What's happening this Christmas at Fountains 2021
Christmas is seeing the abbey glow. As the afternoon light starts to fade, make your way to the abbey and wander through the ruins aglow with bright and colourful lights. You can sing along to your favourite carols as festive music fills the air.
Music and Lights
You've finished the Christmas shopping, explored the family trail and been revived by a warming mug of hot chocolate. Now it's time for Music and Lights. As twilight falls see the abbey aglow with all the colours of the rainbow. Walk beneath the cellarium's vaulted ceilings, under the grand columns of the nave and stop to watch the live choirs and bands fill the ruins with festive music. Join in if you know the tune!
Choirs and bands will be performing in the cellarium 2-3pm
Who's on when...
20 November Sing Out
21 November Eurythmia Ensemble
27 November Elysian Singers
28 November Thirsk Royal British Legion Band
4 December York Musical Society
5 December Carols by Candlelight (see below for details)
11 December Spa Sax
12 December Carols by Candlelight (see below for details)
18 December Collavoce Collective
19 December Skelldale Singers
1 January Ripon Chorus Society
2 January White Rosettes
From Monday 20 December to Tuesday 4 January (closed on 24/25 December) we'll be lighting the abbey each day and playing recorded carols on afternoons when we don't have live music
Carols by Candlelight
5 & 12 December
Service starts at 3pm
As Christmas fast approaches it’s time for our annual carol service. This year we will be limiting the number of visitors into the cellarium so please ask a member of the welcome team for a ticket on arrival if you'd like to join the service. We'd recommend arriving in plenty of time as tickets are first come-first-served.
Get crafty in Swanley Grange
Drop-in 11am -3pm every weekend in December and every day (excluding 24 & 25) from Monday 20 December – Tuesday 4 January
Get stuck into some family Christmas crafts. Perfect for little ones to get messy with natural materials to create festive decorations.
Take a free guided tour of the abbey and water garden
Every Saturday & Sunday
Wrap up warm and learn more about this special place on a guided tour in the crisp winter air. Numbers are limited so please speak to a member of the welcome team when you arrive at admissions.
Winter Garden tour (11.30am)
Fountains Abbey became the greatest folly of all when John Aislabie created his water garden at Studley Royal. See the World Heritage Site as the Georgians did on this guided tour of the dramatic designed landscape.
Winter Abbey tour (1.30pm)
If these walls could talk...unearth the monastic secrets of a great abbey and the daily routines of the monks who lived here on this guided tour.
'On the hoof' deer walks
Every Saturday & Sunday in December (excluding 24&25) 11:30am
Trot along to the deer park, just past St Mary's Church to watch the wild deer munching through their winter feed. Can you spot the difference between the Red, Sika and Fallow deer? Our deer ranger will give you some pointers and you'll learn about their job managing the wild herd.
Join in with a festive trail with Percy the Park Keeper
Daily (from Saturday 4 December until 3 January)
Come along and be Percy’s helper for the day! Step into his ‘wellies’ while he’s busy as there’s a lot to get done in winter. Working with Percy’s animal friends follow clues to find lost items and help get the tasks done with lots of fun along the way. Complete the trail for a fun prize at the end.
Trails cost £2 and can be collected from our admissions teams.
Grab a hot chocolate and warm up with a mince pie
The restaurant is open and serving up some seasonal favourites!
You'll be hard pushed to stop nibbling at fresh baked mince pies and Christmas cake. Try them out with a steaming cup of tea or coffee to keep you warm as you explore. Or pop into Mill Café by the abbey for a light bite or warm drink..
Treat yourself in the shop
Have you seen our shop at the visitor centre yet? If not, pop in to say hello and to see the range of seasonal homewares, books and Christmas treats that deck the shelves.
Whether you find the perfect Christmas gift for your loved ones or a little something for the stocking, you know you can feel good about buying it here as the money you spend goes straight back into looking after Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal.
Boxing Day Pilgrimage
A return of this much loved annual tradition! Take part in the four-mile pilgrimage on December 26 after the boxing day service at Ripon Cathedral. Follow the footsteps of a group of Cistercian monks who set out from Ripon the day after Christmas, 1132 AD, to found a new Cistercian monastery at Fountains on the banks of the River Skell.
Our missing Christmas traditions...
Story time with Father Christmas
Unfortunately, Father Christmas will not be visiting Fountains this year.
We are sorry to disappoint anyone, especially our littlest visitors. We have everything crossed that Father Christmas will be able to find his way to us next year.
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