#Christmas: The most festive cities on Instagram

Christmas in city centres Image copyright Instagram: Duygu Campinari, arghbee and dimauros
Image caption A fifth of photos tagged with English cities on Instagram are mentioning Christmas

Leeds is the most Christmassy big city in England, if the photo-sharing service Instagram is anything to go by.

About a quarter of all photographs uploaded to the site and tagged with the name of the city also include the word "Christmas" or "Xmas".

Across the 10 biggest English cities for population about one in five photographs on average is accompanied by those words as people get into the yuletide spirit.

Image copyright Instagram: raimondajureviciute
Image caption Christmas socks in Leeds
Image copyright Instagram: hjl1962
Image caption Candle holders at the Leeds Christmas market

Whether it is relaxing at home in front of the tree, hotdogs at the Christmas market, fairground wheels in the city centre or mulled wine with friends, thousands of people are sharing their festivities on social media.

Data scraped from photo-sharing service Instagram since 10 December shows that photographs of Leeds included "Christmas" or "Xmas" 23% of the time.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: "Leeds is a fabulously festive city and we've seen residents and visitors alike really get into the Christmas spirit more than ever this year.

"One of the most popular attractions in Leeds at this time of year is the Christkindelmarkt, which has become a Leeds Christmas tradition for many visitors and residents, and is fantastic photo opportunity for some fun and festive selfies. Combined with the lights switch-on, which regularly attracts thousands of people, the market has proved to be another roaring success this year."

The city also has a Reindeer Trail, a collection of decorated reindeer statues.

The least Christmassy city in the top 10 is Leicester, where 8% of photographs hashtagged with its name mention Christmas.

However, the arrival of the Coca Cola Christmas lorry on Thursday prompted a series of Christmas-tagged pictures from Leicester.

Image copyright Instagram: Zaid Fayaz
Image caption The Coca Cola Christmas lorry in Leicester

Leicester also has a lot going on for Christmas despite the lower proportion of mentions on Instagram. This year is the first time that people can view the Christmas decorations from its Wheel of Light, which is in Jubilee Square until 3 January.

Image copyright Instagram: whatamydoes
Image caption Leicester's Ferris wheel and the views over the city

A Leicester City Council spokeswoman said: "We have a busy programme of festivals and events throughout the year, including a packed Christmas and Diwali programme.

"Our Christmas celebrations include Leicester's Wheel of Light, a 110ft-high (33.5m) Ferris wheel on Jubilee Square, our popular children's tableaux at Town Hall Square, and our pantomime Snow White is at De Montfort Hall until 4 January. Our Christmas lights switch-on included real reindeer, Santa's sleigh and a programme of live music, and attracted thousands to the city centre."

Mistletoe and glühwein

German Christmas markets, selling crafts, decorations, beer, bratwurst and glühwein, have proved a big draw, not least in the two old rivals for the status of England's second city, Birmingham and Manchester.

Image copyright Instagram: thats_so_frandom
Image caption Birmingham's Christmas market

But it seems the two are neck and neck in terms of their Christmas cheer on Instagram. Not only do both cities have photographs mentioning Christmas 19% of the time, but 2% of all tagged photographs contain either #christmasmarket or #christmasmarkets.

In Birmingham, hashtags for the market included #christmasmarket, #birminghamchristmasmarket and even #yestheyhavegermanxmasmarketsinbirmingham.

Earlier this year Manchester topped a poll of the 10 most populated cities when people were asked which should be the UK's second capital, but on pictures of their Christmas markets, at least, they are equals.

Christmas on Instagram

Pictures from Leeds mention Christmas the most in Englands 10 biggest cities


of pictures of #Leeds say Christmas or Xmas too

  • 19% of #Manchester (pictured), #Birmingham and #Sheffield

  • 17% of #Bristol, 14% #Wakefield and #London, 12% #Bradford and 11% #Liverpool

  • 8% of #Leicester pictures mention Christmas, the least of the big cities

Getty Images
Image copyright Getty Images

Instagram and filters

BBC News used an independent data scraping tool to search Instagram for any mentions of Christmas.

We looked for the top 10 cities for population in England with a hashtag (#) in front of them followed by the words "Christmas" or "Xmas" somewhere in the accompanying caption.

Instagram was founded in 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. It has overtaken Twitter and now has about 400m regular users. The app lets users enhance images taken on their mobile phones with filters and then share them instantly across various social networks.

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