School Holidays & Special Events York

Places to see Santa

Places to see Santa in 2018 in York. If you want to see Father Christmas in or near York this year then here is the full list…

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

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

Christmas Fairs

Santa will also be visiting a lot of the Christmas Fairs happening across York, sometime just for an hour or two.

See our Christmas Fairs page for more information on the fairs he will making a stop off at.

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

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

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

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.


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.

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.

Web Adventure Park – Christmas

Baby Meets Santa
13/12, 14/12, 17/12, 19/12, 21/12
10 – 12
A sensory Christmas experience for babies which will gently introduce them to Santa in a festive environment.

Breakfast with Father Christmas
15/12, 16/12, 18/12, 20/12, 22/12, 23/12, 24/12 10 – 12
A children’s VIP festive event with a Christmassy breakfast.

T: 01904 692221

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.