Leeds-List - Leeds' ultimate magazine and guide

10 Jolly Good Christmas Markets, Festivals & Events in Yorkshire

· Joseph Sheerin · Christmas

Magical light trails, Santa trains and ice rinks – it’s all going on in Yorkshire this Christmas.

Christmas at York Museum

From illuminated trails to festive markets, take a trip out to Yorkshire for a memorable Christmas day out.

Christmas is a magical time of year, especially in Yorkshire. We go all out to celebrate the festive season with a host of events to get you into the spirit of things. York city centre has been lit up with an incredible illuminated trail, Ilkley has been taken over by pop-up bars and you won’t want to miss the ever-popular throwback of Otley’s Victorian Fair. But even that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

St Nicholas Fair

St Nicholas Fair is one of the standout Christmas Markets in Yorkshire – it takes over York with things to buy, eat and drink. Parliament Street is awash with Scandinavian-style stalls that are home to local designers, makers and creators selling gifts, as is Davygate and Coppergate. If you’re after a bit of festive food and drink, there’s the Yorkshire Barn for mulled wine, cider and pies, or you can make a beeline for York’s own Thor’s Tipi Bar, where you can get ales and cocktails until late each night.

St Nicholas Fair takes over Coppergate, The Shambles and the rest of York city centre until Friday 22nd December 2017.

Christmas at Castle Howard

Christmas at Castle Howard

Credit: Anthony Chappel Ross

The stunning Castle Howard really goes to town for Christmas. Their festive activities this year are centred around Angels on High – they’re going to take over the grand state rooms and you’ll get to see them all as you walk around. It’s not all angelic creatures though – you’ll see the soaring Christmas tree and gaze upon the Gingerbread Castle Howard. If you’re bringing the kids, they’ll also discover The Magical Christmas Garden and get the chance to meet Father Christmas on select dates.

Christmas at Castle Howard takes place until Saturday 23rd December 2017.

Christmas at York Museum Gardens Illuminated Trail

Christmas at York Museum

The Illuminated Trail will transform York Museum Gardens into a festival of light this Christmas. You can drink mulled wine, go on fairground rides and have your face painted with UV paints in the Christmas Courtyard. Then it’s off to the maze, where you’ll find incredible installations like a rainbow forest of musical trees and a stunning projection on the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey. You’ll also get to walk through the Tunnel of Shimmering Lights before reaching the Finale of Fire at the end, where you’ll find the Undercroft’s Fire Bar and toast your own marshmallows.

The Christmas at York Museum Gardens Illuminated Trail takes place outside York Museum until Monday 1st January 2018.

Yorkshire Winter Wonderland

Yorkshire Winter Wonderland

The Yorkshire Winter Wonderland is back for a fourth year and it’s no surprise because it’s one of the region’s top festive attractions. It’s home to the North’s largest outdoor ice rink at 975 square metres and it sits just in front of the massive 30 foot Christmas tree. They’ve also got a new Polar Express-themed Santa’s Grotto and vintage funfair rides to give the kids a day out to remember. They’ve even added a new alpine chalet for 2017 – it’s home to PapaKitchen, a cosy cafe where you can get everything from mulled wine to chilli con carne, hot chocolate and gingerbread men.

Yorkshire Winter Wonderland is at York Designer Outlet until Sunday 7th January 2017.

Glow Winter Illuminations

RHS Harlow Carr - Glow Illuminations

You’ve never seen an RHS Garden quite like this before. Harlow Carr will be shown in a different light for six weeks over Christmas thanks to an array of magical nighttime illuminations. The trees which line the gardens will be lit up in all kinds of different colours, while areas like the Winter Walk, Streamside and Doric Columns will be given a new lease of life under the night sky. Betty’s Tea Room is staying open until 7pm and they’ve got a special Christmas gift shop to boot.

Glow Winter Illuminations take over RHS Harlow Carr from Thursday 23rd November to Saturday 30th December 2017.

Music and Lights

Music and Lights at Fountains Abbey

Credit: Chris Lacey

Fountains Abbey is getting an incredible festive makeover as Music and Lights takes over the historic ruins this Christmas. Trees will be covered in lights and the abbey itself will be lit up with the colours of the rainbow – it’s going to be a sight to behold. There will also be live festive music with choirs performing in the abbey’s Cellarium, and if you get there a bit earlier with the kids, you can grab a reindeer’s explorer map and follow it around the grounds. They’ve also got Christmas food and drink stalls, a Santa’s Grotto and festive craft workshops.

Music and Lights takes over Fountains Abbey from Saturday 25th November to Sunday 31st December 2017. It’s on every weekend up until Christmas Eve, and then every day between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

Ilkley Christmas Tepees

Ilkley Chirstmas Tepees

Credit: Heidi Martin

These aren’t just any old Christmas tepees – these five tents are actually home to one of the coolest festive pop-up bars in Yorkshire and they’re back in Ilkley Park for the third year. From Wednesday to Sunday throughout December, you can enter this maze of tepees and cosy up next to the roaring fire pit to enjoy mulled wine, local beers and a Christmas-themed cocktail menu. You can toast your own marshmallows or dig into roast turkey, burgers and pies. If you’re bringing the kids, they’ll have Santa on weekends, and if you’re bringing the dog, you might just find some treats inside.

Ilkley Christmas Tepees will be in Ilkley Park from Friday 1st until Wednesday 22nd December 2017.

North Yorkshire Moors Railway Santa Specials

North York Moors Railway Santa Specials

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway are running their Santa Specials throughout December. You can go from Pickering to Grosmont or do it the other way round, either way, it’s a great day out for the whole family, as the kids get to meet Santa himself in their special steam train grotto. They’ve also got reindeers at the station, and selfies are absolutely encouraged. The kids will get a Christmas Activity Bag for the journey, while grown-ups can indulge in mince pies, hot drink and festive tipples.

Santa Specials take place on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway every weekend from Saturday 2nd to Saturday 23rd December 2017.

Otley Victorian Fair and Chirstmas Market

One of Yorkshire’s longest running Christmas markets, the Otley Victorian Fair is back this December and they’re expecting over 17,000 to line the streets once again. The town’s main streets are being pedestrianised so a slew of local traders can sell everything from gifts to food. They also have indoor markets in The Black Horse Stable Yard and The Old Grammar School, which is home to handcrafted items. It’s not just stalls though – what makes this a proper day out is the Victorian fancy dress, live music stage, donkey rides and Santa’s reindeer, there’s something for everyone.

Otley Victorian Fair takes place across Otley on Sunday 3rd December 2017.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park Christmas Fair

Yorkshire Wildlife Park Christmas Fayre

Credit: Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

Head to Yorkshire Wildlife Park this December to shop at a unique Christmas market. Your ticket gets you entry to see all their amazing animals, from the lions to the polar bears, leopards and baboons. But if you time it right, you’ll get access to a huge heated marquee, with over 100 stalls that are home to crafts, gifts, food and drink. They’ve also got live festive entertainment and a Victorian fairground, as well as a polar bear Santa that flies around the market.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park Christmas Fair takes place on Saturday 9th and 16th and Sunday 10th and 17th December 2017.