Take your seat for a Yorkshire Yuletide

Christmas decorations adorn the halls and rooms at Castle Howard
Christmas decorations adorn the halls and rooms at Castle Howard
  • Forget the 12 days of Christmas, we have selected 25 of the best shows, events and concerts from across the county to help you to feel festive this winter.
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1. Carols at Whitby Abbey

From tomorrow and then every Sunday until Christmas, wrap up warm and head to the ruins of Whitby Abbey where some of the county’s leading choirs will be performing a programme of carols and festive music. Whitby Abbey, November 29, December 6, 13, 20. 01947 603568, english-heritage.org.uk

2. Castle Howard at Christmas

Enjoy a traditional Christmas at one of Yorkshire’s most impressive stately homes. The property, near York, has been transformed with candles, garlands and roaring log fires. This weekend there will also be a festive market in the courtyard selling seasonal gifts. Castle Howard, to December 23. 01653 648333, castlehoward.co.uk

3. Father Christmas’ Toy Museum

Experience some festive magic as the toys come to life to tell tales of Christmas traditions and rediscover some of the most popular Christmas toys of past and present. Santa Claus will also make an appearance, with each child receiving a chocolate treat for the Christmas tree. York Castle Museum, November 30, December 1, 6, 7, 12, 13 and 17-24. 01904 697979, yorkmuseumstrust.org.uk

4. 59 Minutes to Save Christmas

Leeds-based theatre company Slung Low originally created this show for London’s Barbican but are bringing it back to Yorkshire this year. As you’d expect from the outfit who brought Blood and Chocolate to the streets of York and a version of Moby Dick to the Leeds waterfront, the audience follow the action using headphones as they journey around the theatre. Sheffield Crucible, December 4 to 24. 0114 249 6000, sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

5. Sleeping Beauty

If you’ve never seen one of Mike Kenny’s shows for children then make sure you catch Sleeping Beauty. In this production as well as Princess Briar Rose and Prince Charming, there are also five magical Nannas in a show for younger audiences which is packed with music, song and dance. Hull Truck Theatre, December 4 to January 9. 01482 323638, hulltruck.co.uk

6. Sunrise in the Sky Space

Let’s for a moment pretend that this December will be all crisp blue skies. So what better way to start a winter’s day than seeing the sun rise at the Deer Shelter Skyspace in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Created by artist James Turrell, it creates a heightened vision of the sky in a place of perfect peacefulness. Yorkshire Sculpture Park, December 5 & 12. 01924 832631, ysp.co.uk

7. Carols by Candlelight

Pick up a candle on your way in and see the flickering glow of nearly 1,000 candles light up the cellarium at Fountains Abbey. Once there, grab a mulled wine or a hot chocolate and have a sing-a-long to all your favourite traditional carols. Fountains Abbey, December 6. 01765 608888, fountainsabbey.org.uk

8. Dick Whittington

Scarborough’s Tony Peers is a master of the resort’s summer show. It turns out he’s pretty good with winter ones too. This is about as traditional as pantos get with summer show favourites Ellie Carroll and Stuart Metcalfe, while Phil Beck returns as Sarah the Cook. Scarborough Spa, December 10 to January 1, 01723 821888, scarboroughspa.co.uk

9. Show Boat

Set against the backdrop of America’s Deep South at the turn of the 20th century, Show Boat is a powerful story of love, loyalty and freedom. Directed by Daniel Evans (Anything Goes, My Fair Lady) and featuring soaring melodies including 
Ol’ Man River and Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man, this new production has all the splendour of a Hollywood classic. Sheffield Crucible, December 
10 to January 3. 0114 249 6000, sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

10. Dick Whittington (and his meerkat)

Veteran dame Berwick Kaler has been ousted 
from his usual home at York Theatre Royal as the venue undergoes a major renovation. Instead Kaler, his sidekick Martin Barrass and fellow panto regulars David Leonard and Suzy Cooper have shifted down the road to the National Railway Museum. The Signal Box Theatre, NRM, December 10 to January 24. 01904 623568, yorktheatreroyal.co.uk

11. Hansel and Gretel

Another Mike Kenny production, this time his take on the Brothers Grimm tale. Set in-the-round and with an acapella soundtrack, music will be provided by Oli Steadman from the band Stornoway and a happy ending is guaranteed.Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, December 10 to 17. 01723 370541, sjt.uk.com

12. Snow White

There are all the familiar elements in this production of the classic Brothers Grimm fairytale and a few new ones to boot. As well as the evil stepmother and the magical mirror, there will be a brass band of musical miners as the theatre’s resident children’s company Tell Tale Hearts return to the venue’s main stage. Lawrence Batley Theatre, Halifax, December 11 to 27. 01484 430528, thelbt.org

13. Sankta Lucia Festival of Light

An atmospheric, candlelit procession and carol service for all the family based on the traditional Swedish celebration which centres on the bravery and martyrdom of a young Sicilian girl – St Lucy – who died in the early fourth century. Dressed in white gowns and carry candles, the Lucia procession will sing Swedish songs and carols. York Minster, December 11. 01904 557200, yorkminster.org

14. Jack and the Beanstalk

The Alhambra panto claims to be West Yorkshire’s biggest, but they could add the rest of the county. Forget flimsy sets and hammy acting, this is how panto should be done. The irrepressible Billy Pearce leads from the front and this year he will be joined by TV presenter Lisa Riley and John Challis of Only Fools and Horses fame. Alhambra, Bradford, December 12 to January 24. 01274 432000, bradford-theatres.co.uk

15. Handel’s Messiah

The York Minster Choir will be joined by internationally renowned soloists for a special performance of Handel’s Messiah. The famous work was first performed in Dublin in 1742 and has since become one of the best-known and most popular English oratorios. York Minster, December 12. 01904 557200, yorkminster.org

16. The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan

There are a few productions of JM Barrie’s story this Christmas, but the one at Bridlington Spa is likely to be among the best. The venue never takes itself too seriously when it comes to staging its Christmas show which usually benefits from an injection of high camp. The Spa, Bridlington, December 14 to January 3. 01262 678258, thespabridlington.com

17. The Night Before Christmas

Receive an early injection of Christmas at this candlelit concert. From Prokofiev’s Lieutenant Kijé, Bach and Handel to carols and Billie Holiday, the halls are decked with holly and the Yuletide log lit for a feast of music to banish the most stubborn winter blues. Howard Assembly Room, Leeds Grand Theatre, December 18. operanorth.co.uk.

18. Victorian Christmas Evening

Enjoy a special evening on the Victorian street at York Castle Museum, celebrating a Victorian Christmas. The event will include a performance of A Christmas Carol, Christmas crafts, decoration making, ghost stories and of course a spot of carol singing. York Castle Museum, December 18. 01904 697979, yorkmuseumstrust.org.uk

19. White Christmas

It’s been turned into countless stage shows, but there is nothing to beat the original film. Starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, as a successful song-and-dance duo who become romantically involved with a sister act and team up to save the failing Vermont inn of their former commanding general. Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, December 21 to 23. 01723 370541, sjt.uk.com

20. The Snowman and The Nutcracker

Opera North present a festive double bill. Raymond Briggs’s classic will be shown on the big screen accompanied by a live orchestra, which will inject a little Christmas magic into the build-up to the big day. Leeds Town Hall, December 21. 0113 376 0318, leedstownhall.gov.uk

21. It’s a Wonderful Life

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Frank Capra’s feel-good film and this year there is a chance to see it on the big screen. James Stewart stars as George Bailey, a man who tries to end his life on Christmas Eve, but is saved by his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody. Leeds Town Hall, December 21. 0113 224 3801, leeds.gov.uk

22. Peter Pan on Ice

You might not be able to move for productions of Peter Pan this year, but this one is a little different as it transfers Wendy, Tinkerbell and the world of Neverland to ice. Performed by the Russian Ice Star, it’s a brand new adaptation of the story of the boy who never grew up. York Barbican, December 23. 0844 854 2757, yorkbarbican.co.uk

23. Kate Rusby at Christmas

The Barnsley singer/songwriter’s winter tours have become something of an institution. She’s back again this year playing concerts in Scarborough, Huddersfield, Sheffield, York and Leeds. Expect a programme peppered with familiar carols with a definite South Yorkshire twist. For a full list of dates go to katerusby.com

24. The Winter’s Tale

Earlier this year, Kenneth Branagh set up his very own repertory company featuring the likes of Dame Judi Dench and Zoe Wanamaker. One of the company’s very first productions, Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale received rave reviews and there will be a chance to see a replay of the original live stream at various cinemas across Yorkshire on Christmas Eve. For a list of participating cinemas go to branaghtheatrelive.com

25. Twelve Days of Christmas

Discover the 12 scenes from famous carols. Spot the swans a-swimming and join in with the 12 drummers as you make your way along the woodland walk from the Cavendish Pavilion to the Strid. Bolton Abbey, December 26 to January 5. 01756 718009, boltonabbey.com

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