Christmas in the Yorkshire Dales

Is it just me or does Christmas come round quicker every year?! It seems that people are already getting booked up for December and we haven’t even got Halloween over yet! Most places already have their Christmas events on sale so here is my updated round up of events this Christmas in the Yorkshire Dales for 2022.

There are some treat days out plus some small local events which I will keep adding to. Read on for more details of what to do this Christmas in the Yorkshire Dales and the surrounding area that still have availability.

My top recommendations for events in the lead up to Christmas in the Yorkshire Dales and surrounding area.

Santa’s Grotto at Ingleborough Cave

Why not visit Santa in his Grotto down a cave! At Ingleborough Caves you can enjoy the Ingleborough Estate nature trail walk then head down the caves to visit Santa.

Last year we visited here for the first time and it was one of the best trips we had done. Such a truly different experience being in the cave. They were all beautifully lit up and then meeting Santa at the end was perfect. The toys were pretty great too!

Santa will be there each weekend in December as well as the 19th, 20th, 21st and 23rd of December. A true Christmas in the Yorkshire Dales experience!

Meeting Santa in Ingleborough Caves 2021

Santa Specials at Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway

This year at Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway there are lots of different options for their Santa Specials. You can meet Santa on board the train whilst riding from Bolton Abbey as well as receiving a gift. There are breakfast, afternoon tea or picnic with Santa options as well as the chance to upgrade your cabin to first class. Tickets are still available for weekends from the end of November as well as the week leading up to Christmas Day. A fun family day out.

Bolton Abbey Father Christmas and the themed Christmas walk

Our Christmas hoiday wouldn’t be complete without a winter walk around Bolton Abbey. Santa is back again, and you can meet him in the Christmas village in Strid Wood. See the elves and take part in some crafts and musical activities before going to visit Santa and receiving a gift. Afterwards you can have some photos taken on the sleigh, toast marshmallows and enjoy a hot chocolate by Love Brownies (extra cost). Santa will be there every weekend from the end of November and the week leading up to Christmas.

Last year’s event was brilliant. My little man has talked about this all year and loved watching the videos back from the day. He loved that Santa spoke one on one with him and that the elves were silly. I haven’t told him yet that we are going again or I will be asked daily if today is the day! Tickets sell out quick for this especially on weekends but there is still availability in the week leading up to Christmas.

Meeting Santa at Bolton Abbey 2021

Separate to the Christmas village is the 12 Days of Christmas trail through Strid Wood but details have not yet been confirmed for this. Regardless this is a must do as it is always lots of fun and a great way to burn off some excess energy.

12 Days of Christmas Trail 2021

Skipton Town Hall

There are lots of fantastic events going on at Skipton Town Hall this year. From arts and crafts to Christmas movies. Plenty to enjoy for all the family.
The stunning concert hall will be filled with music over the festive season with a performance from recently crowned British Open Champions, Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band. Skipton Camerata present ‘A Yorkshire Nativity’ and Skipton Choral Society will be joined by The York Railway Institute Band for Mozart’s Requiem.
Panto lovers will enjoy hysterical family show, Cinderella, by Same Difference Arts. There will be special Christmas editions of Skipton Comedy Live, The Town Hall Tea Dance, Art Club for teens and Craven Museum Family Make & Take crafts.
Enjoy cinema with a twist at the Muppets Christmas Carol sing-a-long, Home Alone 2 with booby trap making workshop and Love Actually dining experience.

Photo credit Skipton Town Hall

Lotherton Christmas Experience

Last year we were kindly invited along to the press event of the new Christmas Experience at Lotherton Hall and it was fab! Read my full review that I did for Girl About.

Located north of Leeds, Lotherton is easily accessible from the Yorkshire Dales and is worth travelling that bit further to.

Immerse yourself in the interactive woodland walk, gingerbread decorating with Mrs Claus, get crafty with the cheeky elves and of course meet Santa Clause. You can choose to do all of this or just one. Entry to this event also means you can access the grounds of Lotherton Hall where there is a brilliant playground as well as small zoo/wildlife area. The Christmas Experience opens on Saturday 26th November through to Christmas.

christmas at lotherton
Christmas woodland walk at Lotherton 2019
Lotherton Hall Christmas Experience 2021

Aladdin at The Viaduct Theatre, Dean Clough Mills

This December you have to see a panto! The one in Halifax at Dean Clough Mills is a unique theatre as the stage is in the middle of the audience so you will be even closer than normal to what’s going on.

This year’s production is Aladdin. A family friendly pantomime that promises lots of laughs, plenty of sparkle and, of course, one very shiny magical lamp! Running from Saturday 10th December.

Photo credit Viaduct Theatre

The Great Skipton Santa Fun Run

On Sunday 27th November there are a few events going on in Skipton; the Santa Fun Run and the Christmas Light Switch On!

Every year the Skipton Rotary Club put on a Santa Fun Run around the town which is quite the sight early on a Sunday morning! In 2020 we joined in the fun with the virtual event and it was fab to do altogether as a family. Last year we watched the race from the High Street, cheering them on. There are still places available though so join in and experience Christmas in the Yorkshire Dales, Skipton style!

Christmas in the yorkshire dales
Skipton Santa Fun Run 2020
Santa Fun Run 2021

Glow at Harlow Carr

Experience the beautiful grounds of Harlow Carr, in Harrogate after dark following the enchanting trail of lights around the beautiful gardens. Watch the light display shows and projections before heading to Betty’s Tearoom for a warming hot chocolate and a treat. The Glow event is on Thursday to Saturday from 17th November to 17th December then Monday 19th to Thursday 22nd December and Wednesday 28th to Friday 30th December. We attended last year and it really was magical. It does sell out quick though so get your tickets now.

Glow! At Harlow Carr

Magical Santa trips on Skipton Canal

Why not try something a little different and enjoy a scenic canal barge trip with Skipton Boat Trips on the Leeds Liverpool Canal and get to meet Santa on board. This 75 minute boat trip includes a hot drink and mince pie as well as a gift from Santa. You can book for weekends from the end of November. Tie it in with the Christmas Market in Skipton too on the 4th and 11th December.

Old Barn Malham – Breakfast or Afternoon tea with Santa

In the December weekends leading up to Christmas why not get up to Malham and enjoy either breakfast or afternoon tea with Santa and then a wonderful walk around the Cove.

At the Old Barn cafe in the centre of Malham you can enjoy your food whilst decorating a biscuit, making reindeer food as well as getting a present off the big man himself.

Christmas Adventure at Thornton Hall Farm

Another spectacular event at Thornton Hall Farm. The main christmas event is jam packed and there are also variations which are SEN friendly, suitable for toddlers as well as a VIP session so everyone is covered. On the main event you get 2 hours of Christmas magic which is an interactive tour of the Christmas Village helping the Elves.

‘The Elves need your help at this very busy time. Watch out for ‘Spik & Span’ the notorious elves as they prepare to roll out their plan to divert the Christmas Magic! Whatever you do – Don’t let them lose the golden key to Santa’s grotto.

Following the Christmas session entry to the farm and soft play is included. Running from 27th November, this is another popular event so many weekends will be booked.

Photo credit Thornton Hall Country Park

Stump Cross Caverns Christmas

This Christmas why not visit Santa in his cinema room grotto then take a trip down the caves. At Stump Cross Caverns you can do this and enjoy some tasty grub after in the Time cafe.

The caves are a great place to explore any time of year but in the winter it’s a great place to escape the wet and wild Dales. Read more about our experience here.

Exploring the caves at Stump Cross Caverns

Magical Christmas experience at Birchfield Farm

Not one we have actually been to but going on the other events at Birchfield then this will be a great one to do. The Christmas Experience is a great all round family event. Check in with Mother Christmas in her sitting room to collect your sleigh ride tickets. Then, assisted by Buddy the elf, you will take a magical sleigh ride down to Father Christmas’ woodland grotto where you can sit by the fire and tell him your Christmas wishes. Each child gets a gift.

Ticket price includes general entry to the farm but there will also be additional Christmas crafts on such as writing letters to Santa and making reindeer food.

Meet Mother Christmas

Come and meet Mother Christmas at Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes. She will have a gift for each child in her workshop. They can also write a letter to Santa and post it on the twinkly trail. £8 per child. Booking is essential. One date only – 26th November.

Fountains Abbey Music & Lights

From 19th November you can see the National Trust property Fountains Abbey all lit up colourfully and hear music played from 2-3pm on weekends. This is included in standard entry to the grounds. It is a beautiful winter walk and definitely one that should be done.

If you time it right you can use a free National Trust pass.

Fountains Abbey
Fountains Abbey

Christmas markets

This year there are lots of Christmas markets happening around the area. These include;

Addingham on Saturday 26th November

Ingleton on Saturday 26th November

Harrogate on from 2nd to 11th December

Knaresborough on weekend of 3rd and 4th December

Grassington on Saturday 3rd and 10th December

With the main event of course being Skipton Christmas markets on Sunday 4th and 11th December

Christmas Light Switch On’s

Christmas light switch ons are becoming a great event in their own right with lots of towns and villages joining in making it a day or evening to remember. Best of all these events are FREE.

Here is a list of the light switch on’s locally;

Barnoldswick Saturday 19th November – this is a full day of activities; christmas stalls, live performances, ADVENTure trail, make a lantern then the procession from 530pm.

Knaresborough Saturday 25th November

Ilkley Saturday 26th November from 3.30pm – they will also have a Santa parade

Settle Saturday 26th November – from 12pm there will be Christmas markets, santas grotto, fairground, bouncy castle and fireworks at 5pm

Skipton Sunday 27th November – from 4pm watch the Willow lantern parade followed by the switch on. The santa fun run is on in the morning!

Grassington Sunday 4th December

Join this facebook group to keep up to date with all events.

I hope you enjoy Christmas in the Yorkshire Dales this year! Let me know if there are any other events to celebrate Christmas in the Yorkshire Dales and the surrounding area.

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