Things to do with your family this Christmas

Are you set for a very Yorkshire Christmas? Come to Fountains Abbey for a full festive day out with your family. Get stuck into Christmas craft and have a winter adventure through the abbey ruins and water garden. Read on to find out everything you can do.

Please note that we're closed on Fridays throughout December with the exception of Friday 27 December. We are also closed on 24 and 25 December but open on Boxing Day.

Step back in time this Christmas

Join us in Fountains Hall for a very 1930s Christmas. Make your own paperchain or dove decoration, challenge each other to a game of snakes and ladders and find a stocking to see what present you'd have received on Christmas morning. Have a go dressing up as though you lived 80 years ago - would you like it if we still dressed like that today?


Sing-a-long at Music and Lights

You've been to see Father Christmas, explored the family trail and been revived by a warming mug of energy giving hot chocolate. Now it's time for Music and Lights. See the abbey aglow with all the colours of the rainbow and hear live music fill the cellarium.

Hear the choirs sing or band play between 2-3pm in the cellarium

  • Saturday 23 November – Ilkley Moornotes
  • Sunday 24 November – Spa Sax
  • Saturday 30 November – Thirsk Royal British Legion Band
  • Sunday 1 December – White Rosettes
  • Saturday 7 December – Harrogate Theatre Choir & Eurythmia Ensemble
  • Saturday 14 December – St. John the Baptist Church Choir, Knaresborough
  • Saturday 21 December – Ripon Trinity Singers
  • Sunday 22 December – Skelldale Singers
  • Monday 23 December - Lights only
  • Thursday 26 December - Lights only
  • Friday 27 December - Lights only
  • Saturday 28 December – Ripon Choral Society
  • Sunday 29 December – York Musical Society Choir
  • Monday 30 December - Sunday 5 January - Lights only

Sing with us at Carols by Candlelight

Sunday 8 and Sunday 15 December, 3-3.45pm

This heart-warming service in the abbey cellarium has become a Christmas tradition. So much so that there's going to be an extra service this year. Pick up a candle on your way down to the abbey and add your light to hundreds of others as we all sing carols together as part of this Christmas service. This event is incredibly popular. We recommend arriving early for a seat. Everybody is welcome.

Follow the Christmas tree trail

Can you find all the trees on the family Christmas trail? Kids can learn all about the history and tradition of the Christmas tree as they explore the estate. 

Warm up with a hot chocolate

We bet tummies are rumbling after a big adventure following the Christmas tree trail, a trip to Father Christmas or lots of creative crafty activities. Sit down together with a  steaming cup of coffee, a creamy mug of hot chocolate or a pot of tea to warm up after an adventure through the garden.

Wrap your hands around a warm drink in the tea-room
Wrap your hands around a warm drink in the tea-room
Wrap your hands around a warm drink in the tea-room

See the deer

Come along to St. Mary's church and see the wild deer being fed through the colder season. There are three different kinds of deer. Can you spot the difference? It's a great chance to see them up close as through winter they need a bit more food than they can get from the deer park to help keep them healthy.

Get some fresh air out and about in the deer park
Visitors walking in the deer park at Fountains Abbey
Get some fresh air out and about in the deer park

Get going with all that Christmas shopping!

Christmas decorations are in the shop from November but you can start your gift shopping whenever you like. The shop is accessible without going through the admissions point and car parking is free. Pop up for a relax in the restaurant and do your shopping - we're just under 10 minutes outside Ripon. 

Every penny you spend in the shop goes back into looking after Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. If you'd like to find out more about the work we do visit our conservation page listed at the bottom of this page.

Enjoy Music and Lights at Fountains Abbey

Festive feelings at Fountains 

Slow down and revel in a moment's break from life's never ending hustle and bustle. Breathe in the fresh Yorkshire air and experience Christmas how it's meant to be; a time to make memories with your loved ones.

Christmas place-settings at the table ready for lunch

Tuck into a Christmas lunch at Fountains Abbey 

Enjoy a delicious festive lunch with family, friends or colleagues this December... we've got a menu to tickle your taste buds!

Walking in autumn sun at Fountains Abbey

What you need to know for your visit 

Spend a few hours exploring the ruins of Fountains Abbey before following the river down to the sprawling water garden. Don't stop there though! With the medieval deer park and surrounding countryside to discover too, there's enough to fill an entire day. Find out what you need to know for your visit here.

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