Where to see Santa in York this Christmas: Grotto Guide 2014

Father Christmas at Barley Hall

Father Christmas is busier than ever this year. Want to meet the big man? Here is our ho – ho – wholly comprehensive guide to where to find him

Santa goes back in time

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Father Christmas checks his naughty and nice list at Barley Hall
Narnia grotto at Rock Of York

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

Weekends only: Dec 6-7, Dec 13-14, Dec 20-21, 10am-4pm

£2.50-£6.50

Rock Of York website

Take a journey through the magical land of Narnia.

After entering the wardrobe and pushing through the fur coats you will pass through the wintery forest where you will meet the snow queen in her icy domain before coming face to face with Aslan the Lion.

There winter turns to spring and Santa waits to greet his visitors and has a gift for every child.

Castle Museum grotto

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

Dec 6-7 and and 13-24 @ 11am, 12pm, 2pm and 3pm

Included in admission price (free to YorkCard holders)

Castle Museum website

Within the Victorian streets of the Castle Museum, a special visitor has appeared.

Meet Father Christmas in the Toy Gallery and write your wish in the Big Book of Christmas. His appearance times may vary on Christmas Eve.

Barley Hall grotto

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

Dec 6-7, Dec 13-14 @ Noon-4pm

£12

Barley Hall website

Father Christmas has personally invited you to join him at Barley Hall’s special Christmas event.

Different characters will greet you as you come in, ready for a festive snack. There will be games and stories for children.

Santa at the shops

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The bearded wonder waves to his elves at the Designer Outlet

Winter Wonderland, Designer Outlet

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

11am-5pm: Nov 29-30 and each Thurs-Sun and weekdays Dec 15-24; 10am-6pm every Sat in Dec

£4.50

Designer outlet website

Within York Designer Outlet’s Winter Wonderland is a log cabin, otherwise known as Santa’s Grotto.

Have a skate around on the popular ice rink, then grab a homemade treat before visiting the man himself – and receiving a gift.

Monks Cross grotto

Monks Cross Shopping Centre, Huntington, York, YO32 9GX

Sat, Dec 6-Wed Dec 24 @ 10am-5.30pm

£4.50-£6

Monks Cross website

Not content with visiting one shopping centre, Santa is also at Monks Cross.

His grotto is found next to Monsoon and is open every day up to and including Christmas Eve. A surprise toy is included.

Santa on trains

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Santa finishes polishing up his favourite engine at the NRM
NRM: Santa’s Steam Adventure

National Railway Museum, Leeman Road, York YO26 4XJ

Wed, Dec 17-Wed, Dec 24 @ 9.30am-5.10pm

Free

NRM website

In Santa’s Steam Adventure, Father Christmas crash-landed near the National Railway Museum and he needs your help to find the contents of his magic sleigh. Can you help him save Christmas in time?

If you’ve been good this year you may even receive a special gift. With lots of activities to enjoy and festive snacks to be had.

Santa Specials on the NYMR

North Yorkshire Moors Railway
12 Park Street, Pickering, YO18 7AJ

Mon, Dec 22 9.45am-3.15pm. Booking essential

£20

NYMR website

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway are back with their popular Santa-themed journeys through the countryside.

The ride lasts around and hour and a half and will be punctuated with entertainment from Santa’s elves and presents from Santa himself.

Mince pies and refreshments will be served.

Santa on the road and river

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The float in King’s Square
The Father Christmas float hits town

Rotary Club of York Ainsty float, various locations

Various dates from Wed, Dec 3-Fri, Dec 19

Donations welcome

Full details on the club website

Every year Father Christmas tours York and the surrounding villages with his sleigh on a special float, with the help of the Rotary Club of York Ainsty.

Thanks to the donations they collect on his journey, thousands of pounds are raised for good causes.

This year the float will be in Woodthorpe, Acomb, Bishopthorpe and elsewhere.

Santa cruises the Ouse

York Boat, Lendal Bridge Landing, Lendal Bridge, York, YO1 7DP

Sat, Dec 6-Sun, Dec 7 @ 11am-5pm

£9-£12

York Boat website

Meet Santa and friends whilst cruising along the beautiful River Ouse for an hour.

Each child will be hand delivered a personalised present from Santa. Refreshments, fun and surprises included.

Santa on the farm

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Santa’s mighty machine at Murton Park
Santa village at Murton Park

Yorkshire Museum of Farming, Murton, York, YO19 5UF

December: Sat 6, Sun 7, Sat 13, Sun 14, Sat 20, Sun 21, Mon 22, Tue 23 @ 10am-3pm

£6-£8

Murton Park website

A steam train ride is part of the experience when you meet Santa at the Yorkshire Museum of Farming, Murton Park.

Take a tour of Santa’s village, and solve The Case of the Missing Sleigh with Santa’s helpers.

Santa sleigh rides at Piglets

Piglets Adventure Farm Park, Towthorpe Moor Lane, York, YO32 9ST

From Dec6-24. Times vary

£2.25-£6.95

Piglets website

Santa’s sonic sleigh will be whizzing passengers to his magical grotto and toyshop.

Daytime and evening flights available. And explore his woodland village while you’re here.

Santa hits the sweet spot

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He’ll probably tuck into some treats at the Chocolate Story
Santa at York’s Chocolate Story

York’s Chocolate Story, King’s Square, York, YO1 7LD

Every weekend in December @ 10am-6.30pm

£7.50-£9.95

Chocolate Story website

Did you know that at one point one in ten Christmas stockings included a Terry’s Chocolate Orange?

This is one of the things you’ll learn at A Chocolate Covered Christmas, running throughout December. Santa himself will be there every weekend.

Santa at the stately homes

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Giving out gifts at Beningbrough
Beningbrough Hall story time

Beningbrough Hall, York, YO30 1DD

Dec 6-21

£6 per child, booking essential 01904 472027

Website

Santa works hard all year to wrap all your presents for Christmas Eve, but he’s ready for a quick rest at Beningbrough Hall to read you a story and perhaps sneak you an early present.

Wizard time at Castle Howard

Castle Howard, Coneysthorpe, York, YO60 7DA

Weekends: Nov 29-Nov 30, Dec 6-7, Dec 13-14, 20-21 @ 11am-5pm

£15

Castle Howard website

At Castle Howard, Santa and his wizard friend will be telling festive stories, singing family-friendly songs and performing some magic tricks each weekend.

And you can explore the magnificent interiors garlanded with seasonal decorations and toys.

Nursery grotto at Nunnington Hall

Nunnington Hall, Nunnington, York, YO62 5UY

Weekends only: Nov 29-30, Dec 6-7, Dec 13-14 @11am-4pm

£6: Book on 01439 748283

Nunnington Hall website

Over at beautiful Nunnington Hall, Father Christmas and his helper are in the Nursery Grotto for storytelling.

Each child will receive a personalised invitation and an age appropriate gift, and there are opportunities for photographs.

All York’s Christmas events can be found here

More things to do