Festive cheer aplenty as the most wonderful time of the year returns to Leeds: FB header ribbon

01 Nov 2022

Festive cheer aplenty as the most wonderful time of the year returns to Leeds


With the festive season upon us, the streets and surrounding areas of Leeds are set to come alive for the busiest time of the year.

Christmas is a season that Leeds celebrates like no other city, with spectacular shows, festive food, and drink, decked out historic houses, cosy tipis, ice-skating and so much more!

To help you navigate the festive activities and get you into the Christmas mood, Visit Leeds have created the ultimate guide for Christmas in Leeds.

See the city sparkle

Christmas is one of the most magical times of the year, and Leeds is a city that embraces illumination like no other. So, if you are after a little festive sparkle Leeds’ has got awe inspiring locations, with a little more to offer than just your standard tangled fairy lights.

Christmas illuminations can be found in Roundhay Park, Leeds’ historic houses including Temple Newsam and Lotherton Hall as well as all over the city centre, so why not pick a destination and really get into that festive spirit by enjoying the light displays!

Lotherton's Christmas Experience

Track down Santa and his elves

Don’t tell the little ones, but Santa has more than a few scheduled stops on his calendar this year for Leeds. A visit with Santa is a great way to get the whole family into the Christmas spirit and the Visit Leeds guide includes all of Santa’s itinerary in Leeds over the festive period.

Top destinations for Santa this year include the Merrion Centre, who will be hosting their traditional grotto right on the doorstep of all the festive action in the city centre.

There’re also the historic surroundings of Lotherton Hall, where Mrs Claus can be found after a wander through the sparkling woodland walk.

While Abbey House Museum will be saying hello to Father Christmas himself, so wherever you choose, you’re sure to come away with a smile, good cheer and maybe a wrapped gift or two for those kids on the nice list.

Millenium Centre Christmas Grotto

City Centre Festive Fun

After bumping into Santa, it’s now time to explore Leeds and uncover all the festive activities underway. This year sees the return of the ever-popular Ice Cube an outdoor ice rink in the middle of Leeds city centre. After you’ve strapped on your skates and glided around the rink you can pop into the ski themed bar next door for a warming sip of something mulled.

If you’re envious of Santa’s reindeer-eye view of the city and want to experience flying over Leeds in all its festive glory, there are two spectacular rides to fit into your Christmas plans for 2022 offering spectacular views of Leeds – the Wheel of Light and the Starflyer on Millennium Square.

There’s also not one but at least two tipis offering warm fire pits, mulled wine, and plenty of hot chocolate across the city centre, why not go for an explore with friends and family- you can even sort your Christmas shopping at the same time!

Immerse yourself in the magic of music and performance

If there’s one time of year when catching a show is an absolute must, it’s Christmas! It doesn’t matter whether you’re a fan of the ballet or you’re a panto fanatic, Leeds has shows aplenty that are all guaranteed to get you into the festive spirt.

The iconic Leeds Playhouse will be putting on a pair of heart-warming family favourites, with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Stickman both available to festive theatregoers of all ages.  While City Varieties is hosting a rock ‘n’ roll panto- that is guaranteed to get your feet tapping.

More classic performances come courtesy of Northern Ballet’s rendition of The Nutcracker at The Grand, and with a sprinkle of magic, Cinderella will be taking to the stage at Leeds very own intimate venue, Carriageworks Theatre.

Ashley Dixon as the Nutcracker Prince and Rachael Gillespie as Clara in The Nutcracker. Photo Emma Kauldhar (1)

Feast on festive goodies

Leeds has a great reputation as a foodie capital of the north and that only becomes more apparent at Christmas. There are a wealth of restaurants all offering a wide variety of dining and drinking options right across the city, from festive feasts through to street food around a roaring fire.

Christmas markets at Leeds Corn Exchange and Leeds Kirkgate Market are particular highlights, where you can pick up a last-minute present alongside some delicious, sweet treats or a tasty mid-shop Christmas dinner. 

Corn Exchange-9

Reckon you can fit all of that into just the one festive period? Probably not without some of Santa’s time saving magic, but it is definitely worth an attempt...

Plan your Christmas adventures here and remember to keep your eyes peeled on Leeds City Council’s and Visit Leeds’ social media for updates on #LeedsChristmas.


For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team