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Father Christmas and Light Trail Update

Father Christmas Update

It has now been announced that North Yorkshire will be a Tier 2 region, following the national Lockdown.
We are delighted that our Father Christmas events at Castle Howard can go ahead as planned from 4th December.

Our Father Christmas events have now sold out, apologies for any disappointment caused.

Please read the following information carefully, which will explain everything you need to know pre-visit.

Refund and Cancellation Policy

If you are in a tier 3 area, we would advise you to follow the government guidance regarding travel to tier 1 and 2 areas. It is not our responsibility as the event organiser and venue to police where people are travelling from and it is up to you, the booker to act responsibly. Please see the government guidelines on travel here...

If you have booked and find yourselves in a tier 3 zone, you can request a refund up until 10am on Monday 30th November, after this window no refunds will be offered, please contact the See Tickets customer services team You will need to log in using your booking reference and have your postcode to hand.

You will be refunded the ticket price of Father Christmas, however as per the terms and conditions See Tickets will retain the booking fee, as this covers their staffing, administration and website costs. We cannot offer refunds for anyone who can’t come due to illness, or any other personal circumstances, or if you are in tier 2 and therefore permitted to attend, we are only offering refunds for postcodes that fall into tier 3. If you purchased ticket insurance at the time of booking, please refer to see tickets insurance policy. The insurance covers you should you have a positive COVID test, but does not cover travel restrictions.

What to do if you can no longer attend due to illness or unforeseen circumstances?

Please let us know if you are unable to attend a performance, due to illness at the last minute. It is really important for the running of the event, as we will pre set each session with the correct bubbles of seating. Please email

 If you are unable to attend your booked event, and therefore unable to claim a refund for your tickets, Castle Howard will offer a complimentary family Gardens admission ticket for a return visit in 2021. Tickets will be valid for a visit from 1st January through to 1st November 2021. Please state in your email if you would like to take up this offer.

For those attending either An Enchanted Audience with Father Christmas or Stories with Santa in the Courtyard Grotto...


Please park in the main visitor car park and enter via the Courtyard Ticket Office. Please display your parking permit in your windscreen.
If you have booked for ‘An Enchanted Evening with Father Christmas’, this will take place in the Long Gallery inside the House. Please have your tickets ready to scan at the Ticket Office. You will then be directed down the North Front Drive, which is lined with Christmas trees, and the Main House Entrance is a 5-10 minute walk from the Ticket Office. We advise that you do not get to the Main House Entrance more than 15 minutes before the start of your session. Please expect to queue outside, to ensure social distancing and minimising too many people being inside the House Entrance lobby. Each bubble will be taken one at a time to the performance space and chairs will have already been laid out for your party, so there is no need to try to be first in the queue as all seats get a great view.
If you are visiting the Grotto this will take place within the Stable Courtyard.

Can I visit the Gardens during the day if I have booked an evening ‘Enchanted Audience’ session?

Yes – Visitors attending an evening showing of the ‘Enchanted Audience with Father Christmas’ can visit the Gardens and Adventure playground during the day on the same day at no extra charge. Those wishing to visit the Gardens earlier in the day must reserve a time slot on our website by clicking here ( You should use the ‘Affiliate Ticket’ option to book in the number of adults and children wishing to visit.
PLEASE NOTE: You will only be permitted admission with an affiliate ticket upon presentation of a valid ‘Enchanted Audience with Father Christmas’ booking confirmation. Free admission to the Gardens will only be available for the number of guests booked for the evening event. Failure to present a valid booking confirmation will result in you having to pay for full price Garden’s admission tickets.

What will be open during my visit to Castle Howard?

Late night shopping and eating opportunities are being laid on this year in the Courtyard to ensure you have a magical visit. The Farm Shop and Carriage House Gift Shop will be open from 10am until 7pm. It is the perfect opportunity to fit in some shopping for festive gifts, foodie treats and decorations and order your Christmas dinner from our butchers, who work with local farmers to provide fantastic quality meats.
The Garden Centre will be open daily 10am until 6pm, which is an hour later than usual, giving you the chance to pick up a wreath, house plant, range of decorations and dog presents or even your British grown Christmas Tree.

Will we be able to eat before or after the Father Christmas experiences?

The Wood Fired Pizza oven will be open from 4pm until 7pm in the Courtyard every day, that we have Father Christmas visiting, serving pizza and hot dogs, and the braziers will be set up with marshmallow toasting. There’ll also be one of our new horsebox catering trailers serving hot chocolate, cherry brownies, mulled wine and coffees to keep you warm.
During the day the Coffee Shop and Boathouse café will be open and on weekends you’ll find additional pop up catering down at the playground.
The inside seating in the Courtyard Café will be open to use as an undercover option too.
Please note that food and drink (other than water) will not be permitted inside the House. We would therefore recommend you arrive in good time to enjoy eating and shopping before the event.


We would advise that you use the toilets in the Courtyard as you arrive, before you make your way to the House. There will be toilets available in the House, but they are a bit of a distance from the Long Gallery so there’s a risk you’ll miss some of the performance if you need to take a trip to the toilet during the performance.


If you are attending ‘An Enchanted Audience with Father Christmas’ and require use of the House chairlift please let us know and we will ensure we have one of our team ready to assist you.
The 4pm performance on 9th and 10th December will be British Sign Language Interpreted. If you would like to utilise this service, please let us know so that we can seat you in the best place to see the interpreter. Please email 

Please note that pushchairs are not permitted in the Long Gallery and we will provide a buggy park area in the House entrance where you can leave your pushchair.

COVID Secure Event

At both Father Christmas events we will operate social distancing, ask adults and children over 11 years old to wear masks, and have hand sanitiser available. All seating will be sprayed and disinfected between audiences entering the space. There will be no physical contact between any audience members and Father Christmas performers. In the background we are running the event following all current guidelines to keep audiences and our performers safe, and indeed some of our teams have bubbled or are in residence at Castle Howard.
If you or anyone in your household are displaying symptoms of COVID please do not attend the event.

Letters to Santa

In both the Grotto and the Long Gallery there will be a post box for any letters that need to make it to the North Pole in time for Christmas, so please do bring your letters along with you.

Running Times

The Grotto experience will last approximately 15/20 minutes.
The ‘Enchanted Audience With Father Christmas’ experience in the House will last 45/60minutes.


Light Trail 'Wish Upon A Frozen Star' Update

It is with great sadness that we have to announce that ‘Wish Upon a Frozen Star’, this year’s Castle Howard Christmas event has been cancelled.

All bookers will be contacted by See Tickets to organise refunds and we thank you for your support, and understand there will be many disappointed people. We are extremely disappointed ourselves not to be able to make this new magical event happen this year, but the safety of our staff, our visitors and the financial stability of the organisation have to take priority to ensure we can come back next year with another Christmas event that will once again surprise and delight our visitors.

 We will put any tickets that become available for either An Enchanted Audience with Father Christmas or Stories with Santa in the Courtyard Grotto back on sale via See Tickets, with a link here as soon as they are bookable. 

For ticketing queries please contact See Tickets Customer Services 

If you need to contact Castle Howard please call 01653 213213, please note we have a small team answering this general enquiries number so please bear with us.


Farm Shop Christmas Orders

Make Christmas Dinner stress free by ordering delicious food from our Farm Shop.

Our Christmas Order Forms are now available, either pick one up from our Farm Shop or click here to order now. Please note than order forms need to be returned by 5pm on Thursday 10th December 2020.