Six of the Best: Christmas Days Out

editorial image
Have your say

Last week we gave you six unusual Santa’s grottos to visit but Christmas is chocked full of other wonderful experiences, so to make sure you’re stocking is full, here are six countyside days out to keep you busyk

Last week we gave you six unusual Santa’s grottos to visit but Christmas is chocked full of other wonderful experiences, so to make sure you’re stocking is full, here are six countyside days out to keep you busy


For an awe-inspiring and unforgettable experience, it’s hard to beat the sight of owls flying through woodland lit only by torchlight – like magical Christmas angels – at the special winter owl evenings at Helmsley’s National Bird of Prey Centre, home to the largest collection of birds of prey in the North. The Owl Evenings run every Saturday evening until Christmas and include a guided tour of the owls, a flying demonstration, mulled wine or hot, spiced apple juice, a two-course meal with coffee.

Tickets cost £30 each. Book early as places are limited!

See our guide to the most unusual SANTAS’S GROTTOS here


Last year more than 1600 Santas of all ages completed the Great Skipton Santa Fun Run in front of a crowded Skipton. Each year the event, organised by The Rotary Club of Skipton Craven, gets bigger and bigger and we’re sure 2016 will be no exception. The run takes place with the help of officers from Skipton Town Council and from Craven District Council and in addition to many of the runners’ own charities. Feel free to come and join us for good fun and a good cause by entering today and don’t forget FREE Santa Suit included with entry.


Charles Dickens’ Christmas gift was the iconic Christmas Carol – the origin of so many of our beloved Christmas traditions today – and it was inspired by his happy visits to Malton and travels around Ryedale. The entire town (of Malton) celebrates an annual Dickens Festival in December: highlights of the 2016 festival include star entertainment with guest Miriam Margolyes on December 17, a festive lunch and talk hosted by leading expert Lucinda Hawksley (author and descendent of Charles Dickens) on December 18:


Embarking from Pickering on weekends throughout December: 3-21, the memorable highlight is a face-to-face encounter with Santa, as the steam train journeys across the winter wonderland of the North York Moors. The one-hour ride on board the Santa Express also includes an age appropriate present for each child, an activity sheet and Santa hat for each child, and a mince pie, hot drink and alcoholic tipple for each adult. Tickets for the Santa Specials cost £20 each and pre-booking is essential:


A huge architectural gingerbread model of Castle Howard is taking pride of place at the heart of the stately home’s festive celebrations this year, when London-based architectural foodsmiths, Bompas & Parr, recreate Vanbrugh’s original design for the grand estate from gingerbread and icing. Measuring four metres by three metres, the enormous confection will depict the famous house, complete with its dome and the garden. The edible artwork can be seen daily from Saturday November 19 to December 23. Admission £18.95 for adults. Prebook:


Ryedale’s market towns offer the best of both worlds when it comes to winter wonderland walks - the beauty and tranquillity of the countryside, never far from home comforts. From each market town, there are hundreds of miles of footpaths and bridleways. A favourite is the route from Helmsley Castle, famed as the Cradle of English Chivalry, wandering through the ancient woods of grand Duncombe Hall, to the haunting ruins of Rievaulx Abbey.

Explore Helmsley, Kirkbymoorside, Pickering, Malton and Norton. Visit

The team behind the new project: L-R: Jason Shipstone,  Head of R&D, Drax Group; Caspar Schoolderman,  Director of Engineering, C-Capture Ltd; Andy Koss,  CEO Drax Power; Prof Christopher Rayner,  Technical Director, C-Capture Ltd; Carl Clayton,  Research and Innovation Engineer, Drax Group.

Power station Drax aims to place UK at front of green energy race