[I will continue to update this post with suggestions of where to visit Father Christmas in York in 2019 as information & reviews become available!]
I know it might feel a little early to be thinking about booking in a Santa visit but, with the best experiences booking up early, it pays to be prepared!
As I child, I visited Father Christmas at the same garden centre in West Yorkshire year in, year out. I think there’s something rather special about picking somewhere and making a tradition of it – it helps to retain the magic and as such we only ever take our children to see Father Christmas at Stockeld Park.
“Christmas is the most magical time of the year, and for a generation brought up on a world of mobile gaming and tablet computers, anyone wishing to experience that kind of magic in the real life has a huge challenge,” comments head of marketing and communications at Visit York, Paul Whiting. “York has risen to this challenge in remarkable fashion, with attractions throughout the city and beyond devising the most incredible set of Santa encounters anywhere in the country – creating fairytale fantasy visits with the great man that children will remember their whole lives.”
If you’re looking for places to visit Santa in the York area this Christmas, why not take a look at some of the suggestions below:
The Christmas Adventure at Stockeld Park – Saturday 16th November to Tuesday 24th December 2019
This is our personal favourite and as such I’m putting it first on the list!
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, 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 www.stockeldpark.co.uk
You can read more about visiting Santa at Stockeld Park here:
11 things we love about the Christmas Adventure at Stockeld Park – We’re going on an adventure
The Christmas Adventure at Stockeld Park -We’re going on an adventure
or why not watch one of our videos: Father Christmas at Stockeld Park 2018 | Father Christmas at Stockeld Park 2017 | Our Stockeld Park Christmas Adventure 2016 | The Christmas Adventure at Stockeld Park 2015
Santa’s Sweet Adventure at York’s Chocolate Story – Saturday 23rd November to Tuesday 24th December 2019
Santa’s Sweet Adventure 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. Book tickets online to avoid disappointment.
North Pole Breakfast at Web Adventure Park – Selected dates from Saturday 14th to Tuesday 24th December 2019 (10 am to 12 noon, stay and play afterwards)
Children can enjoy a scrumptious North Pole breakfast and time to meet Father Christmas in his grotto at the Web Adventure Park (previously Creepy Crawlies!). Ticket includes making reindeer food, Christmas crafts to take home, a gift from Father Christmas and unlimited time to play afterwards in the Web Adventure Park. Places are limited, so early booking is advised.
Ticket cost £12 child and £2.25 for adults. These are available in person or by calling 01904 692221.
Baby’s first Christmas at Web Adventure Park – selected dates from Thursday 12th December to Friday 20th December 2019 (10am to 12noon)
A perfect way to celebrate a baby’s first Christmas, Baby Meets Santa at Web Adventure Park is 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.
Tickets cost £10 child and £1.75 adults. These are available in person or by calling 01904 692221.
Enchanting Evenings at Castle Howard – selected dates from Sunday 1st December to Monday 23rd December 2019 (6pm to 8pm approx)
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.
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.
Audience with Father Christmas at Castle Howard – selected dates from Sunday 1st December to Monday 23rd December 2019 (selected times throughout the day)
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.
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 (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 at Castle Howard – selected dates from Saturday 23rd November to Monday 23rd December 2019
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 Café.
Drop-in Santa’s Grotto is just £8 per child, with timed slots available each day and no booking necessary.
Santa Express – selected dates in December
For a festive journey with a difference, join Santa and his special helpers on a magical adventure aboard the Santa Express. 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 – please visit nymr.co.uk.
The Santa Cruise – Saturday 30th November through to Monday 23rd December
The Santa Cruise experience takes to the River Ouse! 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.
Tickets are from £13.00 per person.
Tales with Father Christmas at Treasurer’s House – Sunday 1st December to Saturday 21st December 2019 (weekends only)
Visit this beautiful National Trust property next to York Minster for a behind-the-scenes hard hat visit across the roof tops to the attics where Father Christmas has been set up with a special grotto, and is telling stories and handing out presents. Ages 4+.
Tickets cost £8.50 per person plus entry into house, booking essential. Call 01904 624247 or visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Meet Father Christmas at Beningbrough Hall – Saturday 30th November to Sunday 22nd November (11am to 3.30pm)
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! includes meet and greet, storytelling and a gift.
Tickets cost £10 per child and one adult plus normal admission charges. Booking is essential – 01904 472014. nationaltrust.org.uk/beningbrough-hall
Phew. That’s quite the round up! Where will you be going to see Father Christmas in York this year? Have I missed anywhere off the list?
Please note that, to the best of my knowledge, all information is correct at time of publishing but do check directly with individual venues to confirm!