Thursday 14 November 2019

York brings the festive magic to life!

Taking your child to meet Santa is such a special experience. My girls are a little old for it now and it makes me rather sad because the grotto's and Christmas experience seem to get better each year. 

York is aiming to secure its reputation this year as the most festive city in the UK by offering the most remarkable Santa experiences in the country from sweet adventures with the great man to magical encounters on a steam train.

Santa’s Sweet Adventure at York’s Chocolate Story from Saturday 23 November to Tuesday 24 December invites guests to meet Santa on special themed tours in which they complete a mission to help him save Christmas! On the way children will experience Christmas games and learn festive facts about iconic confectionery brands and how chocolate was involved in Christmases past. There will also be an opportunity to make Christmas-themed lollies and watch special festive demonstrations with the talented chocolatiers. 

Santa’s Sweet Adventure includes meeting Santa, commemorative photo, festive chocolate making activity. Child: £17.50, Child under 4 years-old: £6.00 & Adult: £9:50. 

A perfect way to celebrate a baby’s first Christmas is Baby Meets Santa at Web Adventure Park a relaxing, sensory, two hour Christmas experience that gently introduces little ones to Santa in a festive environment, with activities and Christmas songs led by elves. There is also the chance for individual family time with Father Christmas in his grotto to capture that all-important first baby and Santa photo. 

Selected dates from Thursday 12th - Friday 20 December from 10am to 12 noon. Ticket prices: £10 child, £1.75 adults, available in person or by calling 01904 692221. 

Fans of a traditional Santa’s Grotto are in for a treat at Stockeld Park where a cosy, rustic wooden cabin, decked with twinkling lights, awaits Santa’s arrival from Lapland from 16 November until 24 December, as part of Stockeld Park’s famous adventure season which includes The Snowflake Maze, Winter illuminations in the award-winning Enchanted Forest, a Nordic Ski Trail and ice skating. Tickets available on site on the day but for best prices book online.

Taking the experience to another level Castle Howard’s exclusive evenings with Father Christmas start with a festive tea party in the Grecian Hall before setting off on a candle-lit trail around the beautifully decorated historic house, before they find Father Christmas and his friends in the magnificent Great Hall which is filled with one of the largest indoor Christmas trees in the country!  Children are invited to gather by the tree and join in with music and stories before receiving their personalised present from Father Christmas, with photo opportunities too. 

The event runs from 6pm to 8pm (approximately) on selected dates from Sunday 1 December to Monday 23 December.  Please note: accompanying adult tickets must be purchased upon booking and will include admission into the event and refreshments. Evening with Father Christmas tickets do not include admission to the house and grounds during the day. £75.00 per child, £15.00 per accompanying adult.

 Castle Howard is also hosting two other Father Christmas experiences for the Audience with Father Christmas, the big man and his friends gather round the fire telling stories and singing songs before handing out personalised presents and posing for photos. For those looking for a more ‘spur of the moment visit’, the drop-in Santa’s Grotto in the Courtyard Grotto offers an easy way to meet Father Christmas and his elves in the Courtyard Cafe.

Audience with Father Christmas: Child ticket includes: visit to Father Christmas, access to House & Gardens, invitation from Father Christmas and a personalised gift. Each session lasts approx 45 minutes at selected times throughout the day from Saturday 23 November to Monday 23 December 2019 (please check the booking page for individual dates and times). £27.50 per child. NB: Adults accompanying children are required to purchase either an inclusive (House & Gardens) or Gardens only ticket. 

Drop-in Santa’s Grotto is just £8 per child, with timed slots available each day and no booking necessary.

For a festive journey with a difference, join Santa and his special helpers on a magical adventure aboard the Santa Express, which runs on selected dates in December.  Departing from Pickering, Grosmont and Whitby Stations, these Santa Specials bring Christmas to life and give children the chance to meet the legendary man in his grotto on board the train. Children will also receive a fun activity sheet with colouring pencils and a juice drink when they visit Santa plus an age appropriate present along with a North Yorkshire Moors Railway Santa hat. The festive round trip lasts approximately one hour from the departure station and each Santa Express Ticket includes a delicious mince pie and a warming hot drink for everyone with a little alcoholic tipple for the adults. Tickets cost £20 each and pre-booking is essential to guarantee the time slot and date.

 The Santa Cruise experience takes to the River Ouse on Saturday 30 November until Monday 23 December.  The one-hour trip includes a welcome to the Grotto, cleverly hidden away underneath Lendal Bridge, a personalised present from Santa hand delivered to each child, face painting, refreshments, fun and surprises. From £13.00 per person. 

In a new and unforgettable experience at Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens, families can meet Father Christmas and hear all about his adventures, travels and holiday washing!  Storytime with Father Christmas – rewashed! Runs from Saturday 30 November – Sunday 22 December, 11am-3.30pm, and includes meet and greet, storytelling and a gift. 

Booking essential 01904 472014.  £10 per child and one adult plus normal admission charges. 

Are you planning on visiting Santa this year?


  1. Sounds an awesome place to visit to get you into the festive mood X

  2. Quite some time since ive been to york at Christmas - habit tp go to Manchester - maybe I'll go soon