New Christmas market prompts seasonal city centre surge: Ice Cube 2023

22 Dec 2023

New Christmas market prompts seasonal city centre surge

City centre Christmas Christmas events

The arrival of a new Christmas market has sparked a festive footfall boom in Leeds city centre, new figures have revealed. 

Since the launch of the city’s new seasonal market just three weeks ago, the city centre has enjoyed its three busiest days since 2019, with huge spikes in the numbers of people visiting a number of key locations. 

Specialist cameras, which tally numbers in eight areas including Briggate, The Headrow and Albion Street, have recorded a total footfall of 5,642,691 from November 24 until December 17, an increase of 13.6% on the same period last year. 

Saturday, November 25, the day after the Christmas market launched, saw the city centre enjoy its busiest day since 2019, with a total footfall of 338,299 and footfall on Briggate, one of the city’s top shopping hotspots, hitting an impressive 57,209. 

December 16 and 2 also saw total city centre footfall hit 336,142 and 320,056 respectively, making them the second and third highest days in total for the last four years. 

Across the whole year to date, total city centre footfall for 2023 is also 2.5% up on the same period in 2022. 

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s deputy leader and executive member for economy, culture and education, said: “The new Christmas market is clearly a huge incentive for people to come and experience what Leeds has to offer over the festive season and it’s wonderful that it’s been such a successful catalyst for the incredible buzz we’re seeing across the city centre right now. 

“There’s no doubt the financial circumstances we’re facing as a council have meant we’ve had to think differently about how we can make Christmas in Leeds feel special and we’re incredibly proud of what’s been accomplished. 

“By working innovatively with our partners, we’ve been able to bring a Christmas market to Leeds which not only makes the most of the fabulous public spaces we now have, but which is being delivered at no cost to the council and which is now having a major, tangible impact on the city centre as a whole.” 

For the first time in Leeds, the Christmas market has seen stalls and attractions spread out across 13 different areas of the city centre, with a range of traditional, timber, seasonal stalls decked out in festive lighting and featuring international, UK, Yorkshire and Leeds traders. 

Popular Christmas-themed outdoor bar areas have also been situated on Briggate, Quebec Street and Dortmund Square. The market has been delivered by Marketplace Europe, one of the UK’s largest Christmas market operators, at no cost to Leeds City Council. 

Also proving a huge draw this year has been the Ice Cube open air ice rink on Millennium Square, with public skating sessions seeing a 22% rise in bookings on the same period last year, with an extra 3,366 skaters taking to the ice. 

Elsewhere a spectacular projection on The Queens Hotel on City Square, commissioned by Leeds BID, along with cultural activities, shows and pantomimes at the city’s theatres have also added to the festive offer. 

The Leeds Christmas market runs until today (Dec 22) with Ice Cube running on Millennium Square until December 31. 

Plans are already being discussed for next year’s market, and visitors are being asked to give their thoughts about this year in an upcoming survey. 

For more information about what’s on offer in Leeds this Christmas, visit: 


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Leeds City Council Communications team