Christmas 2023 in Yorkshire: Farms in Leeds, York, Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors, Barnsley and Skipton hosting festive activities and events including Cannon Hall Farm visited by Helen Skelton

There are plenty of animal farms in Yorkshire hosting a variety of events this Christmas including a meet and greet with Santa, festive markets and picking out your own Christmas tree.

When looking for something fun to do, this season has it all.

There are so many farms in Yorkshire hosting a variety of events that suits adults and children. Activities range from shopping around festive stalls, visiting Santa’s Grotto, indulging in delicious food made by local producers, drinking mulled wine and listening to some of your favourite Christmas classics. Families will also get to enjoy the company of animals on the farm.

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What’s more, you don’t even have to travel very far to experience all that Christmas has to offer. With Yorkshire’s beautiful and vast countryside, wildlife and walking trails, local farms have just what you need to elevate your festive experience.

Penistone Agricultural Show at Cannon Hall Farm. (Pic credit: James Hardisty)Penistone Agricultural Show at Cannon Hall Farm. (Pic credit: James Hardisty)
Penistone Agricultural Show at Cannon Hall Farm. (Pic credit: James Hardisty)

Cannon Hall Farm

Cannon Hall Farm is hosting a Santa Apprentice experience from December 2 to December 24, 2023, where visitors can look behind the scenes at Santa’s workshop. For the third year in a row, the Barnsley farm has partnered with Talegate Theatre Productions and the Copycat Party Company for an event where visitors can join Santa on a magical adventure in a staged show performed at an indoor heated event space.

Visitors will then get to go to the Toy Factory where children can take their magic key to the elves and choose their own present. A workshop titled ‘Santa’s School For Elf-ceptional Elves’ will be held at the farm where visitors will meet two new elves Sugar and Spice and experience the winter tale full of singing, dancing and magic.

Along with all of your farm favourites, at Cannon Hall Farm this Christmas, children will get to meet reindeer Prince and Roger. All of this is included in the admission ticket price, including the indoor soft play area.

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Swithens Farm

At Leeds-based Swithens Farm, Santa will be there from December 10, 2023, where you can not only visit him in his elaborately decorated Grotto, but you can also have breakfast with him before you visit. Dates for this event vary between December 2 and December 24 until 2pm and breakfast with Santa is available every Saturday on December 2, 9, 16 and 23 at 10am.

Meanwood Valley Urban Farm

Heading over to Meanwood Valley Urban Farm, there will be a family-friendly day to remember on December 9, 2023 10am to 3pm with a variety of things to do, from browsing the local arts and crafts stalls as well as food and drink options on sale. The farm is also hosting a Santa’s Grotto for children of all ages for £4 and a tombola game will be available to play.

Thornton Hall Country Park

The Christmas Adventure event returns to Thornton Hall Country Park with another variety of events to enjoy with the family. Santa has recruited a select few people to join him on a journey deep into the Yuletide Village to help their residents return the magic to the land for the main Adventure from November 26 to December 24.

Another event at the Skipton-based farm, ‘Just Be You’ families are welcome to enjoy and fully experience the magic of the interactive Christmas events on offer, it caters to children with additional needs or sensory requirements and children will get a personal visit from Father Christmas himself who will provide them with a gift.

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‘The Mini Adventure’ at Thornton Hall Country Park allows visitors to dance along its Christmas village, before meeting Mr and Mrs Claus in their kitchen. It is structured slightly differently to the main adventure to suit the wandering minds of children. This event takes place on December 13 to 15 and December 18 to 21.

The Christmas Adventure event also caters to large groups perfect for schools, pre-school groups or other clubs who want to visit. Dates for these sessions are December 1, 4 to 8. New features for 2023 at Thornton Hall Country Park are Father Christmas meet and greet for a family group setting and brand new Christmas village including a new Grotto and Enchanted Tipi.

Big Sheep Little Sheep

Nestled in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, Big Sheep Little Sheep is a farm in the quaint village of Bedale. A Santa meet and greet will take place at the farm, where visitors will get to spend 10 minutes each in his Grotto. Each child will receive a specialised gift from Santa and there will be plenty of festive activities on offer at the farm, including lots of photo opportunities. Dates are December 2, 3, 10, 16, 17, 23 and 24.

Boston Park Farm

Christmas is set to be a busy season at Boston Park Farm in Doncaster this year with a magical farm experience that includes a set meal in the tearoom with delicious sandwiches, mince pies, cakes and hot and cold drinks. Visitors can also meet the elves in their workshop where they will be making reindeer food and you can produce your own Christmas decorations before taking a trailer ride to Santa’s grotto. Each child from the age of one to 12 will receive a special gift from the man himself.

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The experience will last around two hours and session dates and times are: Saturday, December 8 at 12pm or 4pm, Sunday, December 9 at 12pm or 4pm, Saturday, December 16 at 12pm or 4pm, Sunday, December 17 at 12pm or 4pm, Friday, December 22 at 12pm or 4pm and Saturday, December 23 at 10am for breakfast items or 1pm.

The Whole Hogg Farm

Rocket the Reindeer will be visiting the Malton farm as the cinematic experience should get all children in the festive spirit. The Whole Hogg will be converted into a winter wonderland, with farm-inspired Christmas decorations, crafts and plenty of festive treats to enjoy in the tearoom which will serve seasonal snack favourites and warm beverages.

The event was sold out on most days last year, and this year is set to be just as popular. Children will get to meet Santa at the event too. The event will be on various dates starting from Saturday, November 25.

Blacker Hall Farm

The Wakefield-based farm will be hosting a Christmas tasting weekend where visitors can sample plenty of delicious Christmas classics and feel inspired by the festive environment if you are struggling to find presents for loved ones this year.

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There is plenty of food to sample including the farm’s popular mince pies, festive sausage rolls, mincemeat and apple pie and everyone’s favourite cheese. What’s more, is that for any Christmas food orders placed on November 18 and 19 will receive a free tube of sausage meat with their order.

Beetle Bank Farm

Santa will be visiting the York farm on various dates in December. Each family has a 10 minute slot with the man, the myth, the legend and each child can choose their own gift. The barn will also be open for children to hug the rabbits and guinea pigs and the cafe will serve lunch with homemade cakes and Christmas treats.

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