Step into a continental Christmas at the Leeds German Market, with steins, bratwurst and oompah bands galore.

Leeds welcomed the return of German Christmas Market on Friday, with 40 wooden stalls selling festive decorations, presents, sweet treats and German delicacies.

The market will run until Saturday December 20 and is bound to attract scores of visitors, if previous years are anything to go by.

Click below for a taste of what's in store


Whether you're a first time visitor to the festive market, or a seasoned stein-drinker, there's plenty to do and see.

Here's 10 ideas for festive fun at Leeds' German Christmas Market:

  1. Find some extra-special presents: Step away from the socks and smellies and buy your family some extra-special, hard-to-find presents from the market's wide range of stalls. From wooden nutcrackers to beautiful glass ornaments to striking wooden carvings and speciality chocolates, cross some names off your shopping list and guarantee Christmas morning delight with a shopping spree around the winter village.
  2. Buy some giant gingerbread: Bavarian gingerbread is world famous — indulge your sweet tooth and bag one of the giant love heart cookies on sale at various stalls at the German market. Extra points if you use one to propose — has anyone ever bought one of those massive 'Would You Marry Me' proposal love hearts?
  3. Embrace the fun of an oompah band: Nothing beats the booming brass of a proper German oompah band! Head to the
    Frankfurter Scheune/Festival Hall, grab a stein, bag a seat on the benches and bob the night away to live entertainment courtesy of Bavarian show band Mandy and Friends. The Frankfurter Scheune, which you can't book, is open between 10.30am and 4pm then 5pm to 10pm Mondays to Saturday. Last orders/entry is 9.45pm.
  4. Ride the carousel: After all that shopping and bratwurst sampling, rest your weary feet on the festive market's carousel. Youngsters will love the pretty fairground ride — why not embrace your inner kid and join them for a twirly, musical jaunt at the market.
  5. Sup a stein (or two, or three): Nothing goes better with bratwurst than a nice pint of Bavarian beer (or a stein, if you're thirsty enough!). Leave the car at home and enjoy a Helles or Weizen dunkel (or two, or three) and a top night out in the Alp Chalet or the Frankfurter Schuene — prost, everybody!
  6. Sample some schitzel: You can't go to the Leeds German Market and not sample some of Germany's delicacies. Schnitzel, bratwurst, pretzels and more are all on offer for you to try, as well as sweet treats including gingerbread, chocolate and stollen. And gluhwein, German mulled wine, is the perfect winter warmer — we can smell the cinnamon and spices already.
  7. Have a go at speaking German: See if you can impress the German stallholders and have a go at speaking their language. Here's some key words for you to try: hello is guten tag (goo-ten taag) or and guten nacht (goo-ten nackt); please is bitte (bitt-uh); thank you is danke (dank-uh); yes is ja (yah) and no is nein (nine). And when you've had enough beer, Gingerbread and finished your shopping, wave goodbye with a cheery auf Wiedersehen (ow-f veeder-sayn)!
    Wooden Toys on sale at the German Christmas Market in Millennium Square, Leeds. 12 November 2010. Picture Bruce Rollinson
  8. Tart up your Christmas tree: If you're looking for Christmas decorations, you've come to the right place. From wooden Santas to festive nutcrackers, delicate tree ornaments to beautiful coloured glass candle holders, the market has plenty of stalls to help transform your home into a Christmas wonderland.  
  9. Go in fancy dress: Have some fun and pay homage to German culture by going along in traditional German dress — where else will you be able to get away with lederhosen this Christmas?
  10. Try day and night at the market: If you get the chance,  visit the market in the daytime and in the evening. On Sundays, youngsters can enjoy fun activities, including snowflake crafts, German Christmas card making, decoration crafts and can make glittery pine cones, 10.30am-12.30pm. In the evening, the market's twinkly lights create a magical festive atmosphere, while revellers in the food and drink venues create a buzzing party atmosphere until late.

Step into Christmas with our guide to festive events taking place in and around Huddersfield