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!
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:
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
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?