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Into the Woods: A Fairytale Christmas

This Christmas, Castle Howard becomes a wonderland of happily ever afters, fair maidens and magic as we bring you a Christmas experience like no other.

Saturday 12th November 2022 – Monday 2nd January 2023



Ticket prices will vary subject to whether you choose to book on a peak or off-peak date. Please take note of whether your desired date is peak or off-peak from the calendar when making your booking.

After the sell-out success of last year’s ‘Christmas in Narnia’ experience, Charlotte Lloyd Webber Events and The Projection Studio are back and set to transform grand rooms into magical forests and faraway kingdoms. Expect to be enchanted by theatrical installations and projections that bring to life your favourite fairytales as the sounds of glass slippers on ballroom floors and horse-drawn pumpkins echo through the great halls via state-of-the-art soundscapes.

Our theme also means Father Christmas will pay a special visit throughout December, bringing an immersive theatrical experience in the main House and a Storytelling Grotto in the Courtyard. He’s got lots of children to see, so make sure you book your spot before they’re all gone!

During the festive period, visitors can indulge in Christmas shopping, from unique gifts to delicious local produce for the all-important Christmas dinner. You can even purchase your British-grown Christmas trees from the Garden Centre. But before you deck your halls, enjoy ours with a festive afternoon tea before taking in the magical surroundings with a mulled wine at our after-dark experiences featuring winter light displays, and twinkling Christmas trees.

Castle Howard Gold and Silver Members can book tickets using the link sent via email

House and Grounds Winter Opening Times

Pre Christmas

Off Peak (November): 10.30am – 4.00pm
Off Peak (December): 10.30am – 5.00pm
Peak: 10.30am – 7.00pm

Post Christmas

Peak: 10.30am – 4.00pm

An Immersive theatre experience for families within the Main House.
It’s that glorious time of year again and we are thrilled to welcome back the award winning Story Craft Theatre who'll be bringing some magic to the Grotto this year.

Twilight at Castle Howard

Visit us at twilight for scenes straight out of a storybook and experience Castle Howard against a backdrop of winter nights

Icy twinkling lights at dusk, sparkling trees against the dark sky, and an indulgent winter warmer in our cafes, all make your Christmas visit that bit more special.

Soak up the enchanting atmosphere, enjoy an array of winter treats in our catering outlets and warm yourself by roaring log fires. Find that special present in our Gift Shops or Garden Centre and why not visit our Farm Shop to choose from the finest local produce for your Christmas parties.


Further Festivities

Whilst also enjoying a trip to this year’s light installations or a visit to Father Christmas, you can enjoy a host of seasonal delights from our food outlets and Farm Shop, offering the best in seasonal local produce.


Happily Ever Afternoon Tea
There is no truer escape than food! Excite your imagination even further with delectable delights as part of our themed afternoon tea in the splendid Grecian Hall.

Make your experience even more magical with a glass of Nyetimber Cuvee Cherie Demi Sec.

You can add our afternoon tea offer during the Christmas experience booking process.

Please note, we have initially released weekend tickets for Afternoon Tea, weekday slots and further capacity will be released soon.
Christmas Shopping
As always, our Garden Centre and Gift Shops will be open to help you source the best in Christmas gifting and decoration.

From ordering your turkey to finding the perfect Christmas tree, Castle Howard has it all this winter.

More information coming soon.

Farm Shop Christmas Orders

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

More information coming soon about our Christmas Order Forms.


FAQs and contact details

Parking Charges

A parking charge of £5 per vehicle will be in place throughout our Christmas opening period for those attending our Christmas event in the House; ‘Into The Woods; A Fairytale Christmas’, and to our Father Christmas experience in the Main House ‘Christmas at the Castle with Father Christmas and Friends’.

There is no parking charge for those just visiting the Gardens, the Courtyard outlets, including the Grotto, OR for Friends of Castle Howard or for Blue Badge Holders.

The parking charge helps to cover the increased cost that is incurred by putting on a large scale Christmas event in the House, including trackway, additional lighting and car parking staff.

Please have your pre-paid parking permit ready when you arrive as these will be checked on arrival by a member of our friendly team. If you have not booked a prepaid parking permit, you will be asked to purchase one before entering the main visitor car park.

You will be able to purchase your parking permit as part of the Into the Woods: A Fairytale Christmas booking experience. 

Seeing Santa at Castle Howard

We have two Santa experiences running at Castle Howard this Christmas.

If you have booked/ are booking for ‘Christmas at the Castle with Father Christmas and Friends’, this will take place in the High South inside the House and is a 45 minute immersive theatrical show.

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. The entrance for Father Christmas is off the North Quadrant and will be signposted.

A ticket to the ‘Father Christmas and Friends’ show in the Main House includes a trip around the House to see ‘Into the Woods’ on the same day as your show ticket. For the evening performances we advise it will only be possible to go round the House before your Father Christmas session. During the daytime you can choose to do the experiences in either order, but please note last entry times to go around the House on the day of your visit.

Admission to the House and Gardens will only be available for the number of guests booked for the Father Christmas & Friends event. Failure to present a valid booking confirmation will result in you having to pay for full price admission tickets.

If you are visiting the Stories with Santa Grotto this will take place within the Stable Courtyard and will last approx. 15 – 20 minutes. Your ticket to the Courtyard Grotto does not include entry to the House and Grounds. Tickets to go through into the Gardens or to see ‘Into The Woods’ must be purchased in addition to your Grotto tickets.

For both experiences up to 2 adults are permitted per party. This is due to space restrictions.

What will be open during my visit to Castle Howard?

The Farm Shop and Gift Shop will be open in the Courtyard 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, giving you the chance to pick up a wreath, house plant, range of decorations and dog presents or even your British grown Christmas Tree.

For those visiting the House, the Gift Shop and Christmas Emporium will be open during our House opening hours. Please check nearer the time for this information.

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

There are many food outlets on site offering a range of delicious food. The Courtyard Café will be serving a festive menu while our horsebox trailer will also be offering mulled wine, hot chocolate, teas, coffees, and other festive delights.

The Fitzroy, situated within the House will also be serving a festive menu including the quintessential turkey roast dinner for those that are looking for a hearty Christmas meal.

'Happily Ever Afternoon Tea', will be served in the Grecian Hall, and will only be available to book online. You can book Afternoon Tea Tickets while completing our Christmas experience booking process. 

The boathouse will also be open at weekends, offering hot and cold food.

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 have toilets as well as accessible and baby changing facilities available at the Courtyard, House and Boathouse. Due to high visitor numbers at peak times, you may experience some queues.


For full details on accessibility at Castle Howard, please visit the accessibility page of our website.

Please note: The 'Father Christmas & Friends’ event will take place in the High South and we regret that this area is not accessible to wheelchair users.

Our 'Stories with Santa' event in the Courtyard Grotto is fully accessible.

There will also be a relaxed ‘Father Christmas & Friends’ experience designed for those who are more sensitive to theatrical light and sound. This performance will take place on Tuesday 13th Dec at 5pm. To attend this performance, please email

We will be providing an Integrated Signed performance on certain dates which will be released very soon, if you are interested in attending this performance, please email

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

Letters to Santa

In both the Grotto and the High South 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 'Christmas at the Castle with Father Christmas and Friends' experience in the House will last 45 – 60 minutes.