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Experience the magic in York this Christmas

Get into the festive spirit in York with plenty of choice when it comes to magical things to do this Christmas. Discover the delights of the iconic St Nicholas Fair, which is set to return for its 30th Anniversary this year. Meander through the alpine chalets and discover a treasure trove of festive goodies. Each chalet is adorned with twinkling fairy lights and stocked with everything from original gifts to extra special treats and handmade crafts. Indulge in mouth-watering street food, pick up some unique stocking fillers and tuck into some seasonal produce from an array of local traders. If you can't make it to the Christmas market, the virtual market will once again return to throughout the whole festive season. Offering an alternative way to shop for those looking to purchase online this year, whilst also supporting York's traders, retailers and attractions.  

A brand-new Christmas offering for the 30th year anniversary of St Nicholas Fair, The Winter Hütte, brings a traditional Swiss chalet to Parliament Street. With a spectacular terrace overlooking the Christmas market, the Winter Hütte offers a ‘Swiss with a Twist’ dining experience from one of Yorkshire’s best-known chefs, the Michelin-starred Andrew Pern. For passers-by, there is a fully-licensed bar area serving seasonal favourites such as glühwein and spiced cider.

Follow the brand-new spectacular Nutcracker Trail and see the city in all its festive glory. Discover more of York with a family friendly trail this Christmas. Pick up a free map and seek out ten Nutcrackers across the city centre for a chance to win a £500 York BID Gift Card.

Bring home some of the magic of York this Christmas, with your very own special edition 30th Anniversary Bauble. Designed by local artist Emma Feneley, following a local competition, the porcelain bauble will be available to purchase from the Visitor Information Centre from mid-November. Emma’s design features famous York landmark Clifford’s Tower in the festive season and is the perfect addition to any Christmas tree!

Festive Experiences in York

Immerse yourself in the surroundings of The Bar Convent for a unique festive experience. Enjoy the ever-popular traditional Christmas lunches, with options including turkey with all the trimmings, Christmas pudding and mince pies against a backdrop of beautiful original features.

Step back in time and discover the beauty of a medieval inspired Christmas at Barley Hall, or enjoy an archaeological adventure at DIG which makes for a perfect family day out. Explore the history of York and visit the Vikings at JORVIK Viking Centre for an unforgettable trip to Viking-age York.

Put down your shopping bags and experience Christmas on the river. The best way to see York during the festive period, escape into a winter wonderland and explore the fascinating history with a sightseeing cruise, or join Santa himself for a magical evening aboard the Santa Experience cruise.

Discover beautiful decorations, twinkling lights and all the warmth of the season at Treasurer’s House, the Gift of Giving is this year’s theme and shares the stories of past residents. Each room takes it own identity and tells a small part of the story, celebrate the rich history of Treasurer's House during the festive season. Explore York Castle Museum this Christmas, a festive experience perfect for the whole family. Wander through the famous Victorian Street and with a variety of Christmas activities on offer, there's something for all ages to enjoy. 

What would Christmas be without chocolate? Join York’s Chocolate Story for a chocolate covered Christmas as you go on a journey through the history of chocolate. Watch how it’s made and how it has become a part of Christmas for so many of us.

Experience one of the world’s magnificent cathedrals this Festive season, and join York Minster’s worship to mark the start of Advent with an atmospheric and breath-taking candlelit service of music, reading and prayers. Make it a Christmas to remember, with a special screening of family-favourite The Snowman, accompanied by a live orchestra in York Minster’s awe-inspiring Nave. York Minster’s popular Christmas Carol Concerts return offering the perfect start to the festive season. Visit the Minster Village for a traditional taste of Christmas in the magical setting of York Minster and discover festive food, drink and gift stalls.

York Mansion House is proud to host Father Christmas from the 1800s. For the children, there will be a classic grotto style meet and greet with a treat and for the big kids, they will be a hosting a festive tour with St Nick including a parlour game and a tipple, there is something for everyone.

Over on Castlegate, experience the magic of a traditional Georgian Christmas with some special town mouse guests. Discover what Christmas would have been like in the 18th Century at Fairfax House, with each room featuring mouse-y scenes for all ages.

Go ice skating at one of the York’s most spectacular ice rinks, drop by Yorkshire's Winter Wonderland at York Designer Outlet for a spin on the ice and do some Christmas shopping.

Christmas Events in York

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26th Nov 2023 - 26th Nov 2023

Christmas Wreath Making Workshop with Afternoon Tea

Elmbank Hotel

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3rd Dec 2023 - 3rd Dec 2023

Christmas Wreath Making Workshop with Afternoon Tea

Elmbank Hotel

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10th Dec 2023 - 10th Dec 2023

Christmas Watercolour Workshop with Afternoon Tea

Elmbank Hotel

Concerts, Pantomimes and Festive Theatre

There are lots of magical shows and concerts in York this festive season, from classic carols to pantomimes and theatre performances.

Don’t miss the “All New Adventures of Peter Pan” as York Theatre Royal presents a fun-packed swashbuckling family adventure with an extra sprinkling of fairy dust magic with their 2022 pantomime.

At the Grand Opera House see a true classic with Berwick Kaler as “Old Granny Goose”. Discover why Berwick and his team have become a true rock of family entertainment over many decades with their hilarious anarchic approach to pantomime. 

Experience the magic of Christmas at York Barbican and be enchanted by the classical adaptation of Love Actually, complete with a live orchestra. Join in with all of your favourite Christmas songs whilst also listening to some talented local musicians at the York Community Carol Concert. Disney’s The Muppet Christmas Carol will be presented live in concert this winter across the UK, featuring its musical score performed live to the film.

The biggest Christmas concert in York is back with classic Christmas tunes, brass bands, carols and bags of festive cheer. Alistair Griffin’s Big Christmas Concert will take you on a musical journey from acoustic versions of traditional carols through to Wizzard, Slade and The Pogues.

Magical shows and concerts in York

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8th Dec 2023 - 8th Dec 2023

The Muppet Christmas Carol: Live in Concert

York Barbican

Tis the Season of Shopping

From independent shops and cheerful boutiques to high street names and huge department stores you are guaranteed to find some special Christmas gifts in York. 

No shopping trip to York is complete without a visit to Bradley’s Jewellers. Head to Low Petergate for British crafted jewellery, you are guaranteed to surprise someone special this Christmas. Bradley's Jewellers have created a limited edition advent calendar for Christmas, containing hand picked precious and semi - precious gem stones. There will be a range of gemstones that cover a range of gem species, cuts, colours and sizes, in order to inspire customers to create unique bespoke jewellery pieces in 2023 and beyond. Find more sparkling jewellery at Nomination Italy whose bracelet links will make the perfect gift. 

Coppergate is the ultimate destination for designer and high street goods, with big names such as Hugo Boss, Chanel and Vivienne Westwood, located in Fenwick. Excellent for unique gift ideas and established boutiques such as Clarks, Flying Tiger Copenhagen and The Whisky Shop.

Stop off at Käthe Wohlfahrt and browse two floors of stunning German made decorations, and pick up something magical for your home. Warm up with a hot chocolate at York’s Chocolate Story and choose from a selection of the finest handmade fresh chocolates. 

Abraham Moon offers top quality products exclusively woven in fine fabrics and luxury wools. Find unique Christmas gifts at The Hat Shop, with their fantastic selection of occasion hats and sensational headwear. Venture to Fabrication Crafts and shop for handmade gifts and thoughtful stocking fillers. 

Tick off items on your Christmas shopping list at Snowhome where you will find one-of-a-kind gifts and a range of homewares. Hidden Treasures is excellent for gift ideas filled with a range of jewellery and unique crystals. If you’re cooking up a curry at home, grab ingredients, recipes and all you need from Rafi’s Spicebox. 

Visit York Gin at their award-winning 16th Century shop on Pavement or at York Railway Station to find the perfect gin lovers’ gift. Don’t miss the charming Shambles Market, and find the perfect Christmas gift for your loved ones. Treat yourself to some of the finest seasonal produce for your Christmas dinner, offering fresh farm meat, vegetables, poultry and much more. Enjoy sizzling street food as you browse more than 70 stalls of local traders.

Eat, Drink and Be Merry

Explore the best places to eat in York, with a multitude of eateries serving up every cuisine imaginable.

Discover foodie treats at SPARK: York, home to the largest selection of independent traders located in upcycled shipping containers. A meal here can be anything from authentic Greek street food to epic buttermilk fried chicken burgers. 

Tuck into warming plates of Asian food at Wagamama. It’s popular for its ramen bowls, donburi dishes and delicious curries. Choose from a range of small plates, meat, fish and vegan options. Take a break from Christmas shopping and head to the ever-trendy Heavenly Desserts. Indulge in a range of award-winning desserts, such as American waffles, crepes and cheesecakes. 

If you are looking for a quick bite to eat, Shambles Food Court is the place to go. With permanent food spots serving up dishes from across the globe, such as pizza, fried chicken, noodles and famously good sandwiches. Browse a selection of fresh fruit and veg, meats and baked goodies over at Shambles Market

Located on Coney Street, Rosa’s Thai is the place to be if you want to indulge this Christmas. Bringing Thailand to York, expect some local favourites from chilli basil, crispy pork and popcorn shrimps. Follow your nose to York Roast Co on Stonegate or Low Petergate as they will be serving up traditional Yorkshire puddings filled with your choice of meat and all the trimmings. From pork, turkey, ham and beef you will be sure to get your fill with this tasty treat.

Enjoy a Grand afternoon tea with a festive twist from the 17th November - 31st December. Filled with a range of Christmas delights, the festive afternoon tea showcases all The Grand, York has to offer including a delicious Christmas cocktail. 

Christmas Party Nights

Eat, drink and be merry! Christmas party season has nearly arrived. Begin the celebrations with friends, family and work colleagues in some magical venues across York.

Celebrate the festive season with friends, family or work colleagues in beautiful surroundings at Hotel Du Vin. From a festive party to a family Boxing Day lunch, make this Christmas one to remember. Meet for lunch or dinner in their charming bistro, or celebrate with a classic afternoon tea. Raise a glass to the festive season, the Bar Drinks Party package is ideal for celebrating with your loved ones.

Book your Christmas party at Malmaison and choose from a range of party packages to enjoy this festive season. Whether you are with family or friends, celebrate those special moments with festive afternoon tea or a Sunday Lunch.

Tis the season to celebrate! So whether you’re planning a quiet, intimate gathering or a sparkling spectacular, expect fantastically festive food and entertainment at the York Marriott Hotel. They have a range of Christmas packages to get the party started this festive season.

Whether its your chance to get the family together, enjoy the festivities with your partner, or a catch up with friends, enjoy a festive feast or an indulgent afternoon tea at Middleton’s Hotel.

Book Your Festive Stay

Extend your Christmas break and soak up more of the city’s festive magic by booking a stay.

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