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28 Magical Christmas Events in Yorkshire 2020

28 Magical Christmas Events in Yorkshire 2020

Christmas events Yorkshire – well, what a year 2020 has been!  I think we are all looking forward to Christmas this year.  I’m updating this post as soon as event details are released, and hopefully things will be more back to normal!  Some places have not published dates yet, but you can see the details from last year.

Are you looking for events and things to do at Christmas in Yorkshire with the kids?  Have a look at our list of Christmas markets, Winter Wonderlands, attractions and Christmas festivals in York and the rest of Yorkshire.  I’ll add more Yorkshire Christmas events as they appear.   I have reviewed as many of the Christmas events as possible (because I LOVE Christmas!), so do read the individual reviews if you get chance.

If you are not from Yorkshire and are looking for somewhere to stay while you are here, have a look at some of the Yorkshire Hotels we have reviewed for a fab festive break!


York Christmas Festival 2020

12 November – 23 December 2020

There’s lots going on in the centre of York over Christmas (even if there wasn’t, Christmas in York is so pretty it’s always worth a visit!). St Nicholas Fair, the York Christmas market runs from the 12th of November 2020 to the 23rd of December 2020, with lots of food, festivities and a lovely Christmassy atmosphere to soak up.  


21st of November – 23rd December 2020

Wensleydale, North Yorkshire

Join us at The Polar Express Yorkshire for a magical Christmas Experience. We are the ONLY licensed Polar Express in Yorkshire. This Christmas experience is unlike any other. Brought to you by the organisers of the number 1 voted Polar Express in the World, Wensleydale Railway hosts The Polar Express Yorkshire.

Your journey begins just like the 2004 Motion Picture where The Polar Express will pick you up to take you to the North Pole. You will get to meet all the characters from the film including the conductor, the singing chefs, the hobo and of course the main man himself Father Christmas. You and your family, hopefully dressed in PJs, will experience and fun filled theatrical adventure as you make your way to the North Pole. Throughout your journey you will tangle with the Caribou, see the magic of the Northern Lights and have the story of The Polar Express told you by the singing Chefs. Don’t forget to have a bite of your cookie and authentic Hot Chocolate before arriving at the North Pole to meet Santa Claus.

Read our full review of The Polar Express here.


Castle Howard, Malton, North Yorkshire

28th November to the 31st of December 2020 (excludes Christmas Eve and Christmas Day)

‘Wish Upon a Frozen Star’ is an epic light and sound extravaganza, transforming the grounds of the Estate into a Winter Wonderland. An immersive experience to delight all age groups, that journeys into the realms of festive folklore, magic and mystery.

See all the details of Castle Howard at Christmas this year or my review of A Day out with kids at Castle Howard.


christmas in Yorkshire
Castle Howard at Christmas


North Yorkshire Moors Railway, Pickering and Grosmont 2020

The Northern Lights: 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 21 & 22 December 2020

NYMR do Santa Trains as well as ‘The Northern Lights Express’ service with an illuminated train. 

See our full review of The Northern Lights here.

Santa Trains Yorkshire –

Santa Specials: 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 21 & 22 December 2020

Join Santa and his special helpers on a magical adventure aboard the Santa Express, which will take you on a festive journey you won’t forget!

Departing from Pickering and Grosmont Stations, the Santa Express brings Christmas to life and gives children the chance to meet the legendary man himself on board the train. They will be able to tell him what they would like to open on Christmas morning – providing they’ve managed to keep themselves off the naughty list this year!

  • Meet Santa on board the train during this festive period
  • Age appropriate present for each child.
  • Approx. 75-90 minute journey on board the Santa Express.
  • Christmas Activity Bag.
  • Mince Pie, Hot Drink & Alcoholic Tipple for each adult.

Santa Special Tickets are just being setup and will be available from this Summer.

See my review of our Hogwarts Express trip on NYMR here.

The Northern Lights Express - Christmas at North Yorkshire Moors Railway


A Dickensian Christmas at York Castle Museum

Check their website for 2020 details. (The below info is for last Christmas)

Kirkgate, the Victorian street within the Castle Museum in York is bedecked with Christmas decorations for their ‘Dickensian Christmas’ event.  Costumed actors wander round, keen to chat to you in character.  There is also a lovely theatrical ‘Audience with Father Christmas’ to enjoy too.

Read our review of A Dickensian Christmas at York Castle Museum.

Christmas events in Yorkshire


Lotherton Hall Christmas Experience 2020

27th November 2020 – 3rd January 2021

Especially reimagined for 2020 – Steeped in Christmas magic and excitement. Enjoy a magical Twelve Days of Christmas Walk through the Captains Wood around the estate, make the turtle doves fly, walk through the five gold rings and be one of our drummers drumming! Uncover a secret fairy hideaway in our rock garden. Visit Santa in the North Pole and meet our elves helping in their workshop. Marvel in the splendour of the Edwardian House with the rooms dressed in all their festive finery. Wander down to the Elf Village where young ones can join the elves in making craft activities or listen to stories, and everyone can enjoy a cup of hot chocolate or warm snack under our twinkling canopy. More wonderful Christmas days out Yorkshire. 

Look at our review of Lotherton Hall Christmas Experience here.


Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland, York

Check their website for 2020 details. (The below info is for last Christmas)

Fancy trying real ice skating? The Ice Factor at Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland returns again this year. Perfect for Christmas.  Experience Ice Skating, Festive Food and a Funfair at the Designer Outlet in York. You can maybe do some shopping while you are there or try a hot chocolate in the Thornton’s café…! 

Read all about our Christmas visit.

Christmas at The Piece Hall in Halifax

Check their website for 2020 details. (The below info is for last Christmas)

The Grade I listed Piece Hall in Halifax is the only remaining former cloth hall in the country and is often compared to the stunning piazzas of Venice and Vienna. At Christmas, The Piece Hall transforms into a magical destination complete with a festive fair, a Victorian carousel and a magnificent circus-style Salon Perdu tent, which hosts an array of cabaret, comedy and live music events throughout December. There is also a treasure trove of more than 40 independent shops offering locally made gifts as well as a range of special festive menus at the many cafés, bars and restaurants. Visitors can also shelter from the cold with some warming food and drink in the cosy courtyard Deluxe Bar, which arrives especially for the festive season.

Christmas events in Yorkshire


Murton Park, York (Yorkshire Farming Museum)

Check their website for 2020 details. (The below info is for last Christmas)

Visit the annual Santa Special Extravaganza at Murton Park, the Yorkshire Farming Museum. Ride on the Santa train, then take a guided tour of Santa’s village to see how the Elves are getting on at ‘Yule School’.  Have a look at this review for more detail.

christmas events yorkshire


Looking for somewhere to stay in York?

Santa’s Sweet Adventure at York Chocolate Story

Check their website for 2020 details. (The below info is for last Christmas)

On Santa’s Sweet Adventure, children will join our elves on the most important of missions; saving Christmas! Filled to the brim with festive fun, this hour-long, interactive-grotto experience contains games, seasonal secrets and – of course – a meeting with the big man himself. 

We reviewed Santa’s Sweet Adventure here.

Santa's Sweet Adventure at York's Chocolate Story


Fireside Stories with Father Christmas at Raby Castle

Check their website for 2020 details. (The below info is for last Christmas)

Join the fun as he recounts a Christmas classic with the help of the sparkly Mrs Bauble the Castle Groom, Elvis the cheeky Christmas pony and his friendly Footmen. The Grand Entrance Hall will be adorned with twinkling Christmas trees, a roaring log fire and Father Christmas will meet each child and give them a special gift to put under the Christmas tree.


The Snowman – at Beverley Minster

Check their website for 2020 details. (The below info is for last Christmas)

This year will see a special screening of The Snowman in Beverley Minster – accompanied by a full orchestra – how magical will that be?  Following on from their highly acclaimed sell-out tour last December, Carrot Productions are bringing their Snowman magic to Beverley Minster on the 27th of December with three performances.  I suspect tickets will sell out for such a unique event, so do get in quick.  There are screenings at other cathedrals throughout the UK, so if you are travelling at Christmas, have a look for the one nearest you.

We reviewed The Snowman at Beverley Minster last year.

christmas in beverley yorkshire
Photography © Tom Bangbala


Beningbrough Hall, York

Check their website for 2020 details. (The below info is for last Christmas)

From last year – Father Christmas is making his way to Beningbrough for his annual holiday. As he glides through the skies, dodging the typical British weather, disaster strikes and his case falls off the back of his sleigh. His elves come to the rescue, finding his case and all its content. However his clothes need a bit of TLC, but thankfully Beningbrough has some fantastic washing facilities. Find Father Christmas in the Victorian Laundry for a brand new and unique tale for his Yorkshire guests.

Book your place at one of the sessions across the weekends usually from the end of November. Every child can go to see him, have a photograph taken and if you want to, give him your list. Then there’s a small gift to take away and either put under your tree or open early.

The details – Price to meet Father Christmas is £10 per child with one adult place.  Further adult places can be bought at £10 for two.  Normal admissions charges also apply – free to National Trust members and under fives.  Sessions will run for around 30 minutes at 11am, 11.45am, 12.30pm, 1.15pm, 2pm and 2.45pm

Call the elves on 01904 472014 to book

Beningbrough Hall


William’s Den, North Cave, East Yorkshire

Check their website for 2020 details. (The below info is for last Christmas)

William’s Den get festive for Christmas with lots of Christmas trees and twinkling lights and an ice skating rink!

Read our review of William’s Den at Christmas.  Also have a look at our review of William’s Den from over the summer.

Christmas Ice Skating in Yorkshire


Lightwater Valley – Alice in Winterland

Check their website for 2020 details. (The below info is for last Christmas)

Lightwater Valley at Christmas – Discover a fantastical new seasonal adventure at Lightwater Valley this Christmas with the enchanting Alice in Winterland.  Hundreds of giant illuminated lanterns will illustrate stories from Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass. Discover a giant chess board, watch the Mad Hatter prepare for his crazy tea party, marvel at the four-metre tall Alice lantern and come face to face with the infamous Queen herself. 

See all the details on Lightwater Valley at Christmas here.

Lightwater Valley Christmas

Stockeld Park, Wetherby

Check their website for 2020 details. (The below info is for last Christmas)

The Christmas Adventure at Stockeld Park is always amazing. With real ice skating, the illuminated maze and the enchanted forest, it’s a real festive treat on a cold and crisp winter’s day. 

See my review of the Christmas Adventure at Stockeld Park.

Christmas at Stockeld Park

The Magic Hatter’s Christmas Cracker, York 2019

Saturday 5th December 10.30 til 12 noon AND 3.30 til 5.00pm
Sunday 6th December 10.30 til 12 noon AND 3.30 til 5.00pm

We are big fans of the Magic Hatter and he has entertained at our birthday parties before.  We’ve also seen the Magic Hatter’s Christmas Cracker four times now and love it every year, so it’s a firm recommendation from us.  At £30 for a family of four it’s very reasonably priced and a fab Christmas treat.  Its really easy parking too.  Book early for the best seats!

Magic Hatter's Christmas Cracker


Burton Agnes Hall, Nr Bridlington

Check their website for 2020 details. (The below info is for last Christmas)

There were lots of Christmas related events happening at Burton Agnes Hall last Christmas.

Christmas craft Wednesdays 
Every Wednesday in the Hall, guides will demonstrate how to make the crafts that you see at Christmas time and reveal the secrets behind the handmade decorations in the Hall. Normal Hall admission applies.
Talk: Christmas through the ages at Burton Agnes Hall
On Thursday 5th December at 2pm, discover the secrets of Christmases past at this talk with Head Guide Pauline Waslin. Normal Hall admission applies.
Christmas twilight weekend 
Join us on the weekend of the 8th, 9th and 10th December for our inaugural Christmas twilight weekend. Enjoy the bountifully decorated Hall with an extended opening until 9pm on Friday and Saturday evenings. Every visitor will receive a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie on arrival. During the weekend, children can visit Father Christmas in his courtyard grotto and everyone can enjoy carols in the Hall as well as relishing the Hall’s decorations twinkling in the twilight. Normal Hall admission applies.
Twilight carols by the fireside 
On Thursday 19th December, 5-9pm, join Simon Cunliffe-Lister for grand piano-led carols by the fireside and enjoy mulled wine, mince pies, Christmas shopping and the Hall’s decorations twinkling in the twilight. Normal Hall admission applies.
Christmas Activities and Events for Children
Christmas Hall Trail
Children are invited to enjoy a festive trail around the Hall, seeking snowmen and hunting for clues as they visit each room.
Meet Father Christmas in his courtyard grotto
Visit Father Christmas in his courtyard grotto, where every child will receive a special Christmas gift. Weekends in December (except 1st, 28th and 29th) from 12-4pm. £5.00 per child; booking is not essential.
An Audience with Father Christmas and his Head Elf
Saturdays 7th, 14th and 21st, and Sunday 22nd December. Performances at 10.30am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm.
Join Father Christmas, Mrs Christmas and Jingles the Magic Elf for a performance of magic and song, a special gift and photographs. 
£12.50 child, £11.00 Adult, £10.50 Senior
Booking essential.

Admission Prices
Adults £11.00, Seniors £10.50, Children £5.50, Under 4’s FREE

See my review of Pirates and Princesses at Burton Agnes.

what to do at Christmas in Yorkshire


Piglets Adventure Farm, York

23rd of November to the 24th of December 2020

For a truly unforgettable Christmas experience, visit Piglets Adventure Farm this festive season! (Taking place every day from 24th November until 24th December.) Tickets will go live on Friday 7th September.

Fancy a ride on a magical Christmas sleigh? Then head on down to Piglets Adventure Farm where you can meet Santa in his twinkling woodland village.   The children will even be given a key to his toyshop to choose their own gift. Experience daytime and evening sleigh rides.  Children can share their wishes with Santa and they’ll be given a magic key to unlock his amazing Toy Shop and choose a perfect present from a huge selection.

See what we thought when we visited Piglets here.

Piglets Santa Sleigh Ride


Harewood House, Harewood, Leeds

Check their website for 2020 details. (The below info is for last Christmas)

Harewood House are hosting ‘A Victorian Christmas’ this year as well as Meeting Father Christmas, Twilight Tours and Christmas Wreath Making. 

Read all the details on our Harewood at Christmas page.

Harewood House at Christmas

Santa Experience on York City Cruises, York

Various times and dates between the 22nd November and the 23rd of December 2020

Fancy meeting Santa on a boat?  There is a reason why families return year after year to join us for our City Cruises York Santa Experience, it really is the most magical event on the River Ouse!  Santa clearly works hard all year around and especially in December when he somehow manages to find the time to visit all of the especially well behaved boys and girls before Christmas and he tells us that the City Cruises York Santa Experience is the most unique venue that he visits in the city.  Santa clearly works hard all year around and especially in December when he somehow manages to find the time to visit all of the especially well behaved boys and girls before Christmas and he tells us that the City Cruises York Santa Experience is the most unique venue that he visits in the city.

Things to do at Christmas in Yorkshire with Kids


Harlow Carr, Harrogate

Check their website for 2020 details. (The below info is for last Christmas)

21 November – 28 December 2019: ‘Glow’ Winter Illuminations at RHS Garden Harlow Carr
See Harlow Carr all aglow this winter as special lighting effects bring a touch of magic to the most northerly RHS garden in Harrogate. Enjoy an illuminated trail around the magnificent trees and shrubs as dusk falls and see the lake, Winter Walk, Streamside, Doric columns and Alpine House all aglow. Visitors can bask in the ‘glow’ of the winter illuminations three evenings a week (Thursday – Saturday, except Boxing Day) from 4.30pm – 8pm, with last entry at 7pm. RHS Members and guests half price. Non-member adult £10; non-member child (5-16) £5; non-member family £27.

Thursday 5 December: Children’s Storytime
Bring your little ones along to Harlow Carr’s Library for a 10.30am seasonal storytelling session. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Suitable for under-fives. Normal garden admission.

December: RHS Members’ Gardening Advice

RHS Members can get face-to-face gardening advice from a friendly RHS advisor every Monday and Friday from 1pm – 3pm, except Bank Holidays and 21 December – 1 January inclusive. Come to the advice desk in the entrance conservatory. Normal garden admission.

29 November – 1 Dec, 6-8, 13–15 and 20–24 December: Stories with Santa
Snuggle up for a classic Christmas tale, have a sing-along and a story with the man himself and if you have been very good, receive a small gift. Tickets for Stories with Santa go on sale on 16 September and must be booked in advance at 

29 November – 1 Dec, 6-8, 13–15 and 20–24 December: The Magic of Christmas
Put on your best Christmas jumper and get in the festive spirit on a Christmas trail. Enjoy Christmas crafts and make your own reindeer food to take home for Christmas Eve. Normal garden admission.

Christmas events at Harlow Carr


Robin Hoods Bay Victorian Weekend – Christmas events Yorkshire

Check their website for 2020 details. (The below info is for last Christmas)

The Victorian Weekend at Robin Hood’s Bay is organised by the RHB Tourism Association and will see the return of children’s favourite – Santa. Other exciting activities usually take place such as Welly-throwing on the beach, Victorian games, a Christmas card competition, a costume competition, a Sheep Hunt, talks about the Dickensian era and Smuggling in Victorian times.  There will be music everywhere you go, in the streets, in the pubs later on, in churches and a Variety Concert and a Pie & Pea supper. Feast your eyes at the art exhibition and old crafts, visit period cottages and discover Robin Hood’s Bay on a guided walk, learn about St Hilda’s snakes and sea monsters, follow your duck in the annual RNLI Duck Race and marvel at the beauty and ingenuity of all the Christmas trees in St Stephen’s Church.  Carollers, Hand-bell ringers, lucky dips, tombolas, draws, spinning demonstrations, ganseys, mince pies, plenty of music and surprises await you.

Mother Shipton’s, Knaresborough

28th November 2020 to 24th December 2020

Santa is flying here to see you! Let the twinkling lights draw you into the wonder of Mother Shipton’s magical memory-making Christmas experience.

The excitement begins with Santa’s jolly elves giving each child their own festive activity pack. Adults can enjoy a complimentary glass of mulled wine whilst the children are busy writing a letter to Santa and a wish to hang on the Christmas tree. Don’t forget to visit Mother Shipton’s Post Office to stamp and send off your letter to Santa!

If you are feeling creative, you can decorate a gingerbread man for an additional cost. Hot drinks and mince pies are also available. To fuel Santa’s reindeer as they fly all over the world, they will need some food. Fill a bag with magical food to take home and scatter.

Acorn the Toy Maker will be working hard to make lots of toys for children this Christmas. Help Acorn to make some traditional wooden toys to fill up Santa’s sleigh before his Christmas Eve journey. As you venture through breathtaking surroundings, immerse yourself in Christmas wonder with Holly Berry the Storyteller who will read you an enchanting tale.

And then to the main event: Chief Elf Chestnut has the important task of warming you up before entering the stunning grotto that leads you through to meet Santa. Receive a very special gift and have a photo taken, which will then be available to buy in the Christmas Shop alongside an array of wonderful gifts and decorations.

Tickets to see Santa can be purchased ONLINE ONLY, selected dates from 1st to 24th December. Mother Shipton’s will also be hosting a Champion Day on 30th November for children and adults who would prefer a quieter, more relaxed visit to Santa with no bright lights or loud noises.   Places are limited, don’t miss out! Book now using this link.

Christmas at Mother Shipton's

Treasurer’s House, York

Check their website for 2020 details. (The below info is for last Christmas)

Tales with Father Christmas at Treasurer’s House – A grotto with a difference

Father Christmas has crashed into the roof again – his GPS is terrible! Don’t worry, we’ve set him up a special grotto in the attic. Grab a hard hat and head to the rooftops to listen to his stories and receive a gift. He’s happy to welcome visitors in this most unusual of places and share his amazing adventures.

Meet Father Christmas on weekends from Sunday 1 – Saturday 21 December. Suitable for age 5 years and over – you’ll need to wear one of the hard hats provided and adventure through small doors and raised ledges. It’s £8.50 per child with a free adult place. If you want to explore the house, this would need a house ticket or free entry to National Trust members and under fives. Booking ahead is recommended on 01904 624247.

We reviewed Treasurer’s House over the summer.

christmas days out in Yorkshire


Christmas at Barley Hall, York

Check their website for 2020 details. (The below info is for last Christmas)

This is your chance to discover the hidden history of the use of charms, potions and magic during Christmas celebrations in medieval York at our beautifully decorated townhouse, Barley Hall.  Enjoy the greenery and colour as you are transported back in time to explore the beautifully decorated rooms of Barley Hall, each dressed to reflect the different activities that would have taken place in the home and around the city in Lady Snawsell’s time.


Winter Wonderland at Bolling Hall, Bradford

Check their website for 2020 details. (The below info is for last Christmas)

Bradford’s historical Bolling Hall Museum and Library will be transformed in to a Winter Wonderland for a Christmas event on Saturday 7 December from 11am to 3pm.
The event which has been organised by The Friends of Bowling Park will feature a number of market stalls and activities in the beautiful old hall.
There will be a cake stall, a tombola, sweet stall, craft stalls, face painting and winter crafts. Children will also get the chance to meet Father Christmas for a small charge.
Entry to the event is free, although donations will be welcome.

Lizzie Llabres, Curator of Industrial and Social History at Bolling Hall Museum, said: “The Winter Wonderland event has become a great annual event, encouraging people to visit our wonderful Bolling Hall Museum and helping them to get in to the festive spirit as they prepare for Christmas. There are some lovely stalls where people can pick up some early Christmas presents.
“The Winter Wonderland event is one of a wide range of events and activities as part of the Sparkling Bradford Christmas campaign. The campaign brings together all the fantastic things that people can see, do or take part in during whole of the festive season.”



It’s a bit further afield (Like London!) but also have a look at my review of Lapland UK.

Also look at my other round ups for different times of the year, Things to do in Yorkshire with the kids at February half term, Easter, May half term, Summer Holidays, October half term and at Christmas


Yorkshire Wonders

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