Leeds-List: The Best & Most Insightful Guide to Leeds

13 Fabulously Festive Things to Do with the Kids in Leeds

· Ali Turner · Christmas

Yuletide magic to light up little faces.

Harewood House Christmas

Get the kids in the Christmas spirit with these festive days out.

After last year, the kids deserve a Christmas packed to the rafters with festive joy and magic. Whether it’s mastering ice skating at the rink, discovering clues in an enchanted forest or meeting Santa for the first time, there’s delight and wonder to be had at every turn this Christmas. So wrap up warm and head out with the whole family for these holiday favourites.

Go on a Christmas Adventure at Stockeld Park

Stockeld Park Santa's Breakfast Panto

Stockeld Park is a Christmas day out you simply have to do if you’ve got kids in tow. They’ll love seeing the Enchanted Forest come alive with thousands of twinkling lights, a soundscape and animated installations. You can get lost together in the Snowflake Maze, have a go at skiing on the Nordic Ski Trail, and enjoy the show at Santa’s Breakfast Panto, where the kids will get a present from the big man himself. It’s an epic day out in Leeds.

The Christmas Adventure is at Stockeld Park from Saturday 20th November 2021 until 4th January 2022.

Catch Aladdin at Carriageworks

He’s behind you! Oh no he’s not! It’s not Christmas without a bit of audience participation at the panto, and Carriageworks Theatre’s production of Aladdin is a rip-roaring classic. With spectacular costumes, laugh out loud comedy and toe-tapping tunes, Aladdin will seek fame, fortune and true love. Join him, the princess and the genie (and the rest of the gang) for a magic carpet ride that the whole family will love!

Aladdin comes to Carriageworks Theatre from Friday 26th November 2021 to Sunday 9th January 2022.

Get curious at the Thackray Museum of Medicine

thackray christmas show

Lord Foppletwig has arrived at the museum with his entourage of long-suffering servants and he’s ready to put on a festive show. Chaotic yet utterly charming, this raucous sit-down will combine bawdy music hall singalongs, Victorian myths and absolute mayhem. As for the rest of the museum, Disease Street will be decked out in Victorian Christmas finery and you can follow the Unhealthy Elfy trail too.

Lord Foppletwig’s Christmas Contraption Show comes to the Thackray Museum of Medicine every weekend in December 2021.

Think happy thoughts with Wendy & Peter Pan

Wendy & Peter Pan

Fancy escaping reality with a trip to Neverland? See the Peter Pan story like never before with this incredible production that tells the tale through Wendy’s eyes. Made in collaboration with Bunkamura Theatre, you can expect anime-style video projections, a cinematic score and beautiful sets. Tiger Lily? She’s a ninja! A truly magical way to spend a festive day out with the kids in Leeds this Christmas.

Wendy & Peter Pan comes to Leeds Playhouse from Thursday 18th November 2021 to Sunday 22nd January 2022.

Get stars in your eyes at Temple Newsam

Temple Newsam Christmas

Credit: Leeds Museums and Galleries

Grab your woolies and head down to Temple Newsam after dark to follow a twinkling trail of lights through the grounds and gardens. From sparkling tunnels to fire gardens, there’s lots to discover, including a glimpse of Father Christmas if you’re lucky! Thirsty? Grab a yummy hot chocolate or a spiced winter warmer to keep your hands toasty and your belly full. This magical adventure will mesmerise the little ones and dazzle you too.

Christmas at Temple Newsam runs from Friday 26th November 2021 until Sunday 2nd January 2022.

Rock out with Beauty and the Beast at City Varieties

City Varieties Rock n Roll Panto - Red Riding Hood

Credit: Ant Robling

One for families with older kids, this panto gives the tale as old as time a raucous rock ’n’ roll makeover. The Beast, Belle and their enchanted castle meet the classic rock jukebox of your dreams, with a whole heap of audience participation thrown in too. The actors are musicians, so they perform the songs live on stage. It’s going to be loud, it’s going to be explosive and it’s going to be unforgettable.

Beauty & the Beast Rock’n’Roll Panto comes to City Varieties Music Hall from Friday 26th November 2021 to Sunday 9th January 2022.

See What Santa Sees at Victoria Gate

See what santa sees

Victoria Gate gets a special visit from Father Christmas this December, and he’s inviting you and your little elves along to experience his magical Christmas Eve journey. In an enthralling, immersive story, you’ll follow him as he makes his deliveries in time for the big day. Discover new places, make friends and learn how people from across the world celebrate Christmas. A perfect festive day out!

See What Santa Sees runs from 11.00am-5pm on various dates from Saturday 4th December to Thursday 23rd December 2021.

Explore Lotherton’s Christmas Experience

lotherton christmas

Credit: Leeds Museums and Galleries

Lotherton Hall has had a traditional Christmas makeover and it doesn’t get much better than this. The Edwardian house is dressed in dramatic festive finery and the woods are full of glimmering lights and things to play with. The fairies have got a new village down in the magical dell, why not see if you can catch a glimpse of one? You can decorate gingerbread with Mrs Claus too and even meet Santa and his elves for a special Christmas experience.

Lotherton’s Christmas Experience runs from Sunday 27 November 2021 to Sunday 2nd January 2022.

Discover ballet for kids with Pinocchio

Northern Ballet Pinocchio

Northern Ballet’s productions for children are legendary, so if you’re looking for something festive to do with the kids in Leeds, Pinocchio has to be top of the list. A story of a carpenter whose wish for a son comes true in the form of a puppet come to life, this performance is full of joy. Watch as Pinocchio goes on an adventure to prove himself and become a real boy. At just 40 minutes long, it’s a lovely way to introduce the kids to the magic of ballet.

Pinocchio comes to the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre from Tuesday 7th to Saturday 11th December 2021.

Get your skates on at Ice Cube

Ice Cube

Head to Millennium Square for one of the best Christmas days out Leeds has to offer this year. A covered ice rink awaits, where you can skate whatever the weather and, once little legs are tired out, there’s a selection of hot street food vendors offering tasty festive treats. For the under nines, the Penguin Club runs every Saturday and Sunday morning, and on Thursday mornings there’s a dedicated session for wheelchair-users.

The Ice Cube Skating Rink launches at Millennium Square on Friday November 26th until Friday 24th December 2021.

See Bedknobs and Broomsticks on stage

bedknobs broomsticks

Credit: Johan Persson

We’ve been lucky enough to bag the magical stage adaptation of Bedknobs and Broomsticks over the festive season. The Disney classic sees the three Rawlins children evacuated from wartime London to live with witch-in-training Eglantine Price, where they’ll enter a world of magic to help defeat the enemy. Expect original songs like Portobello Road and The Beautiful Briny, as well as new music and lyrics. Not to be missed!

Bedknobs and Broomsticks comes to Leeds Grand Theatre from Wednesday 8th December to Sunday 2nd January 2022.

Discover a forest full of Christmas secrets at This Green Moon

This green moon christmas event

Grab your wellies and head down to This Green Moon in Leeds for a fabulously festive day out. You’ll join their magical trail, walk through the ancient forest by glimmering lamplight and uncover the true meaning of Christmas clue by clue. End the trail cosy by the campfire, with a complimentary toasted marshmallow for every child. Parents can toast the evening with a mulled wine from the fully stocked bar.

A Forest Full of Christmas Secrets comes to This Green Moon every weekend from Saturday 4th to Sunday 19th December 2021.

Make a Christmas wish at Harewood House

Harewood House Christmas

Harewood House has pulled out all the stops this year as they welcome you back for the festive season. Created by Lord Whitney, the house has become a Christmas show all of its own, as it shares a memory of when a little girl was granted her Christmas wish. Walk through the house and experience incredible festive theatrical sets, moving set pieces and a cinematic soundtrack for a whimsical Christmas day out in Leeds.

Upon a Christmas Wish is at Harewood House from Saturday 13th November 2021 to Monday 3rd January 2022.