8 things that make York magical at Christmas

From shopping to the snow, the markets and marshmallows, and everything in between 

1. The St. Nicholas Market

York St Nicholas Fayre
York St Nicholas Fayre

Whether you’re struggling with gifts for the family or just looking for an extra Christmas treat for yourself you’re bound to spend most of your time trying to prise yourself away from the market located on Parliament street… and all the free samples.

2. It’s panto time!

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Old Mother Goose at the York Theatre Royal

York is always spoilt for choice when it comes to pantomimes with Cinderella at the Grand Opera House and Old Mother Goose at the Theatre Royal to name but two this year. With these shows  and many more you’ll get your fair share of belly laughs staying in York this Christmas!

3. the Cafés

Bettys of York (image credit: Christian Bickel)
Bettys of York (Image credit: Christian Bickel)

However cold it gets in York Betty’s is always here for you to have a hot chocolate and warm yourself up. Most likely with cream, marshmallows, more chocolate… and a huge slice of cake. The cold north wind will never know what’s hit it.

4. Light is all around 

XMAS in YORK, North Yorkshire.

The Christmas lights are up in town and doesn’t it feel enchanting! York always impresses with its simple but classy lights from Parliament Street to the Christmas tree in St Helen’s square and beyond out to the Outlet Centre with its Winter Wonderland.

5. Window display wars

St. Helen's Square (Image credit: GuillaumeTell)
St. Helen’s Square (Image credit: GuillaumeTell)

The shops in York seem to go into overdrive at this time of year to try and produce the best window displays possible and with so many independent retailers window shopping has never been such a popular (and cheap!) pastime.

6. The party don’t stop

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Image credit: Ian Martindale

Just because it’s December and it’s cold doesn’t mean York won’t keep performing with events from making chocolate at the Castle Museum to choir concerts in the Minster. Other cities might take a break but definitely not York!

7. The buskers and street choirs

York always has great buskers but around this time of year they take things up a notch to impress the Christmas crowds with many a festive carol and ballad. A definite hats-off to these lads and lasses who manage to keep going whatever the temperature may be.

8. Let it snow…

HOGSMEADE – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure will provide visitors with a one-of-a-kind experience complete with multiple attractions, shops and a signature eating establishment. This completely immersive environment will transcend generations and bring the wonder and magic of the amazingly detailed Harry Potter books and films to life.
Harry Potter eat your heart out

Whilst the weather is getting colder, the moment snow arrives York will be transformed into what looks like the perfect picture postcard of a British Christmas to equal the best of Durham, Edinburgh, London, Hogwarts…