Where to see Santa in York this Christmas: Grotto Guide 2016

29 Nov 2016 @ 9.15 pm
| Entertainment, Family

Forget secret Santa – Father Christmas is all over York for the 2016 festive season.

His trademark ‘ho, ho, ho’ will echo across the city from haunts high and low. So if you want to be cheered by that man with the beard, here’s where to find him…

New this year

Santa's Shambles team include elves who keep his guests entertained
Santa’s Shambles team include elves who keep his guests entertained

Shambles Market

Shambles, York YO1 8RY

Dec 3-24, weekdays noon-5pm; weekends 10am-5pm

£9.95 per child (including gift and free ride on attraction of their choice)

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Santa has a new home in Shambles Market. With the help of York’s Chocolate Story and those magic elves, he has his own log cabin found via the fairy lit snickelway off the famous street. Visitors will be entertained in the queue before being invited in to his old fashioned sweet shop to meet the man himself, get a photo and a pressie.

Santa in Narnia

Narnia Grotto at The Rock Church

The Rock Of York, 12 Priory Street, York, YO1 6EX

Sat Dec 10 @ 10am-4pm; Sun Dec 11 @ 10am-5pm; Sat Dec 17 @ 10am-4pm; Sun Dec 18 @ 10am-5pm

Children: £10.50 (includes gift), adults £5.50

More details

A magical trip through the wardrobe brings you to the Narnia Christmas Grotto. As well as meeting Santa, experience C S Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe come to life, thanks to the Rock Of York. This year tickets for the grotto this year are pre-booked only.

Santa goes back in time

Santa at the Castle Museum
Santa at the Castle Museum

A Victorian Christmas at York Castle Museum

York Castle Museum, Eye of York, York, YO1 9RY

Nov 26-Dec 24


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Father Christmas is, in many ways, a gift from the Victorians. So why not follow the Castle Museum Christmas Mystery trail until you find Santa himself?

DIG – A Little Diggers Christmas

St Saviour’s Church, St Saviourgate, York, YO1 8NN

Dec 17, 10am-11:30am

Children: £6.50 (includes free gift). One adult goes free, additional adult £3

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DIG is getting a Christmas makeover as the archaeological attraction welcomes Santa – and you can discover how children of the Victorian period celebrated at this time of the year.

Saling into the mill. Photograph: Holgate Windmill on Facebook
Saling into the mill. Photograph: Holgate Windmill on Facebook

Santa at Holgate Mill

Windmill Rise, Holgate, York YO26 4TX

Sat Dec 3, Sun Dec 4, Sat Dec 10 @ 2pm-4pm; Sun Dec 11 @ 10am-noon and 2pm-4pm

£5 per child

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Santa obviously has a head for heights as he takes up residence in Yorkshire’s oldest working windmill. Expect mince pies, mulled apple juice and free activities as well as a meeting with the man in red.

Santa on the Rotary sleigh

One of York’s traditions, Santa will travel with the Rotary York Ainsty float through December. See him on these dates

Date in DecLocation
Thursday 1stBishopthorpe
Friday 2ndUpper Poppleton
Monday 5thBeckfield Lane
Tuesday 6thPoppleton Park
Wednesday 7thNether Poppleton
Friday 9thWoodthorpe
Saturday 10thAcomb Front Street
Saturday 10th Copmanthorpe
Monday 12thWoodthorpe
Tuesday 13thThe Revival, Tadcaster Road
Wednesday 14thMiddlethorpe
Friday 16thCopmanthorpe
Saturday 17thMorrisons, Acomb
Monday 19thBishopthorpe

Santa at play

Santa has particularly cheerful elves at York Designer Outlet
Santa has particularly cheerful elves at York Designer Outlet

Winter Wonderland

York Designer Outlet, St Nicholas Avenue, York, YO19 4TA

Till Dec 20

£4.50 per child (includes gift)

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Enjoy the Wonderland Christmas Village – a street of wooden cabins depicting wintry scenes – and meet the big man. A ticketing system is in operation so go to the grotto on arrival to collect your ticket and visit time. Limited online booking available.

Creepy Crawlies

The Web Adventure Park, Wigginton Road, York YO32 2RH

Dec 11 @

Adults £1, children £8 (meal included)

More details

Here’s a chance to do more than just meet Father Christmas, but to have some grub with him too. Creepy Crawlies are offering breakfast and tea with Santa. Ticket only, so pre-book.

Piglets Adventure Farm Park

Piglets Adventure Farm Park, Towthorpe, York YO32 9ST

Till Dec 24 @ 10am-6pm

Adults £6.95-£7.95, children £9.95-£13.95 (includes gift).

More details

Piglets gives you the chance to take a sleigh ride to Santa’s Grotto in the woodland village. Pre booked tickets only.

At Flamingo Land

Kirby Misperton, Malton YO17 6UX

Dec 3, 4, 10, 11, and 17-24 @ 11am, 1pm and 3pm

£10 per child, plus admission charge

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Santa and his elves will be turning The Coach House into their very own grotto, where all the good boys and girls will have the chance to enjoy a ten-minute seasonal story telling session with them. Then it’s time for a personal meeting…

Santa on the move

This seaside Santa has been transported there by the North Yorkshire Moors Railway
This seaside Santa has been transported there by the North Yorkshire Moors Railway

North Yorkshire Moors Christmas Railway

Park Street, Pickering, YO18 7AJ

Dec 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 20 and 21st December, various times

Currently sold out

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Join Santa and his special helpers on a magical adventure aboard the Santa Express, which will take you on a festive journey you won’t forget… At the time of going to press there were no seats left, but worth checking if some become free.

Yorkshire Museum of Farming Santa Special

Yorkshire Museum of Farming, Murton, YO19 5UF

Dec 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 22 and 23 @ 9.30pm-3pm

Adults £7 (includes mince pie and sherry), children £9 (includes gift)

More details

Meet Father Christmas during a train ride, then take a guided tour of Santa’s village to see how the elves are getting on.

Santa Ouse Cruise

York Boat, Lendal Bridge, York YO1 7DP

Dec 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 21, 22 and 23

Children £13 (including gift), adults £9.50

More details

Meet Santa and friends whilst cruising along the River Ouse for an enchanting hour with YorkBoat. Each child gets a personalised present from Santa. Refreshments, fun and surprises are also on board.

Santa specials

Santa lines up the pressies at the Chill Café
Santa lines up the pressies at the Chill Café

Autism-friendly grotto

The Wilberforce Trust, 49 North Moor Road, Huntington, York, YO32 9QN

Sat Dec 10 @ 10am-3pm


More details

Bring your child to a safe, fun and stimulating Santa’s Grotto that is autism friendly. Every child will receive a sensory toy as a present. Siblings welcome.

Raising money at Chill Café

8a Acomb Court, Front Street, Acomb, York YO24 3BJ

Dec 10, 11, 17-21

£7.50 including gift

More details

Santa has a grotto at Chill Cafe this year to help raise money for Daisybella. Daisybella has noonan syndrome, epilepsy, a heart defect and is legally blind. Santa will be holding half-hour story sessions, and there will be craft making sessions.

Santa at the stately homes

Father Christmas looks quite at home at Castle Howard
Father Christmas looks quite at home at Castle Howard

Christmas at Castle Howard

Castle Howard, Coneysthorpe York YO60 7DA

Till Fri Dec 23


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Have a look around the decorated house before your magical visit to Father Christmas, complete with storytelling by Castle Howard’s roaring fire. Then it’s time to pick up a personalised present…

Beningborough Hall

Beningbrough Hall, York, YO30 1DD

Weekends from Dec 3-18 @ 11.30am–3.30pm

£7 per child with one adult place, plus admission charge

More details website

Father Christmas invites you to join him in the cosy library of the big hall for stories as he holidays with the elves on the run up to the big day. Have your picture taken with him and pick up your gift. Pre-book.

Nunnington Hall

Nunnington, York YO62 5UY

Weekends from Dec 3-18 @ 11am–4pm

£6 per child (includes gift), plus admission charge

More details

There’s nowhere more charming for a grotto than Nunnington Hall. You’ll receive a personalised invitation for your visit, to Santa a special gift to take home and put under the tree.

Fountains Abbey Grotto

Ripon HG4 3DY

Dec 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 19 and 20 @ 1pm-3pm

£5 per child (including gift), plus admission charge

More details

Santa comes bearing gifts to Fountains Abbey on selected dates, so visit him in his cosy grotto.