Visit Harrogate: What’s On for Christmas 2021 in and Around Harrogate
There’s plenty of festive fun to be had this year in and around Harrogate with a packed diary of family-friendly events to ensure covid-safe Season’s Greetings from North Yorkshire’s beautiful market towns and villages. It’s a pleasure to be working with Visit Harrogate to tell you EVERYTHING that is going on locally this Christmas!
‘Tis the season to be jolly and the frivolities kick off with the Harrogate Christmas Fayre (Friday 3rd – Sunday 12th December daily).
Experience the joy of Christmas in the heart of Harrogate this December when the town centre will host a delightful festive market featuring an eclectic mix of favourite local traders and traditional European Christmas stalls.
Among the charming stalls and entertainment will be arts and crafts from artisan creators, mouth-watering treats, festive decorations and unique gift ideas, for friends, for family, or maybe just for you, as a little treat amid the busy Christmas preparations.
There’ll be plenty to see and do to entertain the little ones too, with fair rides, sweet-treat stalls, entertainment and Christmas music to set the Yuletide mood. Climb aboard the Candy Cane Express, supported by Harrogate BID, a free-to-ride road train to travel around the town centre and take in all of the seasonal sights and sounds. Shuttling between the three main areas of the Christmas Fayre, traditional fairground rides and stalls, via Cambridge Street, Market Place, Station Square and Cambridge Crescent, making sure you don’t miss a thing during your visit.
In a change to previous years, the Christmas Fayre is in the heart of Harrogate’s busy shopping streets so it’s easy to combine a visit with the town’s rich mix of high street names and boutique stores. The sight of Harrogate’s Christmas lights twinkling away, the delicious smell of hot chocolate and festive foods, coupled with the sounds of Christmas carols, offer an all-round seasonal sensory experience, impossible to resist! Many of the shops in the town centre will be open during all the hours of the Christmas Fayre for the full shopping experience.
Parking in the Victoria Centre multi-storey car park in Harrogate is free after 3pm Mondays to Thursdays from 15th November to 24th December.
For the safety and enjoyment of traders, townspeople and visitors alike, the Christmas Fayre has a wider, covid-safe footprint, with over fifty stalls spaced apart and running for over two weeks to reduce over-crowding.
2. Harrogate Christmas Artisan Market
Valley Gardens, Harrogate
Saturday 4th – Sunday 5th December
10am – 3pm
The perfect complement to the Christmas Fayre is the Little Bird Made Harrogate Christmas Artisan Market at Valley Gardens. Over 60 local traders, crafters and producers will provide a wide choice of wonderful festive arts and crafts, clothing, homeware and jewellery as well as mouth-wateringly delicious, locally produced food and drink, Mmmm!
It’s a great way to showcase Yorkshire’s finest and as well as finding lots of truly exquisite and unique hand-made gifts, homeware, soft furnishings and wonderful food and beverages, the Christmas Artisan Market is a wonderful way to support local traders, crafters and small businesses just in time for the holidays.
It’s beginning to look a lot like time to get to the Knaresborough Christmas Market, where you’ll find lots of wonderful market stalls packed full of Christmas goodies, in the historic and picturesque market town of Knaresborough. With brass band music, mulled wine and traders in traditional costume, this weekend is a treat for the senses.
Brimming with seasonal food and drink created by local artisans from jams and marmalades to cheeses, gin, shortbread and real ale – there’s an absolute smorgasbord of sumptuous gift ideas for friends and family.
To really get in the festive spirit, try a tasty treat of turkey sandwiches and mince pies, washed down with a delicious, mulled wine. It’s a perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit, with street entertainers and carol singing, what a wonderful way for the whole family to enjoy the most magical time of the year! Free access to the park and ride is also available.
4. Knaresborough Artisan Market
Knaresborough Market Place, HG5 8AL
Sunday 19th December, 9am – 3pm
The hugely popular Little Bird Made Knaresborough Christmas Artisan Market will make its last appearance of 2021 at the Market Place. Join over 50 local traders as they showcase their beautiful festive treats and hand-made gifts. A great opportunity to stock up on some last minute, unique gift ideas just in time for the holidays, and enjoy some delicious festive flavours from street food vendors.
Harrogate Convention Centre, King’s Road, Harrogate, HG1 5LA
Thursday 25th – Sunday 28th November, 10am – 5pm
Celebrating a timeless and traditional way of living, the Country Living Fair brings to life the pages of the magazine with an unmissable day out for people of all ages to enjoy. Head to the centre of Harrogate to enjoy a huge array of unique gifts, beautiful decorations, food and drink all under one roof. There are plenty of talks, demonstrations and refreshments along the way to ensure an enjoyable full day out for all the family.
Friday 26th & Saturday 27th November 9.30am – 4.30pm
Enjoy searching for stocking fillers, gifts and unique items from local traders in this popular event in the warmth and comfort of the grand splendour of Ripon Cathedral. This year, as in the past, the event is likely to be hugely popular, and to ensure the safety of visitors, you are advised to book your space in advance by visiting the Cathedral website.
Makers, crafters and bakers all come together for the Little Bird Made Christmas Market that will be visiting Langthorpe Farm Shop, Boroughbridge on Saturday 4th December. Full of delightful, hand-crafted food, drink and gifts created by over forty artisan stall holders. If you are looking for something bespoke, original and hand-crafted, this is the perfect place to find that special something for that special someone.
The beautiful cathedral city of Ripon provides the perfect backdrop for Little Bird Artisan Markets. Over two consecutive Sundays in the run up to Christmas, situated in the bustling market square is exactly where you will find beautiful hand-crafted gifts, food and drink, created by over fifty artisan makers. Visitors will find a wide range of goods and tempting flavours to stock up in time for the holidays.
Little Bird Made will be holding one of its hugely popular Christmas Markets in the grounds of St Wilfrid’s Church. Over sixty artisan traders and stall holders will have a wide range of beautifully hand-crafted gifts, food and drink or those perfect, last minute Christmas gifts and stocking fillers. As well as supporting small, local business, it’s a lovely family day out full of browsing, listening to live entertainment and enjoying delicious street food from local vendors.
The Bath House, Harlow Carr, Crag Lane, Harrogate, HG3 1QB
21st October – 29th December
Monday – Saturday, 9.30am – 6pm
Savour every moment of your visit to RHS Garden Harlow Carr where you can rely on nature to provide a stunning display whatever the season. Wrap up warm and enjoy sparkling winter days, festive family events and a treasure trove of handmade gifts and decorations crafted by local designers and makers. Why not combine a wonderful, winter walk in the beautiful gardens, enjoying the beautiful winter bounty and blaze of colours with -glass jewellery from Yorkshire artists?
Where to spot Santa around the Harrogate District this Christmas!
It’s a busy old time of the year for Father Christmas and his little helpers. He undertakes lots of elf & safety checks and his busy team of elves make sure that Rudolph and his friends are all fit and healthy and ready for the big night ahead.
Even though he is really busy preparing for the big present drop, we thrilled that he has decided to make the Harrogate district his destination for quite a few personal appearances in the run up to Christmas Eve. Here are a few of the special places where families can take some time to meet Father Christmas and enjoy some magical moments and special memories and take a sneak peek at all the preparations before Christmas Eve.
The Harrogate Elf School has done such an amazing job this year, working extra hard to bring you a new magical experience to enjoy, that Father Christmas himself will be popping into the Crown Hotel, on his way from the North Pole, to say ‘hello!’
The Christmas Council, in association with Harrogate BID, present the Harrogate Father Christmas Experience where you can take a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on getting ready for the big day. Guests arriving at the special Elf School entrance will be welcomed by a team of elves, before chief elf Tinsel, takes them through their elf & safety training.
Elf School is a joyous sing-along session, full of festive fun for all the family. After the elf training show, everyone taking part will get the chance to meet Father Christmas himself and newly trained elves will receive a graduation certificate as well as a present from Santa.
When he’s in Yorkshire, Father Christmas and his reindeers can often be found kicking back and relaxing at Stockeld Park. His reindeers love the wide-open space and Santa really likes its famous hot chocolate before setting off around the magical Enchanted Forest. Wrap up warm and find out all about the home of Christmas magic and create some lasting memories with families and friends this winter.
Live in the moment, enjoying the great outdoors by exploring the adventure playgrounds and stunning woodlands. Enjoy the ice rink or don some cross-country skis and set off on the Nordic Ski Trail through the forest. As dusk falls, experience the park come to life as the Enchanted Forest and Maze are lit up by the award-winning Winter Illuminations. Pop in to say ‘hello’ to Santa in his cosy Grotto and pick out a Stockeld-grown Christmas tree to take home from the Christmas Tree Shop!
Prophesy House, Harrogate Road, High Bridge, Knaresborough, HG5 8DD
Book sessions before your visit
Another favourite Yorkshire spot of Santa’s is Mother Shipton’s Cave. A personal friend of Mother Shipton, Father Christmas is a long-standing guest of Knaresborough’s famous prophetess, so he will be working in his grotto, making sure he has plenty of presents ready to load onto his sleigh, ready for the big Christmas Eve delivery.
Chief Elf Chestnut will be delighted to meet you and lead you to see Santa Claus to say hello or take an S ‘Elfie with the big man himself! To keep Santa safe, we will be adhering to social distancing and visitors won’t go inside his grotto but will be able to see and speak to him before he sets off on his long journey.
There’s something for the whole family at Mother Shipton’s this Christmas. Take a photo inside Santa’s beautiful sleigh and sit upon the magical Christmas throne, then visit the Elf Mail Post Office to stamp and post your letters to Santa.
Weekends from Saturday 20th November and 20th – 24th December
Book ahead before your visit
Did you know that Santa’s second favourite mode of transport after his trusty sleigh is travelling by steam train? He’ll be taking the train at weekends from Saturday 20th November, and you can travel with him on a number of festive experiences for all the family.
With First Class, Premium compartments and Breakfast with Santa, every experience includes a one-hour steam train ride, departing from Bolton Abbey Railway, a present from Father Christmas when he comes to say ‘hello’ and greet you at your seat for a fantastic, on-board festive experience, full of seasonal treats.
Father Christmas pops into the Victorian laundry for thirty-minutes to tell his tales of travels and mishaps. Such a generous man he often brings along a few presents to share with is young audience as well as listening to the stories they have to tell when they hand over their letters to Santa.
There is a sparkly, shimmering, festive post office in Harrogate where Father Christmas watches from the window as children find a magical way to send their letters off to the North Pole. Post your letter early including your address and you may even get a reply. Sponsored by Harrogate BID.
In addition to a truly festive Harrogate Christmas shopping experience, there will be traditional fairground rides including a Ferris wheel, Victorian carousel, helter skelter, entertainments and a performance area to captivate young and old alike.
Join Percy Penguin and his sledge as he journeys through the towns of Harrogate District of Boroughbridge, Harrogate, Knaresborough, Masham, Pateley Bridge and Ripon, looking for a friend to join him in some snowy fun. Who will he meet along the way, an elf, a squirrel, a robin, or a snowman, and will they be ready to come and play?
Follow the delightful Magical Window Trail around the Harrogate district. A new friendly character is revealed at each new destination. Just click on the QR code of each of the 3D stand-alone advent calendar windows to reveal the next chapter of Percy the Penguin’s story and the quest to find a friend.
Young ones will be charmed by the magical story of Percy and his quest to find a playmate to join him on his sleigh. Grownups will love the magical shop windows trail as they follow the QR codes to special offers, discounts and wonderful Christmas gift ideas. Lots of local shops and restaurants are taking part in Boroughbridge, Harrogate, Knaresborough, Masham, Pateley Bridge and Ripon, so you can follow Percy on his quest and pick up some wonderful gift ideas and exclusive discounts at the same time, that’s a Christmas gift that keeps on giving!
Experience one of the country’s largest and most creative light displays set in the grounds of the historic Stockeld Park Estate. Dazzling light effects, a captivating soundscape and animated installations come together through almost a mile of beautiful, ancient woodland. Journey through the illuminated enchanted forest and enjoy the magic twinkling winter wonderland.
A beautiful annual carol service in the cellarium lit with the warming glow of candlelight. This much-loved traditional carol service is complete with mulled wine or hot chocolate and a sing-along to all the favourite Christmas carols.
Thursdays – Saturdays 18th November – 18th December 4:30pm – 8:30pm
Mondays – Wednesdays 20th – 29th December 4:30pm – 8:30pm
Book ahead before your visit
Enjoy a magical adventure at RHS Garden Harlow Carr, discovering spectacular light displays along your way. See iconic features such as Streamside, the Queen Mother’s Lake, Winter Walk, Doric Columns and Kitchen Garden glow with dazzling colours.
See this beautiful RHS garden in a whole new light as it sparkles and glows with festive anticipation. Follow a winding trail on a walk of discovery through the dazzling displays that illuminate trees, planting and sculptures with new vibrant colours.
It’s panto season again! Oh, yes, it is and what better way to celebrate than a visit to Harrogate Theatre this Christmas to see the traditional festive favourite, Cinderella! Packed with sparkle and festive fun, Harrogate Theatre’s traditional festive panto is a seasonal treat. Ugly sisters, fabulous shoes and a fairy godmother who rocks up in a top=notch-frock, it’s all there in this wonderful adventure as Cinderella dances the night away and races against the clock! Check online listings for socially distanced, British Sign Language, audio described and captioned performances.
7. Ripon Cathedral Carol Service and Christmas Music
The Knaresborough Christmas Tree returns for another year. Every year more than 50 Christmas trees decorated by local groups and businesses, are displayed in the beautiful St. Johns Church in the heart of Knaresborough.One of the local highlights is the chance to view an impressive display of over seventy decorated trees, enjoy a mulled wine and vote for your favourite. This year’s theme is “I saw three ships”.
Follow in the footsteps of the 12th Century Monks with the traditional pilgrimage from Ripon Cathedral following the 9.30am service before joining this ancient pilgrimage as it makes it way to the abbey where the service continues from approximately 12 noon.
14. Knaresborough Boxing Day Tug o’ War
Sunday 26th December
Low Bridge, Knaresborough HG5 8HY
15. Knaresborough Duck Race
Monday 1st January 2022
High Bridge, Knaresborough HG5 8DD
The dates and times of all the events in this guide were correct at time of going to print. Please check ahead to avoid disappointment. For up-to-date information please refer to visitharrogate.co.uk/Christmas.