Festive family days out and activities in and around York


Looking for something festive to do with your family? Look no further! Here’s a selection of Christmas events and activities in and around York this year.

PS. For our pick of where to see Santa, see our Guide to the Grottos, and for festive shows look no further than this.

The chance to ice skate in York comes but once a year, so take advantage while you can! Head to York Designer Outlet for The Ice Factor, where you can skate around the enormous Christmas tree and warm up in the lovely cafe afterwards. There’s a funfair and Santa’s grotto too, and you’re right on
17th November 2018 to 6th January 2019
Immerse yourselves in Christmases past at York Castle Musem’s Victorian Christmas. The fun programme of events includes a lost letter mystery, gingerbread making, visits to Santa and brilliant performances of A Christmas Carol on Kirkgate, the cobbled Victorian street. Take a look at the Castle Museum website for the dates.
York Castle Museum
25th November to 24th December 2017
Castle Howard does Christmas really well. Visit the house and see the incredible decorations with their Angels on High theme (read our review here), see Santa in his new Boathouse grotto (no need to pre-book) or just soak up the festive atmosphere at this lovely stately home. Between Christmas and New Year, why not take
Castle Howard
Until December 23rd 2017
Don’t miss the annual chance to get your skates on at Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland at York Designer Outlet. This year the ice skate is even bigger than ever, with the iconic 30ft Christmas tree towering over proceedings. While you’re there, enjoy the vintage fairground rides, visit Santa and warm up with refreshments at Papa Kitchen.
York Designer Outlet, York YO19 4TA
18th November 2017 to 7th January 2018
One of the highlights of York’s festive calendar is the York Ice Trail. Find over 40 unique icy sculptures along the cobbled streets and thoroughfares of the city centre. Keep warm with mulled wine and enjoy soaking up the atmosphere.
Throughout York
9th & 10th December 2017
New for 2017, see one of York’s most stunning locations transformed into an enchanted trail with light installations and illuminations, all brought to us by the team behind Thor’s Tipi and Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland.
York Museum Gardens
Daily 16th November 2017 to 1st January 2018, 4.45pm to 9.30pm (except Christmas Day)
Explore the grounds of Brodsworth Hall after dark as it’s transformed into a fairy-themed wonderland of light, colour and sound. At the end of the trail, you’ll find traditional fairground rides, vintage games and food stalls. You can even meet Santa in the Hall (additional charge; pre-booking required).
Brodsworth Hall and Garden
15th to 23rd December 2017
There are two special festive Little Diggers sessions for 2 to 5 year olds at DIG: An Archaeological Adventure on St Saviourgate. On 2nd December, it’s all about Christmas toys and games. Dig in the dig pits, explore how games and toys from the olden days, then make a Christmas decoration to take home. On
DIG - An Archaeological Adventure
Booking essential; £3.50 per child
Head to Lotherton Hall near Leeds to enjoy a magical 12 Days of Christmas walk: make the turtle doves fly, walk through the five gold rings and be one of the drummers drumming. You can visit Santa in the North Pole and meet the elves, too. Wander down to the Elf Village where little ones
Lotherton Hall
24th November to 23rd December 2017

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