Make the most of the Christmas holidays with these amazing events for the kids.
Christmas is a wonderful time of year, but it’s that little bit more special for the little ones in our lives – and not just because of the presents. It’s to spend quality time together as a family, as well as doing some amazing things – and Leeds has plenty on offer during the holidays that will make the kids’ dreams come true.
The Story Trees & The Whispering Wood
Sneaky Experience will make the school holidays unforgettable for the kids. They’re taking over the woods beneath Leeds Town Hall and turning it into a magical world. They’ve tailored two shows for different ages, with The Story Trees for kids under 5 and The Whispering Woods for kids over 5. Whichever you choose, you’ll join Ratty, Mole, Toad, Badger and Weasel on a search for Santa, using a mix of puppetry, song and storytelling to keep the kids entertained.
The Story Trees & The Whispering Wood is at Leeds Town Hall from Friday 16th to Friday 23rd December 2016.
Peter Pan isn’t exactly a traditional Christmas tale, but it can still be a great day out with the kids this December. Mr and Mrs Theatre Company are coming to Seven Arts with a wonderful adaptation of this classic children’s favourite that combines lively storytelling with amazing aerial performances as you follow the adventures of the boy who never grows up.
Peter Pan is at Seven Arts on Saturday 17th December 2016.
The Christmas Experience
Lotherton Hall is getting right into the spirit of the season with The Christmas Experience. It runs until two days before Christmas and you can experience a wonderfully festive day out. Go on a Twelve Days of Christmas Woodland Walk, take a trip into the Elf Village, visit the Enchanted Fairy Dell and take part in fun Christmas crafts – that’s alongside meeting the big man himself in Santa’s Grotto.
The Christmas Experience is at Lotherton Hall until Friday 23rd December 2016.
The Shoemaker’s Christmas Wish
The festive classic The Elves and the Shoemaker has been reimagined by Interplay Theatre. Perfect for kids aged 2 to 6, it tells the story of Charlotte the Shoemaker. She has a big problem – with just three days to go until Christmas, she won’t be able to make a Christmas meal and goes to bed dreaming of a huge spread to wake up to. That is until a mischievous little sprite enlists her help as an elf. There’ll be performances at libraries across Leeds, so check in with your local one.
The Shoemaker’s Christmas Wish takes place at libraries across Leeds until Friday 23rd December 2016.
Cinderella’s Christmas Wish
The Rainbow Factory is a great place to visit during the school holidays and this Christmas will be no different thanks to their production of Cinderella’s Christmas Wish. It’s their own re-imagining of the famous tale, making use of music, live action and puppetry to tell of a unique christmas story with Cinderella. It’s one kids of all ages will appreciate, but has been specifically designed for kids aged between 2 and 7, while kids under 12 months can go free.
Cinderella’s Christmas Wish is at The Rainbow Factory until Friday 30th December 2016.
Other than Santa himself, the most famous of all the Christmas characters is the reindeer with the big red nose, Rudolf – but how did he become Santa’s trusted lieutenant? This West Yorkshire Playhouse production will show you how during the Christmas holidays. Rudolf has a rough time at Reindeer School – he struggles to fit in and is known as the ‘red nose reject’, but with some help from an unlikely source, and a reminder of how special he is, he should be ready when Santa calls.
Rudolf is at West Yorkshire Playhouse until Saturday 31st December 2016.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
One of the biggest highlights of the Christmas holidays will no doubt be the stellar performance of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on the grounds of the former Tetley brewery. A huge 1,400 seat big top tent has been erected for a pantomime that will see Geordie Shore’s Scotty T take on the role of the Prince, while Brookside’s Louis Emerick plays the Royal Tax Collector and Corrie’s Tupele Dorgu plays the Wicked Queen. That’s not all though – expect magicians, jugglers and stilt-walkers to make it a fantastic family night out.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is at The Tetley until Sunday 1st January 2017.
The Magical Lantern Festival
Roundhay Park might not be your usual festive day out, but then, it’s never had The Magical Lantern Festival before. Follow the trail of massive Chinese lantern displays, which include dragons as long as three buses and mushrooms that tower above you, all lit up at night across a 10 acre section of the park. There’s also a fun fair, street food and a chance to donate to the Jane Tomlinson Appeal.
The Christmas Adventure
Stockeld Park is a great family day out, and this Christmas, they have all manner of fun lined up for you. There’s ice skating and Nordic skiing – or you can head into the Enchanted Forest, which will be beautifully lit for the occasion, to make the most of their nighttime playgrounds. You can also visit Santa’s Grotto where the little ones can pick up a present or try to find your way out of their twisting maze.
The Christmas Adventure at Stockeld Park is open every day until Tuesday 3rd January 2016 (except Christmas Day and Boxing Day). They close early on New Year’s Eve and open at 1pm on New Year’s Day.
This year, Carriageworks Theatre have teamed up with renowned panto producers Paul Holman Associates to present Cinderella. The lead role is taken by Emily McAvoy, who’ll be trying to make her way to the ball, but she’ll need a hand from Prince Charming, who’s played by former Britain’s Got Talent victor Jai McDowell.
Cinderella is at Carriageworks Theatre until 7th January 2017.
The Rock ’n’ Roll Panto has become a Leeds tradition with its annual stint at City Varieties. This year, they’ve put a musical twist on Sleeping Beauty – expect audience participation, cheesy gags and even boulder fights. There’s something for everyone here, and the adults will love the pantomime’s soundtrack, which features classics from the likes of Marvin Gaye, The Eagles, Whitney Houston and Cher.
Sleeping Beauty is at City Varieties until Sunday 8th January 2017.
This Christmas, you can see Roald Dahl’s classic, The Witches, on the stage. David Wood’s adaptation of his classic novel will be at West Yorkshire Playhouse throughout the holidays – it follows a young lad and his grandmother as they work together to help rid their town of the evil, children-hating witches that have been plaguing the area. They run the risk of being turned into mice in the process, but can they get the better of the grisly old witches?
The Witches is at West Yorkshire Playhouse until Saturday 21st January 2017.