Twas the Night Before Christmas at York Mansion House reviewed

York Mansion House Christmas

Twasn’t the night before Christmas, if we’re honest. It was a busy Saturday at the end of November, but after another up-and-down year, we’re embracing the joy and going full throttle into the festivities with no apologies. High on our list of things to try out with our children in York this Christmas was the new family-friendly event from York Mansion House and York Cocoa Works: Twas the Night Before Christmas. It’s an hour-long, pre-bookable activity that’s taking place in the Lord Mayor’s residence in St Helen’s Square throughout the festive season, and it’s open to all ages. We went along with our 11, 9 and 7 year-olds to check it out.

York Mansion House Christmas

The experience started with our guide, Izzy, giving us a very short introduction to the history of chocolate and its association with York. History buffs might have liked more detail, but it was just the right length for short attention spans. We then headed down into the Georgian kitchen, which has long been our favourite part of the Mansion House because we feel like we’re instantly transported back in time to a Downton Abbey-style belos stairs existence.

York Mansion House Christmas

We’ve never had the chance to make anything in the kitchen before, so it was a treat to be able to spend half an hour or so there making our own ‘conversation lozenges’ under Izzy’s watchful eye. She explained that we were creating our own versions of the precursor to Swizzels Love Hearts – sweets with messages on them. We each had our own board and rolling pin to work with and were able to choose from pink rose and green peppermint flavours (there may have been a little combining too – tie dye lozenge anyone?!). We rolled them out, cut out festive shapes and, most importantly, wrote our messages on them, and some of us even added a little hole so that we can put them on the Christmas tree.

York Mansion House Christmas

Lozenges complete, we headed off on the trail around the house, spotting various things and answering questions from the trail sheet along the way. It’s perfectly pitched for children and a good way to keep them engaged. There’s a little dressing up area if your kids fancy trying out the mayoral chains (not the real ones, sensibly), and lots of other interesting objects to look at en route. To our surprise, our children wanted to look at the collection of silver and work out what it might have been used for. We ended our visit in the beautiful State Room, enjoying a 17th century hot chocolate (included in the admission price). Low on sugar and high on cocoa, it’s more challenging for young taste buds than what they’re used to at home, but we grown ups were happy to finish off their leftovers. 

York Mansion House Christmas

With a month to go until the big day, Twas the Night Before Christmas was a lovely family activity to do together and increased our feeling of Christmas spirit. All of our children – even our older, almost-teen – got involved and enjoyed it, and as a parent it’s hard to think of a better gift than that. If you’re looking for a family activity in York city centre this Christmas, this one ticks the (gift) boxes.

Twas the Night Before Christmas runs until 22nd December 2021 – Visit the York Mansion House website for more information and to book

Thank you to York Mansion House and York Cocoa Works for inviting us along. As always, our review is independent and genuine and we will never recommend something that we haven’t enjoyed (we just wouldn’t write about it!).

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