Last Week’s Shoot – York at Christmas

I had a trip into York last week to look for some Christmassy shots for my 2021 Yorkshire Calendar, amongst other things, so headed straight for St Helen’s Square for the Christmas Tree and nearby Stonegate.

St Helens Square at Christmas in York
Bettys and The Mansion House at Christmas in St Helens Square, York

Of course, the problem with urban Christmas dusk shoots is that they coincide with rush hour, so the whole place was heaving with Christmas shoppers!  Still, I’d expected it to be crowded – but hadn’t planned for St Helen’s Square being cut in half by anti-terrorist barriers preventing traffic from entering Davygate and Coney Street (presumably due to the Christmas Market in full swing down on Parliament Street) which meant that the traffic side of the barrier filled up with delivery vans as well!  So, a shot of the tree looking towards the church and Stonegate didn’t really work – but the half of the square with Bettys and the Mansion House behind worked OK.

Little Stonegate in York
Little Stonegate at dusk at Christmas

There were further obstacles on Stonegate itself in the form of scaffolding at the St Helen’s Square end of the street and on the Minster in the distance – but the Christmas decorations looked lovely and the quieter sidestreet of Little Stonegate looked very pretty too.

The Mansion House and Coney Street at Christmas
The Mansion House and Coney Street at Christmas

Back in the square, the Mansion House looked quite Christmassy as well, along with the view along Coney Street.

Christmas lights along High Petergate towards Bootham Bar
Christmas lights along High Petergate towards Bootham Bar

Before the light faded I popped round to the Minster for a few floodlit shots.  In front of the Minster the view along High Petergate towards Bootham Bar also caught my eye with the street festooned with fairy lights.  I had to do this shot several times, as when I set up the long exposure, people came and stood in front of me to photograph the Minster on their mobile phones – standing still long enough to leave a ghostly image of an annoying person with their arm in the air…

Floodlit York Minster from Precentors Court at dusk
Floodlit York Minster from Precentor’s Court at dusk

To shoot York Minster myself, I walked round to the much quieter Precentor’s Court for a few final shots as the sky darkened.

You can find all of the images from the shoot in the City of York Gallery on my website where they’re available to license or as fine art prints.  You’ll also find them in my Alamy Portfolio, if you buy your images there!

About marksunderland

Mark Sunderland is a retired landscape and travel photographer still taking the occasional photograph! For image licensing and prints see

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