York Christmas Market

York Christmas Market

Welcome to December! I’m already feeling in the Christmas spirit, and spent a wonderful day at the York Christmas Market. York is a beautiful historic city in the North of England, and was once the capital when it was a Roman province. York Christmas market has ranked 24th out of 500 European Christmas market cities so it certainly is a great option for a pre-Christmas getaway. York is also a very safe and friendly destination and so it’s popular with students and solo female travellers.

***York Christmas Market 2023 is Thursday 16 Nov 2023 – Friday 22 Dec 2023***

Date: 16th November -22nd December
Location: Parliament St
Time: 10am-7pm
Official Website: https://www.visityork.org/whats-on/st-nicholas-christmas-fair-p873461

An Introduction to the Christmas Markets in York

Every December, the York Christmas Market attracts worldwide visitors for Christmas shopping, festive snacks and Mulled Wine. The city of York is perfect for a long weekend break although you might want to wrap up warm as it can be cold in the winter months (around 7°-1°C!)

The Christmas market itself is free entrance and you can have a wonderful day walking around without spending anything if you wish. However, it’s a good idea to take at least £40-£50 if you would like to try some of the festive food and drinks and do some Christmas shopping.

How to get there from York Station

If you are flying into the UK for the markets, the closest airports are Leeds-Bradford and Manchester. You will find the stalls on and around Parliament Street in York. It’s walkable from York train station in around 15-20 minutes (see map below). Turn left out of the station and walk until you cross Lendal Bridge. Follow Museum street and Lendal to St Helens Square and from St Helen’s square walk down Davygate until you reach Parliament Square.

York Train Station to York Christmas Market

Trains from York station connect to Liverpool (two and a half hours away), Manchester (an hour and a half) and London (approx two hours).

Parking at York Christmas Market

I would advise the train over public transport as parking in York can get full very quickly during the Christmas periods. If you do need to take the car, plan your parking and get there early. I recommend choosing the NCP car park on tanner row, and walking into York from there. This year (2023), we heard it reported that many people were waiting over an hour and a half to get on and off car parks – be warned about this, we always prefer to take the train.

St Nicolas Fair York Christmas market
The York Christmas Market (St Nicholas Christmas Market) is a free Christmas event where wooden huts containing market stalls pop up on and around Parliament street, in York City Centre.

Top Tips for Visiting York Christmas Markets

  • Wrap up warm with ski socks, walking boots, hat, scarf and a big coat.
  • A backpack is a good idea for carrying shopping.
  • Take an umbrella as weather can be rainy.
  • If possible, leave the car behind as parking in York at this time of year.
  • If you arrive by train you can walk to the markets quite easily within 15-20 minutes.
  • Draw our some cash as not all stalls accept card.
  • Get there early to avoid the crowds.
  • Late November is the best time to go when it will be milder and less busy.
  • Remember to check whether your glass or mug is returnable for a deposit (or if you can keep it as a souvenir if that’s what you wish to do!)

Stalls you can find on the York Christmas Market

In York City Centre, between mid Nov and late December, you can visit the beautiful wooden huts on the York Christmas Market. Many of the products are locally made or sourced. If you are looking for a truly unique gift, York St Nicholas’ market is the place for you. Here’s a collection of some of the stalls I’ve visited at York Christmas market over the last few years. Remember that the stalls are subject to change every year, but you will always be able to find winter clothing, wood crafts and jewellery as well as yummy things to taste!

I found some wonderful bags from bagalicious.co.uk, which designed to look like shop fronts and houses – so cute! I also found some gorgeous wooden boxes with carved animals can be used as pencil cases or trinket holders – made by Tiswood.

Hand Made Christmas Decorations

Last year, I met Erica from Ericalili, who beads and crochets unique gifts. She decorates her own stunning Christmas Decorations by hand. Check out these lilac and red ranges. Her crochet hats include Christmas Puddings and Strawberry’s! This year, she is also making them in baby size. 😉

My other favourite Christmas stall was Millies Designs – hand crafted. I also found some beautiful stained glass window Christmas angels, hand made by Sonia Halejak.


Food and Drink – York Christmas Market

The great thing about the St Nicholas’ market is the fact that you can taste many yummy foods – The Cheese and Pork Pies were my favourite savoury products. There is also Gin to try if you fancy a little tipple 😉

Simon, the Chilli Jam Man was there too! He specialises in tomato based chilli jams that are perfect for sauces and curry.

If you have a sweet tooth, I really recommend Forever Fudge, particularly the Baileys one.

There are also many other stalls for food and drinking including mulled wine and Christmas themed hot chocolate. I finished off the afternoon with a warm mulled wine from the van…you can’t really say no!

Mulled Wine Van

Bear in mind that the drinks can be pricey – expect to pay between £5-10 for one drink at York Christmas market. Also, remember to ask if you need to return the cup – some of the stalls have an extra fee for a ‘glass or mug deposit’ and you only get that back if you return your vessel! Some people don’t realise this – they pay the full price, enjoy the drink and then leave the glass or mug behind, so the stall holders keep reusing and reselling them!

Thor’s Tepee

Look out for the pop up ‘Thor’s Tepee’ at St Nicholas’ Market in York. It’s a food and drinks tent that makes it’s way around England visiting cities such as York, Leeds, Sheffield and London. Inside you can eat a Scandinavian style Barbeque and drink hot chocolate, mulled wine and Prosecco around a log fire!

Where to Stay in York

Remember to book in advance if you want to get a place to stay in York during the Christmas markets as it can get busy and booked up early. If you’re on a budget and looking for a clean and comfortable youth hostel style accommodation, stay at the Fort Boutique Hostel on Stonegate. It’s got lovely themed dorm rooms with painted walls and is in a very central locations with the markets walkable within 10 minutes. Dorms start from around £21.

If you are looking for a cheap hotel, there is the Premier Inn and the Ibis and you can walk into the centre down Micklegate. Looking to spend a bit more? The 4* Royal York hotel is right next to the station and offers excellent facilities including restaurant, bar and gym. Want something even closer to the centre? Judges Lodgings offers beautiful rooms in a Georgian style guest house on Lendal.

Looking to spend a bit more? The 4* Royal York hotel is right next to the station and offers excellent facilities including restaurant, bar and gym. Want something even closer to the centre? Judges Lodgings offers beautiful rooms in a Georgian style guest house on Lendal.

It you want a Boutique feel with an excellent restaurant stay at Hotel du Vin York which is located in the Mount area just outside Micklegate. They do excellent cooked breakfasts as a great way to start the day and lovely hearty traditional meals for after a long day of sightseeing.

Further Reading and Places to Visit in York

While you are staying in York, don’t miss the beautiful York Minster – one of the largest gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe. Make sure that you take a walk down the Shambles – one of Britain’s oldest streets. You can also go walking along the York city walls which will give you amazing views across the city and the Cathedral.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like to read about the best things to do in York. You might also enjoy Manchester Christmas Market and Liverpool Christmas Market.