Santa flies in to check out city’s Christmas market

Leeds, Leeds Star

Santa Claus paid a special visit to Millennium Square’s German Christmas Market today.

Father Christmas flew in from the North Pole to check out the venue for his brand new breakfast event, which will take place at the attraction for the very first time this year.

The Santa’s Breakfast experience for children and families will be in the Alp Chalet every Sunday morning between 10am and 11.30am.

Each Sunday, Pop Up And Play will host a festive Christmas buffet for children and families, with little ones greeted by Santa’s elves and taken to meet Father Christmas himself.

Tickets for the Santa’s breakfast are available by advance ticket only from the city centre Box Office in Leeds Town Hall, online, or by telephone on 0113 376 0318. Further details and booking information are available at www.leeds.gov.uk/christmasmarket

The city’s annual Christkindelmarkt German Christmas market returned  last week with a brand new look for its 15th anniversary.

Millennium Square has been transformed into a scenic festive village until Sunday, December 18, with new stalls and venues.

The new market layout includes an open air square with a stage that will feature a daily programme of music as well as a weekly children’s show every Sunday morning from 11am.

The family-friendly event will include sing-alongs, games, face painting, balloon modelling and appearances from winter wonderland princesses and other costumed characters.

Another new feature for 2016 will be the brand new Ski Hutte bar, set in a bespoke authentic alpine chalet with hand crafted decorations and a traditional Glockenspiel playing up to 30 different melodies and offering an apres-ski inspired ambience.

Returning this year will be the Alp Chalet – a Bavarian styled restaurant with a new lunch time menu for 2016 and the much loved ‘Kuh Stall’, complete with a real log fire.

Reservations are recommended in advance at the Alp Chalet Bavarian eatery and can only be made in person at the venue.

The new layout is designed to help natural flow of visitors to the market and give more people chance to experience one of the city’s most popular annual family-friendly attractions.

The Leeds Christkindelmarkt also includes more than 40 traditionally decorated wooden chalet stalls along with the traditional Christmas carousel ride.

Stalls at the market will include German delicacies like gluhwein, bratwurst sausages, schnitzels, soups and goulash, stollen, gingerbread, roasted nuts and candied fruits together with seasonal gifts, decorations, jewellery and handcrafted toys.

Leeds city centre will also be hosting other Christmas festivities on Victoria Gardens with the exciting Thor’s Tipi Bar Viking experience making its debut.

Located on outside the Leeds Art Gallery on The Headrow, the pop-up bar will feature linked canvas tipis decked out with wooden tables and benches and a fire pit and will be serving local draft ales, mulled wine and hot cider.

An outdoor winter barbeque will also be cooking up delicious homemade food daily.

The annual Christkindel Fair will also be taking place on Victoria Gardens and Cookridge Street every Friday, Saturday and Sunday between Friday, November 18 and Sunday, December 18.

Christmas stalls serving a variety of festive refreshments together with themed children’s rides will also remain open on Victoria Gardens throughout.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “We’re so excited to be bringing so many brand new features to the city centre this Christmas for what will be whole new festive experience.

“The German Market has been one of our most popular attractions for the last 14 years now and, working closely with our event partners from Frankfurt city council, our events team is always looking for ways to make it bigger, better and more inclusive.

“This year we’re confident that there really is something for everyone, with a family-friendly atmosphere on Millennium Square and a vibrant new Viking themed pop-up bar for visitors to enjoy on Victoria Gardens.

“Christmas is always a very special time in Leeds city centre and I’m sure this year’s festive season will be a memorable one.”

Kurt Stroscher, Director of Tourismus + Congress, Frankfurt City Council added:

“Over the past 14 years, we have added plenty of new and eye-catching features to make the Christkindelmarkt even more attractive.

“So this year, we are taking this a step further and unveiling a completely new concept. It will be even more authentic and traditional – just like our Christmas market in Frankfurt.

“We are thrilled to offer the people of Leeds this great new experience.”

The German market will be open daily from 10.30am to 9.30pm Monday to Saturday and 10.30am to 7.30pm on Sundays.

For more details about this year’s German market, please visit: www.leeds.gov.uk/christmasmarket

NOTES:

The German Market and other attractions form part of the city’s collaborative Magical Leeds campaign.

Part of a wider three-year strategy, the ‘Magical Leeds’ campaign aims to raise the profile of the city, to increase visitor numbers and encourage overnight stays over the festive period, by highlighting Leeds’ fantastic visitor offering, attractions and events.

To find out more about Magical Leeds and what’s on this winter, check out whatson.leeds.gov.uk for the latest event listings.