The best Yorkshire Christmas days out during the festive season

The run-up to Christmas is just as enjoyable, if not more enjoyable than the big day itself.

The sheer volume and variety of things to do during Advent can render Christmas Day something of an anticlimax.

Choosing from the thousands of events happening across Yorkshire can be overwhelming.

Read the latest news on Christmas 2021 in Yorkshire here.

To make things easier for you we’ve compiled a list of the best Yule themed events taking place in the White Rose County between now and Christmas Eve.

By ‘best’ we mean big, unique, reliable (it has a reputation for being consistently good) or any combination of those three adjectives.

From outdoor city markets to Father Christmas on a TV farm there’s sure to be something to inject a bit of Christmas spirit into everyone from toddlers to pensioners.

Cannon Hall Farm

Cannon Hall Farm, near Barnsley, is known for providing one of Yorkshire’s most family-friendly Christmas experiences.

As well as exploring the attraction-packed farm – and the subject of Channel Five’s 5 On The Farm – there’s a Santa show.

After the show children can pick a present from Santa’s workshop.

Tickets are between £8 and £14.95 (plus £1 booking fee). Under-twos go free.

Castle Howard

A Narnia-themed family event is coming to York this Christmas
A Narnia-themed family event is coming to York this Christmas

Yorkshire’s number one stately home has been transformed into Narnia until January 2.

It’s best appreciated after dark when you can make the most of Castle Howard’s seasonal sparkling trees, icy twinkling lights and spectacular installations.

You can enjoy winter treats in front of log fires before or after you’ve met Father Christmas at his grotto in the courtyard of this grade I-listed treasure.

Tickets cost between £12.50 and £25 (excluding booking fee). Under-twos go free.

Chow Down Winter Village

Leeds’ famous Christmas Market isn’t on this year but this festive festival at Temple Arches, Leeds, is an excellent consolation prize.

Chow Down Winter Village features a two-storey, enclosed bar, rotating street food vendors, drag brunches, cocktails, DJ sets from Graeme Park and Norman Jay and heaps more.

While there are family activities it’s more adult-orientated.

Prices vary widely depending on what event you’re going to. Full details are here.

Halifax Piece Hall

(Image: The Piece Hall)

Follow The Tellers who will lead you on an enchanting interactive tour around this 18th-century architectural wonder and meet Father Christmas.

Tickets are £13.95 (plus £1 booking fee). Under-twos go free.

Packed with independent traders it’s also an ideal place for a bit of last-minute Christmas shopping, ale, cocktails, food and more.

Lightwater Valley

Yorkshire’s main theme park, near Ripon, has a feast of Christmas fun at weekends and during school holidays this month.

The day includes a host of fairground rides, a singalong Santa show, an ‘Elf Express’ Christmas train, a VR elf experience, Santa’s cabin, Christmas stalls and more.

Entry for children and adults is £14.50. Under-twos go free.

National Railway Museum

Spent all your wages on Christmas presents but still need to entertain the kids?

The National Railway Museum, in York, is free to visit and there are free Christmas themed activities as well as the best collection of vintage locomotives in Britain.

While it’s free entry should be booked in advance.

RHS Harlow Carr

Yorkshire’s most famous gardens, near Harrogate, will be transformed after dark into a magical illuminated world.

Tickets for Glow 2021 have sold out but some may become available due to cancellations.

Royal Armouries

What could be more festive than a good scrap?

Medieval knights and masters of historic martial arts will be doing battle with a ‘festive twist’ from December 18 to 23. What the ‘festive twist’ is, we’re not sure, but it’s free so you have nothing to lose.

Santa’s reindeer will also be at the Leeds’ museum if you fancy a break from all that warfare.

Entry must be booked in advance.

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York Christmas Markets

St Nicholas Fair, York
St Nicholas Fair, York
(Image: Matt Cornock/Flickr)

One of Europe’s premier Christmas markets features some of the best shopping, eating and drinking in unique, historic settings.

The famous St Nicholas Fair around Parliament Street and St Sampson’s Square takes place until December 23.

There will be alpine chalets along the street and around the square selling festive food and unique gifts.

The Shambles Market will be selling handmade gifts while the Shambles Food Court will be serving international food including Moroccan wraps, Thai treats, burritos and more.

And there will be a vintage carousel in Kings Square and a Thor’s Tipi.

Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland

This year’s festival, which runs at York Designer Outlet until January 9, 2022, features the North’s largest outdoor ice rink at 975 sq m with a 10m (30ft) Christmas tree at the centre.

There’s a vintage funfair with rides from the golden age including a 1936 Speedway, a 1937 Brooklands Dodgems and a 1930s Chair-o-Plane.

The festival includes Santa’s Grotto, traditional entertainment and a cosy, alpine-themed cafe serving mulled wine, hot chocolate, hot dogs and other seasonal fayre.

There are more details here.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park

When the sun goes down, Yorkshire’s number one zoo, near Doncaster, will become a neon wonderland of illuminated animal and Christmas sculptures.

Tickets cost between £6 and £20. For an extra £10, you can add a day ticket granting full access to the park and animals.

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YorkshireLive – Halifax