Where to see Santa in York this Christmas: Grotto Guide 2015

She's not sure, is she? Give her a pressie and she'll come round. Father Christmas at York Castle Museum. Photograph: York Museums Trust
8 Dec 2015 @ 9.15 pm
| Entertainment, Family

He’s made his list. Checked it twice. He’s even found out who’s naughty or nice. Santa Claus is right here in town!

And it’s about time too. He’s had a whole year off eating leftover mince pies and watching Downton box sets with Mrs Claus, and now he’s ready to get his ho-ho-ho in gear again.

Here’s where you can see him in and around York.

New this year

Wave if your name's Santa! The beardy one comes to King's Square
Wave if your name’s Santa! The beardy one comes to King’s Square. Photo: Chloe Gaughan

York St Nicholas Fair

King’s Square, York, YO1 7LD

Nov 19 to Dec 24, various times


York’s Chocolate Story website

St Nicholas Fair is dotted all around York but you’ll find Santa in his woodland cabin grotto in Kings Square outside York’s Chocolate Story.

Tea with Father Christmas at Creepy Crawlies

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

Dec 11, 10am + 4pm

£8 (including meal)

Creepy Crawlies website

Pull up a chair for a meal with Father Christmas, enjoy crafts and games, and then have a one-to-one chat with the man in red and receive a gift.

Santa goes back in time

A Victorian Christmas at York Castle Museum

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

Dec 19-23, 4-7.30pm

£8.50 (includes gift)

York Castle Museum website

Tour the Victorian street of Kirkgate with Eliza Mistletoe and Barnaby Jingle as they seek out gifts and enjoy fun festive activities. Book early – this is a very popular one.

DIG – An Archaeological Adventure

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

Dec 19, 10.30-11.30am


DIG website

A Christmas themed session for two to five-year-olds with stories, activities and of course, a special beardy visitor.

Sometimes you need to think what to ask for… Father Christmas at Fountains Abbey
Sometimes you need to think what to ask for… Father Christmas at Fountains Abbey

Christmas at Barley Hall

Barley Hall, 2 Coffee Yard, Stonegate, York, YO1 8AR

Dec 5-6 + 12-13

£12.50 (including gift)

Barley Hall website

Christmas characters welcome you to Barley Hall for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea. There are festive games and crafts and the chance to meet Santa himself .

Narnia Grotto at The Rock Church

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

Dec 5, 6, 12, 13 (19 + 20 fast pass tickets only

£6.50 (£8.50 fast pass)

The Rock Church website

Experience CS Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe before your very eyes. Meet the famous characters and experience a world beyond the wardrobe.

Nunnington Hall 1920s’ Christmas

Nunnington Hall, Nunnington, York, YO62 5UY

Nov 21 to Dec 13 (weekends only)

£6 + normal admission fee

Nunnington Hall website

The hall will be decorated as it would have been for the Fife family festivities. You’ll be welcomed by the butler and given an insight into family traditions and celebrations. You’ll receive a personalised invitation and a gift to put under the tree.

Fountains Abbey Grotto

Fountains Abbey visitor centre, near Ripon

Dec 12-13 and 19-20, 1pm-3pm


Fountains Abbey website

No chimneys to climb down in the ruins of the Cistercian Abbey, but Father Christmas does have his own grotto. And you can visit the elves’ Christmas workshop while you’re here.

Santa goes shopping

No pushing Rudolph! There's plenty of room in Santa's grotto for everyone at the Designer Outlet
No pushing Rudolph! There’s plenty of room in Santa’s grotto for everyone at the Designer Outlet

Winter Wonderland at the Designer Outlet

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

Nov 21 to Dec 24, 11am-5pm

£4.50 (includes gift)

Winter Wonderland website

Enjoy Christmas at the Designer Outlet with an ice skating rink, traditional funfair and Santa’s grotto in a traditional log cabin.

Santa with the animals

Santa's hoe-hoe-hoeing at the Museum of Farming - and he's only gone and got his own train too
Santa’s hoe-hoe-hoeing at the Museum of Farming – and he’s only gone and got his own train too

Yorkshire Museum of Farming Santa Special

Yorkshire Museum of Farming, Murton, YO19 5UF

Every pre-Christmas weekend in Dec, from 9.30am

£9 (including gift)

Murton Park website

Enjoy a family day of Christmas festivities with the elves in Santa’s workshop and treat yourself to a ride on Murton’s railway to see the big man himself.

Piglets Adventure Farm Park

Piglets Adventure Farm Park, Towthorpe, York YO32 9ST

Dec 5-24

£8.95 to £12.95

Piglets Farm website

Enjoy sleigh rides to Santa’s woodland village (you can choose either a daytime or night time flight) to see elves, animals, Santa’s grotto and toyshop.

Santa on the move

Santa steams into town via  North Yorkshire Moors Railway
Santa steams into town via North Yorkshire Moors Railway

North Yorkshire Moors Christmas Railway

Park Street, Pickering, YO18 7AJ

Dec 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 21 + 22

£16 (including gift + NYMR hat!)

NYMR website

Hop aboard the Santa express service and visit him in his grotto. Trains depart from Pickering, Grosmont and Whitby.

River Ouse Christmas Cruise

York Boat, Lendal Bridge
York, YO1 7DP

Throughout Dec

£12.50 (including gift)

York Boat website

A magical hour-long cruise on one of York’s famous boat tours with festivities, fun surprises and personalised gifts from Santa for every child.

Santa at the stately homes

Castle Howard's got its festive dex out to welcome Santa
Castle Howard’s got its festive dex out to welcome Santa

Christmas at Castle Howard

Castle Howard, Coneysthorpe, York, YO60 7DA

Pre-Christmas weekends + the week of Dec 24


Castle Howard website

Enjoy an audience with Father Christmas and see the beautifully decorated house.

Beningborough Hall

Beningbrough Hall, York, YO30 1DD

Pre-Christmas weekends in Dec, 11am-3.30pm


Beningbrough Hall website

Settle down for story time with Father Christmas in Beningborough Hall library. Give him your list, have your photo taken and, if you’ve been good, you might get a present.