A farm attraction near Thirsk is putting the final touches to its first ever Christmas experience as it prepares to open today (December 1).

Monk Park Farm has been ‘overwhelmed’ by the response to its festive celebrations, and has already extended its opening times on Thursdays and Fridays due to demand.

Running on selected days during December, Christmas at Monk Park Farm will feature a range of indoor and outdoor activities including Santa's grotto, 'Alice in Winter Wonderland' giant illuminations, a real life nativity and Christmas crafts.

Refreshments and homemade festive treats will be available in the on-site Hungry Monk café.

Hayley Cooke, who manages the farm, said: “We are so excited to be holding Christmas at Monk Park Farm for the very first time in its history, and have been overwhelmed by the fantastic response we’ve had.”

The Northern Echo: Christmas at Monk Park FarmChristmas at Monk Park Farm (Image: Monk Park Farm)

Hayley said there had been high demand for later openings so people could enjoy the illuminations to the full, and spend more time on all the other festive activities.

She said the ‘Quiet Thursdays’ had also been well received by families of children, teens and adults with autism, sensory processing disorders and other cognitive disabilities.

The launch of Christmas at Monk Park Farm comes after a successful season for the popular family attraction, which changed ownership two years ago and has just been announced as a finalist in the National Farm Attractions Network Awards.

The 84-acre site at Bagby is home to hundreds of animals including chickens, sheep, pigs, rabbits, guinea pigs, deer, alpacas and even albino wallabies.

The Northern Echo: Christmas at Monk Park FarmChristmas at Monk Park Farm (Image: Monk Park Farm)

A major programme of improvements under the new owners has included a large outdoor play area and sandpit, a new indoor craft and activity area and an extended petting barn.

Accessible features have been added too, including pram and wheelchair friendly paths and audio information boards.

Hayley said special events for Easter, summer and Halloween had helped establish the farm this year as a must-visit for families, and the team couldn’t wait to welcome visitors for Christmas.

She added: “Our amazing staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly to make Monk Park Farm a great place to visit and we can’t thank all our visitors and the local community enough for their support.

The Northern Echo: Christmas at Monk Park FarmChristmas at Monk Park Farm (Image: Monk Park Farm)

"We’re now looking forward to rounding off a fantastic year with our magical Christmas celebrations.”

Christmas at Monk Park Farm runs from 10am until 6pm on selected days from December 1st.

Quiet Thursdays are until 7pm and Fridays until 8pm. For more information and to book tickets in advance visit monkparkfarm.co.uk/christmas/

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