The introduction of a new Christmas market has ignited a surge in festive foot traffic in the centre of Leeds, according to recent data.

Since the commencement of the city’s latest seasonal market just three weeks ago, the city centre has witnessed its three most bustling days since 2019, experiencing significant increases in visitor numbers at several key locations.

Specialist cameras, tracking figures in eight areas including Briggate, The Headrow, and Albion Street, have documented a total footfall of 5,642,691 from November 24 to December 17, marking a 13.6% rise compared to the same period last year.

On Saturday, November 25, the day following the Christmas market’s launch, the city centre recorded its busiest day since 2019, with a total footfall of 338,299. Notably, footfall on Briggate, one of the city’s prominent shopping destinations, reached an impressive 57,209.

December 16 and 2 also saw total city centre footfall reach 336,142 and 320,056, respectively, ranking them as the second and third highest days in total for the past four years.

For the entire year up to the present date, the total city centre footfall for 2023 is also up by 2.5% compared to 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 spread across 13 different areas of the city centre, featuring traditional timber stalls adorned with festive lighting and hosting international, UK, Yorkshire, and Leeds traders. Christmas-themed outdoor bar areas have been set up on Briggate, Quebec Street, and Dortmund Square. Marketplace Europe, one of the UK’s largest Christmas market operators, delivered the market at no cost to Leeds City Council.

This year, the Ice Cube open-air ice rink on Millennium Square has also been a major attraction, with public skating sessions experiencing a 22% increase in bookings compared to the same period last year. An additional 3,366 skaters have taken to the ice.

In addition to these attractions, 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 contributed to the festive atmosphere.

The Leeds Christmas market concludes today (Dec 22), while Ice Cube on Millennium Square runs until December 31. Plans are already underway for next year’s market, and visitors are encouraged to share their thoughts on this year’s festivities in an upcoming survey.