Festive things to do in Leeds before Christmas

Before you say it, I know I’m from Bradford. However, my new job is in Leeds and I’ve been exploring the city as much as possible before I start on Monday. Right now, it is full of festive fun and I couldn’t resist sharing my top picks of the best things to do to get you excited for December 25th.

It’s beginning to look a lot like panto

I’m not sure about anyone else, but a trip to the theatre never fails to get me into the Christmas spirit. Growing up, we used to go to Bradford Alhambra every December to see whichever show was on, be it Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty. We would always bring our own sweets, get an ice cream and make a bit of a night of it.

This year, I stepped it up a notch and heading to City Varieties in Leeds to see Aladdin, with a twist. The Rock‘n’Roll Panto is becoming somewhat of a Christmas tradition at City Varieties, and is fun for adults and children alike. This family friendly show boasts a soundtrack filled with the likes of Cher and James Brown, so you’ll be moving and grooving no matter who’s behind you. Find my review here.

Join Aladdin, Princess Jasmine and The Genie for an evening of laughter, audience participation and the legendary boulder fight from Friday 24th Nov 2017 to Sunday 7th January 2018. Book online or call Box Office on 0113 243 08 08.

Sausage party

Based in Millennium Square, Christkindlmarkt Leeds (German Christmas Market) is back and still among the most established in the UK. Grab a bratwurst sausage and sip on some mulled wine while you admire the formation of wooden stalls and festive greenery. There’s bound to be a chalet selling gifts, and you can keep the receiver entertained on the Christmas carousel ride as you browse.

The German Market will be open daily from 10.30am to 9.30pm Monday to Saturday and 10.30am to 7.30pm on Sundays from Friday 10th November.

Go back in time

Take cosy cover from that relentless winter chill and relax by the log fire inside Thor’s Tipi. The Viking inspired pop-up bar will warm you right up and you’ll feel even more content once you’ve feasted on some of their wholesome Winter fodder.  They’re also serving up a selection of hot and cold festive drinks that Santa himself would approve of!

Thor’s is located in Victoria Gardens and is open from the 17th November until 31st December (except Christmas), 10am-10pm. Book online, email conquer@thorstipi.com, or call 01653 610029.

Festive fairy tale adventure

Leeds Hidden Christmas Market is the North’s answer to Winter Wonderland. This December, they’re transforming Kirkstall Abbey into a Grimm themed Christmas market. There will be glitter (watch out Zoella), live acts, themed bars, street food and shopping.

A mere £9-£11 will grant you five hours inside a fairy tale landscape. It’s open December 14th until 21, and entry is at 6pm.

Hey big spender


Black Friday and Cyber Monday might be over, but the sales are still swinging. Get yourself to Trinity Leeds to do a sport of Christmas shopping or treat yourself to something new. If you get hungry, there’s Trinity Kitchen under the same roof, and there’s even a cinema if you need a longer sit down and want to watch a Christmassy film – A Bad Moms Christmas maybe?

Do let me know if there are any festive activities you think I’ve missed so that I can get it added and ensure people are fully informed!

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