Plans announced for York Christmas Festival 2021

St Nicholas Fair set to return to York’s city centre from 18th November to 23rd December 

The popular St Nicholas Fair will be returning to York city centre this year between 18th November and 23rd December – with an array of local businesses selling everything from handmade gifts to delicious seasonal treats and crafts.  

Sixty-eight festive alpine chalets will be spread across Parliament Street and St Sampson’s Square, offering a range of unique gifts, seasonal food and drinks and local produce.  

THOR’S tipi will also be back for its sixth year on Parliament Street, from 17th Nov to the 2nd Jan 2022. Serving traditional ‘Winter Warmers,’ such as mulled wine & luxury hot chocolate, with delicious feasts by Yuzu Street Food – all in a twinkly, Christmas style tipi with real log fire. The rustic Yorkshire Barn in St Sampson’s Square will warm up guests with festive food and drink, from hot chestnuts to mulled wine and King’s Square will host the much-loved Vintage Carousel throughout the festive season.   

Plans are also underway for the city to be decorated once again with stunning festive lights, giving a special festive back drop for residents and visitors to the city centre to enjoy. Delivered by York BID in partnership with Make It York, the winter light scheme this year includes the Tree of Light at the Eye of York, 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-wide Christmas offer is also set to be bigger and better than ever. Castle Howard will welcome back theatrical designers Charlotte Lloyd Webber, Bretta Gereke and team who have worked their magic on Castle Howard at Christmas for the past four seasons. Inspired by the much-adored novels by C. S. Lewis the historic house will be turned into the wintery, magical land of Narnia. Visitors will journey through the grand state rooms and experience installations based on scenes from the epic stories.  

The National Centre for Early Music will be holding their popular York Early Music Christmas Festival (3rd-11th December). This year’s festival includes the return of Joglaresa, whose exuberant music and wassailing sums up Yuletide in music and song; The Gesulado Six, returning to York after playing to packed houses in the York Early Music Festival 2021; and award-winning young artists Prisma, from Germany. 

Residents and visitors can also look forward to a host of other festive events taking place at the city’s attractions – not to mention a fantastic choice of entertainment at the city’s theatres and venues, with pantomimes and Christmas carol concerts.  

Following the success of last year’s virtual Christmas market, an online market will also run on throughout the whole festive season. Helping to bring the magic of St Nicholas Fair into homes across the country, the virtual market will offer 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.   

Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of the Council and Executive Member for Policy, Strategy and Partnerships, said: “Christmas celebrations are always special in York and many of us undoubtedly missed our usual city-wide festivities last year. With the return of so many well-loved events and additions of many new ones, I am sure residents and visitors will once again be looking forward to enjoying our city throughout the festive season. 

“York has a fantastic range of independent and small businesses offering exceptional services and products. Christmas is a great time to support our local businesses by purchasing unique gifts and enjoying all they have to offer.  This Christmas we look forward to welcoming residents and visitors to safely enjoy the magic of the festive period in York.” 

Ashley Young, Senior Marketing and Communications Manager at Make It York, said: “York is a city that really comes alive at Christmas and we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to put plans in place for an event that will really deliver the festive magic that York is renowned for. We are delighted to be working with so many local traders to bring back St Nicholas Fair back better than ever and create a magical festive experience for visitors and residents to enjoy.  

The programme of Christmas activities going on in and around York this year is outstanding –with so many unique experiences on offer at the city’s attractions and venues across the city, combined with world-class food and drink and an array of independent retailers and traders.” 

St Nicholas Fair will be open from 18th November to 23rd December – Sunday – Thursday 10:00 to 18:00 and Friday & Saturday 10:00 to 20:00. 

For regular updates on what’s happening in York over Christmas, or a free guide to Christmas in the City, visit or email  A new guide to Christmas will be available free of charge from the Visit York Information Centre, 1 Museum Street, from the last week in September.  


For further information please contact:  

Amy Goodman, Consumer Communications Manager 

Notes to editors: 

About 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. Its mission is to grow the economic prosperity and wider wellbeing of York and its citizens. In practice, this means delivering a range of projects and programmes based around our four corporate strategic priorities.  These are:  

  • City positioning and profile-raising 
  • Inward Investment and network building 
  • Ensuring an exciting city centre 
  • Delivering the city’s ground-breaking Cultural Strategy 

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