After four years on hiatus, the German-inspired Leeds Christmas Market, affectionately known as Christkindelmarkt, is back with much fanfare for its 20th-anniversary celebration. The city is buzzing with anticipation, ready to revive this cherished tradition.
Alongside the market’s return, the city continues to host the beloved Millennium Square Ice Rink, adding a dash of wintry fun. The Corn Exchange Christmas Market remains a staple event, offering unique gifts and local crafts.
In this guide, you’ll find the confirmed dates for 2023, opening times, locations and what to expect after such a long break.
Leeds Christmas Market 2023
In 2023, the city of Leeds warmly welcomes back the Leeds German Christmas Market, Christkindelmarkt, after a four-year absence.
The festive, German-style market is set to return, taking centre stage at City Square, Briggate, Dortmund Square, Albion Place and adjoining streets in the heart of Leeds.
Beyond the Christkindelmarkt, various festive events and markets spring up throughout Leeds for the holidays.
Ice Cube at Christmas returns to Millennium Square and Victoria Gardens, providing a unique ice skating experience beneath the city lights.
Fun fair rides and attractions are located at Cookridge Street.
The historic Corn Exchange is hosting its annual Christmas Market, brimming with unique gifts and artisan crafts.
The vibrant Kirkgate Market is bustling with festive goods and local produce, a perfect stop for holiday food shopping.
Lastly, the Artisan Winter Market showcases many handmade goods and local crafts, ideal for those seeking distinctive and thoughtful gifts.
Full details for each event are below.
1. Leeds German Market
Leeds Christmas Market dates: 24th November to 22nd December 2023.
Location: City Square and the surrounding streets.
Opening times: Monday to Wednesday: 10am to 7pm. Thursday to Saturday: 10am to 9pm. Sunday: 10am to 6pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Christmas lights: Yes, switch on date: 24th November 2023.
Ice skating: Yes, at Ice Cube at Millenium Square.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, plenty of options.
Gluten free: Yes, but limited.
Pet-friendly: Dogs are allowed in outdoor areas.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: This market has much of the authenic Christkindelmarkt atmosphere that you would expect to experience in Germany.
Specialities: Classic German Christmas specialties like gluhwein, bratwurst and schnitzel, along with Leeds specialties.
Recommended tour: Highlights walking tour – The most popular sightseeing tour of Leeds.
Travel tip: There are many events and the ice rink taking place this year. Visit early in the day and during the week to avoid the expected crowds.
Where to stay: Quebecs Hotel is a highly-rated hotel, just around the corner from City Square.
Hotels near Leeds Christmas Market
Millenium Square is located to the north of Leeds City Centre. Most of the city’s hotels are located just south of here.
A good value option in this area is the Quebecs Hotel. This hotel is located directly at City Square and is a 6-minute walk to the events at Millenium Square.
If you’d prefer to stay elsewhere, I have a full guide to hotels near Leeds Christmas Market with options for all budgets.
Discover more places to go with my Christmas markets 2023 UK guide and start planning your winter holiday break.
Location of the German Markets
2. Ice Cube at Christmas
Ice Cube is where you’ll find many of the winter rides, activities and, of course, ice skating in Leeds.
Ice Cube dates: 24th November to 31st December 2023.
Location: Millenium Square, Victoria Gardens and Cookridge Street.
Opening times: Monday to Thursday: 12pm to 9:30pm. Friday: 12pm to 10pm. Saturday: 11am to 10pm. Sunday: 11am to 7pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Boxing Day: Closed.
Payments: Card payments are preferred for all rides and attractions. Cash is accepted.
Thor’s Tipi: 18th November to 31st December.
Wheel of Light: 18th November to 31st December at Victoria Gardens.
Starflyer: Millenium Square.
North Pole Funhouse: Millenium Square.
Festive rides and carousel: At Cookridge Street.
Ice skating: Yes, at Ice Cube at Millenium Square. Buy tickets online in advance or at the event on the day.
Pet-friendly: Dogs are allowed in outdoor areas.
3. Corn Exchange Market
This year, Leeds Corn Exchange will once again bring festive shopping to the city with its Christmas market, starting from the 24th November.
This is one of the main Christmas events in Leeds and is a popular destination. It’s an excellent spot to support independent businesses, enjoy local music, taste food from local restaurants, and sample products from artisan distilleries and breweries at the Christmas shops.
Corn Exchange dates: 24th November to 22nd December 2023.
Location: Leeds Corn Exchange, Call Lane.
Opening times: 10am to 6pm.
4. Kirkgate Market
Recognised as one of the UK’s most expansive indoor markets and the historic origin point of the well-known retailer Marks & Spencer, Kirkgate Market turns into a festive hub during the holiday season.
It accommodates various Christmas activities and a collection of pop-up markets. The huge space, usually full of daily wares, transforms into a holiday fairground, showcasing a mix of festive goods, unique handcrafted items, and food stalls serving seasonal treats.
Kirgate Market: Events each weekend from the 25th November 2023.
Location: 34 George Street, Leeds.
Opening times: 10am to 4pm (closed Sundays).
5. Art and Makers Market
The Makers Market has established itself as an essential stop during the Christmas season.
It’s an interesting place where local artisans and independent makers converge to sell their unique products.
Art and Makers Market: 24th to 26th November 2023.
Location: Sunny Bank Mills.
Opening times: Friday: 2pm to 8pm. Saturday and Sunday: 10am to 5pm.
6. Artisan Winter Market
Located amidst the scenic surroundings just north of Leeds, Harewood House sets the stage for an unforgettable Artisan Winter Market experience.
This stately home, with its long history and grand architecture, serves as an idyllic backdrop for this festive gathering.
As you explore the market, you’ll find a blend of creativity and craftsmanship displayed by the local makers, craftspeople, artists and artisans.
Artisan Winter Market dates: 8th November to 12th November 2023.
Location: North Park Walk, Harewood House, 25-minute drive north of Leeds.
Opening times: 10am to 4pm.
Entry: £5 (free for Harewood members).
Visit Leeds is the city’s official tourism website. They have all the latest information regarding what’s on this winter and the best ways to experience Leeds at Christmas.
Sustainable Travel Tips
The choices we make have an environmental and social impact on the places we visit. Try to implement these responsible travel measures when visiting Leeds.
Eco-friendly Hotels in Leeds
In Leeds, some hotels are committed to sustainability, relying on renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. By choosing one of these places to stay, you directly contribute to emission reduction efforts in the city.
While you explore the Christmas markets, be mindful of your food consumption. Many of the food stalls give you the option to select portion sizes. By only ordering what you can eat, you help in reducing food waste.
Markets are ideal for picking up gifts. Make it a point to purchase only what you need or will use. Look for handmade or artisan gifts, which usually have less environmental impact and support local makers.
Sustainable Diet Choices
Leeds offers a range of dining options that focus on locally sourced, organic and plant-based produce. By eating at these places, you support local agriculture and minimise the carbon footprint associated with food transport.
The city has a robust public transport system, which includes buses and trains. Using these services or simply walking to nearby attractions reduces your carbon footprint.
Local Housing Support
Consider staying in a hotel as opposed to short-term apartment rentals. This choice helps the local housing market, which tourist apartment rentals can strain.
Minimise Plastic Use
Carry reusable items such as water bottles and shopping bags. Leeds markets often have refill stations where you can top up your water bottle, helping you avoid single-use plastic.
Explore Beyond the Obvious
Leeds has many districts that aren’t tourist-heavy. By visiting these areas, you distribute your tourist spending more evenly and help businesses that might not usually benefit from the holiday rush.
Support the Arts
Leeds has a thriving arts scene. Attend a local theatre production or an art gallery opening to contribute to the cultural health of the city.
Please comment below if you want to leave a review of Leeds Xmas Market.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Leeds, UK. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.