School Holidays & Special Events York

Christmas Events

Christmas Events in York with kids and for families in 2018.  Here is a full list of events,  places to see Santa and festive activities for you and your children to enjoy in 2018

Featured Listing

Beetle Bank Open Farm – Santa

Santa is due to arrive at Beetle Bank Farm!

Join him in his cosy Grotto and choose a super gift of your choice.
Open 12-4pm Fri, Sat, Sun, and Mon from the 7th December and including Christmas eve.

£5.99 for customers on site, £7.99 to just see Santa

Booking recommended.

Beetle Bank Farm, Murton, York, YO195XD
T: 01904 4887967


Featured Listing

Beningbrough at Christmas

Weekends, 1 – 23 December

To rest ahead of the big day, Father Christmas likes to come and holiday just outside York at his beautiful country retreat in Beningbrough Hall. He brings some of his best elves…although they’re still very naughty. They enjoy playing in the garden, dressing up in the hall and riding on the bikes – just like you.

Come and meet Father Christmas in the library of the hall as part of a small group. He’ll read you some stories unique to Beningbrough, chat to each and every one of you and have a photo taken if you’d like. You’ll leave with a small gift to take away.
Sessions will run on weekends in December at various times from 11.30am – 3.30pm. Price is £9 per child with one free adult place. Further adult places can be bought at £9. Booking is essential as we do tend to get fully booked – phone the elves on 01904 472014
There is also artrageous running on the weekends 12noon – 3pm, plan your visit and make time to get creative together in the family art workshop, free for everyone. Artrageous can be found in the Hayloft, accessed by stairs only.

Beningbrough is open on winter weekends 11am – 3.30pm and although Father Christmas will have left for a well-earned rest, we’re also open for exploring the gardens on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
Normal admissions charges also apply – free to National Trust members and under fives.
We ho-ho-hope to see you soon.

Beningbrough, York, North Yorkshire, YO30 1DD
T: 01904 472014


Featured Listing

Blue Sky Day Nursery – Christmas Shopping Offer

At Blue sky Day Nursery York we are an exciting special opening offer!
A half priced half day to do Christmas shopping in peace!!
We thought parents might appreciate being able to do their Christmas shopping without their little ones around and being at Clifton Moor we are really handy for the shops.

T: 01904 693007

Featured Listing

Castle Howard – Christmas

Saturday 17th November to Monday 31st December 2018

Enjoy a truly magical day out as Castle Howard is transformed for the festive season. Experience the magnificent decorations as you journey through the House’s grand state rooms. Open fires, candle light and live music evoke all that we love about this special time of year, with the iconic 25 foot traditional Christmas tee adorned with over 3000 baubles providing a breath-taking highlight in the Great Hall.

Inspirational design team Charlotte Lloyd Webber and Bretta Gereke have worked with the theme ‘The 12 days of Christmas’ to produce a sunning array of flamboyant displays and installations to surprise and delight visitors of all ages, including a fun indoor Children’s trail.

It is easy to spend a full day here as you soak up the jovial atmosphere, indulge in a Christmas Afternoon Tea in the elegant Grecian Hall before completing your Christmas shopping in our Gift Shops, Christmas Market stalls, Farm Shop and Garden Centre.

And don’t miss the opportunity to meet the big man himself as Father Christmas will be making some very special visits.

Castle Howard, York YO60 7DA
T: 01653 648333



Featured Listing

City Cruises York – Santa Experience

Regular sailings from 24th November to 23rd December, 2018.

Our most magical event of the year returns again in 2018.
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.
Your Santa experience begins as you are welcomed into our Grotto, cleverly hidden away underneath the beautiful Lendal Bridge. Upon entering, the Captain will check all of the children off the special list that we receive from Lapland. If you have any pushchairs, then you are welcome to leave these in the safety of our Reindeer Pen (they will all be away on business with Santa at this time so there will be plenty of room).
You will then be warmly greeted by Santa’s good friend Mary Christmas who will gladly show you to your reserved seating and distribute the magic bells.
And we can’t tell you too much more about what happens next, that would spoil the magic. But we can guarantee that Santa Claus himself will find his way aboard and the whole family will have the most wonderful time on board our Santa Experience in 2018.
Each child will be hand delivered a personalised present from Santa whilst everybody on board will enjoy refreshments, fun and surprises, making this a Christmas treat to remember.

Ticket Link

T: 01904 62832


Featured Listing

Dean’s Garden Centre – Breakfast / Tea with Father Christmas

Breakfast with Father Christmas (9am)
Sat 8th Dec
Sat 15th Dec
Sat 22nd Dec

Tea with Father Christmas (4pm)
Thurs 6th Dec
Thurs 13th Dec
Thurs 20th Dec

What to expect on the day
These fun sessions will take place in The Bothy. Children will enjoy a delicious, freshly prepared breakfast or tea, and unlimited squash to drink. Adults will receive a drink of tea, filter coffee or orange juice and a festive scone, or a mince pie.

Father Christmas is looking forward to chatting to everyone and will be giving each child an age-appropriate gift. Don’t forget your camera!

Children will also enjoy festive colouring sheets, biscuit decorating and access to our children’s activity area.

Tickets must be booked in advance as spaces are limited. Tickets are available at the Garden Centre or over the phone (01904 400141) and must be paid for in full at the time of booking.

Child tickets: £12.99
Adult tickets: £3.99

Accompanying adults must each purchase a ticket (max of 2 adults per child, due to limited space).
We request that guests arrive 15 mins prior to start time, so they can be seated beforehand.
Please see our website for menu options and FAQs

Dean’s Garden Centre, Stockton Lane, Stockton-on-the-Forest, York, YO32 9UE
T: 01904 400141


Featured Listing
Featured Listing

Mother Shipton’s Christmas

Mother Shipton’s is opening for the first time this Christmas. Children meet Santa, then choose from an array of wonderful gifts in his Toy Shop. Be greeted by the Head Elf for story time and don’t forget to bring your camera for a photo opportunity in Santa’s Sleigh! Create a wish to hang on Mother Shipton’s Wishing Tree and post a letter to the North Pole. As you take in the magical surroundings treat yourself to hot drinks and mince pies. Children can also buy and decorate their very own Christmas treat. Wonderful gifts and decorations are available in our new pop-up Christmas shop.

Tickets can be purchased ONLINE ONLY, selected dates from 24th November to 23rd December. For more information visit Places are limited, don’t miss out! Book now at

Mother Shipton’s, Knaresborough, HG5 8DD
T: 01423 864600

Featured Listing

Murton Park Santa Special

Sat 1st and Sun 2nd Dec
Sat 8th and Sun 9th Dec
Sat 15th and Sun 16th Dec
Sat 22nd and Sun 23rd Dec

Open from 09:30 with last admission strictly at 15:00


Once again we are delighted to say that Santa and his elves will be coming to Murton Park this December.
As always the Derwent Valley Light Railway shall be running heritage passenger trains on which children will receive an early present from Santa.

Join Chief Elf Bauble for a guided tour of Santa’s village to meet the elves who are busy at work preparing for the big day. There are rumours that the elves are also getting ready for the big baking competition, this could get messy!

Take a look through Father Christmas’s House which as you would expect is very tastefully decorated with traditional decorations and a wood burning fire to warm yourselves.

On your return from the cold adults will receive a complimentary sherry (or orange juice) and mince pie in the farmhouse kitchen and get chance to fully warm yourselves up.

*Note that large parts of this event take place outdoors so we recommend outdoor clothing and footwear.

Yorkshire Museum of Farming, Murton Park, York, YO19 5UF
T: 01904489966


Featured Listing
Featured Listing

The Balloon Tree – Christmas Orders

We have a wide selection of good value, quality homegrown and locally sourced produce, including Christmas turkeys, all under one roof – for a convenient local shopping experience!

Take the stress out of Christmas by ordering your Christmas food early so its one less thing to think about! Christmas orders can be placed in the shop, by email or over the phone on 01759 373023 by Dec 16th.

Our Christmas food offering is excellent. We have free range bronze turkeys from Harome in North Yorkshire, stuffing and all the trimmings from various local suppliers. Christmas Puddings from Bramble Foods and Christmas cakes made by our very own in-house head baker, Simon, which he has been maturing since the summer. All the winter veg is harvested daily, whatever the weather.

We have plenty of gift ideas, quality hampers, Christmas trees, decorations, Christmas wreaths, homemade cakes, puddings, tasting sessions and lots more. Enter the prize draws in the farmshop for a chance of winning your turkey and a fantastic luxury gift hamper!

Homemade CHRISTMAS LUNCH with all the trimmings – served in the cafe every day 12 – 4pm. November 26th – December 23rd 2018.

Please download an order form (Christmas 2018) by clicking on the links below.

printable PDF VERSION (print it out, fill in your order and bring it into the farmshop, alternatively post it back to us)Post


emailable balloon tree order form (Open the file, fill in your order on the screen, save it and email it to

Stamford Bridge Road (A166), Gate Helmsley, YO41 1NB (One mile west of Stamford Bridge)
T: 01759 373023


Featured Listing

The Deep

Come in from the cold this December and enjoy a jolly day out for the whole family. With over 5,000 animals to explore it’s a cracker of a time to head on down! Take part in the festive fishmas trail and create your very own winter wonderland – follow the clues around the attraction as you go. Make a sand art calendar for just £2 in the Learning Centre (weekends in December plus every day from 26 December to 6 January); the perfect gift for your loved ones and finish off with a delicious festive treat in Castaways Café. Plus, we are offering a FREE mince pie with every hot drink between 1st and 23rd December.

The Deep offers FREE return visits for 12 months with the Day Plus Pass. Simply complete your details at reception and retain your tickets to make use of this offer. Full terms and conditions can be found on The Deep’s website.

Tower Street, Hull, HU1 4DP (Sat Nav HU9 1TU). 01482 381000. Open daily 10am – 6pm (last entry 5pm).


Featured Listing

The Magic Hatter’s Christmas Cracker 2018 (Starring Santa)

York’s festive family magic show returns for the 8th magical year! LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION, this year’s show is inspired by popular Christmas films…

December 8th and 9th, shows at 10.30am and 3.30pm
The HIVE Studios, Manor CE Academy, York
Adults £9, Children £8, Family of Four £30
With special guests Frostbite the Penguin, Aunty Madge Hatter and SANTA CLAUS HIMSELF!
Festive fun for all the family, ages 3 to 103…’yule’ love it. Shows sell out early, so early booking is strongly recommended!
All tickets must be pre-booked, click the snowman at for more details and to book online

“It’s definitely the highlight of our Christmas each year for our kiddies!” A. Malone
“It’s the longest time I’ve seen both children sit still and stay engaged! Excellent value for money.” D. Wakefield
My little girls eyes were so filled with wonder, I nearly cried. Well done and thank you very much for everything including keeping it affordable.” C. Thomas and family
“A superb alternative to a Christmas panto. We were sat on the front row and our boys haven’t stopped talking about the show!” P. Martin

The Magic Hatter
T: 0845 475 2124


Featured Listing

The Mile Pocklington – Christmas Trees

The Mile, Pocklington, YO42 1TW. On the road out of Pocklington towards Millington.

The Mile sells local produce, animal and pet supplies, photo gifts and prints and is also well know for its lovely cafe, Smile Cafe @ The Mile, with indoor soft play and outside play area (weather dependent). They will be selling real Christmas trees grown locally from 1st right up to 24th December, just call in and browse their range.

For more information:
T: Jo on 01759 305420

Featured Listing

The Vine – Family Christmas Party

Saturday 15th December – Come and join us at Huntington Memorial Hall in York for our ALL AGES Christmas Party! Everybody is invited to join us in celebrating the festive season, with a whole range of entertainment to fill the evening! We will be serving party food, along with playing those classic Christmas games (suitable for all ages and abilities), including making hot chocolate reindeer!

For those bringing children, please message us with details about your child, including their name and their age so that we can give them a small gift 🎁

T: 07719528206


Featured Listing

Treasurer’s House – A grotto with a difference

Weekends from 24 November to 16 December

Father Christmas has had to make an emergency landing on the rooftops so as he gets his repairs done ahead of his busy night on Christmas Eve, he’s happy to welcome visitors in this most unique of places. Take a trip up to the attic grotto to visit Father Christmas, listen to his stories and receive a gift.

Afterwards enjoy the house adorned with over 100 metres of garlands and 3,000 fairy lights, make a wish and hang it on the tree. Search the nooks and crannies of the house for the naughty gnomes before they eat the Christmas treats and create your own decorations to take home.

Meeting Father Christmas in his grotto is suitable for age 4 years and over – you’ll need to wear one of the hard hats provided and adventure through small doors and raised ledges. It’s £7.50 per child with a free adult place. Sessions run at 11.15am, 12noon, 12.45pm, 2pm, 2.45pm and 3.30pm

Booking ahead is recommended on 01904 624247 or drop in and grab a space.
Treasurer’s House will be open and ready for Christmas on Thursdays to Sundays, 11am – 4.30pm from 15 November to 16 December 2018. Free to enter for National Trust members and under-fives

Treasurer’s House, Minster Yard, York YO1 7JL
T: 01904 624247


Featured Listing

York Castle Museum – A Victorian Christmas

17 November – 31 December 2018

Journey back in time to discover how Christmas was celebrated over 150 years ago on Kirkgate; the ideal backdrop for a month of Christmas festivities, music and cheer.

A Victorian Christmas
Take a stroll over the cobbles of our twinkling Victorian street – Kirkgate – and experience the true magic and traditions of days gone by.

A Father Christmas Experience
Meet Father Christmas and discover the magic of Christmas past. Take part in our special Christmas trail, join in with festive activities, including gingerbread making demonstrations and craft activities, which lead to an unforgettable visit to Father Christmas. Join us in our Elf School where Father Christmas will be waiting with a traditional gift and some Christmas sparkle

Enjoy evenings with Father Christmas, a truly unique experience as part of the best Christmas in history – new for 2018!

A Christmas Carol
Back by popular demand, come and join actor Chris Cade as he entertains the crowds throughout the day, with his one-man show under the garlands of Kirkgate.
Performances on 8 and 9 December and every day from 15 December until 24 December inclusive. Included in museum admission.

Download the Victorian Christmas at York Castle Museum LEAFLET for all the details about these fantastic Christmas events.


Featured Listing

York Minster – Christmas Events

14th December – 6th January
Christmas Activity Trail
Discover more about the Christmas story by exploring six family-friendly activity stops hidden around the Minster. Follow a trail with items to look at, touch, smell and discuss at each stop. Free with admission (Adult admission free for all York Residents with York Card, Driver’s License or Utility bill), collect your trail from the admission desks. No need to book. Also available – our ever-popular Explorer backpacks (subject to availablilty).

24th December
Crib service
Our annual Christmas Eve Crib service takes place at 12noon. This Nativity-themed services is one of the highlight of the season for York families with over 800+ people in attendance. Kids are ENCOURAGED to wear fancy-dress; whether traditional nativity charters or their favourite superhero.

York Minster, Deangate, York, YO1 7HH
T: 01904 557200

Featured Listing

York Theatre Royal – The Elves & The Shoemakers

Thu 11 Dec – Sat 05 Jan

“Shoes, shoes, shimmering shoes,
You’ll jump at the chances, for parties and dances,
So just put your feet up and give a big hand,
For the best pair of shoemakers here in the land…”

Once upon a time, there were two shoemakers who were very old and very poor. So poor they couldn’t even afford to buy each other Christmas presents. With no wood for the fire and only one piece of leather left to make shoes, there was little festive spirit in the shoemakers’ shop.

But one night, just as the snow began to fall outside and the clock strikes midnight, two mischievous elves appear at the window…

With live music, puppetry and lots of theatre magic, Grimms’ classic fairy tale, The Elves & The Shoemakers, comes to life this Christmas as a festive treat for all the family.

York Theatre Royal, St. Leonard’s Place, York, YO1 7HD
T: 01904 623568


Featured Listing

York Theatre Royal – The Grand Old Dame Of York

Thu 13 Dec – Sat 02 Feb

Join us and celebrate Berwick Kaler’s 40th year as York’s legendary Dame in The Grand Old Dame of York…

Celebrating the traditional art of pantomime, this year’s show will be a gag-laden, song packed extravaganza featuring stunning costumes, jaw dropping sets and choreography to thrill. With performances up to 2nd February, our panto is not only a great festive treat, but also an ideal way to banish those January blues.

We know you’ll have a grand old time!

York Theatre Royal, St. Leonard’s Place, York, YO1 7HD
T: 01904 623568


City Screen – Festive Films

A Christmas Story [PG] Sun 2 Dec, 12.00
Home Alone [PG] Wed 5 Dec, 20.30
Die Hard [15] Fri 7 Dec, 20.30
The Muppet Christmas Carol [U] Sun 9 Dec, 12.00
A Christmas Carol Starring Simon Callow [TBC] Wed 12 Dec, 19.00
CBEEBIES Christmas Show [U] Sat 15 Dec, 11.00
The Greatest Showman Sing-A-Long [PG] Sun 16 Dec, 15.00
The Nightmare Before Christmas [PG] Wed 19 Dec, 20.30
Stan And Ollie + Short Film The Music Box [PG] Sat 22 Dec, 20.40
Bolshoi Ballet: The Nutcracker (Live 2018) [12A] Sun 23 Dec, 15.00
It’s A Wonderful Life [U] Mon 24 Dec, 17.45

City Screen, 13 – 17 Coney Street, York, YO1 9QL
T: 0871 902 5747

Clifton Library – Christmas Activities

Saturday 15th December, 2018 10.30am-12pm

Christmas Crafts for 5-12 year olds.
Lots of fun stuff to make. A variety of Christmas cards, Christmas decorations and much more. Drop in session so come along and make one thing or stay for the morning.Free

T: 01904 552662

Coppergate Santa Grotto

15th Nov 2018 – 23rd Dec 2018

Open from 10am to 6pm daily
Brand new for 2018. Meet a real elf, talk to Santa and leave with a wonderful gift and souvenir photo.

Forest Church

6th December – 15:45 – 16:45

Please join us for Forest Church, we will have a trail to the stable, we will explore the magic of the Christmas story and have hot chocolate.
For me information Call Becky on 01904703666.

107 Dringthorpe Road, YO24 1LF

Goddards House and Garden – ‘The Night Before Christmas’

16 November – 16 December (Friday – Sunday only)

Discover the Terry family Christmas and how it changed in different years of family life. From the laughter and fun of Christmas games when the children were little, to more reflective years after the war and how the Terry business changed during the Christmas period.

Holgate Windmill- Santa

Saturday 1st, Sunday 2nd and Saturday 8th December from 2pm to 4pm and Sunday 9th from 10am – 12pm and 2pm – 4pm.

Children £5 including a present from Santa, adults have free admission but we welcome donations for mince pies and hot mulled apple juice. Booking is not required but there may be a wait if it gets busy.

Joseph Rowntree Theatre – Sleeping Beauty Pantomime

Saturday 8 December — Saturday 15 December 2018

Experience York’s funniest Panto this Christmas, perfect for families (and grown-ups with a sense of humour…) and the classic story of Sleeping Beauty like never before, with musical numbers, jokes a-plenty and a whole lot of “IT’S BEHIND YOUS!”.

Book Now via the Joseph Rowntree Theatre website, it’s already selling out.

Q Church – Christmas at Our House!

Sunday 23rd December. Doors open at 3:30pm. Event starts at 4pm – 5:30pm.

A heartwarming evening of story and song with spectacular music, entertaining videos and inspirational talks.
After mulled wine and mince pies at 3:30pm, we’ll take our seats for a 4pm start.
Free Entry. Everyone is welcome!

Q Church, Priory Street, York YO1 6ET

Santa Fun Run with the Wilberforce Trust

Saturday, December 1, 2018 at 11:45 AM – 2:45 PM

Bring your family, babies, dogs, friends and colleagues and get into the Christmas spirit on the first day of December. Run, jog or walk round the course! The registration fee covers the costs to us of putting on the run so please raise as much sponsorship money as you can.

Knavesmire, Albemarle Rd, York

The Black Bull – Kids Xmas Eve Party

Monday, December 24, 2018 at 3:30 PM – 6 PM

Best Christmas Eve Party in York
£8 per child (under 10’s)
(Buy in person at the bar cash only)
Gift from Santa, Disco, Games, Art & Crafts, Buffet

The Black Bull ‘Sizzling Pub’, Hull Road, YO10 3LF York

Thirsk Garden Centre – Reindeer visit

Friday, November 23, 2018 at 12 PM – 5 PM until Sunday 23rd December

Come and visit Santa’s reindeer at Thirsk Garden Centre! Landing on Friday 23rd November, the reindeer will be here until Christmas Eve.

Thirsk Garden Centre, Blakey Lane, Thirsk, YO7 3AB
T: 01845 523032

Tiny Stompers – Christmas

10th December 10:30 – 11:15

A Christmas filled music and movement session with a visit from the man in red himself! Includes a little present for the children and a mincepie treat for our grown up stompers! Come dressed in your favourite Christmas jumper!

Shipton by beningbrough community centre

T: 07739 960910 (Becky)

West Bank Park -Christmas Carols

Saturday, December 8, 2018 at 3 PM – 4 PM

All welcome to come together and sing along to all your favourite Christmas carols with music from the Dynamics Community Band in the beautiful woodland surroundings of West Bank Park.
Make a ‘Mini tree’ at a children’s workshop beforehand (2-3pm in the Bowling Pavilion).
Refreshments available.

Westbank Park, Holgate, Acomb, York, YO24 4NX York

York Early Music Christmas Festival

8 – 15 December 2018

Join us for the antidote to a chaotic Christmas and to set the tone for a relaxed and music-filled yuletide with the National Centre for Early Music’s much-loved annual York Early Music Christmas Festival – celebrating its 20th anniversary. Ten events over eight days!

Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland

17 November – 6 January
Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland is home to the north of England’s largest and best-loved outdoor ice rink – The Ice Factor – with its magical setting, giant Christmas tree and rinkside Alpine-themed café. With vintage funfair rides dating from as early as 1933, Santa welcoming visitors in his enchanting log cabin, live weekend entertainment and of course Christmas shopping.