Christmas is just around the corner, and you might be thinking about places to visit and things to do where you can make happy memories with friends and family. The Yorkshire Coast has plenty of Christmas traditions to explore that you’re unlikely to find anywhere else, so grab a hot chocolate (or mulled wine!), put your Christmas tunes on, and tuck into a mince pie while you read about Christmas on the Yorkshire Coast.


Christmas traditions in Scarborough

Santa Claus arriving in Scarborough

Welcome Santa Claus as he arrives at Scarborough Harbour by boat, all the way from the North Pole! Join Santa on Saturday 18 November 2023 as he makes his way from Scarborough Harbour at 11am to his grotto on the lower ground floor of Boyes on Queen Street, ready to meet the children of Scarborough at 12pm and find out who’s been naughty or nice. Founded in 1881 in Eastborough, Scarborough, Boyes is a North Yorkshire legend itself, famed for its vast range of products.

The Scarborough Fishermen and Firemen’s Football match on Boxing Day dates back all the way back to 1893, when it set out to raise funds for widows of lost fishermen. It’s followed by a fancy-dress raft race, and the unlucky losing team are dunked into the North Sea.


Scarborough Lights – illuminations and magical Winter Lights Trail

Light artworks in Peasholm Park

New for 2023, why not make Scarborough Lights a new family tradition? See the town’s iconic landmarks including Scarborough Castle, Scarborough Spa and the Rotunda illuminated by night, and marvel at the sparkling Christmas lights around the town centre. Along Westborough you’ll find a brand-new LED light tunnel, perfect for a family selfie to put on your Christmas card!

Meanwhile, in Peasholm Park prepare to be wowed by the enchanting light displays and artworks from renowned artists as you tour the lake. Accessible for both pushchair and wheelchairs so the whole family can enjoy it, the Peasholm Park Winter Lights Trail promises to be a memorable experience you can share for years.

Find out more about Scarborough Lights and book your tickets on the Scarborough Fair website.


Christmas traditions in Filey

Filey Fishtive Tree blog image

A relatively new event for Filey, the switch-on of the Filey Fishtive Tree celebrates the town’s fishing heritage with a spectacular illuminated tree that’s made largely from fishing nets and adorned with a giant fish. This year, enjoy fireworks and live music as the lights are turned on at 6pm on Saturday 2 December.

Christmas traditions in Whitby

Whitby Krampus

The Whitby Krampus Run is a costumed street parade based on an interpretation of the Alpine winter tradition whereby a horned figure roams the streets to check on the behaviour of local children, deeming them worthy (or not!) of a Christmas gift from Father Christmas. The Whitby Krampus takes inspiration from local folklore and history, as well as Whitby’s gothic heritage, with the procession participants donning wild costumes and impressive horns.

If you’re feeling brave, join the Whitby Lions Boxing Day Dip which dates back almost 50 years and raises money for local charities. Don your favourite fancy dress for your chance to win a prize, then build yourself up for a dip in the refreshingly cold North Sea.


Things to do at Christmas in North Yorkshire

As well as these traditions, you’ll find a whole host of festive activities and events, places to visit and ways to celebrate Christmas on the Yorkshire Coast. From festive markets and fayres where you can find a last-minute gift, to illuminated trails and hilarious pantomimes, you’ll find a huge range of choice along the Yorkshire coast and beyond. Why not make a weekend of it and stay a little longer to explore?

 Browse our Christmas page for inspiration.