Harrogate has long been a favourite Christmas destination for many. Whether you are extending your stay for business events to soak up the festive vibes, or planning a memorable destination Christmas for your loved ones, the charming and elegant Victorian spa town promises something for everyone.
From early December the spa town of Harrogate will sparkle and shine with fun festive attractions from outdoor ice rink and Ferris wheel and Christmas markets, and Harrogate Convention Centre, Royal Hall and the wider town and district of Harrogate have plenty on offer to get you and the little ones in the festive mood this year.
Shop till you drop
Celebrating their 10th year in Harrogate this year, Country Living Christmas Fair (1-4 December) at Harrogate Convention Centre promises expert festive cooking demonstrations, crafting and tasting workshops, as well as endless Christmas shopping for everything from festive décor and party treats to stylish gifts for your loved ones.
Destination Harrogate is bringing back Harrogate Christmas Fayre (2-11 December), which launched in 2021, bigger and better for 2022 - with a great variety of stalls to browse for Christmas gifts, decorations and seasonal foodie treats. Delivered by Market Place Europe, the traditional Christmas market will take place in the town centre and will offer an eclectic mix of enticing stalls to complement Harrogate’s independent retailers, restaurants, bars and boutique stores.
Little Bird Made artisan market (3-4 and 10-11 December) will take up residence in Harrogate’s historic Valley Gardens for the first two weekends in December with jewellery, crafts and gifts from local traders, adding to the unique Christmas shopping experience in the heart of the town.
There is also plenty of entertainment at Harrogate Convention Centre and Royal Hall to set the scene for the festive season. The Harrogate Christmas Concert (3 Dec) will feature school children, Harrogate Symphony Orchestra (HSO) and Harrogate Choral Society.
Handel’s Messiah (10 Dec) will treat you to the glorious Hallelujah chorus by Harrogate Choral Society, joined by soloists Kathryn Jenkin, Soprano; Gaynor Keeble, Mezzo; David Woods, Tenor; and Andrew Mayor, Bass, accompanied by the internationally acclaimed Manchester Camerata.
Tenor powerhouse Il Divo Plus Special Guests (10 Dec) will see Urs Bühler, David Miller, Sébastien Izambard and others perform festive classics as well as their much-loved greatest hits offering the ultimate fan experience.
A Fanfare for Christmas 2022 – Brighouse And Rastrick With Harrogate G & S (17 Dec) will present an eclectic mix of music by one of the greatest bands in the world of brass for the whole family, with seasonal favourites, carols to sing along to, as well as movies favourites and more.
The Mayor’s Christmas Carol Concert (23 Dec) promises a traditional evening of carols and Christmas music, while the Gilbert & Sullivan Festival – New Year Gala Weekend (7 January 2023) will offer a glittering concert of wonderful waltzes, beautiful ballads and much more, performed by the National Festival Orchestra conducted by Chris Milton and starring our fabulous opera stars to help you celebrate 2023 in style.
Outdoor ice rink, Candy Cane Express and giant Ferris wheel
All new for 2022 is an outdoor ice skating rink, with an après ski bar offering seasonal treats and refreshments and a giant 32m Ferris wheel offering spectacular views of the surrounding area. A traditional carousel, together with children’s fairground rides, will add to the Christmas attractions in Harrogate’s Crescent Gardens, provided by Events By Cynosure and supported by Harrogate Borough Council’s Parks and Environmental Services team.
The Christmas road train experience is also back for 2022, to transport festive revellers around Harrogate town centre while the market is on, with the Candy Cane Express co-funded by Harrogate BID. Father Christmas and his elves are rumoured to be dropping in from the North Pole, too!
Off the beaten track
An amazing array of Christmas activities and experiences are taking place throughout the wider district, with the Swinton Estate near Masham hosting a series of seasonal events from wreath making to festive afternoon teas, Christmas lunch courses at the Cookery School to delicious Christmas dining options and festive residential packages. Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden near Ripon will host “Music and Lights” throughout December, where visitors can take in the beauty of the abbey ruins illuminated in colour and sing along to carols, with live musical performances on selected dates.
With Christmas light displays, carol singing and festive family events happening across the whole of the Harrogate district, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a festive day out or seasonal short break this year.