We may be biased, but we think York is one of the Christmasiest cities in the UK. With its cobblestoned streets and old-fashioned shopfronts, it’s like stepping back in time — especially during the winter months. Lights twinkle, markets pop up, and the city buzzes with anticipation.
And given it sits only 15 minutes north of Fulford, we always make a point of visiting York with our residents every festive season. We take in the sights and sounds, enjoy warm drinks, do some window shopping, and visit the theatre.
So, armed with recommendations, we’re throwing the Christmas spotlight on our beloved home city. Below, we share our favourite events and activities you can do with older family members in York this winter.
3 must-do Christmas activities in York 2023
1. Shop Til You Stop (For Something Warm)
The York Christmas Market (which runs from 16 November to 22 December 2023) brings together some of the city’s most talented craftspeople, with unique gifts, homeware, and Christmas decor for sale. From handmade puzzles and jewellery to artwork, stationery, and crafts, you’re bound to find something to slip under the tree.
And the best bit? If you’re a York resident, you’re entitled to an exclusive 10% discount. Just show a valid York Card or ID card (such as a bus pass) that proves York residency.
Looking for gift inspiration? Read this: 25 of the best Christmas gifts for older relatives
2. Eat, Drink and Be Merry
Once you’ve had your fill of shopping, it’s time to fuel up. Luckily, the Christmas Market is also packed with fabulous food & drink stalls run by local vendors. From sweet treats to street food, here are a few we think your family might enjoy:
- Johnson’s Toffees: Handcrafted traditional toffee and fudge made in West Yorkshire.
- Love Cheese: Showcasing a curated selection of local Yorkshire and Continental cheeses.
- Isaac Poad Brewing: Traditional Yorkshire beer and gin crafting since 1863.
- Krep: Mouthwatering artisan crepes made with locally sourced ingredients.
- Barn: York’s longest-serving Christmas bar serves mulled wine, mulled cider and hot chocolate.
Elsewhere, several of York’s best restaurants and pubs are running festive menus throughout December. Escape the cold and cosy up indoors. Just remember to book in advance, as it can get busy — especially at the weekend.
3. Get Into the Festive Spirit
York is blessed with several historic theatres, many of which put on traditional Christmas pantos each year. An ideal way to cap off a busy day wandering the markets!
- This year, York Theatre Royal hosts a production of Jack & The Beanstalk with an all-star cast, including Nina Wadia as Fairy Sugarsnap (EastEnders, Citizen Khan, Still Open All Hours, Goodness Gracious Me) and York favourite, Robin Simpson as Dame Trott.
- Meanwhile, the Grand Opera House York has York legend Berwick Kaler lead Robinson Crusoe and the Pirates of the River Ouse — a hilarious take on the classic story.
- And the Joseph Rowntree Theatre promises a “rollicking romp” with panto staple Cinderella.
Or, if the panto’s not your thing, you might consider visiting York Minster’s Christmas Tree Festival, with over 60 trees on display in the cathedral’s stunning Nave, Chapter House and Lady Chapel. Decorated by local businesses, schools and charities, you can vote for your favourite in the “best-dressed tree” competition. And you can even add your own Christmas message to a tag on the festival’s prayer trees.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Fulford!
December is one of our favourite times of the year here at Fulford. The house is decorated with trees and lights — and there are mince pies, sherry, and mulled wine ready for anyone visiting or dropping by.
We’re already looking forward to the big day when we all sit together and tuck into a traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings!
From our home to yours, the staff and residents of Fulford wish you a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.