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Christmas at Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal

A mother with her baby enjoying the annual Music and Lights Christmas event at Fountains Abbey
See the abbey shine this Christmas | © Chris Lacey

Christmas 2023 is seeing the abbey sparkle. 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.

We're busy working on Christmas at Fountains Abbey 2024...

Take a look at what Christmas 2023 looked like at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. Check back later in the year to see what's planned for Christmas 2024.

Music and Lights

Every Saturday and Sunday between 25 November - 31 December (excluding 3 and 10 December), 2-5pm (last admission 4pm).
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 abbey 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!

Bands and choirs will play in the cellarium from 2-3pm. Last admission is at 4pm and the estate will close at 5pm as usual. You don't need to book a ticket to visit as Music and Lights is part of normal admission.

Live choirs and bands performing...

Saturday 2 December: Harrogate Ladies' College Chapel Choir

Saturday 9 December: Phoenix Concert Band

Saturday 16 December: Thirsk Royal British Legion Band

Sunday 17 December: Euythmia Ensemble

Saturday 23 December: Skelldale Singers

Saturday 30 December: Members of Ripon Choral Society

Sunday 31 December: Ripon Trinity Singers

The Christmas Music and Lights event at Fountains Abbey shows the ruins illuminated
See the abbey aglow this Christmas as the nights draw in | © J Shepherd

Carols by Candlelight - SOLD OUT

Sunday 3 and Sunday 10 December, 3-4pm

Everyone is welcome to join our Carols by Candlelight services in the abbey cellarium. Pick up a candle on your way in and see the flickering glow of hundreds of candles light up the cellarium. Sing along to well know carols accompanied by Ripon City Band.

You'll need to pre-book a ticket for Carols by Candlelight. Spaces are limited so we recommend booking as early as possible to avoid disappointment. Tickets are free with normal admission. Book your tickets here*

Entry to the cellarium for the service will open at 2pm. Please be seated by 2:30pm ready for the service to start at 3pm.

*Tickets have now sold out. There may be a limited amount of tickets on the door due to last minute cancellations. These tickets will be released at 2:30pm at the abbey cellarium. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee these tickets will be available on the day

A 1930s Christmas at Fountains Hall

Open everyday 10am - 4pm (excluding 24 and 25 December and 5 January)

Visit Fountains Hall this festive season to experience an essence of a 1930s Christmas. Marvel at the vintage style decorations while you sit by the grand fireplace in the stone hall. Challenge your opponent to a board game or dress up in vintage costumes and strike a pose. Learn about how the Vyner’s celebrated, while listening to popular 1930s Christmas music.

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.

*Our guided tours are given by our wonderful volunteer team. On occassion, we might have to cancel a tour at short notice because of illness etc. Please speak to a member of the welcome team when you arrive at admissions if you'd like to join a tour who will be able to advise.

Winter Garden tour (11am - 12:30pm)

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 - 2:30pm)

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.

Standard admission applies.

A herd of deer on grass with a stone monument in the background
Explore the deer park and see if you can spot some of the 300 deer that call Studley home. | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Go deer spotting in Studley

Trot along to the deer park and see if you can spot some of the 300 deer that call Studley home. Can you spot the difference between the Red, Sika and Fallow deer?

With their large antlers and enthusiastic leaps, our younger visitors might even mistake them for Father Christmas’s magical reindeer…

Come along to our On the Hoof event and watch the wild deer munching through their winter feed. Our rangers will be on hand to answer your questions and you can learn about their job managing the deer herd. Find out more here.

Christmas shopping

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.

Treat yourself to some yummy eats

Grab a hot chocolate and warm up with a mince pie

The restaurant is open and serving up some seasonal favourites including the scone of the month!

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.

Boxing Day Pilgrimage

Tuesday 26 December

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...

Father Christmas

Unfortunately, Father Christmas will not be visiting Fountains Abbey this year.

If you're looking for a lovely local Father Christmas experience why not visit Nostell. Spot the man himself as he walks around the house or, perhaps you’ll see him having a cheeky pre-Christmas snooze by the fire. Start planning your Christmas visit to Nostell

Christmas Lunches

We won't be serving up plated Christmas lunches in the restaurant this year. There will still be plenty of tasty festive treats on offer though. Why not try a hot turkey roll, festive scone or a slice of homemade Christmas cake.

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