The best things to do in York to get you in the festive spirit this Christmas

It really is the most wonderful time of the year

York is often cited as one of the most Christmassy cities in the UK, something that means WAY more to me than league tables. With two all-year-round Christmas shops and of course the markets, there’s no better city to celebrate the festive season.

So to help you get into the spirit of things, we’ve rounded up all of York’s best Christmas activities happening this year.

York Christmas market

After their absence last year, it is fair to say that the excitement for the York Christmas market this year has hit an all time high.

The market is the perfect place to buy all of your Christmas presents in one flawless swoop, serving everything from clothes and jewelry to soaps and gin. If you are ready to be immersed in such intense festivity then definitely get yourself there!

The blend of incredible Christmas sounds and smells is enough to drag anyone out of that essay deadline slump. A visit to the market also provides the perfect opportunity to explore York city centre’s amazing Christmas lights and really get yourself into the spirit.

Located in Parliament Street and St Sampson’s Square, the market is open Sunday to Thursday 10am to 6pm and Friday and Saturday 10am to 8pm. Get yourself there before 23rd December to enjoy the huge range of festive delights!

York Minster services

For a more traditional Christmas experience, York Minster is definitely the place to be. Services run frequently with evensong occurring most days. The Minster also hosts a number of specific carol services throughout the festive period, making it an integral part of the York Christmas experience.

Whether you have visiting family members or even just fancy a day out with your housemates, what better way to celebrate Christmas than a service in the most beautiful building in York?

Tickets are also available for York Christian Union’s Carols at The Minster Service this Wednesday 24th November for only £1.

The York Minster Christmas Tree Festival

Beautiful decorations and eye catching lights are what Christmas is all about, right? Well, the York Minster Christmas Tree Festival displays over 40 locally decorated trees with the interactive opportunity to vote for the one you think is the best. This is the perfect opportunity to view the work of local businesses, schools and charities, all whilst being surrounded by creative decorations for a taste of true Christmas magic.

The festival runs from 10am to 7pm daily until 6th January and can be found by the South Piazza near the Minster. Admission to this event is free and no pre-booking is required so it is the perfect add-on to a day of Christmas shopping, eating and drinking.

Pantomime at the Grand Opera House

A pantomime is such a Christmas classic and with the theatre industry taking such a huge hit during the pandemic, what better could be better than a visit to the York Grand Opera House to see this year’s show, Dick Turpin Rides Again?

The pantomime will run from 11th December until 9th January and tickets are available from just £13, making this the perfect activity to get into the Christmas spirit, or console your Christmas blues as we roll into the new year!

As well as this year’s pantomime, the Grand Opera House will also be showing Elf The Musical from  25th November 2021 to 3rd December 2021 so there is plenty of opportunity to catch a festive show.

Thor’s Tipi

There’s really nothing better than a steaming cup of Baileys hot chocolate or mulled wine after an exhausting day of traipsing around the shops desperately trying to find a present for THAT awkward relative.

Thor’s tipi, located next to the market on Parliament Street, is open 10am to 11pm daily until 2nd January and offers a large variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic hot and cold drinks, as well as food by York favourite, Yuzu.

Thor’s tipi welcomes walk-ins only so it is the perfect post (or even pre) shopping stop off to re-install the fun and relaxing elements of Christmas and hopefully eliminate some of the stress.

All-year-round Christmas shops

One of the best things about York is that you can get in the festive spirit all year round. With not one but TWO Christmas shops that are open all year, you can even celebrate Christmas in July if you fancy it.

The magical Käthe Wohlfahrt, found on Stonegate, and The Nutcracker Christmas Shop in the Shambles are must-visits for any Christmas lovers in York.

Because who doesn’t love Christmas all year round?

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