York Christmas Festival 2022: Celebrations for 30th Anniversary of St Nicholas Fair
Baubles, carols and festive fairs – Christmas in York is just around the corner! Extra special plans are in place across the city this year to celebrate 30 years of York’s famous Christmas Market, St Nicholas Fair. 70 alpine chalets will line the streets of Parliament Street and St Sampson’s Square from 17th November to 23rd December, creating a festive wonderland with an array of local produce and artisan gifts on offer from local traders.
From luxury stationary to Yorkshire Pudding beer, there are lots of unique gift ideas at this year’s Christmas market. What’s more, all traders at this year’s St Nicholas Fair will be offering exclusive discounts for York residents when presented with a valid York Card or identity card with proof of address*. Each trader will offer a discount ranging from 10 to 30% discounts, more details can be found here.
Brand new to York Christmas Market for 2022 is a traditional Swiss chalet, The Winter Hütte. With a spectacular terrace overlooking St Nicholas Fair, The Winter Hütte offers a ‘Swiss with a Twist’ dining experience from one of Yorkshire’s best-known chefs, the Michelin-starred Andrew Pern. For passers-by, there is a fully-licensed bar area serving seasonal favourites such as gluhwein and spiced cider. Dining bookings are now open on the website.
Another new addition to York’s Christmas Market 2022 is the Chocolate Circus. The brainchild of the York based family behind Herbie’s Treehouse, look out for their Instagram-worthy loaded hot chocolates. From giant snowman marshmallows to York printed wafers, there’s a topping for everyone including a full vegan hot chocolate alternative menu.
Herbie’s Treehouse returns for its fifth year, with premium German mulled wine, Cornish mulled cider and Belgian hot chocolates. This year, look out for the new Herbie’s Secret Orchard at the back of the Treehouse for a special menu of hot toddies created with award-winning York Gin. Throughout the duration of the Christmas Market, resident singers and variety performers will play on the new Treetop Stage above the Treehouse, offering an exciting new entertainment area. Local schools, choirs and community groups will be invited to perform, as well as York based artists and international singers.
Shambles Market Food Court vendors Krep and Shambles Kitchen will be returning to the Christmas market this year, plus Meow and Bao Little Bubble Box will be serving up a combination of infused Asian cuisine. Shambles Ski Bar is also returning this year, with an authentic Après Ski themed pop-up bar stocked with festive favourites. A new addition to this year’s market is York Cocoa Works, who will be on hand to share their chocolate making process from cocoa beans to chocolate bar, truffles, cakes and more. Don’t miss a visit to neighbouring Shambles Market for some of York’s best independent traders, selling everything from seasonal wreaths to locally grown produce.
To mark the 30th Anniversary of St Nicholas Fair, the city will come alive on the opening day of the market with a special programme of free events and activities for residents. From 12pm to 9pm on Thursday 17th November, there will be live entertainment in St Helen’s Square, Parliament Street and Shambles Market to get everybody in the festive spirit. There’ll be choirs, bands, performances and free theatre workshops throughout the day and into the evening. Plus, there’ll even be an opportunity to meet St Nicholas himself at Shambles Market! The full programme of events will be announced soon.
Those in the city centre on the evening of the 17th November to celebrate the opening of St Nicholas Fair will be the first to see the spectacular light display for the 2022 festive season. Promising to be the best winter lights display the city has seen, this year will see more lights, new technology and new areas added to the scheme. A partnership between York BID and Make It York, this year’s winter light display will increase the use of more sustainable LED and solar lights, with new areas to be lit up including George Hudson Street and Nessgate. The curtain of lights on York’s historic bar walls will remain, along with the magical ‘Tree of Light’ at the Eye of York with its 1km of twinkly LED lights which change colour to mark important dates and festivals.
Another great way to see the city in all its festive glory is by following the brand-new Nutcracker Trail. Pick up a free map and seek out ten Nutcrackers across the city centre for a chance to win a £500 York BID Gift Card.
York Minster has a packed programme of events for Advent and Christmas, including their Christmas Carol Concerts and the return of the Christmas Tree Festival. Castle Howard is set to be transformed into a wonderland of ‘happily ever afters’ with their new ‘Into The Woods’ Christmas experience designed by Charlotte Lloyd Webber Events and The Projection Studio. Plus, THOR’S Tipi will be back in The Principal Hotel Gardens from 11th November, serving up delicious snowboard platters by Yuzu Street Food and cocktails by the cosy log fires.
Residents and visitors can bring home some of the magic of York this Christmas, with their own special edition 30th Anniversary Bauble. Designed by local artist Emma Feneley, following a local competition, the porcelain bauble will be available to purchase from the Visitor Information Centre from mid-November. Emma’s design features famous York landmark Clifford’s Tower in the festive season and is the perfect addition to any Christmas tree!
Sarah Loftus, Managing Director at Make It York, said: “Christmas in York is always a special time of the year, with this year set to be even more so as we celebrate 30 years of the famous St Nicholas Fair. We’re delighted to be welcoming Michelin-starred Andrew Pern and The Winter Hütte to Parliament Street for a unique food and drink offer. We’re pleased that all of our traders at this year’s St Nicholas Fair will be offering a discount for York residents, plus we’ll be hosting a whole day and evening of free festive entertainment on Thursday 17th November to mark this special milestone for St Nicholas Fair.”
Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure & Communities, said: “The programme of Christmas activities across York this year is outstanding – with so many unique experiences on offer for all to enjoy. This, combined with world-class food and drink and an array of independent retailers and traders, is sure to bring the festive magic back to York. Christmas is a great time to support York’s local businesses by purchasing unique gifts and enjoying all they have to offer.
“York really comes alive at Christmas, so we are looking forward to welcoming residents and visitors to enjoy the magic of the festive period in York.”
Andrew Lowson, Executive Director at York BID said: “We’re excited about the new design and can’t wait to see the new winter lights scheme in place. Residents and visitors will notice a real difference in key areas like Parliament Street, and we’re pleased that we’ve been able to extend the scheme to light up new areas like Castlegate, George Hudson Street and Nessgate.”
Andrew Pern, Michelin-Starred Chef, said: “We are hugely excited to be bringing The Winter Hütte and a taste of the Alps to the ancient streets of York. Aside from the incredible two-storey structure, I am delighted to introduce a new Star Inn venture to The Winter Hütte with a restaurant serving great Yorkshire produce with a Swiss twist. As well as traditional fondue and raclette, the menu will also boast off-piste specials such as Cinnamon Roast Porcetta Suckling Pig with spiced apples, chestnuts and mulled cider juices or Gratin of Winter Roots with toasted cranberry muesli, nut “cheese”, garden sage and onion. In the downstairs ski bar we will be serving a range of Bratwurst from “The Dog Haus” to enjoy with a festive beverage, while passers-by can also grab a tasty bite from the window counter. Together with the scent of pine and decor of mountain scenes and cow bells, The Winter Hütte will be a real experience for all the senses this Christmas.”
Festive cheer will be spread across the city, with carol concerts, festive events and the return of panto season. For more information about what’s happening in York this Christmas, please visit visityork.org/christmas.
Visit York’s festive press pack can be found here and press images can be downloaded here.
*To qualify for the resident discounts offered by traders at St Nicholas Fair, you must present a valid York Card or identity card that proves York residency. If presenting an identity card, this must clearly state 'York' (e.g. driving licence or older person's bus pass). The full list of offers can be found here.
For further information please contact:
Sarah Foster and Brittany Guymer
Communications team at Make It York
Notes to Editors:
St Nicholas Fair runs from 17th November to 23rd December on Parliament Street and St Sampson’s Square, open daily from 10am to 7pm. St Nicholas Fair is a Make It York event.
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. The company’s remit covers leisure and business tourism, city centre management, Shambles Market and festivals and events.
Visit York is a part of Make It York and is the leisure tourism brand.
Under the brand Visit York, Make It York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure visitor and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York.
About The Winter Hütte
The Winter Hütte is a joint venture between Coopers Marquees, CMJ Events and Andrew Pern of The Star Inn the City (York) Limited. Combined, the team brings over 60 years of live entertainment and food knowledge to deliver this spectacular new event for York, home to all three companies.