YORK'S Christmas market has been voted as the best in the UK.

The cities St Nicholas Fair, that ran from November 14 until December 23, scooped the award for Best Large Speciality Market at this years national awards ceremony that was held in Birmingham yesterday evening.

The awards, organised by the National Association of British Market Authorities, celebrates excellence in retail and wholesale markets right across the UK.

Chris Price, Head of York City Centre and Markets for Make It York, said: “I feel so proud because the team put in so much effort. We genuinely wanted to deliver something special for York. It takes all year to prepare for and it’s so great to hear from your peers that people like what we are doing.”

The city’s tourism campaign, named ‘Only in York’ focusses on promoting everything that is unique and special to York and Yorkshire.

Over 60 percent of the traders at York St Nicholas Fair were from city and region. Local traders such as Ainsty Ales, York Gin and Blueberry Hill Preserves were all popular with visitors to the Fair.

Mr Price said: “Our strategy for the Christmas market has been to make it different and local, a part of the whole city, not just an add-on. I think the secret to York’s success is that it is totally different to other markets, it’s local and people want to shop in a place that is special to that area. People don’t want to visit a market that they could easily find anywhere else.”

Paul Whiting, Head of Visit York, said: “It is a fantastic accolade for York to be recognised by the markets industry in what is NABMA’S centenary year. York St Nicholas Fair is a great advert for York and Yorkshire with such a high proportion of local businesses involved and giving local residents and visitors alike the chance to enjoy a wonderful festive atmosphere and see the city looking its best.”

NABMA President, Councillor Mrs Geraldine Carter said: “The applications for the Great British Market Awards 2019 have seen entries from across the UK from a wide range of diverse and inspiring markets and events. As the future of our high streets continues to be under scrutiny, it is clear, that offering customers unique shopping opportunities along with great events, that markets can continue to be at the heart of our communities, towns and cities.”

St Nicholas Fair was also named the most festive city in the UK in a national online poll by Virgin Trains.

Mr Price said: “By encouraging independent local and Yorkshire based businesses to take part in the Fair and extending it to six whole weeks, the market has become the ‘go to’ event for Christmas shoppers from right across the UK as well as overseas.”