For many of us, Christmas is the most enjoyable time of year. However, no matter how much one loves the festive season, Christmas as an adult is incomparable to Christmas as a child. Innocent minds and young imaginations revel in the magic of this time of year and despite how commercialised we may think Christmas has become, it is children who make this time of year more special than any other. Even if we cannot regain those feelings and emotions we experienced during our own childhoods, witnessing the wonder and excitement on our children and grandchildren’s faces at Christmas is a true blessing.
There are just a few weeks left until Christmas, and for those wanting to make magical memories with their little ones, Yorkshire offers plenty of opportunities to do so. For kids, it’s all about the jolly old man in the bright red suit and each and every town and city across the county will be be offering encounters of some kind or another.
We’ve put together a list of the most magical Santa experiences in Yorkshire that will help you create some lasting memories of the most wonderful time of the year. Each includes excellent entertainment, an enchanting atmosphere and of course…a meeting with St Nick!
Cannon Hall Farm
Location: Cannon Hall, Cawthorne, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, S75 4AT
Prices: Children ( 2 and over ) – £16.95, Children (Under 2) – £8.00, Adults – £8.95
Cannon Hall Farm is one of the county’s most popular family attractions, offering animal encounters and endless fun for children. At Christmas, this superb farm park offers a wonderful Santa experience which includes all-day farm entry. Every child will receives a passport to the North Pole before making their way to the Elf Check-in. There, Santa’s colourful workers check to see if children have been naughty or nice by running them through a special Elf check-in scanner. In the departure lounge, children are invited to snap a selfie and pen their letters to the big man with the assistance of the Elves. After this, they make their way to Santa’s grotto where they receive a high-quality gift during a pretty convincing encounter!
The ticket price for children over the age of two is £16.95. To coincide with Santa’s grotto, they also offer an Elves Workshop experience which allows children to join the production line and make their very own festive bear. The ticket price for this is £21.95 and also includes all-day farm entry. If you wish to do both experiences, the cost of the Santa experience is reduced to £8 when you book the Elves Workshop.
The Polar Express at Wensleydale Railway
Location: Departs from Leeming Bar Station
Price: From £25
The Polar Express Yorkshire experience at Wensleydale Railway is the only licensed Polar Express in Yorkshire. Board the famous Polar Express in your best PJs, settle down with a comforting hot chocolate and begin a magical journey to the North Pole. You’ll be joined by characters from the 2004 movie such as the conductor, the singing chefs and Santa himself, who all work incredibly hard to make this remarkable santa experience you will never forget. During your jouney, Santa will work out whether children have been naughty or nice and present the nice ones with the first gift of Christmas – a silver bell. Once your destination is reached, Children will be invited to the Elves Workshop to write their letters to Santa and enjoy a special surprise .
This is an excellent theatrical Santa experience which will ignite young imaginations and create lasting memories. Whether you’re a fan of the movie or not, it’s certainly one you don’t want to miss.
Enchanted Evenings with Father Christmas
Location: Castle Howard, York, YO60 7DA
Price: £75 for the Enchanted Evening, £27.50 for An Audience with Santa, £8 for the Courtyard Grotto
Okay, so the tickets for the “Enchanted Evenings with Father Christmas” are a little pricey at £75 per child and £15 per adult, but it’s a two-hour experience and certainly one like no other. Guests will enjoy a festive Tea Party in Castle Howard’s Grecian Hall, before following a candlelit trail into the house to find Santa and his friends in the Great Hall. Here, they will gather around the grand fireplace for an evening of music, stories, photo opportunities and a personalised gift from Santa.
If this is a little out of your price range, “An Audience with Father Christmas” is priced at £27.50 per child. This allows you to skip the grand tea party and the included indulgent treats and opt for the 45-minute fireside experience only. Both of these experiences include access to the house and gardens.
For those who don’t want to book a full Santa experience, there’ll also be a Courtyard Grotto which can be visited for £8 per child when the accompanying adult purchases either an inclusive (House & Gardens) ticket or a Gardens only ticket. Whichever option you choose, the grandeur of this stately home makes it the perfect venue for that special encounter.
Mother Shipton’s Cave
Location: Mother Shipton’s Cave, Prophecy Lodge, High Bridge, Knaresborough HG5 8DD
Price: Children from £19.50, Children under 1 from £10.00, Adults from £6.00
The Christmas experience at Mother Shipton’s Cave offers a somewhat different way in which to see Father Christmas, but it’s magical nonetheless. Upon arrival, Santa’s elves will provide each child with their own activity pack so they can write their letter to Santa whilst Mum and Dad enjoy a complimentary glass of mulled wine. To help Santa’s reindeer have enough fuel to fly, children will then assist the elves in filling bags with reindeer food. They can even take a bag home for themselves ( or their reindeer…).
Once Operation Reindeer Food is complete, they’ll meet Acorn the Toymaker and help him craft traditional toys for Santa’s sleigh, before venturing a little further into the enchanted cave to hear tales told by Holly Berry the Storyteller. Then, it’s on to the main event where children will enter the magical grotto to meet Santa Claus and receive a special gift. This is a really interactive experience with lots of fun activities that the little ones will adore!
Christmas at Stockeld Park
Location: Stockeld Park, Wetherby LS22 4AN
Price: From £8.50 per child
With an enchanted forest adorned with dazzling lights and bursting with play opportunities, a fun family ice rink and a snowflake maze comprising endless wintery twists and turns, it’s no wonder Stockeld Park is one of Yorkshire’s favourite places to visit at Christmas.
This year, Santa will be at Stockeld Park from 16th November until Christmas Eve, so there’s plenty of time to fit in a visit to this award-winning attraction. Explore the illuminated forest, master the magical snowflake maze and test your skating skills before visiting Santa in his rustic wooden cabin. This event fills up really quickly so, if you wish to see Santa at Stockeld Park we recommend booking your tickets as soon as possible.
Santa’s Sweet Adventure at York’s Chocolate Story
Location: King’s Square, York YO1 7LD
Price: Children – £17.50, Childen under 4 – £6.00, Adults – £9.50
There are three things that kids love about Christmas and this Santa experience in Yorkshire combines them all – Santa, presents and chocolate! York’s Chocolate Story is a popular visitor attraction telling the story of York’s chocolate-making heritage. With fun displays and a life-size cobbled street to explore, its provides a great day out for the whole family.
Rated as one of the UK’s best Santa experiences, the Christmas adventure will once again return to York’s Chocolate Story for 2019. The three floors of the attraction will be transformed with festive decorations and guests will be invited to join Santa on a special themed tour. Children will be asked to assist Santa in his mission to save Christmas and along the way, will take part in fun games, watch live demonstrations and make their very own Christmas chocolate lollipop. They’ll also receive a commemorative photo to take home. An educational and interactive Santa exerience in Yorkshire with a delicious chocolatey twist!