The Scoop

5 festive Christmas events happening around Yorkshire this December

Christmas display in York shop window

Here at PenLife, we’re proud to be a part of our local community, and love to support events happening around Yorkshire.

With Christmas just around the corner, we’ve put together a list of five festive events happening in our local area this December. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about attending them.

1. Shop at the York Christmas Markets

The iconic York Christmas Markets attract both locals and tourists every year – and for good reason.

The chalet-style huts and festive ambiance make for a wonderful day or evening out, and can be great for finding unique gifts for your loved ones. Why shop online when you can wander around our city centre with a glass of mulled wine in your hand?

Running between 16 November and 22 December, the York Christmas Markets are free to enter and can be found on Parliament Street.

2. Walk the city centre with Those Ghosts of Christmas Past

If you fancy something a little different this Christmas, why not follow a festive-yet-ghostly walking tour of York city centre?

Those Ghosts of Christmas Past runs every Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday during the months of November and December, starting at 7 pm and finishing at 9 pm. Run by The Polite Tourist, this tour tells of the lost lives of ancient York locals, and gives you a glimpse into the weird, whacky, and wonderful history of our city.

Suitable for adults and children over the age of 12, Those Ghosts of Christmas Past could be an informative way to see York anew.

Tickets for this ghostly event should be booked in advance and cost £12. The tour starts and ends at the Duke of York pub.

3. Attend the Sankta Lucia Festival of Light at York Minster Cathedral

York Minster Cathedral is hosting the Sankta Lucia Festival of Light, a traditional Swedish carol concert happening on 11 December at 7.00 pm. (Doors open at 6:00 pm.) Free admission.

The service, performed this year by the London Nordic Choir, is free to attend and does not require pre-booking. All singers are dressed in white, with the character of Lucia, a martyr from the fourth century, wearing a crown of candles and a red ribbon around her waist.

If you’re unable to attend this concert in person, it will also be live-streamed on the York Minster YouTube channel, giving everyone free access to what is bound to be a beautiful performance.

4. Spend a day at The Christmas Adventure in Stockeld Park

Christmas is a time for all the family to be together, and if you have young children in your family, you may be searching for a daytime event that everyone can enjoy. If so, The Christmas Adventure at Stockeld Park, Wetherby, could be for you.

This all-encompassing Christmas bonanza is open between 18 November 2023 and 8 January 2024. It’s an outdoor space with a huge array of activities, including:

  • Ice skating
  • Santa’s grotto (open until Christmas Eve)
  • A snowflake maze
  • Christmas tree shopping
  • The Enchanted Forest activity area
  • Grinchilocks and the Three Elves, a play suitable for children of all ages.

There are multiple ticket packages available, starting at £12. This event is likely to sell out, so it’s important to book your tickets in advance.

5. Watch Jack and the Beanstalk at the York Theatre Royal

Pantomimes are a Christmas staple here in York, with the Theatre Royal putting on a new show every festive season.

This year, it’s Jack and the Beanstalk, running between 8 December 2023 and 7 January 2024. There are matinee and evening performances to choose from, with additional accessible performances on certain dates, including:

  • A dementia friendly show on 22 December
  • A relaxed performance on 31 December
  • A British Sign Language interpreted performance on 3 January
  • An audio-described and captioned show on 6 January.

Securing your tickets for Jack and the Beanstalk as early as possible could be wise, so head to the Theatre Royal website for more information and booking.