A walk around the Leeds Christkindlmarkt
So last Friday, full of cold and coughing away, I pulled on my festively garish Christmas jumper and made my way to the Leeds Christmas Market – and in the rain no less! Having been for the past few years I had a fair idea of what to expect, the market was laid out in much the same way as in the past and most of the stalls were veterans to the market.
First stop was to pick up a sausage, as nothing says german market like an oversized sausage in a tiny bit of bread, all cooked on a huge grill suspended from the ceiling of a hut! Filled up with sausage (and a small bit of bread) it was time to tackle the stalls, full of food, trinkets and some more food. As the market is based on Millenium Square it is a bit restricted in it’s size, I have the feeling that were the square bigger the market would follow suit. As it is, the market’s quite compact and you will be able to walk around it at an ambling pace in about 20 minutes.
There’s a decent selection of stuff to spend your money on for people on every budget, from a few quid for a stocking filler to a three figure beeswax candle! However if you’ve been to a Christmas market in the past you will recognise most things on sale, there’s nothing here that’s out of the ordinary. The market does seem geered to expanding your waistline rather than offer any real retail therapy though with a huge selection of food and drink to choose from including some of the most irresistable looking donuts you’ll see.
The central attraction for many people is the lively beer tent, a word of warning though – be prepared to queue! There’s two sittings, 12-4 then 5-10, and the queue has been known to be three hours long for the evening session sometimes! Inside the tent there’s yet more sausages, a wide selection of hot wines, spirits, german beers and for those that want to avoid alcohol, hot chocolate and soft drinks. If you’re lucky enough to find a booth to the side or a seat at one of the long beer hall tables then you’ll escape being squashed at the back with everybody else. Tables are available to reserve, but this does not guarantee you entry – you’ll still be in the queue with the rest. Don’t less this put you off though, there’s a great atmosphere in the tent and its well worth checking out.
After a ‘brief’ beer tent visit we had another wander around the market hot gluhwein (a small one will set you back £4.50!) in hand and watched a few people have a go on the huge Victorian style merry-go-round they have installed. Then we were on our way bumbling home, happily full of pricey wine, beer, chocolate, sausage and the odd mead. If you’ve never been before I would strongly recommend swinging by, just to get you in the festive spirit. If you have and you’re in two minds whether or not not to go, there’s not a lot different from the other years but it’s still a good way to kill and hour or so.
Picture credit: T J Blackwell