Winter lights bring in the business – York visitor numbers on the up

Stunning… the winter lights on Walmgate Bar. Photograph: Charlotte Graham

Not only do they look brilliant, they have proved to be a dazzling success.

York’s extra special winter lights this year are being credited for delivering a seasonal city boost.

Figures now in show that, compared to last year…

  • rail journeys to York were 13.2% up (Nov 19-Dec 23)
  • footfall was up 1.3%
  • coach bookings were up 8%
  • and visits to attractions were up 5% in December.

The positive trend appears to be continuing on this side of Christmas. The latest footfall figures for January show a 3.4% year to date increase.

Feedback very positive

Both the Christmas and the winter lights have been popular. Photograph: YorkMix

With more than 160,000 LED lights stretching out from the city centre and into some of the streets previously untouched by festive illuminations, it was probably York’s best ever display.

The bars were once again shimmering gateways into the city, and this year the bridges were lit up too.

York’s winter lights are a joint effort by the York Business Improvement District (BID) and Make It York.

Although the Christmas illuminations have gone, the rest will twinkle on until the end of the month.

Andrew Lowson, director of the York BID, said considerable investment had gone into the lights this year, adding:

Feedback has been very positive and the Bar lighting means that whichever gateway you pass through into York, you can see these beautiful structures in all their glory.

Head of Visit York, Sally Greenway, said:

The winter months are a vital time of year for local businesses and the tourism industry and we’re delighted the winter lighting scheme has been so popular.

Now that the festive season is behind us it is crucial York continues to attract visits during the traditionally quieter months and the winter lights scheme has added a new dimension, drawing in shoppers and visitors to enjoy the city lit up by night.