Festive plans for York city centre this Christmas season

Following the news that York will be moving into tier two from 2nd December, Make It York is working with York’s retail, hospitality and tourism businesses, York BID and City of York Council to create a welcoming and safe Christmas experience to enjoy in the city for residents and people who can visit safely. Plans to animate the city centre space include seasonal food vendors on Parliament Street, festive street performers over the weekends on the run up to Christmas and the return of the much- loved ‘vintage carousel’.

From 2nd December, many of York’s businesses including local retailers, attractions, restaurants, cafes and more, will be back open in the city centre. Shambles Market will also be reopening – with a wide variety of independent traders offering local produce, festive gifts and delicious street food. The focus for the city’s Christmas marketing this year will be to support York’s diverse and vibrant local business community by creating a welcoming festive ambience in the city centre. Activity will aim to encourage a sense of community, promote shopping local, and support York’s local traders – recognising the individual and unique offers of York’s businesses who have worked so hard to continue keeping the city safe. 

From 2nd December until 10th January (excluding bank holidays), there will be a variety of local street food vendors spread out on Parliament Street serving seasonal food, mulled wine and hot chocolate. Traders will include KREP and Shambles Kitchen (who can also be found on the Shambles Market Food Court), The Treehouse, Vines Mulled wine and The Cattle Shed (who can also be found on Coppergate). Children (and adults!) are invited to take a ride on the vintage carousel which will be operating throughout the festive period.

Festive roaming street performers will also be in the city centre on the weekends of the 12th-13th and 19th-20th December – moving around key areas of the city to create a fun, visually engaging experience for visitors into the city centre.

Sean Bullick, Managing Director of Make It York said, “The Christmas period is hugely important for traders and businesses across the city, especially as we come out of this second national lockdown. Our marketing activity focuses on championing York’s local businesses and delivering plans to ensure a welcoming and safe Christmas experience for residents and visitors. Our team have been working hard with partners across the city to create a magical city centre experience, with all the ambience you’d expect from a traditional York Christmas, and festive initiatives to get people moving around the city.”

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

“York is known worldwide as a city with a fantastic festive atmosphere at Christmas time. This year’s celebrations will be different to those we have enjoyed in previous years, but the festive spirit will still be strong in the city.

“We are lucky enough to be home to an amazing range of independent retailers in the city, and they have put in a great effort to ensure they meet all the covid secure guidelines. Our stores are ready to welcome shoppers back in a safe way as they prepare for Christmas.

If we all continue to follow hands, face, space guidance we can continue to shop locally, support our independent retailers and give back to the local economy this Christmas.”

A York Quest augmented reality app is also being launched by York BID with co-funding from Make It York this week. The app features a Santa search, encouraging families to find seven Christmas characters who have taken up residence on York’s historic streets. They can then take a fun photo with the character and share on social media. The York Quest app is available from Thursday, December 3 on Google Play Store or App Store.

Throughout the city centre the winter lights are also up, giving a special festive back drop for residents and visitors to the city centre to enjoy. Organised by York BID and Make It York, the winter light scheme this year includes beautiful Christmas trees on St Helen’s Square, Parliament Street and Shambles Market and York’s historic bars illuminated with thousands of twinkling lights.

The city’s many attractions and venues will also be offering a range of festive experiences for people to enjoy – from chocolate making with Santa at York’s Chocolate Story, Christmas themed walking tours, Santa experiences with City Cruises and a ‘Christmas Spectacular’ on Kirkgate at York Castle Museum – there is something for all ages and interests.

A virtual Christmas market is also taking place on visityork.org until 4th January to celebrate the outstanding diversity of local traders, retailers and businesses across the city and bring the magic of St Nicholas Fair into homes across the country. The virtual markets will give people the chance to browse the markets from the comfort their own home, offering a safe and snug option for those looking to purchase their festive gifts online this year whilst also supporting their local traders and retailers.

For more information about York at Christmas visit:  visityork.org/Christmas


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
Email: amy.goodman@makeityork.com

Ana Ignatova – Communications Executive

Email: ana.ignatova@makeityork.com

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