Once again the Christmas season has arrived and after a dreadful 18 months locked away and unable to make plans, it’s only right we make up for it over the next few weeks. All across Leeds and Yorkshire are plenty of festive events and markets to help you truly get into the Christmas spirit. Here are a few of them happening over the next few weeks.
Chow Down Winter Village
The infamous Chow Down event has transformed into a Winter Village this season and can be found at Temple Arches, just a five minute walk from Leeds Train Station. The Winter Village is separated into seven sections: the Main Bar, Winter Gardens, Ski Lodge, The Stage, Hu?tte, Tipi’s and the Food Village. Downstairs in Hu?tte you’ll find their headline DJs and you can party on the dance floor. On the second floor of Hu?tte is a Rooftop Curling Club where you can compete with friends at curling, beer pong and capture the memories in the photo booth. The Christmas Tipi’s are new to Chow Down this year, creating an intimate warm space for you to enjoy your food and drinks. The Ski Lodges are home to their Winter snugs with lots of comfy seating and heaters all around. And lastly, the Winter Gardens, a winter twist on a popular space in Chow Down, the prime spot in between live performances and DJs.
Ice Cube @ Christmas
The popular Ice Cube has returned to Millennium Square that will remain in the city centre until December 24th. With a 400sqm real ice rink with a transparent roof, you can skate no matter the weather. And after skating for when you’ve worked up an appetite, you can find a selection of hot street food and drink from the traditional Christmas chalet style huts with outdoor covered seating. Some of the tasty treats include: german bratwurst sausages, yorkshire pudding wraps, churros, pizza, garlic bread and much more. You can even immerse yourself in their new Spirit of Christmas Igloo Bar – a giant inflatable structure with a winter garden interior, live entertainment and a festive drinks menu.
The infamous Thor’s Tipi is a popular event that visits different cities once a year over the Christmas period. This year Thor’s Tipi is visiting Leeds at Victoria Gardens, as well as York, Lincoln and Hyde Park. These pop up bars are as festive as you’re going to get with their cosy tipi’s, mulled wine, boozy hot chocolates and delicious feasts from YUZU street food. With lots of roaring log fires, twinkling lights and Christmas trees, if that doesn’t get you into the Christmas spirit then we don’t know what will! Open daily from 12pm to 11pm from November 20th to January 1st, you can dance the night away and get cosy under the tipis.
Visiting Santa’s Grotto is always a fun and festive activity for the little ones, and thankfully all around in Leeds you can find his grotto’s. You can head over to Stockeld Park in Wetherby to pay him a visit, or Santa’s Elf Village in Lotherton Hall where you can sit under the wishing tree and listen to stories and elf tales. You can even find him at Abbey House Museum in Ilkley, tell him if you’ve been good this year and write him a list of everything you want this Christmas!
Christmas Illuminations at Stockeld Park
Take a trip to Stockeld Park in Wetherby and watch the award-winning enchanted forest come to life at dusk with their Winter Illuminations. One of Yorkshire’s most extravagant and amazing light displays, you can walk through the dazzling lights and animated installations through almost a mile of beautiful woodlands. This enchanting experience is perfect for all ages, and is taking over the forest from November 20th to January 4th. You can even head over to The Enchanted Forest where every path leads to a new adventure. And throughout your walk you can find several places for warm food and drink to keep you toasty, including the Woodland Cafe, a pie cabin, a hot chocolate cabin and a gingerbread cabin.
Corn Exchange Christmas Market
This year the Corn Exchange is teaming up with Rolling Social Events to bring the people of Leeds a wonderfully independent Christmas Market. From November 19th to December 23rd, the Corn Exchange will be filled with lots of food, drink and music, and will feature some of Leeds’ best independent street food vendors including Raclette Me Not, The Cheesy Living Co, OnaRoll Sushi and Masri Egyptian street food. Pay a visit by yourself, with friends or family or your work colleagues and enjoy some time getting into the Christmas spirit.
Harewood’s Festive Season
From November 13th to January 3rd, Christmas is taking over Harewood House with many different events and activities taking place over the next few weeks. As the winter draws in, here are a few of the events taking place at Harewood. Explore the fantastic Upon a Christmas Wish installations, take a magical walk around the Lakeside Path, stroll along the newly lit North Park Walk, let the kids run free in the Woodland Wonderland and Adventure Playground or visit the Terrace Gardens decorated with sparkling lights and giant Christmas trees. Their Courtyard Cafe is stocked up with delicious festive food and drinks and you can pick up some stocking fillers in their Christmas shops which are filled with handmade decorations, gourmet hampers, unique experiences and exclusively designed cards.
Santa at Mother Shipton’s
From November 20th to December 24th, Santa will be visiting Mother Shipton’s to make a magical, memory-making Christmas experience for you and your family. You can wander through the winter woodlands into the enchanted Christmas village, taking in all the merry displays and lights along the way. Santa will be keeping warm in his cosy grotto and the jolly elves will be working throughout the attraction. If you venture deeper into the woodland you can visit the Petrifying Well and the Cave where Mother Shipton was born where you can make a Christmas wish in the Wishing Well.
Royal Armouries Winter Market
Leeds’ largest independent market is taking over the Royal Armouries this year on December 5th. Filling the New Dock Hall is over 100 curated independent makers including artists, designers, florists, beauty, wellbeing, artisan food vendors and much more. You can escape the high-street and take a laid-back approach to Christmas shopping this year and explore the world of independent gifts. The Winter Market will host plenty of food vendors with delicious choices for meat-lovers, vegans and vegetarians, so plenty of choices for everyone. It’s the perfect place to buy some last minute stocking fillers or the place to treat yourself to a little early Christmas present.
Winter Illuminations Light & Lantern Festival
The Winter Illuminations Light & Lantern Festival is taking place at none-other than Yorkshire Wildlife Park. Back and better than ever for 2021, enjoy a magical evening walking through the illuminated trail to their four enchanted realms: Under the Sea, Animal Adventure, World of Fantasy and Fairytale Kingdom. It takes around 90 minutes to walk around the entire trail, of course this does not include stopping for food and drink or visiting the gift shop. If you’re looking for something delicious to eat, you can find Masai Coffee House serving pizza slices, ICaramba! Serving burritos, piri piri chicken and nachos or several other options around the trail.
Apres Ski Bar
On one of the walkways in Leeds Trinity is a new festive Apres Ski Bar, that makes the perfect pit stop whilst you’re doing your Christmas shopping. Warm up with some mulled wine with amaretto or cherry brandy or a luxurious Baileys hot chocolate before heading out into the busy streets of Leeds. The bar is open Monday to Saturday 10am to 8pm and Sunday 11am to 5pm, it’s not too early to enjoy the festivities.
Images: Thor’s Tipi, Winter Village @chowdownuk, Ice Cube, Leeds Corn Exchange