AS the end of another year approaches our thoughts turn to the festivities.

Christmas is a lovely time for families to get together and, for children in particular, the celebrations bring the opportunity to meet that all important Man in Red - Father Christmas.

With only a few more weeks left to go until the start of the celebrations, families will be busy with all the preparations Christmas brings.

There are presents to purchase and wrap - there is only so much Santa can do after all - cards to write for those of us who still love putting pen to paper and giving that personal touch as opposed to pressing a key on a keyboard and instantly sending out e-cards - and plenty of other preparations for the party season.

Christmas t’is the season to be jolly busy and it’s also a precious time for catching up with those you may see only a handful of times during the year - important things we should be doing if it wasn’t for meeting the daily demands of the busy lives we lead.

So make sure you take advantage of the Bank Holiday and spend it wisely with family and friends. Christmas takes us away from the constraints of the daily routine and affords us that precious time to be with the ones we love.

It also gives families the opportunity to take part in fun activities together - so to give you a head start we’ve compiled a range of things to see and do over the festive season.

Immerse yourself in the true spirit of Christmas at Harewood House. Until Sunday January 6 this beautiful stately home near Leeds is hosting its bespoke Christmas experience featuring a dream-like decorated house dressed by creative director, Simon Costin, as well as two different Father Christmas experiences.

Visitors can experience Christmas past, stepping into the festivities on Christmas Eve 1929 and celebrating a special Christmas through the eyes of King George V’s grandsons George and Gerald.

‘At Home with Father & Mrs Christmas’ starts with a visit to Father Christmas’ cottage to hear interactive tales and songs; there are interactive trails too and a Twilight Treat.

Get crafty this Christmas creating a 4ft reindeer or a festive snowman during the Willow Weaving Workshops with local craftswoman, Leilah Vyner of Dragon Willow or create a wreath taking inspiration from the grounds of Harewood with Yorkshire floral design studio and flower school, Leafy Couture.

Chris Moss will be demonstrating how to create small wire birds using simple tools and techniques and Fiona Pickles from Firenza Flowers will lead a Stately Winter Botanicals workshop.

Visitors can really immerse themselves in the festive atmosphere with a magical Twilight Tour of Harewood’s Christmas displays at night.

For more information, or to get involved, visit or call 0113 218 1000.

Running until December 23 Yorkshire attraction, Lotherton Hall, is hosting its Christmas Experience. Families can feel the true spirit of the festivities with seasonal favourites such as the Twelve Days of Christmas Woodland Walk, the Elf Village, the Enchanted Fairy Dell, The House and Edwardian Selfie Studio, and The Christmas Courtyard.

The Christmas Experience also features a very special North Pole, where children can help Santa’s elves in their workshop, and share their wishes with Father Christmas.

The Christmas Experience is run by Lotherton, Leeds City Council and Breeze. Tickets are available now, with a number of visit options, early booking is recommended. Visit

Father Christmas has arrived at Tong Garden Centre, Tong Village where the team at Leeds-based Sneaky Experience have created a magical Arctic journey for young visitors to enjoy a 30 minute interactive experience to see the Man in Red.

Pre-booking is recommended. For more information, or to get involved, visit

The Chief Elf in Lapland is appealing for help with the festive preparations - the question is are you ready to take on this seasonal assignment?

If the answer is yes, then you are in for a magical experience at Thornton Hall Christmas Adventure.

The two hour experience includes a visit to Mrs Christmas’ festive kitchen as well as a ride on the Santa Express, visiting Father Christmas in his grotto and checking out the deer park. Young visitors also have the opportunity to dine with the Man in Red.

New for this year is the adapated ‘Just Be You’ sessions for those with additional needs. To get involved visit