It’s finally time to stuff our faces with mince pies, crack open a beer after work and eat pigs in blankets for lunch because, well, it’s Christmas. It’s a time for celebration and spending time with loved ones, so to make your festive agenda that little bit easier this year – we’ve rounded up the most festive things to do in Yorkshire this Christmas.
Lotherton Hall The Christmas Experience, Leeds
Offering a little something for everyone, The Christmas Experience at Lotherton Hall has a variety of activities – from Christmas crafts, outdoor walks and even a trip to the North Pole.
This year’s experience includes an Elf-themed cafe aptly named the Elf Village, which features twinkling lights and Nordic decor and serves a variety of hot beverages and snacks for guests to take a break between the festivities. If that wasn’t enough, you can even take part in some craft activities with the elves, including Christmas plate decorating and making baubles (aka the Elves can look after the kids while you have a brew).
The North Pole experience is where it’s really at if you have children, with the man himself (Santa that is… Not Sean Bean in case you were wondering) in attendance ready for meet and greets. But the North Pole trip is much more than just a visit to Santa’s grotto, as attendees will be led through the Elf Workshop where you can take part in more activities, like making food for the reindeers to keep them fuelled for their upcoming big trip and writing a postcard to give to Santa.
If Santa’s grotto isn’t your gaff, there’s also a ’12 Days of Christmas’ woodland walk, which includes a number of illuminations to interact with along the way.
Inside the hall sees the venue dressed with Edwardian decor, perfectly done-up for the Christmas season with plenty of photo opps for visitors to take part in. And lastly, the experience has added its very own open-air Ice Rink especially for this year, which both adults and children can take part in.
Tickets for The Christmas Experience can be purchased here.
Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland, York
Hosted annually at the York Designer Outlet, Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland is the perfect day trip for the family – all decked out with snow, festive decor and even Santa’s grotto to make your Christmas shopping that extra bit fun.
Kids can visit the grotto, where they’ll get to meet and chat to Santa as well as receive a gift to pop under the tree when you get home.
There’s also an outdoor Ice Rink to enjoy (North of England’s largest!) which wraps around a huge Christmas tree for a real Christmassy feel, as well as an old school fun fair with old favourite rides and sweet stalls to treat yourself to.
You’ll also be able to shop and dine at all your favourite stores and restaurants as normal, just in case you feel like doing a bit of Christmas shopping while you’re there!
The Polar Express Train Ride In Wensleydale, Yorkshire Dales
Nowhere could possibly be more picturesque than the Yorkshire Dales, making this experience all the more special.
With a licensed Polar Express train (the only one in the region!), the famous train picks guests up from the station ready to transport them to the North Pole. Sounds magical already, doesn’t it?
All of the characters from the movie will be on hand to meet, including the conductor, the singing chefs and Father Christmas himself.
The organisers encourage guests to come dressed in their favourite pyjamas especially for the occasion (to really get into the movie spirit of course!), and promise a ‘fun-filled, theatrical experience’ for all the family. Throughout the journey, guests will experience the bumps in the ride – just like in the movie, including Caribou crossing, the sight of the Northern Lights and have the story of the Polar Express told to you by the Singing Chefs. Not only that, guests will receive a hot chocolate and a cookie ahead of arriving at their final destination.
Upon arrival, kids will get to finally meet Santa – where they’ll receive a gift and a silver sleigh bell, before heading back to the station where you’ll be able to take part in more activities – such as writing letters to Santa and checking if you’re on the naughty or nice list.
You can purchase tickets to the Polar Express Train Ride here.
The Snowman at Beverley Minster
Now becoming an annual occasion, this year Beverley Minster are hosting a showing of The Snowman on Wednesday the 11th December following the success of last year’s performance.
But this isn’t an ordinary screening – the screening is actually accompanied by a live orchestra, making it all the more special and theatrical.
Additionally to The Snowman, guests can attend a screening of A Donkey’s Tale – a moving story of a donkey with an extraordinary dream that will change his life forever.
The performance is suitable for all the family, and there are three performance times to choose from throughout the afternoon and evening.
Tickets can be booked here.
Leeds Christmas Markets
A great way to enjoy the hustle and bustle of city during the busiest time of the year, Leed’s Christkindelmarkt is back this year at Millennium Square and it’s bigger than ever.
The authentic German market features all the usual suspects, including Bavarian food stalls, local gift stalls that stock Christmassy gifts, as well as local produce stalls. There’s also an Alp Chalet where guests can kick back and relax out of the cold, with traditional food and drink available and even a Breakfast with Santa event every weekend.
Find out more about this year’s Christmas market offering across Yorkshire here.
Alice In Wonderland Light Trail at Lightwater Valley, Ripon
Running ’til the 30th November, Lightwater Valley have a new seasonal adventure for families to take part in this year, which includes an Alice in Wonderland themed trail of festive lights to uncover as you head on an adventure to find the Mad Hatter and his tea party.
Guests will of course bump into Alice, the Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter along the way, with hundreds of illuminated light sculptures telling the stories of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.
The full park won’t be open for guests, however the event will also play host to a traditional fair ground to enjoy and an indoor play area for the little ones.
Book your tickets here.
Stockeld Park, Wetherby
Stockeld Park have a whole winter adventure in store for guests this year, with a ton of festive things to get involved in in Yorkshire this Christmas.
Their award-winning Enchanted Forest is one to see, which is transformed into an incredible, twinkling wonderland with a light event and illuminations.
Hailed as one of the country’s largest and most creative light shows, guests will get to see the historic estate like never before – and it really is pretty.
The estate will also play host to a local Silver Band, to really get you in the festive spirit with songs for everyone to enjoy. Other activities include Santa’s Grotto, and a magical breakfast with Santa while enjoying a Christmas panto.
Running every weekend, the breakfast kicks off at 8am and is extremely popular with families – with tickets often selling out. Breakfast is followed by Santa’s very own panto at 9am, which sees him save Christmas after it inevitably all goes wrong.
Following the performance, children will be able to meet Santa for a photo opp and receive a gift before they leave. If you’re not quite finished for the day, each Breakfast ticket includes access to the Forest and Maze, leaving a ton of adventuring to do across the estate.
If all of that wasn’t quite enough for you, the park also has a Skate & Ski experience including an ice rink for all the family and and Nordic Ski trail through the Enchanted Forest.
Tickets are available to purchase here.