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York has Christmas All Wrapped Up

York is launching a festive programme for 2013 set to place the city as the top destination in the UK for a Christmas break. Activities will run from November, right through to Christmas and into the New Year. Alongside York’s Christmas traditions such as the St Nicholas Fayre, which returns for its 22nd year, visitors can experience everything from a Georgian Christmas at Fairfax House, a medieval Christmas at Barley Hall and a fireside audience with Father Christmas at Castle Howard.

New this year is a chocolate covered Christmas offering demonstrations of handmade seasonal chocolates at York’s CHOCOLATE Story. The Made in Yorkshire ‘York Early Christmas Show’ returns to start the Christmas shopping season from the 8th to 17th November, the city centre lights will start to sparkle from 14th November followed by the St Nicholas Fayre which runs from 28th November to 1 December. York’s Festive Fayre will run from the 4th to the 23rd December and the Festival of Angels will again transform York’s streets into a winter wonderland on the 14th and 15th December. The city’s attractions are also offering visitors a variety of Christmas treats alongside a unique collection of independent shops and boutiques, three pantomimes and a festive atmosphere, which in recent years has heralded York as the most Christmassy city in the UK.

Gillian Cruddas MBE, Chief Executive of Visit York, said ‘York’s festive spirit is second to none, and there’s nowhere quite like it to shop, eat and experience Christmas at its very best with markets, festivals, concerts, pantomimes and entertainment. York is without doubt the UK’s most Christmassy city and we look forward to offering our visitors a warm and festive welcome.’

Councillor Sonja Crisp, City of York Council’s Cabinet Member for Tourism, said: “With brilliant transport connections and one of the UK’s most beautiful city centres bursting with quality cultural attractions, markets and events, we pride ourselves on the warm welcome on offer and the glow a York Christmas experience brings.”

Visitors come to York in their thousands over the Christmas period. Visit York, working with City of York Council, is preparing early to ensure a successful Christmas period for all tourism businesses in the city. The York Christmas guide will be available from the Visit York Information Centre at 1 Museum Street from mid-October.

To request your free Guide to Christmas in York or find out more information telephone the Visitor Information Centre on Tel: 01904 550099, email or visit


For further information please contact:

Kay Hyde – Head of PR and Communications – Visit York Direct Line: 01904 554451 Mobile: 07506 048852 Email:

Katie Parsons – Senior Communications Executive – Visit York Direct Line: 01904 554436 Email:

Here’s a sneak preview….

A YORK CHRISTMAS 2013 York’s Christmas festivities begin in November with a host of food and craft festivals. St Nicholas Fayre, especially, always draws a cheerful crowd to stalls of Christmas gifts and tasty local farm foods. York’s streets are lined with top quality restaurants, café bars and gastro-pubs to suit every taste and York also boasts a range of independent food shops to tickle each taste bud with the very best of Yorkshire’s local produce.

In the lead up to Christmas, York presents a full season of Christmas markets, with food and drink and festive cheer in abundance. The popular St Nicholas Fayre (28th November – 1st December) offers an array of markets across the city featuring gifts and crafts from across Yorkshire and the UK as well as the very best in local farm produce courtesy of the region’s ‘Deliciously Yorkshire’ members. Taking place in Parliament Street, Coppergate Square and Barley Hall, some of the participants you may find include:

• Round Green - Breeders and butchers of farm raised venison and sellers of suckling pig, ostrich, kangaroo and wild boar

• Swaledale - Cheese handmade to the traditional recipe

• Rebori - Distinctive dressings made for use with meat, poultry and salads

• The Punch Brew - Herbal punch using traditional recipes

• Yorkshire Country Wines - Producers of country wines including Elderberry, Elderflower, Gooseberry and Blackberry

• Wensleydale Dairy Products – A cheese that needs no introduction to Wallace & Grommit fans

• The Crusty Pie Co – A family company offering over 25 different varieties of pies, including arguably one of the most mouth-watering pork pies in the country.

Not to mention the mulled wine, the brandy-laced hot chocolate and the chestnuts roasting on the street corner of course. Not content with offering the best food and drink from its own region, York is delighted to offer visitors the chance to get wrapped up in York’s Festive Fayre (4th – 23nd December) this year. With a stylish modern flavour, the Fayre brings with it a sweep of Christmas traditions, decked out in seasonal wooden huts, with gentle festive music to enjoy as you shop. Also, Ye olde Festive Inne will be offering winter Pimms amongst other festive drinks. Shoppers will also be able to wander with their Christmas treats to enjoy York’s other seasonal specialist markets.

For a final chance to fill your larder with goodies in time for Christmas, visit the ever-popular Farmers’ Market (13th & 14th Dec) on St Sampsons Square for a selection of Yorkshire favourites. Specialising in the very best of the region’s produce you’ll be able to indulge in venison, ostrich or organic lamb burgers, accompanied by home-grown organic vegetables and a fine bottle of Yorkshire Punch.

Nestled between the visiting markets on Parliament Street and the picturesque Shambles, York’s Newgate Market is open 7 days a week and is the ideal place to find all those last minute items needed for Christmas. With a variety of products, you’ll find gifts, decorations, food as well as all those home essentials. Also, tucked alongside the market place you’ll find Henshelwoods Delicatessen, winners of the "Good Egg Award" and an "Observer Food Monthly Award". Specialists in cheese, both continental and home churned, Henshelwoods also stock other deli favourites and offer home-cooked additive-free take home Gourmet Meals.

And after a hard day’s shopping, spoil yourself with a slap up meal at one of York’s many fine restaurants or bistros. Take yourself down to Fossgate & Walmgate where you’ll find a selection of fine eateries offering gourmet dining in restaurants like Loch Fyne or a more relaxed bistro-style atmosphere in places like Melton’s Too. If you’re worried you’ll have late-night munchies, pop into the Hairy Fig deli, ‘purveyors of fine Yorkshire Fodder’, on the way, stocking the best in food from far and wide and also offering the best selection of rich balsamic vinegars in the city.

York's venues, museums, theatres and churches come alive throughout the season with a variety of festivities, along with the city's many cafés, pubs and restaurants. Traditional candle-lit carol services take place in majestic York Minster and in York’s smaller churches. Local museums and galleries offer a blend of both traditional and modern exhibitions and York’s theatres come alive with pantomimes and other Christmas plays. For relaxation, visit the city’s stylish café bars, with a ‘cool Yule’ atmosphere that’ll chill out even the most fraught of Christmas shoppers. For regular updates on what’s happening in York over Christmas, or a free guide to Christmas in the City, visit or email


Made in Yorkshire Market: 8th – 17th November

St Nicholas Fayre: 28th November – 1nd December

York’s Festive Fayre: 4th – 23rd December

York Minster Christmas Festival: 1st – 25th December

Festival of Angels: 14th – 15th December

Early Music Christmas Festival: 6 – 14th December

Christmas Farmers' Market: 13th & 14th December

St Nicholas Fayre Christmas Market (28 November- 1 December 2013)

The run-up to Christmas finds York in truly festive spirit with the St Nicholas Fayre. This is when the city becomes a sparkling, enticing concoction of decorations, lights, Christmas trees and street stalls, all helping to create the kind of cheerful, authentic Christmas atmosphere you thought had gone forever. St Nicholas Fayre is one of the most popular Christmas markets in the UK, with thousands of visitors coming to York over the four-day event. The Fayre offers a range of markets specialising in gifts, crafts, and the very best in local farm produce. The city comes alive with bustling stalls, carol singers, and buskers, just at the right time to get you in the spirit of Christmas.

Festival of Angels – The Quarter (14 - 15th December 2013)

A true Christmas festival transforming York’s unique streets into a winter wonderland of ice sculptures, stalls and street entertainment. This magical and free event runs from 10am to 6pm on Saturday and 11am to 5pm on Sunday.

A magical weekend of ice sculptures and outdoor entertainment with a sprinkling of snow guaranteed.

The Festival of Angels is free and will run from 10am to 6pm on Saturday 14 December and 11am to 5pm on Sunday 15 December. Participating shops will stay open for longer giving people a chance to linger later in the city centre for even more festive cheer including mulled wine and hot chocolate.

York Early Music Christmas Festival (6th – 15th December 2013)

Organised by the National Centre for Early Music, York’s Early Music Christmas Festival takes place in a wide variety of uniquely attractive venues including the Chapter House of York Minster, St Michael le Belfrey Church and the National Centre for Early Music.

Highlights of the 2013 York Early Music Christmas Festival will include Brecon Baroque, directed by violinist Rachel Podger (Sat 7 December, Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall) and The Sixteen directed by Harry Christophers in a programme including Britten's 'Ceremony of Carols' (Thurs 12 December, York Minster).

York Minster

York Minster is the largest gothic cathedral in Northern Europe and the most visited cathedral in England and holds a dedicated season of services to celebrate the birth of Jesus and a reminder of the true Christmas message.

Advent and Christmas at York Minster 2013 1 December – 25 December

The seasons of Advent and Christmas are York Minster’s busiest time of year, a time of anticipation, preparation, contemplation and celebration. It starts with the magnificent candlelit Advent Procession, the raising of the Giant Advent Wreath – the largest in the country - and the lighting of York Minster’s star. The season includes some of the Minster’s most popular and beloved services, from the Crib Service to the Nine Lessons and Carols and Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.

From Advent to Epiphany, visitors can also explore 2000 years of history through interactive chambers in the new Undercroft beneath York Minster or discover world-class masterpieces in stained-glass in the Orb. Enjoy a free guided touror follow one of our family trails to explore the largest medieval Gothic cathedral north of the Alps, before climbing the Central Tower steps to view the wintery landscapes of York and beyond. Join one of the festive craft workshops for all ages held on Saturdays 7, 14, and 21 December, or wander through the Minster’s three shops to discover that perfect present—from bespoke gifts, rich tapestries, Christmas music and Minster choir recordings. Or simply visit to be part of a beautiful and amazing place at a special time of year.

York Minster will also host a busy programme of events during December including the popular Christmas Carol Concerts on 5 and 6 December and a special performance of Handel’s Messiah by the York Minster Choir - one of the UK’s leading choirs – on 14 December.

For a full listing of services, events and activities at York Minster, visit

York’s CHOCOLATE Story

A Chocolate Covered Christmas 1 – 31 December 2012

Visitors can immerse themselves in the taste of Christmas this year at York’s CHOCOLATE Story. Throughout December guests will be able to see tantalising demonstrations of hand-made seasonal chocolates being created, learn about the history of some of the world’s most popular Christmas confectionery products and all-importantly, stock up on those essential chocolate gifts.

The attraction in King’s Square willbe taking guest’s taste buds on a mouth-watering journey through a host of Yuletide delights. Expert confectioners will be creating a range of festive chocolates including Christmas pudding truffles, almond and marzipan crunches and mulled wine ganaches. The flavours have been devised by York’s CHOCOLATE Story’s Head Chocolatier, Andrew Thwaite, who has really got into the festive spirit, devising a whole host of deliciously distinctive alternatives to boring selection boxes and tins of toffees.

There is also the perfect opportunity to stock up on the finest festive chocolates from across the country in the attraction’s shop or warm up and take the weight off weary shopping feet with some Christmas indulgence in the Chocolate Bar Café. On Thursday 5th December, in a special day hosted by the attraction, shoppers will receive 10% off their transaction when they spend over £25 in store. There will also be a unique chance to sample the attraction’s delicious festive delights and chocolate wine mulledin the shop.

Barley Hall

Thursday 28th November – Sunday 1st December St Nicholas Fayre

This winter discover atmospheric Barley Hall for a unique festive experience. This hidden secret, steeped in history is tucked away in the centre of York and will be decorated for the season so you can explore the history and traditions of Christmas. With seasonal events including our St Nicholas Fayre (28th November - 1st December) and Christmas Feasts as well as the opportunity for children to meet Father Christmas, Barley Hall has something to offer everyone this December, regardless of how naughty they’ve been…

For full details visit

National Railway Museum

Santa’s Steam Adventure Selected dates November & December 2013

This year’s family adventure is bigger and better than ever with a magical new interactive story to engage young and old. Santa's been overloaded with letters and his elves need help to deliver them. Families can take a magical journey to the North Yorkshire Pole to make sure the man in the red suit receives his post bag in time for Christmas. After their festive encounter, they can then relax in the museum’s beautiful Dining Car Restaurant to enjoy some festive treats. Tickets from £11.50 Children, £7.50 Adults and £3 Under 1’s.

Visit for more information. *Charge applies

Fairfax House

Christmas starts early at Fairfax House with a range of special events and activities throughout November and December.

TUESDAY 19 NOVEMBER TO SUNDAY 30 DECEMBER EXHIBITION: THE KEEPING OF CHRISTMAS Visit Fairfax House this Christmas and see the elegant decorations, extravagant dining room displays with sugar temples and the Georgians’ love of the natural world as they decorated their homes for the festive season. Normal admission prices apply

WEDNESDAY 20 & THURSDAY 28 NOVEMBER at 7.00pm CHRISTMAS TWILIGHT TOUR To celebrate the opening of the annual Christmas display, take a special twilight tour of Fairfax House and hear about the merrymaking, decorations, feasting and activities that surrounded this festival in the Georgian era. Tickets: £12.00 includes mulled wine and mince pies

THURSDAY 28 NOVEMBER at 7.00PM EXPLORING LORD FAIRFAX’S CELLAR: WHISKY TASTING The art and craft of making malt whisky has developed across the centuries to become the flourishing global success story it is today. Join us for an exploration of that fascinating history as locally-based independent company The Whisky Lounge invites you to sample six whiskies produced in traditional period fashion, enjoying the taste of whisky heritage in appropriate surroundings under the informative, entertaining and expert guidance of ‘Miss Whisky’, Amanda Ludlow. Tickets: £25.00

SATURDAY 21 & SUNDAY 22 DECEMBER at 5.00pm FAMILY EVENT: MID-WINTER TALES OF WONDER Storytelling with Jenna Drury, Mud Pie Arts Forget the stresses of Christmas preparations, wrap up and settle down at the winter solstice to enjoy some heart warming tales for a cold time of year! Jenna will use traditional storytelling to conjure up the magic of a classic Grimm Fairytale set deep in a snow-laden forest, and will read extracts from children’s favourites including Mrs Pepperpot and Harry Potter. Then everyone will be invited to choose an item from the box of delights and invent a unique mid-winter tale of wonder together. Suitable for 5-12 years Tickets: £15.00 Family Ticket (2 Adults and 2 Children) Adult £7.00 Child £5.00 (spaces limited so book early) Refreshments included.

FRIDAY 13 DECEMBER at 7.30PM CHRISTMAS CONCERT: ‘OF A ROSE IS ALL MY SONG’ The quartet of Frances Brock, John Gill, David Howard and Sue Lindley (If Music be the Food of Love, 2012) have a festive musical treat in store with this concert of Christmas music, sacred and secular, old and new. The anonymous 15th-century text ‘Of a rose is all my song’ forms a thread that will be woven through this musical celebration of the season. Festive refreshments will be served at the interval. Tickets: £14.00

Yorkshire Museum

Elf yourself to a very merry Christmas! Enjoy a night of fantastic festive food and the heart-warming film Elf on the big screen this Christmas at a special screening in the Yorkshire Museum’s cinema. Mince pies, a full Christmas themed buffet and a festive drink will be served while carols are played in the atmospheric surroundings of the Medieval Gallery at the Yorkshire Museum. Guests will then sit back and relax at a one off screening of the cult Christmas classic Elf, on the full size cinema screen in the museum. Thursday 5th December, doors open at 6.30pm and the film will start at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £15 and can be bought by phoning (01904) 687671 or by emailing Press contact

Festive Fair Get into the Christmas spirit by visiting the Hospitium, Museum Gardens on Thursday 5th December. Find the perfect christmas presents for your family and friends with array of handcrafted unique gifts, over 30 creative iD exhibitors, enjoy delicious homebaked refreshments and take in the live ambient music from 11am-6:30pm. This event is free! For more information visit or call 01904 687 671.

Tour of Kirkgate at Christmas Wednesday 4th December 3pm – 4pm, £5 per person To book call York Museums Trust on 01904 650 333 Join us at York Castle Museum for a special festive tour around our famous Victorian Street and why not enjoy a mince pie or two while you're at it! Discover Kirkgate dressed for Christmas and see the kind of items these shops would have sold during the Victorian holiday period.

Museum Monkeys Christmas Specials 19th and 21st December 11am – 12pm, Free, To book call York Museums Trust on 01904 650 333 York Castle Museum have organised some fun activities for children aged two to five years this Christmas season. This includes songs, stories, games, and craft activities, all with a festive feel. Be an elf and help Santa to pack the toys, go down the chimney like Santa, and find the stars in the Reindeer food. You could even get a visit from a very special person! Deck the Halls 7-8th, 14-15th, 21st-22nd December 11am – 4pm, Included in museum admission, Drop-in session Come and help York Castle Museum decorate the museums for Christmas by making a traditional decoration. Choose from flags, birds, ribbons, and cornucopias. Your decoration might even make it onto the tree in Kirkgate! Visit for more information.

Press contact: Lauren Masterman, Marketing and Communications Assistant: Lee Clark, Communications Manager

Shop and Skate at York Designer Outlet

Take a trip to York Designer Outlet this festive season, for all your gift and fashion must-haves under one roof. You’ll be spoilt for choice with over 120 high street and designer stores including Reiss, The Kooples, LK Bennett, Jaeger, Ted Baker, Kurt Geiger and French Connection – all with savings of up to 60%. Not only will you find your favourite brands, there is also fun for the whole family at Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland, including the award-winning Ice Factor rink open from 23rd November. To find that perfect gift or party outfit, and also enjoy a day of skating, visit for further information.

Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland returns to York Designer Outlet, with ice skating, Christmas shopping, traditional funfair, Santa’s grotto and two exciting new additions The Ice Factor, the North of England’s largest outdoor ice rink, forms the heart of Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland, and will be open daily from Saturday 23 November 2013 until 5 January 2014 (except Christmas Day). With 900m2 of real ice, the rink is transformed into a winter wonderland village square, complete with our 30ft Christmas tree and illuminated forest. The Winter Adventure is a new and unique winter wonderland experience housed within three Scandinavian Tepee’s. The journey will take you from a winter’s day in York to an enchanted journey to the North Pole. Pass through the snow covered arctic complete with polar bears and penguins as you battle your way to the secret igloo to help the elves in their mission to produce top quality toys in time for Christmas. After enjoying Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland, shoppers can pop inside the designer outlet to take advantage of over 120 leading designer and high street brands at up to 60 per cent less.

Castle Howard

Castle Howard Castle Howard at Christmas Sat 23rd November to Sun 22nd December 2013 Thousands of baubles, candles, wreaths and garlands will add that extra sparkle to Castle Howard this Christmas. Family decorations, festive music, seasonal menus and shopping as well as weekend audiences with Father Christmas (must be pre-booked) make Castle Howard the perfect place to visit this Christmas. The Hon. Simon and Mrs Rebecca Howard decorate the House personally, with traditional family decorations and new ideas each year including seasonal floral displays and garlands. The giant Christmas trees in the Great Hall and Long Gallery as well as the traditional Howard family Christmas ‘twigs’ create breathtaking displays in every room. If you are visiting with children pre-book to include an ‘Audience with Father Christmas’ by the fireside in the Grecian Hall. Take advantage of late night opening on Thursday 19th December to see Castle Howard as dusk falls and enjoys carols on the South Front.

Weekends from 23rd November – 22nd December A Fireside Audience with Father Christmas Join Father Christmas and his wizard friend for festive stories, singing and magic tricks in front of a roaring fire in the Grecian Hall £12 per child, accompanying adults usual admission prices apply.

23rd, 24th, 25th November & 1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th, 10th, 15th, 16th December Christmas Courtyard Craft & Produce Markets – 10am – 4pm With over 20 stalls, our Christmas markets sell an array of handmade gifts and local produce perfect for the festive season. Stop by our gift shops, farm shop or plant centre too and pick up that extra something special. Free admission

Thursday 19th December Christmas Carols & Candlelight - Last House admission 6.30pm, Courtyard and Market close at 8.30pm, Come along and enjoy an extended day of Christmas festivities; see the house at dusk, enjoy carols on the South Front and join our Christmas parade. This event includes a courtyard market, audiences with Father Christmas and the chance to meet reindeer. Usual admission prices apply.


Christmas in Britain isn’t complete without a visit to the traditional pantomime and there are plenty to choose from in York:

York Theatre Royal – Aladdin and the Twankeys Thursday 12 December 2013 – Saturday 1 February 2014

Publlic Warning: You may continue laughing for several days after seeing this panto – there is no known medical cure for this. Aladdin and the Twankeys is a true story based on a work of fiction! The York Theatre Royal panto is consistently praised for being the best in the country, with the nation’s longest standing pantomime Dame, the show receives national and international coverage every year.

For more information visit or call 01904 623568. Press Contact: Abbigail Ollive, Head of Communications, 01904 658162

Grand Opera House York - SNOW WHITE & THE SEVEN DWARFS Friday 13 December 2013 – Sunday 5 January 2014

Starring ADELE SILVA from Emmerdale Mirror, mirror on the wall...where’s the best panto of them all? It’s the Grand Opera House York of course! New Pantomime Productions returns to the Grand Opera House York for the 15th year running this Christmas, with the classic tale of Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs. This beloved family pantomime is certain to bring fun, thrills and festive cheer to all ages! Once upon a time in a great castle, a Prince's daughter grew up happy and contented, in spite of a jealous stepmother. She had blue eyes and long black hair with skin delicate and fair, and so she was called Snow White. Her wicked stepmother ordered her servant to take Snow White off in to the woods to put her to death... Will Snow White defeat the Wicked Queen with the help of the Seven Dwarfs and a Handsome Prince? Come along and find out for yourselves this Christmas!

To book call Box Office on 0844 871 3024 or book online at

This year the Grand Opera House will be holding a Relaxed Performance of Snow White on Tuesday 17 December at 1:30pm Relaxed performances are open to everyone, but the environment has been specifically adapted for families with children with an Autistic Spectrum Condition, individuals with sensory and communication disorders, those with learning disabilities and anyone who would benefit from a more relaxed environment.

There is a relaxed attitude to noise, the lights in the auditorium remain on low throughout the show, sudden loud noises are softened and audience members are free to leave and re-enter the auditorium at any point. We also have additional staff on hand to assist with seating and access around the Theatre and there will be a Chill Out Room, where a space is made available for audience members who need a bit of quiet time before and during the performance.

York Barbican - Dick Whittington - Friday 20 - Monday 30 December

One of the best loved pantomimes of all time……. A spectacular all new production of the classic story starring CBeebies favourite presenter Alex Winters as Dick Whittington, Dancing on Ice finalist Chloe Madeley as Alice Fitzwarren, and Coronation Street heartthrob Danny Young as the hilarious Idle Jack, plus full supporting cast.

Notes To The Editor

Visit York

• Visit York is supported by City of York Council and over 700 tourism businesses and works in partnership with Visit England.

• Visit York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure and business visitor, and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York. Visit York is responsible for leisure and conference marketing, visitor services (running the city’s Visitor Information Centre), training and ensuring a quality visitor experience.

• Visit York is the driving force of the city’s tourism industry.

Key facts: 7.1 million visitors £443 million total visitor spend 23, 000 jobs