The festive season has arrived in Harrogate! From testing the skates on the ice rink to taking a ride on the Candy Cane Express, here’s what you can get up to over the Christmas period.

The Christmas lights, funded by Harrogate BID, kicked off all things festive in the town centre on November 16th. Buildings, lampposts and trees will continue to shine with glitter garlands, mini drop lights, chasing rope lights until the second week of January.

The Harrogate Christmas Fayre launched on Friday (December 1st) and will run for 17 days until December 17th. More than 50 stalls line Cambridge Street and Market Place selling themed food, drinks, gifts and more. Live entertainment and carol singers will provide that festive atmosphere as you eat, drink and shop! The Fayre will be open between 10am and 7pm from Monday to Saturday and 11am to 4.30pm on a Sunday.

Families can hop on-board the free Candy Cane Express road train around the town centre, as well as the brand new open top bus experience, offering the chance to learn more about Harrogate’s famous landmarks through a tour guide. Delivered by Transdev, the open-top bus experience, thought to be the first of its kind to come to Harrogate, will run during the weekends that Harrogate Christmas Fayre takes place from December 1st to 17th. The bus will leave approximately every 20 minutes from Montpellier Hill, Crescent Gardens, Cheltenham Parade, the Bus Station and West Park. Tickets cost £1 for adults, while up to three children aged under 16 can travel for free with each paying adult.

Crescent Gardens has a bigger and better fairground feel this year, featuring a carousel, as well as a number of smaller rides for the youngsters. Meanwhile, an outdoor ice rink, also at Crescent Gardens, will coincide with the festive market for the first time, running from today until January 7th.

The North Pole Post Office, funded by Harrogate BID and produced by Harrogate International Festivals, is back for its fourth year, well in time for children to post their letters to Father Christmas before the big day. Running out of the Harrogate International Festivals office on Cheltenham Parade until Christmas Eve, the Post Office feature been a key festive feature in the town since 2020, with bright lights, snow flurries and music.

Children can share their Christmas wish list with Santa himself during the Father Christmas Experience, sponsored by Harrogate BID, which will be hosted at the Cedar Court Hotel until December 24th. Families are invited to visit the Elf village, explore the Forest of Enchanted Wishes and join a sing-along with the elves, all before meeting Santa in his grotto.

The Little Bird Christmas Market will bring an artisan festive feel to Valley Gardens every weekend in the lead up to Christmas from the 2nd to the 17th, featuring a line-up of more than 70 traders, hot food stands and coffee stops. The market will run from 10am until 6pm each Saturday and 10am until 4pm every Sunday.

Visitors can join Dick Whittington on the adventure of a lifetime during this year’s pantomime at Harrogate Theatre. On stage until January 14th, Dick will be joined by his trusty sidekick Tammy the Cat on his mission to defeat the evil King Rat! Further details on show times and ticket prices can be found on the Harrogate Theatre website.

The Harrogate BID team are excited to again partner with the Rotary Club of Harrogate to organise and judge this year’s Christmas shop window competition. Participating businesses had the chance to dress their windows while taking into consideration three key elements to catch the judges’ eyes – illumination, innovation and the Spirit of Christmas. A winner for each category, alongside a highly commended window, will be announced during an awards evening on December 7th.

The Harrogate Gift Card has got all of your Christmas shopping needs covered for 2023. From national chains to small independents, more than 100 businesses are registered to use the card with, including retail, cafés, bars, restaurants, hairdressers, hotels and many more. To buy the Gift Card, click this link.