It’s the most wonderful time of the year and there are loads of fantastic festive events to help you celebrate in the city.
Leeds is the perfect place to get into the Christmas spirit. You can go for an unforgettable night on the town, do a festive day out with the family or box off all your Christmas shopping in one go. But that’s not all, because there’s absolutely loads going on to celebrate the merriest season of all, from the famous German Market to fun for all ages at some of the city’s most historic landmarks.
The German Market is back in Millennium Square! There are over 40 stalls where you can pick up everything from jewellery to wooden toys, decorations and pretzels. Grab a bite while the oompah band plays in the Alp Chalet, or head to one of two traditional bars for mulled wine and hot chocolate. Bringing the kids? Every weekend, they welcome Father Christmas for Santa’s Breakfast Experience, and afterwards you can all take a ride on the Christkindel-fair.
The Leeds German Market is open in Millennium Square from Friday 8th November until Saturday 21st December 2019.
The Christmas Adventure
Stockeld Park is going all-out for Christmas in Leeds. There’s an ice rink, a Nordic ski-trail and a ginormous snowflake maze for you to explore in the daytime. When night falls, venture into the Illuminated Enchanted Forest. It’s a twinkling wonderland filled with light-up sculptures and immersive soundscapes. Visiting at the weekend? Sit back and enjoy Santa’s Panto. It’s a Christmas twist on the Three Little Pigs and the kids will even get to meet Santa at the end.
The Christmas Adventure takes over Stocked Park from Thursday 14th November 2019 to Friday 6th January 2020.
The Leeds Big Wheel
The Leeds Big Wheel is back in Victoria Gardens for the fourth year running. This is your chance to see the city lit up in festive splendour as you jump aboard the 110-foot ferris wheel and make your way up to the rooftops to a soundtrack of Christmas classics and guilty pleasures. This little beauty is a photographers dream – it’s lit up by 25,000 LED lights that create colourful light patterns in the sky, so bring your camera.
The Leeds Big Wheel takes over Victoria Gardens from Friday 15th November 2019 to Wednesday 1st January 2020.
Thor’s Tipi is back for another stint in Victoria Gardens this Christmas and it’s the perfect way to get into the festive spirit. The Viking-themed bar is a snug hideaway on winter nights, where you can cosy up with a few drinks next to the log fire. They’ve got local ales on tap, as well as mulled wine and hot cider. Hungry? Tuck into Posh Dogs or Dirty Fries from The Mussel Pot’s outdoor BBQ. The kids are more than welcome, with a hot chocolate stand they’re sure to love, so you can make this a family affair.
Thor’s Tipi Bar takes over Victoria Gardens from Saturday 16th November to Tuesday 31st December 2019.
Families should make a beeline for Lotherton this Christmas, as they’re bringing the little ones’ festive dreams to life. You can see the Edwardian house decorated in classic style, but it’s their Christmas Experience that will win over the kids. Visit the secret fairy hideaway in the Rock Garden, stop by the North Pole to see Santa and head out on their Twelve Days trail, where you can make turtle doves fly and walk through five gold rings. Meanwhile, over in Elf Village, Santa’s little helpers will be running craft activities and storytelling sessions.
The Christmas Experience takes over Lotherton from Friday 22nd November 2019 to Sunday 5th January 2020.
A Night at the Mansion
This Christmas, Leeds’ treasured Harewood House is being brought to life with festive magic. Enter into the 18th-century mansion and you’ll discover a whimsical world of gossiping statues, singing plates and moving paintings. It’s an immersive audio-visual experience, inspired by the house and its secrets. But that’s not all – the halls will be decked and the grounds lit up with sparkling lights. Bring the kids and they can even meet Father & Mrs Christmas in the cosy Terrace Cottage.
A Night at the Mansion takes over Harewood House from Saturday 23rd November 2019 to Sunday 5th January 2020.
Red Riding Hood Rock ’n’ Roll Panto
The ever-popular Rock ’n’ Roll Panto is back at Leeds City Varieties. This Christmas, they’ve chosen to re-vamp the classic tale of Red Riding Hood and inject it with a dose of rip-roaring rock music. There will be all the usual panto antics and some unexpected surprises in store as you follow Red deep into the woods – think explosions, boulder battles and one big, bad beast. It’s a side-splitting, action-packed, rock ’n’ rolling pantomime like no other.
Red Riding Hood Rock ’n’ Roll Panto comes to Leeds City Varieties from Friday 29th November 2019 to Sunday 12th January 2020.
The Night Before Christmas
A family-friendly show filled with festive fun is coming to Leeds Playhouse throughout December. The Night Before Christmas will see you join Carol, a young girl who does not feel Christmassy at all. That is until the mischievous Elf 30046 drops down her chimney and whisks her away on a mission to find Santa. But will they ever track down the speeding sleigh? And will Carol finally get into the Christmas spirit? Bring the whole brood and find out as this heartwarming tale unfolds.
The Night Before Christmas comes to Leeds Playhouse from Saturday 30th November to Saturday 28th December 2019.
This Christmas, Northern Ballet are bringing their reimagining of Cinderella to Leeds Grand Theatre. In this stunning adaptation, you’ll follow Cinders on her magical journey from kitchen maid to princess as she falls in love with her Prince Charming. The classic rags-to-riches fairytale will be brought to life through breathtaking dance, elegant costumes and a beautiful score, in what promises to be an unmissable production for all ages.
Cinderella comes to Leeds Grand Theatre from Tuesday 17th December 2019 to Thursday 2nd January 2020.
A huge pop-up winter wonderland, Hinterland is one of the coolest Christmas events in Leeds this year. It’s an immersive alpine forest and fairy-lit tipi village, where festive revelry is more than encouraged. Grab a tipple from the 7-tonne sculpted ice bar then cosy up next to the open log fire or dance the night away with their drag queen MCs. It’s the ultimate Christmas party, with a DJs playing ’til late and a private hot tub to book, so don’t miss out.
Hinterland takes over 5 Clarence Road from Thursday 5th to Friday 13th December 2019.
Christmas at Kirkgate Market
Leeds Kirkgate Market are putting on an array of Christmas events over the festive season. There’s a different craft or vintage fair on every Saturday in the run-up to the big day, where you can pick up unique gifts you won’t find on the high-street. The kids will be kept thoroughly entertained too, with a free screening of The Polar Express and performances of Santa and the Christmas Dragon, a show that’ll see you join Leanna and Little Joe who go on an adventure after Santa brings them a dragon for Christmas.
Christmas at Kirkgate Market comes to Leeds Kirkgate Market on Saturday 7th, Saturday 14th and Saturday 21st December 2019.
Christmas at Temple Newsam
Temple Newsam is full of festive cheer this December. You can get stuck into wreath making at Home Farm, pine cone crafting at Dunstan’s Hall and even meet the big man himself – don’t forget to tell him what you want this year! The whole building will be transformed with extravagant decorations and you can even head back in time to find out how the estate’s former residents celebrated Christmas. When you’re done, head to the Tea Rooms where they’ll serve a host of winter warmers.
Christmas at Temple Newsam takes place every weekend from Saturday 7th December 2019 to Sunday 22nd December 2019.
Carols in Kirkstall Abbey
For an evening of traditional festivities, head to Carols in Kirkstall Abbey, where the ruins of the Cistercian monastery will be brought to life in beautiful choral songs. You can hear the magnificent 24-voice Heritage Singers perform traditional Christmas carols, from ‘Silent Night’ to ‘God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen’. Everyone is welcome and there’ll be mulled wine and hot chocolate, so bring the whole family for a festive afternoon of song.
Carols in Kirkstall Abbey comes to Kirkstall Abbey on Sunday 8th December 2019.
Slung Low’s annual Christmas Fayre is back at The Holbeck. It’s a bustling little market with an array of stalls for you to explore, selling everything from tasty treats to handmade crafts. You can fill your belly with their pay-as-you-feel hog roast and there’s plenty of entertainment too, with carols from The Holbeck Choir and children’s performers The Spiced Satsumas. It promises to be one of the best family-friendly events in Leeds this Christmas, so bring the whole brood.
The Christmas Fayre takes over The Holbeck on Saturday 14th December 2019.
The Snowman & Peter and the Wolf
This is a Christmas afternoon out like no other. Leeds Town Hall is showing Raymond Briggs’ heart-warming tale of The Snowman in the incredible setting of the Victoria Hall – but this is no ordinary film screening, as the Orchestra of Opera North will play Howard Blake’s unforgettable score live, including ‘Walking in the Air’. Before it starts, the orchestra will run through Prokofiev’s charming tale of courage and compassion, Peter and the Wolf, with narration by CBeebies star Pui Fan Lee.
The Snowman & Peter and the Wolf comes to Leeds Town Hall on Sunday 22nd December 2019.
Left Bank are hosting back-to-back screenings of festive favourites this December. The Grade-II listed former church will make for a stunning setting, lit up by flickering candles. Find a spot to cosy up with a complimentary mulled wine or hot chocolate then watch the hilarious Muppets Christmas Carol play on the big screen. After a break, they’ll then screen the old-school classic Scrooge which is more for grown ups. So if you’re after a relaxed evening of Christmas flicks, there are few better events in Leeds.
Christmas Cinema comes to Left Bank Leeds on Sunday 22nd December 2019.