Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland at York Designer Outlet

Visiting Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland is one of our favourite family traditions before Christmas.  As soon as November hits, the kids are asking when we are going ice skating. Further down this post is a video and review of the year before last so you can get an idea of what to expect.


York’s favourite festive event – Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland – will be making a welcome return to McArthurGlen Designer Outlet York this winter, the organisers announced today.  The popular outdoor ice rink, vintage funfair and Santa’s Grotto will be open from Friday 19th November 2021 to Sunday 9th January 2022 with tickets on sale now, following a year’s absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland has been a regular Christmas attraction at York Designer Outlet since 2010 but was cancelled last year due to government restrictions.  This year will mark its 16th season in York; the event made its debut as The Ice Factor on the Eye of York in 2005.


The Ice Factor – the North of England’s largest outdoor ice rink at 975 sq. m – will once again have a 30ft high sparkling Christmas tree as its centrepiece. Surrounded by illuminated trees, log cabins, the rink side cafe and a viewing platform, this magical setting makes for the perfect festive experience for all ages.


Overlooking the ice rink is The Chalet, a cosy alpine-themed, après-skate café and an ideal spot to warm up after a session on the ice or to watch the skaters glide past.  Mulled wine, the best hot chocolate in town, hot dogs, toasties and sweet treats will be available to purchase, and private parties can also be arranged.


The vintage funfair features rides from the golden era of fairgrounds.  Speed and thrills await on the 1936 Speedway, the 1937 Brooklands Dodgems or the stunning 1930s Chair-o-Plane.  Muffin the Mule and Hush Hush the train will delight children, as will the games stalls offering prizes galore.


Christmas would not be the same without a visit to Santa and his elves. Visitors can follow the path through the snowy enchanted woodland to find his cosy log cabin and collect a special gift.

And of course, York Designer Outlet is the perfect place to tackle the Christmas shopping, with favourite premium brands including Ted Baker, Molton Brown, Joules, UGG and many more for up to 60% less than the RRP. Those travelling in groups can also enjoy a special Christmas cheer with an additional 10% discount at participating stores when they pre-book online (yorkdesigneroutlet.com).



We love Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland at the McArthur Glen Designer Outlet on the outskirts of York. We went along at the weekend, and our first port of call was to visit Santa.


Winter Wonderland York Designer Outlet Review


The grotto is surrounded by Christmas trees absolutely covered with ‘snow’, which you queue through.


Winter Wonderland York Designer Outlet Review


Inside, the grotto is very festive and Santa had a nice chat with our daughter before having an official photo with her (you can buy these at the end, I took my own photos) and handing her a present.


Winter Wonderland York Designer Outlet Review


After we had seen Santa, we headed into the shopping centre itself. There are loads of shops, but we have a few favourites that we visit frequently. Master T always likes to visit the Cadbury’s shop for obvious reasons, while I can often be seen in Cath Kidson or the Clarke’s outlet!  Miss H loves Claire’s (they have some great Christmas accessories at the moment!).



Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland York Designer Outlet Review

Later on the children took to the ice rink. They like to hire a Snowman, as otherwise they spend a lot of time sitting down on the ice! There are penguins for the smaller ones too. Afterwards consider heading into The Chalet for a nice hot drink or snacks while you watch the other skaters glide around.



We were booked in for lunch at Pizza Express at 1pm which meant time for some fun at the fairground. It’s a beautiful vintage fair, with a (very fast!) Speedway, bumper cars and spinning chairs, as well as rides for little ones. We also had a go at Hook a Duck and Miss H brought home a plushie snake (I miss the days when she loved unicorns!).



After all the fun of the fair, we headed in for lunch at Pizza Express. I would recommend booking a table, especially over the Christmas period when the centre gets very busy. We were shown to a nice cosy table and ordered our lunch. The kids menu is good value at £7.25 for three courses plus a bambinoccino. Oh and if you collect Tesco vouchers, don’t forget to use them here too.



A few photos from our meal, including Miss H’s kids’ meal dough balls and pasta.  She loves pesto and although it wasn’t on the kids menu they whipped it up especially for her.


Winter Wonderland has it all really, Santa, ice skating and a fair as well as some great shopping and lots of places to eat too.   We always go during the day but I think it really comes alive at dusk, so I’d recommend going then!





Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland invited us to visit and review.  As always, all opinions expressed are my own.


Looking for more Christmas Events and Ice Skating York?  Have a look what else is on in the area.

5 thoughts on “Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland at York Designer Outlet”

  1. Sounds amazing – thank you, we will definitely go. I didn’t realise that there was so much to see there.

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