Launch of York’s first Virtual Christmas Market

For the first time ever, York’s Christmas Market has gone virtual, with over fifty traders, craftspeople and local businesses getting involved to be a part of the online experience.  From festive foods and Christmas decorations, to handmade jewellery and candles, the virtual market has a wide variety of gift ideas, seasonal products and festive treats from some of York’s best local businesses and independent traders.

Launching on today (12th November) the Virtual Christmas Market has been created by Make It York in response to the recent announcement that St Nicholas Fair had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The virtual event instead celebrates the outstanding diversity of local traders, retailers and businesses across the city, helping to bring the magic of St Nicholas Fair into homes across the country and offering a safe and snug option for those looking to purchase their festive gifts online this year, whilst also supporting York’s traders, retailers and attractions.  

Businesses taking part this year include York Gin, The Grand York, Bradleys The Jewellers, JORVIK, The Chuckling Cheese Company, Ainsty Ales and The Hat Shop York – with more being added each day. ‘Visitors’ to the online market can purchase a wide variety of unique gifts to suit all tastes – from craft gins and homemade brownies, Viking drinking horns, handmade skin care products, stunning artwork and much more.  Continuing throughout the entire festive period until 4th January, the virtual market is now live for browsing here:

Sean Bullick, Managing Director of Make It York, said:

“Our virtual Christmas Market – a York first – celebrates and promotes York’s diverse local traders, retailers and attractions, encouraging people to support local businesses with their Christmas shopping this year. With a wide variety of brilliant traders from the local area taking part and a huge array of unique and quirky gift ideas, the virtual ‘event’ offers a safe way for residents to support independent traders and businesses over the festive period.”

Emma Godivala, Director at York Gin, said:

“York Gin are delighted to be part of the virtual Christmas Market. It’s the perfect way for people to show their support for all our brilliant local businesses. During these strange times, our hearts have truly been warmed by the support of our local customers. And the virtual Christmas market gives everyone in the area the chance to get behind the local economy – and buy local.”

Kay Bradley, Owner of Bradley’s Jewellers York, said:

“We are delighted to be part of the York virtual Christmas Market this year as one of the city’s many independent retailers. During these challenging times, our family-owned and run jewellers rely on the support of the local community, as we work to continue bringing joy to our customers throughout the festive period. The virtual market is a great shared space for York’s shops to offer unique local products to customers from across the city and beyond, and it helps support the city’s economy when it is vitally important.”

Cllr Andrew Waller, Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning said:

“This year it’s even more important that residents support local businesses where they can. We can all play our part and think local when planning our Christmas shopping. Many of your favourite shops and services have moved their unique offerings online, so make sure you check their websites and social media accounts for ways to support them right now.

If we all continue to follow the guidance, and York’s infection rate continues to decline, we are hopeful that residents will be able to enjoy York’s magical Christmas atmosphere once restrictions are lifted.”

The launch of the virtual market coincides with the festive lights going up across the city today (12th November) – with York BID and Make It York partnering to transform the city with magical winter lights and create a wonderful festive atmosphere. York’s four historic bars; Micklegate, Bootham, Monkbar and Walmgate, the traditional gateways to the city since medieval times, will once again be illuminated with thousands of tiny twinkling white lights. York Minster and St Michael le Belfrey will also be lit up once again this year and beautiful Christmas trees will adorn St Helen’s Square, Parliament Street and Shambles Market.  For the first time, additional solar powered lights have also been added to the lighting scheme on streets which in previous years haven’t had any winter lights.  These lights, which have been coordinated in partnership between York BID and Make It York, will brighten the city throughout the Christmas period and create a wonderful festive atmosphere for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Andrew Lowson, Executive Director of York BID said:

“The winter lights are a much-loved feature of Christmas in York.  After such a challenging year it feels especially important to mark the festive season by bringing a bit of beauty and magic to the city, creating a special atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.”

A special live post this evening (12th November) on the Visit York’s social media channels will capture the magic of the switching on of the lights, with residents and visitors encouraged to share their own lights and Christmas decorations going up over the next few weeks using #LightUpYork, for a chance to be featured on the channels.

Sean Bullick continued:

“Whilst sadly due to the coronavirus pandemic we have been unable to hold a physical ‘light switch on’ event this year, we are still working with York BID to jointly fund this year’s winter lights across the city. From today York will be transformed with beautiful winter lights to give it a magical, festive ambience and instead of a light switch on event, we will be sharing content across our social media channels from tonight which captures the magic of the lights going on in the city this festive season. We are also inviting residents and local businesses to get involved by sharing their own Christmas lights and decorations going up using #LightUpYork as part of a wider seasonal campaign.”  

York’s first virtual market is now open here (until 4th January). Businesses who would like to take part can contact


Notes to Editor

Make It York

Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally – as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business.  The company’s remit covers leisure and business tourism, city centre management, festivals and events, business support and inward investment.

One of Make It York’s strategic aims is to promote York as a brilliant place to do business, helping to support business growth and innovation across a range of business sectors, such as financial & professional services, rail and high value manufacturing and to stimulate greater inward investment.

For further information please contact:

Amy Goodman – Consumer Communications Manager

Ana Ignatova – Communications Executive

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