show will run from 7th December 2024 to Sunday 5 January 2025. Book here –  atgtickets.com/york

Castle Howard Christmas

Christmas in Neverland at Castle Howard

This year’s theme is Christmas in Neverland! Fly into the adventure of a lifetime bursting with fairies, mermaids, and pirates. Vast ships will cruise into Castle Howard’s great galleries, Lost Boy laughter will echo through the halls, and beautiful rooms will transform into tropical lagoons. Follow the boy who never grew up into a fantastical festive world that will re-ignite your belief in fairies and leave your heart full. 

11th November 2023 to 2nd January 2024 – Visit the Castle Howard website

Stockeld park Christmas

Christmas at Stockeld Park

Meet Santa, enjoy the Winter Illuminations in the Enchanted Forest, discover the secrets of the Snowflake Maze, or whizz around the ice rink at Stockeld Park this Christmas. You can even bring a little bit of the magic of Christmas at Stockeld Park home with you by buying real Christmas tree, grown on the Stockeld Park Estate, the biggest plantation in Yorkshire! Until 8th January 2024 – Visit the Stockeld Park website

York Castle Museum Christmas

Christmas at York Castle Museum

Wander through the famous Victorian street, Kirkgate, as Christmas arrives with a blanket of festive snow on the historic cobbles. Enjoy the charming period trimmings that adorn the street and take a peek at an exciting range of historical decorations and objects, all from the museum’s collection, in the stunning shopfronts. With a variety of free family-friendly Christmas activities on offer, there’s something for all ages to enjoy.
The popular Period Rooms will be adorned with authentic decorations too.

2023 dates to be confirmed – Included in general admissionVisit the website

Piglets Magical Sleigh Ride

Piglets Adventure Farm Magical Sleigh Ride

All aboard Santa’s sleigh for an unforgettable Christmas adventure at Piglets Adventure Farm! Check in at Elf Airlines before setting off for Santa’s Woodland Village. You’ll be guided through snowy trees and twinkling lights to arrive at Santa’s village where you’ll be greeted by elves. Meet Santa himself before collecting a magic key which you can use to unlock Santa’s toy shop and choose your favourite gift from a huge selection. Visit the Piglets website

York Christmas Market 2023

York Christmas Market 2024

York’s annual Christmas market is back in 2024 from 14th November to 22nd December, with a range of stalls selling gifts, warming food and things to drink. Children will love the twinkling lights and warming up with a hot chocolate if you’re feeling generous. Visit the Visit York website

Santa Special NYMR

North Yorkshire Moors Railway Santa Special

The ever-popular North Yorkshire Moors Railway Santa Special is back this Christmas! Join Santa and his special team of elves at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway from either Pickering or Grosmont Station before a magical adventure aboard the Santa Express which will take you on a festive journey you won’t forget! There’ll be enchanting activities and onboard entertainment throughout the hour-long journey. Every child will have the opportunity to meet the one and only Santa Claus! Watch their eyes light up with joy as they receive a special gift from the jolly man himself. Visit the NYMR website for details

York Minster Christmas 2021

Christmas Tree Festival at York Minster

York Minster has a selection of fabulously festive activities that children will enjoy, from a Christmas Tree Festival to the York Minster crib service. The Christmas Tree Festival runs from 30th November 2024 to 5th January 2025, with 60 trees on display in the stunning Nave, Chapter House and Lady Chapel. We’re really excited that Little Vikings is dressing a tree for the first time, and our theme is a celebration of family-friendly York. Many of our partners are joining us in creating a tree that shows how amazing York is for kids.

30th November 2024 to 5th January 2025 – Click here to find out more about what’s going on at York Minster

york nutcracker trail

York Nutcracker Trail

It was one of the most popular free activities in York last Christmas, and it’s returning for 2023! The York Bid’s giant nutcrackers are returning to the city this festive season and it’s even better than before. Ten unique bespoke nutcrackers, painted by local artists, will be hidden in locations in York just waiting to be spotted. There will be ten to find, and you’ll be in with a chance of winning a £250 York Gift Card if you find them all. 16th November 2023 to 4th January 2024Visit the website

The Bar Convent York

Christmas at The Bar Convent

Gather your loved ones for a visit to the Bar Convent as the historic house glows with a twinkling tree, dazzling decorations and an exciting new luminous installation as part of this year’s Christmas experience ‘Let there be Light!’. Discover The Bar Convent’s Georgian parlour historically dressed to reflect Christmas past and enjoy festive treats in the cafe. – Visit the website

The Plotters’ Forest Enchanted Christmas Trail at Raby Castle

Embark on an enchanting journey through The Plotters’ Forest and create cherished memories with your loved ones this holiday season. Immerse yourself in the magic of our Enchanted Christmas Trail, where twinkling lights and festive music guide your path through a captivating winter wonderland. As the sun sets and the night sky emerges, watch in awe as the trail comes to life under the blanket of darkness, each corner illuminated with a warm and inviting glow. Choose from day and evening tickets.

From 18th November 2023 – Visit the website

Meet Father Christmas at Mother Shipton’s

Santa is flying to see you at Mother Shipton’s! Let the twinkling lights draw you into the wonder of Mother Shipton’s magical, memory-making Christmas experience. Enjoy a personal family visit with Santa in his grotto, gather around Holly Berry, the enchanting storyteller, as she weaves tales of wonder and merriment, create your very own bag of reindeer food and find the Snowy Owl Sorting Office and send your heartfelt wishes to Santa himself. Stamp, seal, and imagine your letter soaring through the night sky. Venture into the depths of the woodland and discover the cave, the legendary Petrifying Well, and the Wishing Well.

Selected dates in November and December 2023 – mother-shiptons.co.uk

Sewerby winter woodland review

Winter Woodland at Sewerby Hall

An all-new spectacular display of lights, sounds and special effects will bring the grounds to life for a great evening out this festive season. This year’s Sewerby Winter Woodland will include a new route and a new theme – a chance to embark on a Magical Christmas Rescue, along with a host of cheerful festive characters! 8th to 22nd December 2023Visit the Sewerby Hall website

The Grand York afternoon tea Christmas

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

York Mansion House Christmas

A Very Georgian Christmas at York Mansion House

Murton Park Santa

Meet Santa at Murton Park

Tickets for Murton Park’s Christmas events are now on sale and, for the first time, there are two experiences for you to choose from! First up, Tea with Santa – You’ll enjoy a one-to-one with Santa and a delicious one-course meal at The Yorkshire Barn Café. For the original experience, book Christmas at Murton Park, an enchanting experience in Santa’s village, including meeting the big man in red, a train ride with Mother Christmas and much more. Selected dates in December – Visit the Murton Park website

Yorkshire Air Museum Santa

Meet Santa at Yorkshire Air Museum

Visit Yorkshire Air Museum in the run-up to Christmas for a range of seasonal events including the chance to meet Santa! Visit the grotto, meet Santa and receive a gift. Each visit lasts up to an hour and includes story time in the Departure Lounge.

Selected dates in December TBC – Visit the Yorkshire Air Museum website

Christmas beetle bank farm

Santa’s Grotto at Beetle Bank Farm

Join Santa at Beetle Bank Farm this Christmas. Each family has a ten minute slot with the big man himself, and each child can choose their own good quality present. The barn will be open for cuddles with rabbits and guinea pigs and the cafe will be open for lunch with homemade cakes and Christmas treats! Visit the website to book.

The Bar Convent York

Let there be Light! Christmas at The Bar Convent

Gather your loved ones for a visit to the Bar Convent this festive season as our historic house becomes aglow with a twinkling tree, dazzling decorations, and an exciting new luminous installation as part of this year’s Christmas experience ‘Let there be Light!’. A new light installation will take centre-stage against the backdrop of the stunning C18th Chapel.

28th December to 19th December 2023 – Visit the website for details

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