Leeds Christmas Market

Written by Najwa Nor Ikhsan

Tis the season to be jolly

Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la

 

Najwa’s Story

As I walk to Trinity mall, which is my getaway from university life, I’d find myself humming to the Christmas classics as they play at every shop that I visited. I mean, how can you possibly not hum to Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You? Halloween is over and everywhere you go, you find Christmas decorations taking over every shelf in the shops. One of the best place to get cute handmade decorations would be Leeds Christkindelmarkt which is our version of the German Market. I’d recommend any student to go out for an evening filled with pretty lights, good bratwurst, chocolate dessert and yes, a warm mug of mulled wine.

Families and friends flock to the market every single year. The market is open for almost a month (9 Nov-22 Dec). If you’ve never or don’t celebrate Christmas, this is the best way to understand and feel the jolly festive vibes. The market has two sections; one would be the food market and the other is rides and game stalls. For a good price, you’d get to enjoy good food and good rides. So much goodness because Christmas is coming soon! I personally don’t celebrate Christmas but I enjoy the happy, warm vibes and the usual red, green, brown and gold decorations that are super cute! Let’s be realistic, it’s the prettiest celebration because the decorations are epic with cute angels, handsome nutcrackers and fluffy, white snowman.

Every year, I’d come and visit this place with my friends. This year I came with another ambassador, Somdutta! She tried the usual Bratwurst (German sausage) while I tried the must have dessert – the scrumptious churros coated with cinnamon and sugar; and since I’ve got a sweet tooth, a chocolate dip too.

Also, the carousel is the most magical thing in the market so don’t be afraid to get on it whether you’re 6 or 50 years old. It’s also the least scariest ride they have because if I’m going be honest, I am a 23 year old chicken and rides that move at an ungodly speed or go way up high till one feels as if one’s floating -is a big NO NO for me. Anyways, whether you’re just visiting Leeds or will be studying here soon, look forward to the Christmas Market! I hope that you’ll make wonderful memories during your time here.

Somdutta’s Story

The Christkindlmarkt is a true blue Christmas tradition harking back to Middle Age Europe that has now spread to many countries around the world. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the Christmas street market is one festive part of the season that is bound to put you in the mood for merrymaking.

Having spent my last Christmas in Germany, I have had a liberal dose of some of Europe’s more famous Christmas markets but I continue to love the one in Leeds for what it is. A wintertime haven (7 weeks, no less) for taking a leisurely stroll through the smells and sights and sounds of Yuletide. There are some crackling food and drinks, rides and lights to boot, and one of the prettiest carousels in Yorkshire! What’s not to love?

Once you make your way through the louder and flashier sections near the Town Hall, with the giant ferris wheel and Thor’s warmth-exuding Tipi Bar, and head towards Millennium Square, you reach the more traditional (and our favourite) section of the market in a few minutes. There is plenty to do here, with games and some rides in this section as well, and the aforementioned carousel (watch out for the giant rooster). Weekends are crowded, and evenings closer to Christmas more so – as fellow ambassador Najwa and I discovered last Saturday – so don’t expect to fit everything into a single visit!

You can also find a good variety of shops selling gifts and decorations… it is a market for Christmas after all, the season of giving (and hopefully, receiving). The one chock-full of nutcrackers is my favourite, and it does a decent job of recreating a mini Käthe Wohlfahrt corner in the heart of this Northern English town. There is also a ‘Weihnachtsbühne’ or mini Christmas stage for rock-n-roll ish evenings, and you are welcome to break into an impromptu jig in front of it!

Any Christmas market worth its weight in holly, however, is judged by its food and drinks. The food stalls start near the Town Hall, but attract longer queues in the square. There are the usual suspects – hot dogs, crepes, waffles, candied fruits, fudge, and chocolates, as well as some additional interesting options like potato pancakes and Berliners. Personally, I would like more options for Bratwursts and Currywurst – considering it is supposed to be a German-inspired market – but that lack is compensated for by more than enough places selling mulled wine and other hot drinks.

If you are not yet of legal age, stop reading now and get yourself some hot chocolate with cream right away. For the rest of us, the market does some top-notch mulled wine that is perfect for chilly evenings, and you have the choice of spicing it up with shots of rum or amaretto or cream. A mulled wine with all three is known as The Snowman, an attraction in every sense.

Whichever side of the fence you are on, it’s worth trying out one of the hot drinks and holding on to the mug (£3). I love Christmas Market mugs with their quirky shapes and designs (cue Najwa sipping from a shoe-shaped mug) and it’s possible to build up quite a collection of them! For a proper Christmas in Leeds experience then, here’s our three-step programme- layer up, carry cash, and bring a friend. ‘Tis, after all, the season to be ho ho ho holiday jolly-ready!

 

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Najwa Nor Ikhsan
Hi, My name is Najwa and I am from Malaysia; a country that is famous for our high number of public holidays and mouth-watering cuisine. Malaysia has always been diverse...
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