Yuletide York - Christmas Markets and Festivities in Medieval York

Could York be England's most Christmassy City?

Colliergate and York Minster at Christmas, York, Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom, Europe
Christmas in York England. Frank Fell / robertharding / Getty Images

The images and sounds of the Middle Ages - in the imaginary, Romantic version at any rate - beautifully lend themselves to the festive sparkle of the holiday season. Perhaps that is why York which, despite its Roman and Viking origins still the most Medieval of English cities, can turn itself into such a Christmassy place.

From late November onward, within the walls of York and overlooked by Northern Europe's largest Medieval Gothic Cathedral, this is England's "Christmas Central" .

Yuletide York

If you're traveling in England during the Christmas holiday season, head to York for some of England's best seasonal events, starting with a clutch of atmospheric Christmas markets. The York Christmas Festival lasts from November 16 to December 22 in 2017 and includes:

  • St. Nicholas Fayre - It starts with a festive first night that sees the city's holiday lights lit amid music, mulled wine and entertainment and lasts through to December 22. Stalls throughout are open for business from 10.a.m.to 6 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday ant to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Scandinavian-style stalls line Parliament Street, St Sampson’s Square and The Judge’s Lodging. At the Judge's Lodging, a Small Business Christmas Fair features handmade items by artisans and crafts people. Look for gifts on Coppergate and food and drink along the Shambles. 
  • The York Ice Trail - On 9 and 10 December, at least 40 imaginative ice sculptures sparkle all over the city center and surrounding streets. Check out a video of the 2016 carvings and fun.
  • York's Living Advent Calendar - From December 1 to 25 a new Advent window, a different festive display, will be unveiled in a different shop window around the city. There are competitions for the best one. 
  • Yorkshire Winter Wonderland - From November 18 to January 7, Winter Wonderland at the York Designer Outlet, has the North of England's biggest ice rink plus a vintage fun fair and all the usual Christmas food and drink goodies.
  • Edwardian Christmas  is the theme from November 16 to December 17 at the historic Treasurer's House.
  • Medieval Christmas Traditions - Lost medieval Christmas traditions are shared at the Barley Hall in the city center, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. November 16 to January 5. 

In The Spirit of the Season

  • The Christmas Early Music Festival - York is home of the National Centre for Early Music, within the city walls. The festival, at the beginning of December (in 2017 December 8 to 16,), fills several churches, and the Chapter House of York Minster, with Medieval and Baroque music.
  • The Minster Family Carol Concert - Listening, and singing carols in York's sublime Cathedral is one of the highlights of York's Advent season. There is an admission charge for this event. Due to its popularity, there are two concerts - in 2017 on December 14 and 15. Tickets go on sale in late September so don't delay. Check the minster website for exact times and how to buy  tickets.

    And a whole lot more

    Check out the Visit York Christmas events pages for seven pages of music, parties, shopping,fairs and celebrations in and around York in 2017.