Christmas shopping events, markets, pantomimes and concerts in Harrogate, Knaresborough, Ripon, Wetherby, Boroughbridge and nearby towns and villages from Friday December 3 to January 1

There are lots of Christmas events in Harrogate and nearby towns and villages and we look at some of the highlights.

Friday, 3rd December 2021, 11:58 am
Fountains Abbey which is to be illuminated for the public to visit on weekend evenings

Magical Window Trail

Boroughbridge, Harrogate, Knaresborough, Masham, Pateley Bridge, Ripon

Monday December 6 – Friday December 24

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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!

Knaresborough Christmas Market

Knaresborough Market Place

Saturday December 4 - Sunday December 5

10am – 5pm Saturday

10am - Firework finale at 4:30pm Sunday

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.

Knaresborough Artisan Market

Knaresborough Market Place

Sunday December 19, 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.

Boroughbridge Christmas Artisan Market

Langthorpe Farm Shop, Leeming Lane, Boroughbridge

Saturday December 4

10am – 3pm

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.

Ripon Christmas Artisan Market

Market Place, Ripon

Sunday December 5 and Sunday December 12

10am – 3pm

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.

St Wilfrid’s Church Christmas Market

Duchy Road, Harrogate

Saturday December 18

10am – 3pm

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.

RHS Harlow Carr

Handmade at Christmas

The Bath House, Harlow Carr, Crag Lane, Harrogate

Until December 29

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?

The Harrogate Father Christmas Experience

The Crown Hotel, Harrogate

until Friday December 24

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.

Stockeld Park

Wetherby Road, Wetherby

Until Sunday January 3

Book sessions before you visit

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!

Mother Shipton’s Cave

Until Friday December 24

Prophesy House, Harrogate Road, High Bridge, Knaresborough

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.

Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway Santa Special

Bolton Abbey Station, Bolton Abbey, Skipton, BD23 6AF

Weekends from Saturday November 20 and December 20 to December 24

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.

Harrogate International Festivals Offices – Santa’s Yorkshire Post Office

37 Cheltenham Parade, Harrogate, HG1 1DB

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.

Sunday Lunch with Santa at Swinton Park

Swinton Estate, Ripon

Wednesday December 22

12:30pm – 2pm

A visit to Swinton always feels special and with the log fires lit and the tree lights twinkling it is especially magical at Christmas for families and for Santa.

Stockeld Park Winter Illuminations


Saturday November 20 – Tuesday January 4

Daily from dusk until 9pm

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.

Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Carols by Candlelight

Fountains Abbey, Ripon

Sunday December 5 and Sunday December 12 at 3pm

Book ahead before your visit

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.

Glow 2021 at Harlow Carr

Crag Lane, Beckwithshaw, Harrogate

Thursdays – Saturdays November 18 – December 18, 4:30pm – 8:30pm

Mondays – Wednesdays December 20 - December 29, 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.


Harrogate Theatre, 6 Oxford Street, Harrogate HG1 1QF

Wednesday November 24 – Sunday January 16

Varied Times

Book ahead before your visit

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.

St John’s Church Knaresborough, Christmas Tree Festival

Vicarage Lane, Knaresborough HG5 9AE

Saturday December 4 to Thursday December 23

Monday to Friday 12 – 5pm, Saturday 10am – 5pm, Sunday 1:30 – 5pm

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”.

Christmas with The Snowman - Harrogate Symphony Orchestra Spectacular

Royal Hall, Ripon Road, Harrogate

Sunday December 19, 3pm – 6pm

Christmas concert with festive favourites including A Christmas Overture, Reindeer on the Roof, plus the World Premier of Howard Blake's Snowman Symphony. Festive fun for the whole family.

Royal Hall Harrogate - Mayor’s Christmas Concert

Ripon Road, Harrogate HG1 2RD

Thursday December 23, 6pm

The annual Mayor’s Carol Concert

Book via the box office

Rudding Park Carols by Candlelight

Rudding Park Hotel, Follifoot, Harrogate

Thursday December 23

Mulled wine, music and carols from High Row Choir.

Afternoon Tea 3:30pm

Carols in the Chapel 5pm

Supper 6:30pm

Carols in the Chapel 8pm

Check availability and book online.

Knaresborough Live Nativity

Friday December 24, 5:15pm

Knaresborough Market Place

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Boxing Day Pilgrimage


Sunday December 26

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.

Knaresborough Boxing Day Tug o’ War

Sunday December 26

Low Bridge, Knaresborough HG5 8HY

Knaresborough Duck Race

Monday January 1

High Bridge, Knaresborough