The Christmas Experience at Lotherton Hall, Leeds

Have you been to the Christmas Experience at Lotherton Hall? We have! Thank you to the team at Leeds Museums and Galleries for inviting us to try it out. We all went to Lotherton Hall for the afternoon to see what it was all about.

Where is Lotherton Hall?

Lotherton Hall is near Aberford – ten miles east of Leeds, a short drive from the junction of the M1/A1(M). It’s signposted off the B1217. It’s a stately home and gardens with an events programme running throughout the year. In the winter it becomes the Christmas Experience, and it’s a great day out for families with young children.

We were advised to bring our wellies, which was excellent advice. Everything barring the hall is outdoors and Yorkshire, like the rest of the UK, has had a battering of rain this last few weeks. The site was muddy in parts, especially the car park, but could have been worse. Parking is ample and included in the entrance ticket.

The Christmas Experience at Lotherton Hall

Our first stop was to have a look around the Elf Village. There were Christmas stalls, a refreshments van, and some entertainment under the tipi. The Elf village was popular and pretty bust.

We stopped to say hi to one of Santa’s little helpers. Sadly, Santa was all booked up for visits this weekend, so we’ll have to catch him when he comes nearer home later this week. See you soon, Santa!

Meeting one of Santa's little helpers at the Santa Grotto at Lotherton Hall

Our next stop was to try out the two playgrounds. One was for smaller children, fenced off with gates, and on tarmac.

The other was on the grass and for bigger kids. It was muddy in places but we got away with only one mud related incident, so I’m calling that a win

The ice-skating at Lotherton Hall

A quick clean up (as much as we could) and on to the ice skating. We love ice skating and do it whenever we get the chance. The ice skating is an optional extra – you buy your ticket from the Elf Village. Sessions run on the hour for 45 minutes. Get to the rink 10 minutes early to get booted up and ready for your session.

The ice rink is quite big and is real ice. It looks over the entrance road and onto the deer park. There are festive tunes to skate along to. Ice skates included in the price. There are penguins to hire for the smallest children on a priority basis (£5 per penguin).

Big shout out to Miles and the team who couldn’t be more helpful. The ice rink is open daily (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Years Day) until the 5th Jan 2020.

Lotherton Wildlife World

After the skating, we went to have a look around the bird garden, which is very good . We arrived in time for the penguin feeding at 3pm and unwittingly bagged a prime position right behind the penguin keeper.

The bird garden is extensive and there is a wide array of birds (and a selection of other animals like hairy pigs and capybara), including owls, flamingos, and kookaburras.

We were getting chilly now, so decided to head for the cafe for hot chocolates. It was busy so we had a little wait in the queue but the drinks were made fast and the hot chocolates were very nice.

Inside Lotherton Hall

Our next stop was to look around inside Lotherton Hall. They had very handily provided shoe covers, which were an absolute must this week. Lotherton Hall isn’t that big as stately homes go – it’s more of a manor house – but it is very pretty and shows well what the home would have looked like at Christmas when it was occupied.

There was a very good dressing up area with lots of photo opportunites but we were so muddy we daren’t touch very much. A big hat was as good as it could get on this occasion. Top tip – go here first before you get too dirty!

The 12 Days of Christmas Walk and Fairy Dell

We saved the woodland walk until last as it was lit up and we wanted to do it in the dark. Lots of people had the same idea as it was very busy and we had to wait to look properly at things or have a turn on the games.

The theme of the walk was the 12 days of Christmas and we had to spot the various things on the way – the first was a partridge in a pear tree. you get the idea!

The last stop was Fairy Dell, which wasn’t the best experience in the dark. I recommend you do the Fairy Dell while it’s still light so you can see everything, and then come back to do the woodland walk in the dark. This will take a little planning but Lotherton isn’t do huge that this would be a major issue

Fairy Dell is a little uneven in places and you might struggle with a pushchair. It’s a great place for little feet and hands. The 8 year olds said this part was a little babyish but younger children will love it.

Overall, Lotherton is a good place to go if you need to feel a bit more festive (I know I do now).

Trip time – four hours if you do the ice-skating

Find out more about Lotherton’s Christmas Experience at

For more pics of the 12 Days of Christmas walk and a second perspective on the Christmas Experience – have a read of Yorkshire Tot’s review of Lotherton Hall

Disclosure – we were guests of Lotherton for this review. All opinion is our own


Joanne and the girly gang review family days out around the UK and beyond, with a little help from their friends.

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