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Yorkshire at Christmas

3.2 stars(18 reviews)

Celebrate the festive season in the heart of God’s own country.

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7 days Sold out

2021 Tour code: YKX22

About the tour

Enjoy all the Christmas cheer that Yorkshire has to offer from the beautiful spa town of Harrogate. This festive holiday includes fantastic rail journeys on the Settle-Carlisle and Wensleydale Railways and visits to picturesque Fountains Abbey and the medieval city of York, each adorned with their own special seasonal decorations.


What’s included


Day 1 - Harrogate

Make your way to Harrogate and meet your Tour Manager at the hotel. You're then free in the spa town of Harrogate, which boasts a scenic location in the heart of North Yorkshire's Nidd Valley. Harrogate is home to beautiful parks and an abundance of historic buildings, including the town's famous spa. If you want to relax, you could plan a visit to the Victorian-era Turkish Baths, do some shopping at one of the many independent boutiques or enjoy a stroll around the wintry Valley Gardens ahead of dinner.

  • Dinner
Day 2 – Settle-Carlisle Railway

Leaving Harrogate behind, we head to Settle by coach to join the famous Settle-Carlisle Line. This 72-mile route is regularly voted one of the world's top railway journeys thanks to the gorgeous scenery it travels through, which at this time of year is filled with seasonally appropriate countryside. We make our way along a narrow valley into the Yorkshire Dales National Park, enjoying views of two of the Three Peaks, Pen-y-Ghent and Ingleborough, before reaching the most famous landmark the route, the magnificent 24-arched Ribblehead Viaduct. Our train's ascent comes to an end as we enter Blea Moor Tunnel and continue across the Dent Head Viaduct for a glimpse of Whernside, the third of the Three Peaks. From Dent, the highest mainline station in England, we journey across the Moorcock Viaduct, leaving the Yorkshire Dales National Park behind as we travel through Cumbria and the rolling hills of the Eden Valley on our way to Carlisle where you have free time to look around and soak in the festive atmosphere before making the return trip to Harrogate.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 – York

We catch the train to York for a fascinating guided tour of its ancient sights, including the 12th-century Gothic Minster and the medieval Shambles, all decked out in festive fairy lights. The rest of your day is free and you might like to visit the city's quaint Christmas market, which offers a delightful assortment of gifts, crafts, local farm produce and continental foods. Stroll through Parliament Square, lined with charming wooden stalls, and take in the warming scent of mulled wine and bratwurst as you indulge in a spot of Christmas shopping. Alternatively, you could visit one of the city's renowned museums, such as Jorvik, which gives in-depth insight into York's Viking past, or the National Railway Museum.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - The Wensleydale Railway

Today is Christmas Eve, and we join the Wensleydale Railway, enjoying a mince pie and mulled wine before we travel through the lovely Yorkshire countryside. After our journey, we visit Bettys Tea Rooms back in Harrogate for a luxury cream tea.

Day 5 is Christmas Day, and the emphasis is on good food and relaxation. We enjoy a traditional Christmas lunch with all the trimmings before an afternoon spent at leisure. This evening, we sit down to a festive buffet dinner together in the hotel.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 – Christmas Day in Harrogate

It's Christmas Day and the emphasis is on good food and relaxation. We enjoy a traditional Christmas lunch, served with all the trimmings, before a free afternoon for you to take a leisurely walk or unwind in the hotel. This evening, we sit down to a festive buffet dinner followed by entertainment.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 - Fountains Abbey

We take a Boxing Day excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Fountains Abbey. Set within a beautiful estate, these are the largest monastic ruins in the country and the abbey hosts an annual candlelit carol service within the Cellarium, which we attend. You are free to explore the atmospheric grounds afterwards, home to red deer, otters and mountain hares, before we return to the hotel.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 – Homeward bound

Our festive holiday comes to an end today and you're free to depart Harrogate in your own time.

  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.


Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate

Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate

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Settle-Carlisle Railway
Wensleydale Railway

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3.2 stars3.2 / 5 · 18 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
  3. 3 stars
  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star

Jay Are

1 stars

Submitted 12/Jan

The experience did not match all the points in the brochure description. The hotel was very badly organised. The food was just one step from school dinner standard. The Santa train experience did not include Santa in any form. All in all a very disappointing holiday for a special season.

Collected by Trustpilot

Mr Keyth Richardson

4 stars

Submitted 8/Jan

Great Tour Manager and itinerary but let down by poor service at the hotel. However I will continue to use GRJ, as they are a good firm

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H Coombey-jones

1 stars

Submitted 8/Jan

Hotel was not 4* standard Food and service at hotel terrible Trips were disappointing Overall - would not recommend this trip

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2 stars

Submitted 8/Jan

Standard of holiday fell way below what is expected from Great Rail holidays. The hotel was more Faulty Towers than 4*. The rooms were very tired and far too small for a long stay and our room keys (electronic) had to be reactivated almost every day; they had staffing issues which could be allowed for in the circumstances but those in charge gave out wrong information or were quite rude to guests. Christmas lunch was almost inedible (undercooked veg and roast potatoes) but perhaps that was because we had to eat it at 12.00!! It wasn't Great Rail's fault that the weather was too bad to see anything on the scenic train rides but the Christmas Eve Santa Special was disgusting. It was about a mile journey up and down the line taken very slowly so we got the best views of brick walls and cuttings before we arrived at a mean Christmas tableau with no santa and the lights off. The railway carriage was filthy with blocked toilets, the engine a smelly diesel; this is classed as a Heritage Line. The trips to York and Fountains Abbey were good. Overall, hugely disappointing

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Andrew Coles

5 stars

Submitted 6/Jan

Very enjoyable break, in a comfortable hotel close to the centre of Harrogate. Good food and service, and a varied and interesting programme of trips and events.

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1 stars

Submitted 4/Jan

The Hotel was very poor, very old and tired. Cold water running hot could not shower, room very basic, no storage for cloths for a 4 star hotel. Food really poor, management needs a good shake up. I would not recommend this hotel or go there again,

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Europe by Rail 2022

Europe by Rail 2022

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Yorkshire at Christmas

Celebrate the festive season in the heart of God’s own country.


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