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York has Christmas All Wrapped Up
York launches its St Nicholas Christmas Festival

York is launching a festive programme for 2014, 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; all part of a new St Nicholas Christmas Festival.

This year will see a step change in York’s offer, where for the first time the popular St Nicholas Fair, organised by City of York Council in Parliament street, will run for a full 25 days from Thursday 27th November through to Sunday 21 December. In addition to this a host of festive events at York’s visitor attractions, as well as the daily Newgate market, Made in Yorkshire Festive Fayre at the medieval Guildhall and the Festive Market at Barley Hall will all go to make up York’s new St Nicholas Christmas Festival programme.

Meanwhile just outside of the city, traditional baubles, trees, wreaths, garlands and flickering candles will transform 18th century Castle Howard into a truly magical place, where you’ll create Christmas memories to last a lifetime.

Kate McMullen, Head of Visit York, said, ‘Visitors will be able to experience everything from a Georgian Christmas at Fairfax House to a fireside audience with Father Christmas at Castle Howard. We’re delighted that for the first time ever, the popular St Nicholas Fair will run throughout the whole Christmas season, meaning visitors can shop at the wooden market stalls as well as visiting the city’s visitor attractions right up to the Christmas week.’

York’s attractions will be offering a variety of Christmas treats alongside a unique collection of independent shops and boutiques, pantomimes and a festive atmosphere, which in recent years has heralded York as Britain’s most Christmassy city. And new for this year, as part of York CHOCOLATE Story’s ‘WWI: A Taste of Home’ exhibition, visitors can discover the role played by chocolate at Christmas in the trenches.

Meanwhile at York Minster, the largest gothic cathedral in Northern Europe and the most visited cathedral in England, visitors can enjoy seasonal services to celebrate the true Christmas message.

Snug wooden huts with pretty lights will line Parliament Street, with a traditional carousel in St Sampson’s Square. Adding to the festive atmosphere, stall holders on Parliament Street will be dressed in Dickensian costume, selling jewellery, ceramics, Yorkshire produce such as wines and cheeses, as well as locally crafted gifts such as jewellery made from Whitby jet. And at York Designer Outlet, 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, funfair and Santa’s grotto open from 21st November.

Cllr Sonja Crisp, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism 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. By extending the St Nicholas Fair to run throughout December and launching this new St Nicholas Festival, we can offer visitors an even better Christmas programme than ever before.’

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 01904 550099, email or visit from October.


For further information please contact:

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

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

Here’s a sneak preview….

The popular St Nicholas Fair will run for 25 days from Thursday 27 November to Sunday 21 December, 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, 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.
• Yorkshire Punch

Mulled wine, brandy-laced hot chocolate and chestnuts roasting on the street corner will all add to the festive feel. 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. You’ll find gifts, decorations, food as well as all those home essentials.

And after a hard day’s shopping, spoil yourself with a slap up meal at one of York’s many fine restaurants or bistros. 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 from October or email

KEY DATES – York St Nicholas Christmas Festival 2014

St Nicholas Fair - now 25 days long 27 November – 21 December
York Minster Christmas Festival 1– 25 December
Early Music Christmas Festival: 5 – 14 December
Festive Market at Barley Hall 27 – 30 November
Made in Yorkshire Festive Fayre, Guildhall 27-November – 21 December

St Nicholas Fair Christmas Market – Parliament Street
The run-up to Christmas finds York in truly festive spirit with the St Nicholas Fair and for the first year this will run for a full 25 days. 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 Fair is one of the most popular Christmas markets in the UK, with thousands of visitors coming to York to experience it. The Fair offers wooden huts, selling gifts, crafts and the very best in local farm produce. The city comes alive with bustling stalls, carol singers and buskers.


Made in Yorkshire Fayre – Guildhall – 27 Nov – 21 Dec

Made in Yorkshire Festive Fayre is to be held in the medieval Guildhall, St Helen’s Square, York, running from Thursday 27th November through to Sunday 21st December, as part of the city’s St Nicholas Christmas Festival. Made in Yorkshire has been bringing together like minded designer artists for over 14 years and is keen to show visitors what great talent our county has to offer. A superb variety of exhibitors will offer everything from ceramics to fine art Yorkshire prints. If you have a passion for arts or an appreciation of fine craftsmanship, why not visit to see the displays and demonstrations by design makers from around Yorkshire.

For further information regarding the Made in Yorkshire shows and for a list of the exhibitors, please visit Or telephone Tracie Jarvis-Post on 07905 617961.
The Festive Fayre opens from 10am – 5pm each day (late night shopping on Thursday) and admittance is free.

York Early Music Christmas Festival (5 – 14 December 2014)
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 2014 York Early Music Christmas Festival include La Serenissima directed by Adrian Chandler (Fri 5th December, Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall), Theatre of the Ayre (Sun 7th December, National Centre for Early Music), Joglaresa Mon 8th December, NCEM) and Stile Antico (Sun 14th December Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall).
Press contact: Shona Galletly, On behalf of National Centre for Early Music. Tel: 07813 796 733. Email: OR Gill Baldwin, Conference Manager. Tel: 01904 632220. Email:

York Minster
York Minster is the largest gothic cathedral in Northern Europe and the most visited cathedral in England. It holds a dedicated season of services to celebrate the birth of Jesus and a reminder of the true Christmas message. Advent is one of the busiest times of the year at York Minster. It is a time of anticipation, contemplation, celebration and preparation for Christmas. 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.

As well as enjoying the Minster’s special advent traditions, visitors can also take time out to explore 2000 years of history through interactive chambers in the Undercroft beneath York Minster or get up close to world-class masterpieces in stained-glass in the Orb - the Minster’s award winning elliptical exhibition space. York Minster will also host a busy programme of events during December including the popular Christmas Carol Concerts on 5th and 6th December and a special performance of Handel’s Messiah by the York Minster Choir – one of the UK’s leading choirs – on 13th December. For a full listing of services, events and activities at York Minster, visit Press contact: Sharon Atkinson, Director of Communications. Tel: 01904 557248. Email:

York’s CHOCOLATE Story
Have yourself a chocolate filled Christmas
Visitors can get into the festive spirit at York’s CHOCOLATE Story this December. Enjoy seasonal tours, learn more about the vital contribution made by York’s chocolate heritage to festive merriments and meet the one and only Father Christmas. The attraction and the chocolate tours have been given a festive makeover for the Christmas period. Visitors will be fascinated by Christmassy chocolate facts - for example, did you know that at the height of their popularity one in ten Christmas stockings included a Terry’s Chocolate Orange? Delve into York’s chocolate past; find out about life in the factories at Christmas time and, as part of the attraction’s ‘WWI: A Taste of Home’ exhibition, the role played by chocolate at Christmas in the trenches.

Little ones have the chance to meet Father Christmas in his yuletide grotto and receive an early Christmas gift. Meanwhile, visitors can indulge in a spot of festive nostalgia as favourites such as Black Magic and Quality Street are celebrated. Lastly, guests can relish the opportunity to craft and create their very own seasonal chocolate creations, before seeing how the master chocolatiers make the mouth-watering gifts available in the attraction’s shop. York’s CHOCOLATE Story’s master chocolatiers have created a variety of Christmassy flavours especially for December. Press contacts: Ralph Hewitt, Marketing Manager. Tel: 01904 527724. Email: OR Laura Good, Press Officer. Tel: 01904 527721. Email:

Barley Hall
27 November to 31 December

This winter discover medieval Barley Hall for a unique festive experience. One of York’s hidden secrets; this medieval townhouse, tucked away in the centre of the city will be decorated for the season so you can explore the history and traditions of Christmas. With seasonal events including our Christmas festive market (27th -30th November) where medieval merchants will be showcasing their goods and the chance to meet merry old Father Christmas in his grotto, Barley Hall has something to offer everyone this winter, regardless of how naughty they’ve been…Public contact: visit or call 01904 615505. Press contacts: Paul Whiting, Marketing Officer for JORVIK Viking Centre, DIG, Barley Hall and Micklegate Bar. Tel: 01904 543433. Email: OR David Scott, Head of Marketing for JORVIK Viking Centre, DIG, Barley Hall and Micklegate Bar. Tel: 01904 543426. Email:

Santa’s Steam Adventure* at the National Railway Museum
Selected dates throughout November and December 2014.

All aboard for a magical steam ride with Santa - filled with immersive storytelling, a truly festive atmosphere and tasty restaurant treats. Visit for more information.
*charges apply.

Press contacts: Ellen Cole, Marketing and Digital Executive. Tel: 01904 686276. Email: OR Catherine Farrell, Senior Press Officer. Tel: 01904 686281. Email: OR Kate Maughan-Brown, Press Officer. Tel: 01904 686271. Email:

Fairfax House

Christmas starts early at Fairfax House with a range of special events and activities throughout November and December.
THE KEEPING OF CHRISTMAS: Tuesday 18 November – Friday 2 January
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.

CHRISTMAS TWILIGHT TOUR: Thursday 20 & Wednesday 26 November at 7.00pm
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 include mulled wine and mince pies

CHRISTMAS FAMILY EVENT – THE MUMMERS’ PLAY AND MERRIMENT: Saturday 20 & Sunday 21 December at 5.00pm

Christmas is a time for traditions and the ‘Gorgeous Georgians’ certainly knew how to make merry! Just what is in a Yorkshire Pie and why is plum porridge really a soup? Come with us around the house to find out. Swap your family traditions over a warm cup of mulled wine or cocoa, then welcome in The Christmas Players! Under the direction of drama practitioner, Jenna Drury, children will be invited to take part in an 800 year old Christmas ritual; The Mummers Play. Who wants to play St. George? The Turkish Knight? Quack Doctor, Robin Hood or even a new superhero? The Mummers plays are for anyone who likes to play the fool! Bring the whole family for some timeless tomfoolery. Suitable for children 5+ Tickets: includes refreshments. Family Ticket £15.00; Adult £7.00; Child £5.00. Press contact: Hannah Phillip, Director. Tel: 01904 655 543. Email:

Christmas at the Castle
York Castle Museum
November 27 December 24 2014

Take a trip back to Christmases past at York Castle Museum this winter and enjoy a nostalgic look back at festive traditions from yesteryear. Take a stroll down the decorated Victorian street Kirkgate to the sound of carols and marvel at the gifts and cards they would have sent.
On selected days meet Father Christmas, Scrooge and Mr Tackleton the Toy Merchant, the Dickens character who hates children almost as much as he hates making toys- until his heart is melted by festive cheer! Special festive events and activities include fondant chocolate making with Sophie Jewett from York Cocoa House and willow and cane weaving. Meanwhile children can make baubles and bunting or festive gingerbread animals. For the first time this year the museum will also open on certain evenings for a magical and unique Victorian Christmas experience for all the family. Meet the people of Kirkgate as they prepare for Christmas and seek out all of the presents on the list - if you find them all there is a very special festive person waiting to greet you. For full listings, prices and times visit

Christmas film night and buffet at the Yorkshire Museum on Thursday 11th Decemberz

Come and enjoy a classic Christmas film and a festive buffet at the Yorkshire Museum's own full sized cinema. The choice of film will be announced at in the near future. Doors 6.30pm, Buffet from 6.45pm, Film 7.45pm

£15 including festive buffet.
For more information go to:
Press contacts: Lauren Masterman, Marketing and Communications Assistant: or 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 brands 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, funfair and Santa’s grotto open from 21st November. To find that perfect gift or party outfit and also enjoy a day of skating, visit for further information.

Press contact: Sally Gilbank, Marketing Manager. Tel: 01904 682705. Email:

Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland
22nd November 2014 to 4th January 2015

Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland is York’s magical festive experience incorporating The Ice Factor - the North of England’s largest outdoor ice skating rink, a traditional funfair, Santa’s Grotto, wooden cabins with theatrical winter scenes, Christmas shopping, and PapaKitchen, our alpine-style rinkside chalet offering Scandi-licious treats. Press contact: Maria Farrugia, Executive Producer. Email:

Castle Howard
A Christmas to Remember – Saturday 22nd November to Sunday 21st December 2014

Enjoy a Christmas to remember with a visit to Castle Howard this festive season.

Built over 300 years ago for the Howard family, today the house is still hand decorated by the Hon Simon & Mrs Howard. Traditional baubles, trees, wreaths, garlands and flickering candles transform the house into a truly magical place, where you’ll create Christmas memories to last a lifetime. Lose yourself in the festive season with roaring log fires, soaring trees ladened with thousands of baubles and lights twinkling in every room. Explore the gardens which take on a wintry beauty of their own before warming up over mulled wine and mince pies or a traditional roast dinner with all the trimmings at one of the on-site cafés or warm your hands with a hot spiced latte to go from the coffee shop. The tree lined drive leads to the Stable Courtyard, where you can pick up all your Christmas gifts; from an array of baubles and carefully selected ranges in the Gift Shop, Book Shop and Garden Centre to tasty local treats and festive specialities in our Farm Shop with delicatessen and butchery. Pick up a handmade hamper packed with goodies for that extra special Christmas gift. Regular courtyard markets and daily live music in the house add to the festive feel. Enjoy a one off late night opening with a chance to see the house as dusk falls and sing-a-long with carols around the Christmas tree. Father Christmas will be visiting too and children can enjoy fireside storytelling and an early present from Santa.

Weekends from 22nd November – 21st December & Thursday 18th 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, usual admission prices apply for accompanying adults.

23rd, 24th & 30th November & 1st, 7th & 9th December
Christmas Courtyard Craft & Produce Markets

With over 20 stalls, the Christmas markets sell an array of handmade gifts and local produce perfect for the festive season. Stop by the gift shops, farm shop or garden centre too and pick up something extra special. Free admission, 10am – 4pm.

Thursday 18th December - Carols & Candlelight

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, last House admission 6.30pm, Courtyard and Market close at 8.30pm.
Press contact: Hannah Cooke, Press & Communications Manager. Tel: 01653 648647. Email:


York Theatre Royal - Old Mother Goose – starring Berwick Kaler
It’s that time of year again. Panto Dame Extraordinaire Berwick Kaler is back for his 36th annual pantomime at York Theatre Royal with Old Mother Goose – making Kaler the UK’s longest serving pantomime dame. York Theatre Royal’s pantomime, Old Mother Goose is now on sale and performances will run from Thursday 11th December 2014 – Saturday 31st January 2015. Tickets are priced from £11 - £28.50. Visit or call the theatre Box Office on 01904 623568 for more information and to book tickets. Press contact: Sophie Cann, Communications Manager. Tel: 01904 550149. Email:

Grand Opera House York
Friday 12th December 2014 – Sunday 4th January 2015

New Pantomime Productions return to the Grand Opera House York for the 16th year this Christmas with the most magical panto of them all – Cinderella. Follow Cinderella’s story as she journeys from rags to riches, helped along the way by her Fairy Godmother and the ever popular Buttons. This is the perfect festive entertainment for all to enjoy. The show stars pantomime legend and national treasure, Anita Harris, alongside Stuart Wade, formerly of Emmerdale and Last of the Summer Wine’s Tom Owen. To book call Box Office on 0844 871 3024 or book online at Press contact: Rachel Alexander-Hill, Marketing Manager. Tel: 01904 678704. Email:

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 million visitors
£606 million total visitor spend
20, 000 jobs