York is a magical place to visit all year round but throughout the festive season it’s even more so. Every year the city comes alive with twinkling lights, live music and enough mulled wine to sink Santa’s Sleigh. Traditionally, called the St Nicholas Fair, The York Christmas Markets run from the 17th of November to the 23rd of December. This year it’s the 30th anniversary of the event, so there’s some extra special things going on to celebrate.
Shop locally for Christmas presents
Each year the Parliament Street and St Sampsons Square areas are transformed into a winter wonderland, with 70 traditional alpine chalets selling an array of local produce. It’s the perfect opportunity to buy some unique Christmas presents for friends and family, or even just treat yourself to something special. Vendors range from clothing and homeware stalls, to foody stands that sell things like cheese and chutneys. Enjoy a Baileys hot chocolate while you soak up the festivities, and shop till you drop!
Tuck into some delicious hearty food at the Winter Hutte
Brand new to the York Christmas Markets this year is the Winter Hutte, a Swiss Chalet style bar and restaurant. The Winter Hutte offers a ‘Swiss with a Twist’ dining experience from Andrew Pern – one of Yorkshire’s best known Michelin-starred chefs. The menu consists of dishes like raclette and alpine ‘spätzle’ dumplings, while downstairs the apres ski bar serves a range of Yorkshire sausages. Overall, the Winter Hutte is guaranteed to be an experience for all the scenes this Christmas.
Enjoy a drink at Thor’s Alpine Winter Wonderland
Another new attraction to York Christmas Markets this year is Thor’s Alpine Winter Wonderland. Situated in the Principal Hotel Gardens, this cosy new addition features crackling log fires inside a ‘Grand Hall’ along with sumptuous sofas, shot’s on skis, fondue and much more. You can enjoy a hot drink from their menu like mulled wine, or sample a cold winter slushie like the Marzipan Martini.
Visit the festive fun fair at Kings Square
If you’re visiting with children or for all the big kids amongst us, then the festive fairground in Kings Square is definitely worth a visit. Feel the wind in your hair as you whizz round on the vintage carousel ride, or have a go on the traditional helter skelter. When you’re done on the rides, there’s all the fairground favourites like candy floss and hot doughnuts to tuck into as you explore the rest of the markets.
Wander down to the Shambles Yuletide Village
It’s always worth stopping by the historical Shambles when visiting York, but this year the Yorkshire Yuletide Village will be set up adjacent to the Shambles Market. It’ll host a range of different exhibitors selling a variety of handmade art and designs along with demonstrations from various craft makers across Yorkshire.
Have we tempted you to visit the York Christmas Markets this year? If you need somewhere to stay and rest your feet after a long day of exploring, we have a range of offers available for the festive season.