Winter Breaks in North Yorkshire

Thursday 7th November, 2019 by Host & Stay

We can hear the distant jingle of Christmas bells begin to ring. With so many festive events across North Yorkshire in the run up to the big day, it’s the perfect time to enjoy a winter break. Whether you’re looking for a family holiday, a couples retreat or a getaway with friends – we’ve got you covered!


If you would like Christmas markets, plenty of attractions and beautiful cobbled streets packed with medieval charm, head straight to York. The city centre is transformed – lights twinkle from the Georgian buildings and scents of spiced mulled wine and delicious food fill the air.

The amazing York Christmas Festival kick starts on November 14th with the switching on of the city’s Christmas lights. Held at Duncombe Place, enjoy music and festivities from 6pm with the official light switch on at 7pm.

The Christmas Festival stretches out through the city centre. Soak up the festive atmosphere as you explore the many market stalls which line the streets. Discover fine Yorkshire produce from crafters and makers which are showcased at the Made in Yorkshire Yuletide Village.

Wander through the alpine chalets on Parliament street for truly unique Christmas gifts. Taste festive food and drinks at the St Sampson’s Square rustic Yorkshire Barn. Experience all the fun of the fair at Kings Square – you can even slide down a traditional Helter Skelter!

For a fun filled day, venture to Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland. Held at York Designer Outlet from November 16th, you can skate on the largest outdoor ice rink in the North of England and enjoy thrilling vintage funfair rides. Want to warm up? Relax with a hot chocolate or mulled wine in the alpine themed, après-ski café which overlooks the ice rink.

Little ones will love finding Santa’s cosy log cabin in the enchanted woods. Plus, they’ll get a special gift from Santa too! The Winter Wonderland is complete with a 30ft Christmas tree as its centrepiece.

Book your tickets online.


The quaint market town of Knaresborough is full of surprises. It is carved out of real character with a Tudor prophetess, a once royal castle and an incredible viaduct which sits over the River Nidd. The medieval streets, cobbled alleyways and stone staircases which weave their way up and down the hill are packed with Christmas charm as December arrives.

Mother Shipton’s Cave is the birthplace of the famous prophetess. Situated next to England’s oldest visitor attraction, the Petrifying Well, this special place becomes a haven of Christmas cheer.

The magical experience begins as the twinkling lights draw you closer. Santa’s jolly elves will hand out festive activity packs to the children and adults can enjoy a complimentary glass of mulled wine whilst the activities take place.

Fill a bag with magic reindeer food for you to take home and scatter so Santa’s reindeers are fuelled for their trip on Christmas Eve. Help the Toy Maker, Acorn, make traditional wooden toys to fill up Santa’s sleigh. Then head to the main event – meeting Santa! Follow Chief Elf, Chesnut, through to the whimsical grotto where the kids can meet Santa, have their photo taken and receive a special gift.

Mother Shipton’s will also be hosting a Champion Day on 30th November for children and adults who would prefer a quieter, more relaxed visit to Santa with no bright lights or loud noises.

Tickets for Mother Shipton’s Cave are available online.


The nostalgic seaside town of Whitby oozes charm and history. Its East bank has narrow medieval streets which are dotted with boutiques and restaurants. The West side of town boasts cosy pubs, fun arcades and the gorgeous West Cliff Beach which is lined with idyllic huts. If you’re looking for seaside charm with plenty going on – Whitby is the place for you.

Whitby Christmas Festival returns on 15th – 17th November. Over the weekend, you can expect live music, a lantern parade, a firework display and even a Christmas fashion show!

The first day builds up to the exciting light switch on takes place on the Friday night at 7:45pm. The rest of the weekend is jam packed with events and shows. Enjoy decoration making at Captain Cook’s Museum, watch bands and dancers in the Entertainment Marquee or head to the Pannett Art Gallery for their Festival Fringe.

If you’re looking for a relaxing break, the Victorian Spa town of Saltburn is a dream. Whether you want to visit with family, friends or your loved one – this charming seaside town will certainly make you feel sentimental and festive.

Their Christmas Event takes place from 5pm on November 30th. The festive event will include a visit from Santa as well as the Christmas light switch on. Do you know a little one who would love to be involved in switching the towns lights on? All they need to do is decorate a picture and submit it in the competition. More details can be found here on Saltburn events.

Ps… we hear that Santa is visiting the event again this year too!


Roll up, roll up! Behold the magical Northern Lights Express! North Yorkshire Moors Railway is truly in the Christmas spirit from November 30th. The journey from Pickering Station will be like no other train journey you’ve experienced before!

Hop on the illuminated Northern Lights Express and venture through an enchanted forest, which is transformed with lights and surprises. The 60-minute journey travels to Levisham Station where you’ll be dazzled with a light show, as the heritage steam engine prepares for the return journey. You’ll experience a light extravaganza and a snow-covered heritage railway station which will get you in the festive spirit in no time at all!

Tickets for North Yorkshire Moors Railway are available online.

Now that your calendar is full of amazing events, you’ll need the perfect place to stay too! Explore our North Yorkshire stays.

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