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Snowy Dales scene of Pen-y-ghent Copyright Andy Kay

Deck the Dales with boughs of holly

Friday 17 November, 2023, by Katy Foxford

The Yorkshire Dales light up with beautiful Christmas displays in December, bringing a warm and festive atmosphere to towns and villages. Throughout the Dales, you’ll find carol services and concerts held in historic churches, village halls, and other venues, and local businesses hosting their own festive events. You’ll find that many of these events feature cosy evenings, local produce feasts, and Christmas experiences set in the winter wonderland of the Dales.

As the countdown to Christmas begins, we’re sharing a list of local events for you to enjoy through November and December 2023.

Ingleborough in the snow, a winding road leads through a frosty and snow dust covered landscape
Copyright Andy Kay

Mother Christmas at the Dales Countryside Museum

Saturday 25 November, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm and 1.30 pm – 3.30 pm

Looking for a fun and festive activity this holiday season? Head to the Firebox café for a chance to meet Mother Christmas, write and send your letter to Santa, and get creative with Christmas crafting. And don’t forget to indulge in a delicious luxury hot chocolate! Book your spot now for just £8.

Bolton Abbey at Christmas

Bolton Abbey at Christmas is a sight to behold – the Abbey set amongst a wintry Dales backdrop, The Strid walk providing crisp, country walks, great food at the Pavillion, and all beautifully decorated for Christmas.

Father Christmas at Bolton Abbey

Father Christmas is coming to Bolton Abbey to bring the magic of Christmas this winter! Head to the Christmas Village in Strid Wood for an enchanting experience and meet the playful elves who just arrived from the North Pole.

Looking for a more relaxed visit to meet Father Christmas and his elves? The Estate is offering smaller, quieter sessions at the beginning of the day for neuro-divergent children and those with additional needs. Participate in festive craft and musical activities with the elves, and help them find Father Christmas.

Each child will receive a present from Father Christmas, and hot drinks and snacks will be available for purchase.

12 Days of Christmas Trail

Looking for a festive activity? Head to Strid Wood and take part in a trail featuring clues related to the ’12 Days of Christmas’ carol.

The trail starts at the Cavendish Shop and ends at the Strid, and activity sheets are available at the car park kiosks. Families are encouraged to take a different route back to the car park to avoid overcrowding. It’s recommended to pre-book Estate entry and choose the Riverside car park to join the trail at the beginning.

Eco-friendly Wreath-Making Workshops

Get ready to ring in the holiday season and create your own unique, stunning Christmas wreath in Strid Wood!

During the workshop, hosted by expert florist Vanessa Wellock (silver medalist at RHS Chelsea Flower Show), you will use fresh foliage and pheasant feathers from the Bolton Abbey Estate, along with dried oranges, pine cones, and ribbons to create your own eco-friendly wreath.

The half-day workshop is suitable for all skill levels.

A Christmas Treat by Train

‘The Polar Express’ is coming back to the Yorkshire Dales via two of the most famous heritage lines in the Dales. Experience the winter wonderland of the Dales by train whilst enjoying a magical theatrical experience.

The Polar Express

Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway

Book now
The Polar Express

Wensleydale Railway

Book now

Father Christmas at Stump Cross Caverns

Get ready to dive into a festive wonderland at Stump Cross Caverns!

The full-day Christmas package includes a mesmerising cave adventure, a visit to Santa’s grotto, a reindeer food-making session, and a unique UV cave experience which reveals hidden wonders and casts natural formations in vibrant colours.

After meeting with Santa and receiving a special gift from his North Pole workshop, you can settle in for a screening of the classic holiday film, “Elf” in the cosy cinema room.

Dark skies events

Imagine experiencing a sky full of stars set against a wintery Dales backdrop? Well, don’t just imagine it, come and do it! It’s dark skies season and local businesses in and around the Yorkshire Dales National Park host various events to help visitors get under the starry skies and experience the best of the Yorkshire Dales by night. A wonderful Christmas gift for a friend or family member.

Grab a blanket and a hot drink, go outside and look up to the skies!

A barn in Swaledale with the starry night sky, set in a snowy landscape with a stream in the foreground
Copyright Paul Clark Astro Photography

Underground Christmas at Ingleborough Cave

Join Ingleborough Cave in an underground winter wonderland this December! Visit Father Christmas in his grotto throughout December, (booking is advisable).

Leyburn Band Christmas Concert and Fireworks Display

Monday 18 December 2023

The Leyburn Band returns for the renowned annual Christmas concert at The Garden Room, Tennants on on Monday 18 December. And, in true celebratory style, there will be a firework display leading into the concert.

Christmas at The Station in Richmond

The Station has a fantastic range of Christmas events and workshops for al the family, including festive menus and afternoon teas, workshops, Christmas fairs, Christmas trails and Christmas cinema viewings.

Christmas workshops

The Station in Richmond has got a packed line-up of events and workshops for you to enjoy this Christmas, including Glass Fusing for Christmas and Christmas Wreath making.

Get ready for a Chocolatey, Christmassy Adventure

From Friday 1 December 2023 to Tuesday 2 January 2024, 10 am – 4 pm, Mr Wonka is searching for lost ingredients to create a festive box of chocolates. He needs help finding them so he can get his chocolate factory working again in time for Christmas. Pick up a trail sheet from their The Station shop with puzzles to solve and prizes to be won.

Home Alone viewing

Book your viewing of ‘Home Alone’ at The Station on Saturday 2 December, 5 pm – a classic Christmas, feel-good film for all the family!

A barn nestled at the foot of a hill set in a snowy landscape, sun shining bright over the cap of the hill
Copyright Andy Kay

Santa and Reindeers Christmas Meal at Tan Hill Inn

Saturday 2 December to Sunday 3 December 2023, 11 am – 4.30 pm

Enjoy a traditional Christmas lunch for adults and children with a party bag and gift from Santa, a Santa’s Grotto, a meet and greet with Santa’s reindeer and a photo opportunity with Santa.

Christmas Wreath Making at How Stean Gorge

Friday 1 December and Saturday 9 December 2023, 6 pm – 8 pm

Add a touch of splendid, homemade Christmas cheer to your home and create your very own Christmas Wreath at How Stean Gorge.

Christmas Crafts at Thorpe Perrow 

For anyone who is feeling particularly creative this Christmas, Thorpe Perrow are hosting a number of craft workshops including Stag’s Head Willow Weaving on November 15; Christmas Wreath Making, on November 21 and December 5 and Star Willow Weaving on December 13.

Music and Lights at Fountains Abbey

Tuesday 19 December 2023 to Wednesday 3 January 2024 (closed 24/25 December)

Don’t miss out on this magical spectacle! During twilight, the Abbey will be illuminated with a rainbow of colours. Visitors can enjoy live choirs and bands playing festive music in the cellarium from 2pm-3pm.

No need to book a ticket as ‘Music and Lights’ is part of normal admission.

As well as these events, we have many other local businesses across the Yorkshire Dales National Park holding festive events for all of the family through November and December, check out website for all the details.

Picture of Katy Foxford

Katy Foxford

Katy is the Tourism Support Officer with the YDNPA


One Reply to “Deck the Dales with boughs of holly”

  1. Neil Jackson says:

    Great to see so many events taking place. Another one is the Craft Fair in Low Row on Saturday 25th November at the Low Row Institute between 10am and 3.30pm. Lots of great Christmas present ideas including Felt Crafts, Soft Furnishings, Jewellery, Prints, Photos, Cards, Wood Turning and cake. Lots of cake, teas and coffee! Do come along!

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