As the chilly winds of December sweep through the historic city of York, a festive air blankets the cobblestone streets and ancient architecture. The city, with its rich history and charming character, becomes a magical wonderland during the holiday season. Join us as we explore the enchanting December festivities that make York a must-visit destination for those seeking to embrace the true spirit of the holidays.

York Christmas Market

The York Christmas Market is a highlight of the city’s festive calendar. Set against the backdrop of the iconic York Minster, the market features over 150 stalls adorned with twinkling lights and festive decorations. From handmade crafts and unique gifts to mouth-watering seasonal treats, the market offers a delightful shopping experience. Local artisans and international vendors come together to create a vibrant tapestry of holiday cheer, making it the perfect place to find one-of-a-kind treasures for your loved ones.


The Big Christmas Concert

On December 8th, 9th, 15th, and 16th, York will be alive with the sounds of the Big Christmas Concert. With a lively brass band and a medley of Christmas classics, this musical extravaganza invites you to rock around the Christmas tree, sip on mulled wine, and revel in the joyous melodies that define the holiday season.



Indulge in the quintessential British tradition of afternoon tea with a festive twist. Many of York’s charming tearooms and historic hotels offer special holiday-themed afternoon teas. Picture yourself sipping on a cup of aromatic tea, savouring delicate finger sandwiches, and indulging in decadent pastries—all while surrounded by the warm and cosy ambiance of a festively decorated setting.



Delve into the sweet history of York, known for its rich chocolate heritage. York’s Chocolate Story offers guided tours that take you through the fascinating journey of chocolate-making, complete with tastings and interactive experiences. During the holidays, the attraction adds a festive touch, making it a delightful activity for families and chocolate enthusiasts alike.



For a truly unique and enchanting perspective of York’s festive charm, consider embarking on the City Cruises York Festive Sightseeing Cruise. Glide along the serene waters of the River Ouse as the city’s historic landmarks are bathed in the warm glow of holiday lights. This special cruise offers a relaxing and picturesque journey, allowing you to take in the beauty of York’s mediaeval architecture and illuminated streets from a different vantage point. As you cruise through the heart of the city, indulge in the festive atmosphere, accompanied by seasonal treats and beverages served on board. The City Cruises York Festive Sightseeing Cruise is a delightful way to experience the magic of December in York while enjoying the comfort and elegance of a leisurely river cruise.



York Minster Christmas Tree Festival

Experience the enchantment of the York Minster Christmas Tree Festival, housed within the mediaeval splendour of the Minster. With 60 trees gracing the Nave, Chapter House, and Lady Chapel, each uniquely themed by local contributors, the festival is a visual feast of holiday creativity. Participate in the ‘best dressed tree’ competition, vote for your favourite, and add a personal touch to the prayer trees with your Christmas message. Running from December 2nd to January 5th during general admission hours, the festival, along with the Christmas Tree Trail, promises a magical journey through festive displays. Entry is free with general admission, inviting you to revel in the seasonal spirit within this historic setting.



In December, York transforms into a festive tapestry, weaving together the city’s rich history with the magic of the holiday season. From the bustling Christmas markets and mediaeval fairs to the enchanting Ice Trail and indulgent afternoon teas, York offers a unique and unforgettable experience for those seeking to embrace the true spirit of December. As you stroll through the ancient streets, adorned with twinkling lights and festive decorations, you’ll find yourself immersed in a winter wonderland that captures the heart and soul of the holidays. Embrace the magic of December in York, where the past and present coalesce to create a truly enchanting holiday experience.