YORK'S Christmas market - St Nicholas Fair - is set to return to the city centre this year.

Running from Thursday, November 18 to Thursday, December 23, the popular fair is set to boast an array of local businesses selling everything from handmade gifts to seasonal treats and crafts.

In total 68 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 in Parliament Street, from November 17 to January 2 next year. Serving traditional ‘Winter warmers,’ such as mulled wine and 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 Christmas 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 will include 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 York Early Music Christmas Festival from December 3-11 featuring 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 visityork.org 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 Sunday – Thursday 10am to 6pm and Friday and Saturdays 10am to 8pm.