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Yorkshire at Christmas

4.1 stars(7 reviews)

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

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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UK rail connections


4.1 stars4.1 / 5 · 7 reviews

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

Mrs S Anderson

3 stars

Submitted 25 Apr 2019

No problem with GRJ other than their choice of hotel. The Old Swan in Harrogate would be rated 0 in our opinion. Our room was dated, dingy, noisy (wedding parties until the early hours outside our window), hot, badly furnished - I could go on. The hotel food was BAD. Bones in a chicken terrine, totally uncooked roast potatoes, everything totally tasteless. The hotel lounge was too small with lack of seating therefore we ended up spending too many hours in our awful room sitting on the bed (no chairs or table) looking sideways at a tiny tv. All in all the worst Christmas we have ever had. Having said that our GRJ tour leader was excellent and all the trips were most enjoyable. I bet you wish you had never asked!!

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Miss A Halford

4 stars

Submitted 29 Jan 2018

Good value, very comfortable hotel with helpful staff. The trips were varied & much enjoyed. One member of the group was repeating the same trip having done it the year before. Our leader was very attentive and we formed into a friendly cohesive group.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mrs J Sneary

5 stars

Submitted 19 Jan 2018

Great Rail take great care to look after their customers and provide excellent customer service . Our tour guide was friendly and considerate without being overbearing and she mad sure our tour went as well as it could do . This was my second Holiday with great rail and I hope to o many more !

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mrs J Green

4 stars

Submitted 13 Jan 2018

Excellent, just a bit let down over hotel and the weather ... fog obscured the view from the viaduct

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr B Shaw

5 stars

Submitted 12 Jan 2018

everything smoothly from start to finish and was accurate as stated in the brochure

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr M Todman

4 stars

Submitted 12 Jan 2018

The replacement visit to Betty's Tearooms (in place of Ripley Castle) was disappointing.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

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Europe by Rail 2022

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Yorkshire at Christmas

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


Helen Laverack
Lynne Broadley
Luke Simpson
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