Our popular Fireside Stories are back for 2021.

Come and meet Father Christmas this winter season in the spectacular setting of Raby Castle. Follow our festive footmen through glittering halls and gather round our roaring fire in the Entrance Hall for a special story with Father Christmas. He might even bring a present or two! Complete with song, dance and laughter, this magical experience at Raby has become a wonderful Christmas tradition for our visitors. We look forward to welcoming you this year.

What to expect

Your 45 minute experience will start in the Coach House of Raby Castle adjacent to our Stables Café and Shop, where we gather the group together and lead you to the Castle. This where you can also enjoy your Festive Food Boxes! Please dress warm as there may be a short time to wait outside. The Footman will greet you at the Castle and show you to your seats near the toasty log fire. Father Christmas will entertain everyone by telling a special story and singing songs, assisted by his footmen to get the whole audience involved. Father Christmas will check his list and give a special gift to each child.

I am an annual pass holder – are these tickets included in my pass?
Father Christmas at Raby Castle is a special event and all visitors must purchase tickets as these are not included with your pass.

How long will it last?
Each session will last around 45 minutes from gathering at the gate including the story telling and handing out of gifts.

What time should I arrive?
Please arrive in the Coach Yard within plenty of time where you may enjoy a hot chocolate and a look in our Christmas Shop. You need to be at the Fireside Stories Meet and Greet point at least 10 minutes before your session. There may be a short time to wait outside so please dress warm. Follow signage to the Stables Café once you have parked.

Will I receive a printed ticket?
From 2021 we will no longer print invitations to meet with our sustainability promise.

What if I am late for my time slot?
It is your responsibility to arrive on time for your time slot. Please plan and check for anything that might delay you, road closures, weather etc. Unfortunately, late arrivals cannot be guaranteed entry or be transferred to another time slot.

What else is at Raby Castle?
Christmas at Raby Castle is a very magical time with all sorts going on. You will walk into the Coach Yard to the smell of Christmas tree pine where we sell real Christmas trees alongside the perfect presents in our Christmas Gift Shop and a delicious selection of festive bites from the Stables Café. Why not arrive early for our Festive Enchanted Forest Trail and enjoy hot drinks and tasty treats from our Stables Café and kiosks. Fireside Stories with Father Christmas takes place inside Raby Castle’s grand Entrance Hall, although the rest of the Castle is closed to visitors.

Is there car parking?
There is ample car parking in the grounds of Raby Castle, mainly on grass. Please follow signage or instructions from staff to parking areas once you arrive at Raby.

Will there be food and drink available?
The Raby Stables Café will be open from 9am until 6pm. Takeaway hot drinks and festive treats will be available in the Coach Yard.

Where do I collect my Children’s Festive Food Box?
If you have upgraded your ticket to include the Festive Children’s Food Box, please arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your ticket time to enjoy this in the Coach Yard. Please note food and drinks are not permitted inside the Castle. The collection point for the food box is the café and kiosk.

Is there disabled access?
Your experience starts with a walk from the Coach Yard to the Castle. It is possible to meet the group at the Castle gates adjacent to the accessible parking area, if required, however please let us know in advance if you require this. If you are able to join the walk, accessible parking is available in the main car park. There is level entry into the Entrance Hall. Please call 01833 660202 for further information and to explain your specific needs and we will do our best to accommodate you.

Can I leave my child while they visit Father Christmas?
Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times when visiting Raby Castle.

Will I be allowed to take photographs of my child?
There will be time for a quick photo as your child receives their gift from Santa so make sure you bring your camera or a phone that is fully charged with spare memory space!

How many adults can I bring?
Due to space limitations, we can only welcome up to 2 accompanying adults per child. Each child ticket includes 1adult, if you would like to bring an additional adult, please select the ticket option for 1 child incl. 2 adults.

Do you have to pay for under 1’s?
Under 1’s will be classed as ‘babes in arms’ and do not require a ticket However they will not receive a gift from Father Christmas and their name will not be read out.

What age is this event suitable for?
We allow you to decide whether this event is suitable for your child, but it is naturally aimed at young children who still believe in the magic of Christmas. Children of all ages will enjoy the spectacle of arriving at Raby Castle and seeing it decorated for Christmas, seeing Father Christmas, listening to and taking part in songs and receiving their gift. They must be able to sit for around 30 minutes of interactive entertainment. Each child taking part in the experience, including receiving a gift, must have a valid ticket for entry.

What should we bring?
We suggest bringing a camera and dress warm as there is a short walk between the Castle and car park and you might be required to wait outside for a short time.

What is the address of Raby Castle?
Raby Castle, Staindrop, Darlington, Co Durham, DL2 3AH

What is the cancellation policy?
Unfortunately, due to the popularity of this event, there are no refunds or cancellations permitted. Please be sure that when you make your reservation, you know exactly which date and which time slot you wish to secure. If you have an extreme unfortunate circumstance, a ticket transfer will be considered subject to availability and a £2.50 administration charge will apply. The event will still take place in rain or snow and weather cancellations are extremely rare. In the event of cancellation, you will be notified immediately and given a complete refund or the opportunity to reschedule (subject to availability).

How do I contact Raby Castle?
You can call the office at Raby Castle on 01833 660202 between the hours of 9am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday, or email admin@rabycastle.com


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