Christmas market planned for York Minster

A small Christmas market could be unveiled at York Minster this year – as part of the cathedral’s plans to recover from the pandemic.

There would be four wooden chalets: one with ice-carving activities, one selling Minster Christmas products, and the remaining two would offer mulled wine, hot chocolate and seasonal food.

The market would be installed on the lawn between the statue of Constantine the Great and the Stonemasons workshop, off Minster Yard.

And it would help make money for the Minster as it faces a “catastrophic” £5.2 million hole in the budget as a result of coronavirus.

A planning application submitted to City of York Council says the chalets would be similar to those used for the St Nicholas Fair in Parliament Street and would be in place from November 1 to December 31 as part of the city-wide Christmas festival.

Generate revenue

It would be held on this green behind Constantine. Photograph © Google Street View

Planning document state: “The purpose of this temporary activity is to encourage people to visit the Precinct and Minster who may not normally have done so and to generate revenue through the York Minster Christmas shop.

“It is intended that the area will provide a calm and peaceful respite from the busier parts of the city and that will particularly appeal to families with young children, particularly with the weekday activities planned.

“The ice carving will provide a seasonal echo to the ongoing heritage work carried out throughout the year in the masons’ lodge.”

The Minster Christmas shop will sell decorations, advent calendars and Italian cribs.

There will also be opportunities for family-friendly activities and choir performances in the ice-carving chalet from Monday to Wednesday each week – and charities would also be welcome to use the space.

The market would be positioned near the South Quire Aisle, where major restoration and conservation work is taking place and the scaffolding is due to be in place until the early 2030s.

Patrolled by Minster police

The market plan. Image: planning documents

A Minster statement says the South Quire Transept has also been brought into the project – adding a further £5 million to the total £17 million restoration costs.

The Minster closed on March 17 in response to the pandemic and reopens to tourists tomorrow, Saturday.

Deliveries to the chalets would be made from Deangate and security will be provided by the Minster’s police team.

Make It York has confirmed the St Nicholas Fair is still set to go ahead, from November 12 to December 23, in line with Government guidance and dependent on lockdown being lifted.