As we get closer to the big day, it’s often easy to forget to enjoy the days leading up to Christmas. With food prep to do and last-minute Christmas shopping to tick off the list, we can often find ourselves saving all our Christmas cheer for just that one day. But hey, there are no rules to say we can’t try to savour ever single precious day we have with the family (and off work). In this list, we’re giving you the chance to do exactly that; get as many generations of the family as you can out the house and make the most of these festive days together.

Fairfax House

This Christmas, Fairfax House invites the whole family to experience this Georgian house town house in all its traditional festive splendour, with this year’s The Keeping of Christmas. Making the most of the festive period, Fairfax House’s Keeping of Christmas has been running since November 14th and will continue to run all the way until December 31st. Guests are invited to experience the marvellous house’s festive installation, inspired by the traditions of the eighteenth century. Inside, you’ll be able to see a replication of the Georgian’s love of the natural world as they decorated their homes for Christmas, including festive table displays and decorations, feasts of traditional foods of the era, and the magnificent Twelf Night Cake, created by internationally-renowned food historian, Ivan Day. And the house won’t be the only thing well-kept for Christmas, guests will be sufficiently and festively supplied with mulled wine, mince pies and some delicious brandy butter.

The Talbot Malton

Just outside of York, in the charming market town of Malton, December marks the start of Malton’s festive tradition, the Malton Dickens Festival. A weekend of talks and performances from the likes of Miriam Margolyes and Dickens scholar, Professor John Bowen, as well as festive plays. This year, they’re putting on a classic, as Royal Shakespeare Company and West End actor, Dominic Gerrard, brings his celebrated performance of A Christmas Carol to this year’s Malton Dickenson Festival.  Award-winning theatre director, Tim Carroll, directs this magical re-telling of Dicken’s renowned classic Christmas story, performed in the atmospheric York House, the Talbot Hotel, Malton. An evening for the whole family, the story will transport you through the turbulent journey of Ebenezer Scrooge’s encounters with the ghosts that have been sent to reclaim him.


National Centre for Early Music 

But fear not, you don’t have to trek to far out of the city centre to find a good Christmas performance; over at the national centre for early music on Walmgate, audiences are welcomed to join an evening of Festive songs, carols and celebratory music from The York Waits. They will be performing music from across medieval and renaissance England and Europe, on loud and quiet wind consorts, bowed and plucked strings, as well as the rustic bagpipes and Vielle; all within the enchanting atmosphere of the grade 1 listed medieval church of St Margaret. Tickets can be found via their website, but you’ll have to be quick; its tomorrow!

Dawnay Farm

For the more active grandparents out there, Dawnay Farm are offering an elf wood walk suitable for the whole family. Enjoy a mystical stroll through the wintery woodland, spotting the woodland creatures and cheeky little elves! To finish off the day, you can hand pick yourself the perfect (last minute!!) Christmas tree from Dawnay Farm’s own selection. Make sure to wrap up warm and bring your wellies for this one!

Beningbrough Hall

Another one for those grandparents wanting to make the most of winter’s short, picturesque days, Beningbrough Hall are hosting an exhibition of beautifully crafted artwork by Yorkshire artist Gerard Hobson. Located around a number of stunning gardens and outbuildings, you can enjoy a selection of 3D lino prints inspired by the natural world that calls Beningbrough Hall its home. Gerard will even be running a number of hands-on workshops where you’ll have the chance to create a handmade Christmas present or piece of Family artwork!

Castle Howard

Take a step back in time with Castle Howard as one of the UK’s finest stately homes is transformed into a breath-taking experience of a candle-lit Christmas. Castle Howard have opened their doors for you to enjoy the decorations throughout the grand state rooms and welcome anyone to count the 3000 baubles upon their iconic 25 foot Christmas tree! Theirs the chance to grab some festive food and drink, peruse the gift and farm shops and give the grandparents the special honour of taking the little ones to meet Father Christmas himself!