Yorkshire’s very own 12 days of Christmas to celebrate best of White Rose county

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With Christmas fast approaching, families will be looking around for things to do and gifts to buy over the festive season.

The Yorkshire Post has teamed up with the people at Welcome to Yorkshire to come up with our own special take on the 12 Days of Christmas... with some truly fantastic ideas on what to do and where to do it across the County.

12 things for festive fun

• Eat, drink, shop and get creative with all the family this Christmas at The Hepworth Wakefield. See the new ranges for autumn and winter in their shop, or take part in a family friendly workshop, from wreath-making to paper sculpturing.

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Rudding Park, Harrogate.Rudding Park, Harrogate.
Rudding Park, Harrogate.

• RHS Garden Harlow Carr has a magical series of events for the whole family this Christmas. Wrap up warm and make a day of it, with plenty of gift ideas in the shop and yummy treats at Bettys Café and Tearooms.

• Join Yorkshire Sculpture Park this Christmas for fun-filled festivities, from seasonal events and activities, to glorious food and a treasure trove of treats to meet all your Christmas shopping needs.

• A visit to Burton Constable at Christmas is the perfect chance to lift your spirits for the festive season ahead. Meander through 30 evocative rooms filled with fine art and furniture that have been transformed with seasonal floral displays, stunning decorations and garlands.

• Located at the bottom of Parliament Street and nestled in the heart of the St Nicholas Christmas Festive, THOR’S tipi bar – playing on York’s Viking heritage – is a novel experience for Christmas shoppers and revellers alike.

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• Get in the festive mood with the festive trail at Swinton Park, near Masham. Search for clues on the handmade trail to find a Christmas prize, before warming up with a mug of hot chocolate.

• For the bushiest Christmas trees, the most sparkling of lights or the shiniest of baubles, pay a visit to Ackworth Garden Centre’s Winter Wonderland, which has everything you need to decorate your home this Christmas.

• Enjoy a three-course meal and then dance the night away at one of Gisborough Hall Hotel’s Christmas cabaret party nights.

• Pay a visit to Santa’s grotto at the White Rose Award-winning Forbidden Corner, near Leyburn, where every child will receive a gift from the big man himself on Sunday December 20.

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The Cinder Track.The Cinder Track.
The Cinder Track.

• With roaring open fires, beautifully dressed trees and carols in the chapel, Rudding Park, in Harrogate, is a magical place at Christmas time. Enjoy a range of festive events, including festive family lunches and carols by candlelight.

• Get football fever at the Fishermen and Firemen’s Charity Fund annual match on South Bay beach, Scarborough, on Boxing Day. All players must wear a top hat. New players can expect a dunking!

• Scrooge may not approve but the Grassington’s Dickensian Festival on Sunday December 20 sees the whole village take a trip back in time with brass bands, shoe shine boys, circus entertainers, Punch and Judy, lantern shows and ‘friendly’ raggamuffins picking a pocket or two.

11 places to see Santa

• Thorp Perrow Arboretum, near Bedale, will be welcoming Santa and his little helpers back to their magical grotto this Christmas. Visit www.thorpperrow.com

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• Make magical family memories with a visit to Santa’s enchanting grotto at Tong Garden Centre, in Bradford. Visit www.tonggardencentre.co.uk

• Jump aboard the Polar Lightwater Express at Lightwater Valley, near Ripon, for a wintertime train ride to Santa’s cabin, then enjoy a fireside story with Santa and his elves. Visit www.lightwatervalley.co.uk

• On selected dates in December, visit Santa’s grotto and enjoy a magical mystery tour on Hull’s famous land train at The Deep. Visit www.thedeep.co.uk

• Pay a visit to the cosy grotto at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal where Santa may have a special something for you. Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/fountains-abbey-and-studley-royal-water-garden

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• Join Keighley and Worth Valley Railway’s Santa Special at Oxenhope, Haworth or Keighley stations for a ten-mile journey on the steam train, where Santa and his pixies will deliver presents to passengers. Visit kwvr.co.uk

• Throughout December, hop on a Santa cruise with Pennine Boat Trips, of Skipton, and be part of a truly magical and unique journey every weekend up until Christmas. Visit www.canaltrips.co.uk

• Join Santa and his team of local elves on the Wensleydale Railway where he will be spreading Christmas cheer to all the passengers. Visit www.wensleydalerail.com

• Visit Santa and his perky little helpers in the snuggly grotto at Eureka! in Halifax. Visit www.eureka.org.uk

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• Book in for breakfast, lunch and tea with Santa at Thornton Hall Farm, in Skipton, on selected dates. Visit www.thorntonhallcountrypark.co.uk

• Father Christmas will be in the caves at Stump Cross Caverns taking last minute orders for presents on Saturday December 19 and Sunday December 20. Visit www.stumpcrosscaverns.co.uk

10 places for last-minute present buying

• Pick up a Christmas treat at Castle Howard’s Stable Courtyard, where the gift shops have been transformed into winter wonderlands.

• The extensive shop at the Wensleydale Creamery, in Hawes, offers gifts that you just can’t buy anywhere else, including cheese, biscuits, crackers, chutneys and real ale and fine wines.

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• For gourmet goodies from Yorkshire and beyond, as well as award-winning wine, head to Lewis and Cooper, in Northallerton.

• Spread over two floors, The House That Jack Built, in Settle, offers a huge range of quality and traditional toys, children’s wear and a dedicated section for agricultural toys.

• Nestled at the top of Coney Street, in York, Burgins Perfumery offers exclusive fragrances and outstanding customer service.

• The Mill Outlet, in Batley, offers more than 40 stores and four restaurants under one roof.

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• Nestled in the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside, Lightwater Country Shopping Village, near Ripon, offers a range of shops in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

• Just minutes outside historic York in a beautiful landscaped garden setting, McArthurGlen’s York Designer Outlet is a must visit fashion and shopping destination.

• Home to designer brands such as Ted Baker, Vivienne Westwood, French Connection and Harvey Nichols, the beautiful Victoria Quarter, in Leeds, offers premium shopping the heart of the city centre.

• Junction 32 at Castleford has over 90 stores selling famous brands at discount prices. Combine a shopping trip with a session on the indoor ski slope at Xscape for a guaranteed White Christmas experience.

9 free family fun days

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• Sing-a-long at Churches Conservation Trust this Christmas at one of the many Christmas carol concerts and services taking place at a number of venues across the region.

• Get up close to more than 300 years of fascinating history at York’s National Railway Museum. Explore the giant halls full of trains and railway legends, including the majestic Duchess of Hamilton and a Japanese Bullet Train.

• Admire work created by local artists and discover the area’s past at Craven Museum and Gallery, in Skipton, which also features dozens of activities for children. Combine your visit with a trip to Skipton’s award-winning high street.

• Wrap up warm and take in the spectacular views of the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Beauty with a trip to Brimham Rocks, near Pateley Bridge.

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• Explore the interactive galleries located across seven floors of the National Media Museum, in Bradford, where visitors can watch their favourite TV moments in TV Heaven, journey through photography, play with light, lenses and colour, and discover the past, present and future of television.

• Weston Park Museum, in Sheffield, is an award-winning family-friendly museum where visitors come first. If visiting with children, simply wind up and release, but there is plenty for adults to do too.

• Discover one of the most complete examples of a medieval Cistercian abbey in Britain with a trip to Kirkstall Abbey, in Leeds. Located on the banks of the River Aire, the site boasts historic architecture set amid a haven of wildlife and greenery.

• Work off the Christmas excesses with a walk round Aysgarth Falls, in Wensleydale – one of the area’s most famous beauty spots.

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• Blow the cobwebs away with a stroll around the Anglers Country Park at Wintersett near Wakefield, or if it’s too windy head for the shelter of nearby Haw Park Wood before calling in to the Waterton Countryside Discovery centre

8 winter walks

• Take in the grand landscapes and fantastic views of the North York Moors with a five-mile wall over Levisham Moor and around the Hole of Horcum.

• The Coniston Hotel and Country Estate, in Skipton, is ideally located as a base for walks around the Yorkshire Dales, with Gordale Scar, Janet’s Foss and Malham Cove located nearby.

• Admire the view and breathe in the fresh sea air with a walk along the clifftop path from Robin Hood’s Bay to Ravenscar.

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• The Meltham Way is a 9-mile circular route taking walkers through sites of scientific and scenic interest, including Royd Edge, Blackmoorfoot Reservoir and Honley Wood.

• The Moors National Park Centre, in Danby, offers an ideal starting point for walks around the North York Moors, with five easy-to-follow routes beginning from the centre.

• The Ingleton Waterfalls Trail is a 4.5 mile walk through ancient oak woodland and magnificent Yorkshire Dales scenery, via a series of stunning waterfalls and geological features.

• Enjoy unbroken peace and quiet along the Yorkshire Wolds Way - one of Britain’s most charming landscapes which winds through some of the most tranquil and gentle countryside in England.

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• There’s something special about Brockadale Nature Reserve between Wentbridge and Kirk Smeaton, an evocative walk through ancient beech woodland that also takes in a surprising limestone cliff.

7 things to do if it’s raining

• Unleash your creative side with a trip to Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, which features world-class exhibitions, creative workshops and interactive trails. And it’s free.

• Discover all there is to know about chocolate, from how to taste it like a professional, to its exotic origins, at York’s Chocolate Story.

• Visit the World of James Herriot, in Thirsk, to see the famous vet’s original home, recreated as it was in the 1940s, as well as sets from the television series, All Creatures Great and Small.

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• Take an unforgettable adventure to a tropical island at Tropical World, in Leeds, and meet crocodiles, lemurs, butterflies, bats, snakes and a family of meerkats.

• Discover the depths and descend 140 metres underground in one of Britain’s oldest working mines at the National Coal Mining Museum, in Wakefield, as well as visiting galleries to how miners lived, worked and relaxed from the Victorian age through to the modern day.

• Salts Mill is set in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Saltaire and is home to one of the largest collections of David Hockney’s art, as well as cafes, restaurants and shops.

• Christmas should be all about children so why not take in Eureka! the national children’s museum in Halifax where there are Christmas shows and a Santa’s grotto.

6 wintry attractions

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• The Ice Factor – the North of England’s largest outdoor ice rink – returns to Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland at York Designer Outlet, with a traditional funfair and new PapaKitchen, offering rinkside refreshment.

• Cut the ice at Ice Caps at Doncaster Dome Leisure Centre - the UK’s only split level ice rink – which hosts figure skating sessions and ice discos.

• Enjoy a festive skate overlooking Helmsley’s pretty historic market place at the pop-up ice rink at the town’s White Rose Award-winning The Black Swan Hotel.

• Join Santa for breakfast and a morning of festive fun at iceSheffield before taking to the ice for a skate around their indoor ice rink.

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• Enjoy an outdoor ice skating rink, sculpture-filled enchanted forest, massive maze, a Nordic ski trail and Santa’s grotto at Stockeld Park’s award-winning Christmas Adventure.

• Sledge and ice-slide in a wintry wonderland at the Snozone, Xscape, Castleford just off Junction 32 of the M62.

5 Great views to try out a new camera

• At just over 1,000ft, Roseberry Topping may not be the biggest hill in the country but it’s one of the most distinctive. Those who reach its summit are rewarded with panoramic views of Middlesbrough, the North York Moors, and the North Sea.

• With panoramas across the Vale of York and Vale of Mowbray, the tremendous views from Sutton Bank, near Thirsk, were crowned the “finest in England” by the nation’s favourite vet, James Herriot.

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• The iconic Ribblehead Viaduct, in the Yorkshire Dales, is one of Yorkshire’s most well-known heritage sites and offers fantastic photo opportunities.

• On a crisp, winter’s day, there is no better view than that of Robin Hood’s Bay from Ravenscar and the North Sea.

• Few places in Britain are as picturesque at any time of the day as Main Street in Haworth , the road once trod by the Bronte sisters.

4 Challenges for 2016

• As a hybrid of fancy dress and a gruelling time trial, the Great Knaresborough Bed Race is like no challenge you’ll have ever seen before.

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• The 13,000 acre grounds at Castle Howard form arguably the most physically demanding triathlon course of the Castle Tri Series – Castle Howard Triathlon – taking place in the rural Yorkshire idyll and the Howardian Hills.

• The Yorkshire 3 Peaks Race takes place amidst some of Yorkshire’s most stunning scenery, taking in the glorious Pen-y-Ghent, Ingleborough, and Whernside – three iconic Yorkshire mountains.

• Get on your bike and ride the route of all three days of the Tour De Yorkshire before or after the peloton takes on 518 kilometres of the county’s tarmac between April 29 and May 1.

3 Christmas calorie-busting cycle rides

• The Cinder Track is one of the most spectacular trails in the north. Running alongside the North Yorkshire Heritage Coast, it follows a disused railway line from Whitby to Scarborough for 21.5 miles.

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• With more than 50 miles of trails, Dalby Forest, in the North York Moors, offers woodland cycling for a range of abilities, from purpose-built mountain bike trails, to a bike skills park.

• They tested the world’s best cyclists in 2014 and the spectacular roads between Holmfirth and Sheffield, taking in Holme Moss, Cote de Bradfield and Cote de Oughtibridge, are still there waiting for you.

2 places to get away from it all

• Nestled within 500 acres of native English woodland in the peaceful Yorkshire Wolds, glamping at North Star Club is a ruggedly cosy and indulgent woodland escape - the perfect getaway from the pressures of 21st Century living. Enjoy a romantic weekend break or bring the family for a British forest holiday with a difference.

• Yorkshire has hundred of miles navigable waterways and renting a canalboat over Christmas is the perfect way to celebrate the festive period at a refreshingly relaxing pace.

1 partridge shoot (but no pear trees)

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• Yorkshire has always been home to some of the finest shoots in the country and the Ripley Castle estate is up there with the best. A day’s pheasant and partridge shooting costs from £775 +VAT. For more details visit www.ripleycastleshoot.com/