Fairytales Are Coming True This Christmas In Ryedale, North Yorkshire

EntertainmentWhat's On

There’s magic in the air this Christmas in Ryedale, North Yorkshire, because fairy-tales are being brought to real life in an enchanting season of festive events.  The Holly King will be joined by a cast of mythical creatures to cast a spell on family and friends, with happy endings guaranteed for those who want to make the most of precious time spent together.

Phillip Spurr, Programme Director of Place and Resources for Ryedale District Council, said: “Many of us will be spending our first Christmas with family and friends for a long time and could be feeling the pressure to make festive days-out extra special and memorable.  Right across Ryedale, in North Yorkshire, local attractions have waved their magic wands to make sure that their visitors will have an out-of-this world experience and get right into the Christmas spirit.”

The fairy kingdom of Ryedale can be explored at the following venues – pre-booking essential:

■ The Long Gallery in Narnia, designed by Bretta Gerecke

At Castle Howard, step through the wardrobe into the mystical land of Narnia, where the stately home’s grand interiors will be lavishly and theatrically decorated to recreate C S Lewis’ classic fairy-tale world, all crowned by the iconic 25-foot Christmas tree.  From 13 November to 3 January.

At England’s only Fairy Sanctuary, the Northwood Trail, meet St Nicholas – the Holly King – and his Lady Winter, in their Winter Woodland Grotto.  They are ancient fairy folk from the Christmas of the Green Past, crowned in evergreens and ivy, and together you will celebrate the season with an evening of storytelling, lantern-lit fairy trails and fairy winter displays.   Northwood’s Christmas is one of the ancient fairy folk, of Christmas of the Green Past, crowned in evergreens and ivy.  Selected dates from 5 – 23 December.

■ NYMR Northern Lights Express Test Service 1. Image © Charlotte Graham

Enjoy a magical adventure with Santa and his elves on board the North Yorkshire Moors Railway’s famous Santa Express, for an unforgettable Christmas train journey.  Selected dates between 4 – 24 December, from Pickering or Grosmont stations.

In a winter wonder-woodland, fairies (of all ages) will be enthralled to see Winter Owls waltzing by torchlight through the trees; while Tiny Owls will be enchanting onlookers prancing in the Christmas Tree Cottage, all during the must-experience Winter Owl Evenings at the National Bird of Prey Centre in Helmsley.  Every Saturday from now until Christmas.

“Everywhere peace, everywhere serenity, and a marvellous freedom from the tumult of the world…” – for almost 1000 years, otherworldly Rievaulx Abbey has eased the hearts and souls of wandering pilgrims, and it has become a lifeline for many winter walkers seeking a retreat from the stress of the Christmas season.  For this reason, the abbey is open extra hours during the festive season, including every weekend during December, then daily from 26 December – 2 January.

At Helmsley Castle, it’s easy to imagine courtly knights and ladies of medieval romance amongst the dramatic ringwork ruins.  Explore the eerily-empty state apartments, once resounding with masques and music, with its views over the pleasure parkland and tournament field; or the impressive ramparts, as if scooped out of the stone by a giant’s hand!  Open every Friday – Sunday until Christmas.

Can you spot the Gruffalo?  In Dalby Forest, favourite woodland characters come to life in the trees, thanks to the magic of virtual reality; and you can swing from the tree-tops Jungle Book-style at Go Ape.  Open throughout December until Christmas.

Wander through the wintry fairy-size gardens of Helmsley Walled Garden, the star of recent movie Secret Garden, based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic children’s novel and starring Colin Firth, and Julie Walters.  Open until 24 December.

Lapland comes to Flamingo Land this Christmas, as visitors get a chance to join Santa’s elves in a magical festive land that includes Santa’s Grotto and Magical Toy Shop, the Reindeer Paddock, a chance to meet Peter Rabbit, and Mrs Claus’ Kitchen, where there will be Merry Marshmallow-Making and Magical Milkshakes, plus a chance to ‘talk to the animals’ in the award-winning Zoo.  Weekends in December, and daily between 20 – 24 December.

For a winter walk with a darker side, journey to the mysterious ‘deserted medieval village’ of Wharram Percy, where the ‘living dead’ were discovered a few years ago by archaeologists. To prevent the dead from rising, their bodies had been decapitated and staked – the first evidence of ‘vampires’ (known as revenants in the Middle Ages) in Britain.  The village is only accessible today along a ¾ mile walk down into a steep-side valley, so isn’t for the faint-hearted, but set in the gloriously peaceful countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds, it’s hard to imagine such a supernatural story behind this fascinating site.  Free site, open all year.

Phillip adds: “For those who need more than a day away this winter, Ryedale makes a perfect get-away.  It’s one of the most tranquil and beautiful places in England – and it’s been a retreat for centuries.  From ancient saints seeking blissful solitude, to England’s lords and ladies seeking life’s luxuries, Ryedale is something of a ‘fairy kingdom’ that feels a million miles away from everyday hubbub and stress – the perfect place to relax.  Here the stars are brighter, the food tastier, the horizons wider. Time meanders untroubled by the world outside – and you’ll never want to leave.”

If you’re tempted to book your luxury winter holiday, or take a trip to Ryedale for a magical day-out, visit;


You May Also Like

Focus On The Good – Poetry Book
Trout Triumph As Small Fry Get To Be Big Fish In Yorkshire Rivers Thanks To A Donation From Tarmac


Must Read

No results found.