39 things to do in York this weekend, December 16-17 2017

How’s this for a festive weekend? A bit of shopping, lots of carols and Christmas hits, some story telling – and top panto fun!

As always, York’s comprehensive guide to things do to in York is here.

York’s Annual Christmas Carol Concert!

This tradition has now been going 60 years, and it’s the only way to start your Christmas… This year join musicians including the York Railway Institude Band and York Civic Youth Choir for a festive celebration like no other.

Christmas carol service and church service guide – York 2017

17th December 2017
York Barbican
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York Christmas Festival – Shambles Market Party Weekend on Saturday and Sunday
Christmas Caroling at Barley Hall on Saturday and Sunday
Big Festive Buskathon 2017 at Coppergate Shopping Centre on Saturday
Christmas Carols in the park at West Bank Park on Saturday
Lantern Procession & Carols at Glen Gardens on Saturday
Carols at Central at the Central Methodist Church on Sunday
Christmas Brass Band at The Micklegate at 127 on Sunday
Candlelit Christmas with Alistair Griffin and Abi Alton at Holy Trinity Goodramgate on Sunday

Beauty and the Beast

Debbie McGee in last year’s panto Aladdin
The revamped Grand Opera House pantomime was seriously good – and seriously silly too – last year, and the same team are back to surprise and delight this Christmas. The stars are led by Debbie McGee, who has been combining rehearsals for the panto with those for the Strictly final this weekend – she joins the cast on Monday.

16th December 2017 – Sun January 7
Grand Opera House York
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A Yorkshire Christmas at Friargate Theatre on Saturday
Music Night presents A Christmas Cocktail at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre on Sunday


They’re made of strong stuff, those York Theatre Royal panto stalwarts. Berwick Kaler, the nation’s longest running consecutive panto dame, is back for his 39th outing despite a double heart bypass. And his sidekick Martin Barrass returns after his remarkable recovery from a near fatal road accident. With the team reunited, expect all kinds of daft mayhem.

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The Snowman at York Minster on Saturday
Elf (PG) at the New Earswick Folk Hall on Sunday


Christmas music with a twist. Fourteen singers from bands in York and North Yorkshire make well known festive hits their own in the wonderful surroundings of Holy Trinity. It’s a night staged by Jericho Keys and the BBC Radio York Introducing team who do so much to support musical talent in the city.

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The Society of Strange & Ancient Instruments at the National Centre For Early Music on Saturday
Ain’t Misbehavin at the Unitarian Chapel on Saturday
Flatcap Carnival’s Festive Fiesta at Fibbers on Saturday
Dvsk / Rival Bones / Young Bulls / Honey Smugglers at the Basement on Saturday
Christmas Party with the ‘Melody Makers’ at the Inn On The Green on Saturday
Pete Godson with the Turnpike Trust at the Edinburgh Arms on Saturday
Writer’s Rain at The Nook on Saturday
Moonshine Creek at the Snickleway Inn on Saturday
The Surfing Magazines at the Crescent on Sunday
Christmas Fundraising To Support Refugees In Calais at the Fulford Arms on Sunday
Jamnesty 2: The Second One at the Basement on Sunday


At Mix Towers we don’t consider Christmas shopping to be last minute until at least quarter past Christmas Eve. But the big day is getting closer, and this fair showcasing the crafty talents of Yorkshire designers and makers, offers up many unique gift ideas.

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Christmas Fayre at the Ainsty on Saturday
York Christmas Fair and mince pies at Bowler Vintage on Saturday
Christmas craft and gift fair at Haxby Memorial Hall on Saturday
Reindeer Visit at Monks Cross! on Saturday
Meet and Greet the Pets from Greyhound Trust at Pets At Home on Sunday


Story telling is a big part of the festive season. Head along to the beautiful Fairfax House to hear traditional tales of daring deeds, dwarves and dragons. There’s hot chocolate to drink and daft parlour games to try.

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Autism-friendly Santa’s Grotto at the Wilberforce Trust on Sunday
Storytime with Father Christmas at Beningbrough Hall on Saturday and Sunday
Winter at Treasurer’s House on Saturday and Sunday
Cool Christmas Chemistry at the Poppleton Centre on Saturday
Children’s Christmas Party at the Acorn Rugby Club on Sunday