The York Christmas market has arrived, and it’s better than ever

Stop denying it, it’s Christmas time you Grinches

If you didn’t think York could get any prettier or more touristy, then think again. The Christmas Vikings have returned with their wooden huts, questionable gifts and of course, the tipi.

Thor’s Tipi

Not many Christmas markets come with a tent that is warmer than the majority of student houses, but the north pulls out all the stops. Thor’s is the perfect place to grab a hot chocolate, an authentic draft beer or maybe a mulled wine while sitting around the log fire – but make sure you get there early for a prime spot. Offering a fantastic, warm atmosphere and a welcome change from The Black Bull for those evening drinks to ponder what careers are possible with a 2:2.

The sweet stalls

What kind of Christmas market wouldn’t offer those sweet delights which make you thankful for all those laps around the 22 acres on a foggy Sunday morning? ‘The Chocolate Kisses’ stall offers giant chocolate teacakes in a variety of flavours – all of which taste incredible, I assure you. If marshmallow isn’t your preferred choice, then the brownie stall is definitely dribble-worthy. With three brownies for £5 the toughest decision you’ll make is whether to go for Crunchie brownie, Malteaser, triple chocolate, salted caramel or black forest.

The proper food

Most festive markets offer a variety of the typical German sausages, crepes and roasted nuts, which although the York market does offer, it also takes a more northern approach on the food available. The distinctive northern options include stalls offering chips and gravy, or the pastry hut that offers pies of varying meaty fillings. Think of it as though Paul Hollywood did his own range of pies for Greggs.

T’ market is bloody huge

As well as the main stretch of stalls that begins at Thor’s and goes down to Browns, the market has been spread to outside The Judge’s Lodging and to Coppergate by Fenwicks. The Christmas adventure is never-ending as you make your way around the city centre and find little pockets of stalls cropping up all around. The entirely lit up Coppergate pathway provides a stunning backdrop to the wooden huts by the fountain outside Fenwicks, and the beer garden at the front of The Judge’s Lodging has been transformed into a festive haven with a wooden gazebo canopy that is fully lit up with fairy lights overhead. Perfect lighting for Snapchat selfies.

Handcrafted by Yorkshire Designers

Down in the Lendal Cellars there is a quaint market area entailing handcrafted jewellery, artsy sketches of animals, woolly knits and great little home decoration gifts. Away from the hustle and bustle of the main market, this separated section is a perfect reminder of the sheer local talent found in and around Yorkshire.

O’ Christmas tree, o’ Christmas tree

No market is complete without a giant tree. This sparkling marvel lights up St Helen’s Square in aid of the St Leonard’s Hospice ‘Light Up A Life’ appeal. At 6pm on December 2nd, the huge tree will be illuminated during a carol service whereby every glistening light will represent the life of someone special.

It isn’t all about the market though

The overwhelming Christmassy atmosphere doesn’t just end with the market – with outstanding gingerbread creations in the infamous Betty’s window, the overhead lights in Coppergate and the decorations running all along the outside of Browns, it’s hard to be a Grinch in York. This city has never been known as being particularly well lit (read ‘lit’ as in street lights, or party-hard, either is true), but the Christmas lights are extensively placed all around the city centre this year.

If you haven’t been already, then don’t miss out on what will be a wonderful day or evening spent at the York Christmas market. With stalls filled with gin flavoured preserves and jams, blankets, jewellery, hand painted candle holders and so much more, the market is nothing like those in neighbouring cities. We all visit the festive markets in our home towns and each year we complain that nothing has changed for the last fifteen years, but somehow York manages to keep the magic alive and keep all of us coming back for more.