Review: Christmas at York Museum Gardens is it worth it?

Review: Christmas at York Museum Gardens is it worth it?

Having lived in the Middle East for the past few years we were determined that this year we would have the most Christmassy of Christmases. And so to kick off the festive season we headed up to York for a festive mini break with the highlight of the trip being a visit to the new attraction, Christmas at York Museum Gardens. But is the new attraction worth the price?We arrived at 4:30 ready for our 4:45 entrance. The earliest time slot available and our little one was literally shaking the gates to get inside for the first glimpse of lights!

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Once inside you are led behind the museum to a courtyard with large Christmas tree and a small market area. As we were unsure how long the walk would take and aware of the toddlers usual bedtime we decided to skip this.

The first display was a Yorkshire themed 12 days of Christmas walk through the garden which we rather enjoyed and was a calm way to start the evening compromising of cartoons of Yorkshire representing the twelve days.

The next installation was perhaps my favourite – Christmas trees that light up to traditional Christmas music.

There was some confusion for us being first in as to whether you could walk amongst the trees or had to stick to designated paths so so more guidance in the area would be nice. Be aware there was only one bench but the cycle of songs wasn’t too long which meant that even our toddler was happy to stand and watch.

The next installation we came to was  the showpiece of the entire evening. A show projected onto the ruins of St Mary’s abbey.

Next up was a projection onto the museum and more market stalls serving mulled wine and donuts. I’ll be honest, the prices were pretty steep with donuts prices at 5GBP per tray but it was nice to have the option of a break and beverage stop.

Feeling refreshed we moved on to the next section which was made up of large letters displaying festive words. This was a great place to poses for festive family photos!

Our toddlers favourite section was the interactive jingle bells exhibit where you could hit buttons to shake bells. I felt very sorry for the lady stood next to this display as our toddler did make a racket!

The next stop was finding Santa at his grotto. Our 18 month old wasn’t sure so we moved on quickly which was lucky as a queue was forming and I’m sure this will be a traffic pinch point closer to Christmas so if this is a highlight for you then plan your visit around this. The children were offered sweeties but nothing was really toddler friendly so we gave this a miss.

One of the much advertised attractions of the gardens was the light tunnel and I must admit I was a little disappointed in its size. But our little one enjoyed.

So overall was Christmas at York museum gardens worth it?

This is hard to say. The tickets are pretty pricey:

Adult                                   £14.95

Child                                    £8.95 (Aged 16 and under)

Family                                 £40.00 (2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children)

Children under 4               Free

While we had a nice night, spending probably just over an hour in the gardens, I dont feel the tickets were good value for money. But on the other hand my little one loved the lights and had a great evening and that was what we were really going for!

So overall, I wouldn’t rush back but if you have kids I’m sure they will love the experience

For more ticket information, prices and times.

What Christmas lights have you been to? Was it good value?

Want to know more great things to do in York? Then why not check out our local guide to York?


  1. November 25, 2017 / 3:11 pm

    It does sound a little bit pricey, but I love the light projection in the ruins 🙂

  2. November 25, 2017 / 3:39 pm

    Aww pictures look lovely. Entry’s a little steep but I bet children love it!

  3. November 25, 2017 / 5:10 pm

    It looks lovely! It does seem a bit steep on the price, especially for a bigger family, but everything ends up being so expensive around Christmas anyway! The tunnel looks really pretty!

  4. November 25, 2017 / 6:44 pm

    Loooks amazing! We used to live in York, such a beautiful city!

  5. November 25, 2017 / 7:44 pm

    Having just come back from KidZania I can relate to the sentiment of doing it for the kids. The light tunnel does look beautiful even if it was a little disappointing in size.

  6. November 26, 2017 / 7:41 am

    Looks lovely, and I think the younger ones would be in awe. But I think my older ones would be a little disappointed. Thanks for a good review

  7. November 26, 2017 / 10:26 am

    Looks so lovely – shame that the tickets were that pricey though!

  8. November 26, 2017 / 10:36 am

    The lights looks stunning but you are right, it does seem rather pricey for an hour experience

  9. November 26, 2017 / 7:23 pm

    £5 for a tray of doughnuts??? Wow! That’s pretty expensive.
    Does sound beautiful though, with all the lights ?

  10. November 27, 2017 / 9:49 pm

    The lights look pretty but yes a little expensive! Little ones love the lights

  11. November 28, 2017 / 12:17 am

    I love an honest review and good to hear she enjoyed the lights and they do look very pretty but I agree the tickets are pricey but it seems everywhere is these days

    Laura x

  12. November 28, 2017 / 10:18 am

    I went to York a couple of months ago, can imagine it’s very pretty at Christmas! It’s a shame you didn’t feel it was the best value though! #citytripping

  13. November 28, 2017 / 10:57 am

    Wow, isn’t this time of year just perfect? I also went to visit a light festival recently, albeit a free one. I have visited a light festival a few years ago that costed about €12.50 and thought it was worth it (true art installations, by world renown artists). The free ones can get quite crowded, that’s the downside.

  14. November 28, 2017 / 11:38 am

    We go to ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo every year. Since it’s free, I think it is absolutely worth it. #citytripping

  15. November 28, 2017 / 6:46 pm

    Such a useful review- I haven’t taken my daughter to a light show as I always fear she’ll lose interest after 10 mins and they are usually a mini investment. It sounds like they’ve put some thought into this to keep people entertained and glad your toddler enjoyed the display. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

  16. November 28, 2017 / 9:35 pm

    It’s always so difficult yo know what to expect when an attraction is new. Everyone wants to cash in on Christmas but it takes a lot to get it right. The projection onto the abbey looks great. Shame they hadn’t catered for little ones seeing Father Christmas. I didn’t let me first daughter have sweets until she was about two…the second one however… 😉 #citytripping

  17. November 29, 2017 / 2:34 pm

    That does seem a little steep for an hour, but I do appreciate that they offer a family ticket! I’m a sucker for Christmas lights, so I could probably be convinced… but my husband would definitely be dubious. 😉 #citytripping

  18. December 1, 2017 / 11:44 am

    Christmassy events always seem to be quite pricey. I like the look of the light displays here – for London, these prices are fairly normal (except for the £5 doughnuts!), but York might be different. It’s not the sort of thing you could afford to do too much of, that’s for sure! I hope you enjoyed the rest of your time in York. Thanks for linking up with #CulturedKids

  19. December 1, 2017 / 1:17 pm

    It does seem a little expensive, but still a fun festive activity to do! #farawayfiles

  20. December 1, 2017 / 1:24 pm

    £5 for doughnuts! The lights look pretty though and the projection on the walls look great. For my money the best Christmas light show is to be had from the top deck of a number 6 bus down Regent Street in London. #CulturedKids

  21. December 2, 2017 / 12:47 am

    I see what you mean about the ticket prices, however your photos did turn out lovely and it sounds like it was a fun evening! We really enjoyed York when we were visited last year, but it was summer, so no light festival… #farawayfiles

  22. Katy
    December 2, 2017 / 10:44 am

    Good to see you getting your Chrissy on! (We shorten everything in Australia). I researched a trip to York about a year ago and abandoned the plan due to the prices – we got a lot better value (and food) in France. I hope you didn’t have to pay for your daughter too… thanks for the tips on #farawayfiles

  23. December 4, 2017 / 1:45 pm

    The entrance indeed seems a bit steep. But, if your little one still enjoyed the lights the visit wasn’t complete waste of time and money. 🙂 #FarawayFiles

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