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Eight of the best Christmas foodie, family and festive markets in and around Leeds

We don’t even care that the council cancelled the German Christmas Markets this year, there are so many festive events to get involved in. Here’s our top picks…

The Christmas countdown has officially begun and there are plenty of festive events to help you get through the weekends and get into the yuletide spirit until 25 December comes around.

We were all gutted when Leeds City Council announced that the usual German Christmas Markets that pop up around the city centre would be cancelled again for their 2021 season.

Of course, this was back in September, so local businesses in and around Leeds have really been hanging up the stockings and hiring out all the elves they can get hold of to still make this a magical Christmas.

Around Leeds there’s still markets aplenty and some spectacular events a short car journey away too.

Leeds pop-up Markets with ice rink and Igloo bar

Thor Tipi Christmas Market
Thor’s Tipi will make an appearance in Victoria Gardens and a brand new tent will feature on Briggate. / Image: Leeds City Council

When: From Friday 19 November

Where: Around Leeds City Centre

Head over to Millenium Square from Friday 19 December and watch the city transform into a winter wonderland in front of your eyes. A pop-up ice rink, Igloo bar and festive market stalls are amongst some of the surprises in store.

There will also be a brand new boozy tipi on Briggate with refreshments, hopefully plenty of mulled wine and a ‘bring your own food’ policy that will allow you to bring the best of Leeds’ foodie favourites. Think festive cheeses, bratwurst and waffles all brought back the cosy tipi retreat to enjoy away from the hustle and bustle of the main streets.

Find out more here.

Corn Exchange Christmas Markets

Image: The Christmas Market at Leeds Corn Exchange

When: Every Thursday – Sunday from Friday 19 November.

Where: Corn Exchange, Leeds City Centre.

Get ready to gorge on a feast of independent festive food at the Corn Exchange’s Christmas Markets. Local and national breweries like North Brew Co and Camden Town Breweries will be on hand to make sure you keep knocking back the pints, whilst Wolf Bros and Woodfood Reserve spirits teach you a thing or two at their masterclasses.

Head down to the Corn Exchange for the Christmas office party you didn’t get to have, without any annoying colleagues but with all the cocktails and bad dance moves. A range of goods from the Corn Exchange stores will also be available whilst you enjoy a perfect afternoon or evening at the Christmas Markets right in the heart of the city.

Find out more here.

Chow Down Winter Village, Temple Arches

This is an artist’s impression of the Winter Village site. / Image: Chow Down

When: From Thursday 11 November – Friday 31 December

Where: Chow Down, Temple Arches

Locally renowned open air bar and eatery, Chow Down, will be turning their Temple Arches open air space into a Winter Village from 11 November until New Years Eve .Expect the unveiling of a brand new, two-storey bar, rooftop curling club and cosy Christmas tipis to curl up in.

To keep warm, grab a seat by the fire pit, heaters and take a blanket or go meet Santa at the breakfast and family activities running throughout the day.If that’s not enough, there will also be apres ski nights; drag, club classics and disco brunches; new permanent kitchen residencies and plenty of rotating street food vendors that will keep you returning to Chow Down each week to find out what’s cooking.

Find out more here.

Leeds Winter Market, Royal Armories

No photo description available.
Image: Leeds Winter Market

When: Sunday 5 December only.

Where: Royal Armories, Leeds City Centre.

The Leeds Winter Market is going to be your one stop shop for all those stocking fillers and gifts for people that you just don’t know what to buy, we promise. The traders list is filled up with a tonne of unique local talent: from handmade candles that smell like a roasting fire to cute gingerbread houses, potted plants and everything in between, you’re in for a treat.

The one-day event is Leeds’ biggest independent Winter Market and tickets are selling out fast. There are less than 100 of their first release at £3 and second release tickets will be out soon, priced at £4+. Book a space now and avoid missing out on the ultimate shopping experience.

Find out more here

Bert’s Barrow Christmas Market, Hillam

Image: Bert’s Barrow

When: Saturday 13 November and Sunday 14 November, 10am – 3pm.

Where: Bert’s Barrow, Austfield Farm, Hillam.

You might have recently visited Bert’s Barrow to pick up your Halloween pumpkin or just take some selfies in their spooky fields whilst it was decorated head to toe in orange. If you’re just about getting organised for Christmas, why not make a return for their Christmas Market weekender.

Passionately sharing the love with local independent businesses, their stalls will be transformed to make way for Yorkshire’s finest goods, where you can pick up some gifts and order a locally-grown Christmas tree whilst sipping on their delicious hot drinks. Bert’s Barrow is around a 25 minute drive from Leeds city centre but will be worth every mile.

Find out more information here.

York Vintage Christmas Markets, York Racecourse

May be an image of 2 people, people standing and indoor
Celebrate Christmas from the 1930s right up until the 1960s in the present day at this Vintage Christmas Festival. / Image: Festival of Vintage

When: Saturday 4 December and Sunday 5 December, 10.30am – 4.30pm

Where: York Racecourse, York

Less Ghost of Christmas Past, more remembering beautiful memories of Christmases gone by. Enjoy a nostalgic day out at York Racecourse and bring back those past times with the people you cherish most. The day will be celebrating fashions, music and all those yuletide traditions from the 1930s to the 1960s.

Of course, you will be able to pick up some gifts for those that appreciate the stories and craftsmanship behind vintage items, and even treat yourself to fantastic treasures you never thought you’d see again. There will be live music and a DJ, nostalgic displays and even a visit from Father Christmas so that all of the family can enjoy this unique day out.

Find out more here.

Pup Up Cafe Dachshund Christmas Tour with special festive pop-up stalls for dogs

sausage dog dressed in a reindeer costume
Get your sausage dog ready for a Christmas present they’ll never expect. / Image: Pup Up Cafe

When: Sunday 19 December, 10am – 5pm.

Where: Revolution York, York.

If you need some presents for your four legged friends, look no further than the Pup Up event at Revolution Electric Press in December. The one day event is celebrating all things sausage dog during the final weekend before Christmas.

Throughout the day, humans can purchase dachshund-related goodies from traders offering the perfect stocking fillers for your little dog. There will be a photographer on hand to take plenty of present-worthy photographs of your Daschund and you can make all of their Christmas wishes come true by offering your little pooch an afternoon of ball pits and wagging tails as they mingle with up to 150 other sausage dogs.

Find out more here.

Malton Christmas Market, North Yorkshire

The Malton Christmas Markets will appeal to all the family and their stomachs. / Image: Event Owl

When: Saturday 4 December and Sunday 5 December

Where: Malton Market, 34-58 Market Place, Malton

It’s the highlight of every Yorkshire foodie’s calendar and it’s back this year like never before. Celebrate the best food at the proclaimed ‘capital of food in Yorkshire’ and tuck into mince pies, figgy pudding, juicy goose servings and a good ol’ turkey dinner.

If that’s not enough, the Victorian-inspired fairground rides, land train, mulled wine, visit from Santa Claus, local brass band and choirs might be enough to tempt you. The event has not taken place since 2019 due to Covid-related-restrictions, but the 20,000 seen at the last Malton Christmas Markets are expected to return for one of the most highly anticipated Christmas Markets of the year.

Find out more here.

Feature Image – Chow Down

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