The ice sculptures are back! The hugely popular York Festival Of Angels may have gone but a new and more ambitious ice trail will spring up in its place this year.
Thirty frozen works of art will appear across the city for a December weekend as part of the first York St Nicholas Christmas Festival, which is set to be the city’s most festive celebration yet.
Also incorporating a 35-day St Nicholas Fair, a Scandinavian style tipi tent, a new city centre Santa’s grotto and a choirs weekend, York is set to be the winter wonderland to beat this year.
City of York Council is to offer free parking in its car parks on the first evening of the festival, Thursday, November 19, from 6pm.
Kate McMullen from Make It York said thousands of people loved to visit the city at Christmas:
So what is in store this Chrimbletide?
New for Christmas 2015
York city centre
Sat Dec 12-Sun Dec 13
When YorkMix broke the news a year ago that the 2014 Festival Of Angels had been cancelled, the decision was greeted by widespread dismay.
So here’s some news to warm the heart: the same idea is being resurrected as an Ice Trail which will cover the whole city centre.
Altogether 30 specially commissioned hand-carved ice sculptures, created by Glacial Art, will be dotted around York during the weekend of December 12-13.
The event will feature live ice carving, and is made possible by businesses from across the city who are sponsoring their own frosty character or sparkling scene.
Revamped St Nicholas Fair
Parliament Street, York
Thu Nov 19-Wed Dec 23; Mon-Wed 10am-6pm; Thurs-Sat 10am-9pm; Sun 10am-5pm
The hugely popular Christmas market is revamped for 2015.
Running for a record 35 days, it will have a new look with wooden chalets, complete with garlands and twinkling lights, hosting the traders. The chalets will also extend into St Sampson’s Square, Coppergate and Judge’s Lodging.
More than 100 stallholders will be selling gifts including Whitby jet jewellery, ceramics, homewares, crafts and Yorkshire produce such as locally made wines and cheeses.
Thu Nov 19-Sat Jan 2
Thor’s Tipi is brand new for 2015. The giant tent on Parliament Street will boast a roaring fire, with cosy furs to keep the cold at bay, and plenty of refreshments.
Designed and delivered by the PapaKåta team who are also behind Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland, Thor’s Tipi will serve an outdoor winter barbecue, homemade sweet treats, festive hot chocolate, mulled wine, draft ales and Christmas cocktails.
Christmas choir weekend
York city centre
Sat Dec 5-Sun Dec 6
York choirs will be pop up around our city centre streets and squares in a weekend-long choral celebration of Christmas, while raising money for local homeless charity SASH.
Brass bands will add another musical note every Thursday evening through the festival.
New Santa’s grotto
York’s Chocolate Story, King’s Square
Father Christmas returns to York’s Chocolate Story, and this year he’s got a new wooden grotto.
Last year Santa could only manage weekends at the popular attraction, but this year he will be installed with his helpers from the middle of November.
Returning festive favourites
Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland
York Designer Outlet
Sat Nov 21-Sun Jan 3
Again incorporating the Ice Factor – the North of England’s biggest ice rink, Yorkshire Winter Wonderland returns.
New this year is a heated terrace outside the PapaKitchen alpine-themed café, next to the ice rink. It will serve festive Glühwein and hot dogs with Scandi-relish. And Santa will be in his grotto.
Carols at York Minster
Carol concerts: Sat Dec 5 and Sun Dec 6
Advent is one of the busiest times of the year at York Minster, and a full Christmas programme of services and celebrations is planned.
As well as the carol concerts, there’s the raising of the Giant Advent Wreath – the largest in the country, the Crib Service, the Nine Lessons and Carols and Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.
Christmas at the Castle Museum
York Castle Museum, Eye of York
Various, from Mon Nov 30-Christmas Eve
Lots of family fun planned at the Castle Museum. Father Christmas is back, and this year he’s opening his festive toy museum, to rediscover what boys and girls dreamed of getting in their stocking in years past.
There’s the return of the Victorian Christmas Experience tours during the school holidays, and Scrooge is back too for performances of A Christmas Carol.
Fairfax House exhibition and events
Fairfax House, Castlegate, York
Tues Nov 17-Sun Jan 3
Elegant Yuletide splendour at the Georgian townhouse again in 2015, with the return of the exhibition The Keeping Of Christmas.
There are twilight tours, a Christmas concert and family-friendly storytelling sessions too.
York Early Music Christmas Festival
National Centre For Early Music, Walmgate
Fri Dec 4-Sat Dec 12
Beautiful music in a beautiful church setting.
The Early Music Christmas Festival returns with a programme including the European Union Baroque Orchestra, the Yorkshire Bach Choir and Yorkshire Baroque Soloists performance of Haydn’s The Creation, and Ex Cathedra’s An Elizabethan Christmas.
Made in Yorkshire Fayre
York Guildhall, St Helen’s Square
Thu Nov 26-Sun Dec 13, 10am-5pm
Makers and crafts people sell everything from ceramics to fine art Yorkshire prints, so if you know someone who appreciates art this could be the place to find them a unique gift.
Medieval Market at Barley Hall
Barley Hall, 2 Coffee Yard, york
Thu Nov 26-Sun Nov 29
It’s worth visiting Barley Hall at Christmas because it is decorated to the nines in traditional festive garb, and Father Christmas is here too.
While your there browse the goods on sale from a variety of medieval merchants.
York Christmas Antiques Market
King’s Manor, The University of York, Exhibition Square, York
Sat Dec 19-Sun Dec 20
York has a year-round reputation for being a haven for antiques hunters. And this year it hosts a special Christmas market for those looking to give a piece of history to a friend or loved one (or keep it for themselves).
York pantomimes 2015
Dick Whittington, York Theatre Royal
The Signal Box Theatre, National Railway Museum
Thu Dec 10-Sun Jan 24
Or to give the show its full title, Dick Whittington And His Meerkat, this is a one-off opportunity to see Britain’s best dame Berwick Kaler and the gang in a new location.
Moved to the Signal Box Theatre while the Theatre Royal renovations are carried out, the panto will sprinkle its magic over the tracks at the NRM.
Jack And The Beanstalk, Grand Opera House
Grand Opera House, Cumberland Street, York
Fri Dec 11-Sun Jan 3
One of the favourite pantos, Jack, his Ma and a mad old cow take to the stage in this New Pantomimes Production.
The show stars X-Factor’s Jade Ellis stars as Fairy Peapod, Scooch’s Caroline Barnes and Russ Spencer return to York, this time as Jack and Jill, and Emmerdale star Stuart Wade plays Dame Tilly Trot.
Peter Pan On Ice, York Barbican
York Barbican, Paragon Street, York
Wed Dec 23-Sun Jan 3
The Russian Ice Stars bring something new to the Barbican this Christmas, Peter Pan On Ice.
The ice dancers have their own take on this famous fantasy adventure by JM Barrie.