In the words of Bing Crosby… It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And thank God for that, because now the nights are dark and the air is chilly, we definitely needed a bit of festive cheer in our lives. Even the biggest Grinches among us can’t deny that there’s something magical about the festive season: the happy faces, family gatherings, the glittering lights – the latter of which might just be one of the most special parts of the whole thing – which is probably why Christmas light trails in Yorkshire for winter 2023 have become such a thing in recent years.
Transforming our parks and woodlands into enchanted spaces glittering with festive colours, illuminated trails are the perfect way to appease all of the family this winter – providing a sensory experience for the kids and a pretty walk for us grown-ups to admire, too. And luckily for us Yorkshire folk, there’s plenty taking place in God’s Own Country this Christmas. Here’s our picks of the best ones.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s Winter Illuminations return for 2023, putting a festive spin on the zoo’s many residents – in the form of giant lanterns, of course.
Forming a wholesome trail, guests can waltz on through the illuminated lands of Fairytale Kingdom, Animal Adventures, Under the Sea and more, while discovering tons of stunning illuminated figures taking the form of lions, tigers, monkeys and much, much, more.
The walk-around experience is perfect for families, with around 2,400 metres to explore as part of the experience.
Once you’ve completed the trail, the Park is home to its very own shopping and dining complex called The Hive, which boasts the fun, interactive Evolution restaurant – where kids can interact with dinosaurs and enjoy immersive sounds and pre-historic sets.
Stockeld Park’s stunning Christmas Adventure is taking over the Estate’s forest this winter, bringing gorgeous illuminations to the enchanted forest.
Amplified by soundscapes, the illuminated forest is glittered with thousands of twinkling lights in a kaleidoscope of colours, alongside gorgeous projections and glittering walkways.
There’s a variety of festive drinks to enjoy while you’re there, too, alongside a beautiful family-friendly ice rink if you fancy a bit of a skate.
3. Scarborough Lights
Scarborough Lights is set to run from the 15th of November to 23rd December and it the first event in the new Scarborough Fair programme. There will be a number of magical light displays across the town through the festive period.
Scarborough Fair was last held back in the 18th century and the new cultural initiative funded by a £1.2 million from the government’s town fund programme aims to revive it with a year-round programme of arts, heritage, music and sport events.
There will be a total of 10 free events and the aim of Scarborough Lights is to give the seaside town a new lease of life during the quieter times of year in order to help tackle social deprivation.
One event will see a winter lights trail at the popular Peasholm Park, which will be illuminated like never before. The trail will run from 4pm – 10pm daily, 15th November through to 22nd December.
Lotherton’s Christmas Experience officially reopens next week, bringing colourful installations to the estate’s woodland.
Guests can enjoy a festive strolls along winding paths of twinkling lights, with plenty of gorgeous installations to see boasting a number of interactive stations that guests can also get involved in.
The trail is, of course, just one part a whole Christmas adventure, where kids can meet Santa and his elves, and even help decorate Christmas ceramics to take home.
RHS Harlow Carr’s Glow event is currently lighting up the beautiful landscaped gardens, with tons of spectacular light displays along the trail.
Trees glow in technicolour, curtains of light form beautiful backdrops and the lawns are even transformed into a sea of colour as hundreds of syncronised lights dance under the stars.
Once you’ve completed the trail, guests can hibernate at Betty’s, who’ll be on hand to serve plenty of festive sweet treats and drinks (including Betty’s very own famous Fat Rascals!).
One of the most popular Christmas events on the East Coast, Sewerby Hall’s stunning Winter Woodland is a feast for the senses – with not only beautiful lights to see at every turn, but tons of colour, immersive soundscapes and special effects throughout the trail.
A truly family-friendly experience, the Winter Woodland also features mischievous woodland elves, who are insistent on tinkering with the lights and starting a party – a fun touch for kids to enjoy.
The trail leads onto Sewerby Hall’s elegant courtyard, where guests can enjoy an array of food and drink including pizza, hog roast and more.