Thors, Leeds Christmas - Carl Milner for Visit Leeds


Magical Christmas Trails Across The City

7th December 2021

Uncover Leeds’ True Festive Spirit: Magical Christmas Trails Across the City


Whether you’re planning a trip to Leeds over the festive season, searching for things to do this Christmas in Leeds city centre, or fancy finding walks that pack in the wintery wonder, you’ve come to the right place. So take a look at the most magical Christmas trails Leeds has to offer, and get out there exploring…

Track down dazzling Christmas trees and lights…


There’s nothing more iconic than the twinkling, light-laden Christmas tree and Leeds has plenty of spectacular evergreens to explore, from real pines bedecked with traditional tinsel, to modern interpretations with creative and quirky decorations.


Start at Trinity Leeds, with their ’off piste’ themed centrepiece straight out of ski season. Then hit Leeds Corn Exchange, where you might just find a festive market in full swing around the boughs. Venture outside for the big tree in City Square, right outside the Train Station, then finish at the iconic Victoria Quarter where Santa will be popping up next to the tree for kids’ storytelling.


Outside of the city centre, the big displays at Harewood House, Temple Newsam and Lotherton are each a draw in their own right, and a big part of Leeds locals’ list of winter favourites. Harewood House has a festive tale to tell around the tree this year, and Lotherton’s Christmas Experience features a brand new woodland walk to help work off the mince pies – so make sure to head down after dark for the full, fairy-lit effect.


Shop, dine and drink at festive markets across Leeds…


Christmas shopping is all about finding the perfect gift, and luckily there are market stalls right across Leeds that cater to all tastes, types and budgets. So see how many pop-ups you can bag during a day or weekend filling your festive shopping bags.


Independent retail is one of the things Leeds is famous for, and no-one wants a cookie cutter Christmas after all! So stop by Leeds Train Station, Artsmix on Albion Place, the Farmers Market on Briggate and Dortmund Square, or head to Kirkgate Market, the largest indoor market in Europe, which brings speciality markets featuring art, crafts and collectibles, advintageous vintage fairs, Leeds Records and Book Fair and Art House Art Fair. There’s also a fabulous Christmas market popping up at Leeds Corn Exchange, including an appearance by the ever-popular Mahogany Market supporting 18 black-owned businesses.


When it comes to food and drink, grabbing some street food or on-the-go festive fayre is something not to be missed during your trip. One highlight is the ever popular Chow Down, which brings a full Winter Village out to play alongside delicious street food and cocktails. There are rumours of rooftop curling, cosy Christmas tipis and a snug ski lodge. Talking of tipis, another stop not to be missed is Thor’s Tipi on Victoria Gardens, where there are Christmassy stalls offering mulled booze and festive food to nibble beside the log fires. For a family friendly atmosphere, the Tipi on Briggate is a real treat which is brimming with festive food and drink for all of the family, not to mention the festive street foodstalls on Millennium Square where you can get cosy in an igloo bar.


Fun for all the family with Saving Santa’s Sleigh


If you’re looking for a trail designed to thrill kids of all ages, then Santa has had a rather convenient accident! The man in red has crashed his sleigh over Leeds – but don’t worry, the reindeer are fine and we hear Santa just needs a little help putting the sleigh back together in time for Christmas.


You can grab a map from a number of city centre locations, or download one – all the details can be found here. Then it’s time to track down all the bits and pieces Santa needs to save his Christmas rounds for good girls and boys across the world.


Once you have completed the trail, you are invited to meet Santa on Briggate on Tuesday 22nd December or Wednesday 23rd December 10:00am to 4:00pm. Don’t forget to bring your completed trail map with you, because there’s a little gift for kids who’ve picked up every stop on the trail. If you can’t make your way to Leeds on these dates, then not to worry, there are other ways you can claim your gift across city centre locations throughout December.


Track down Santa and take a tour of his grottos


From city centre locations to historic houses, Santa is making his way around Leeds to find out what children wish for Christmas before the big day arrives. Throughout December, the bearded man dressed in red will be telling enchanting stories about his journeys around the world on Christmas Eve in Victoria Quarter and will also be photo ready at the Candy Cane Club in the Merrion Centre.


Also making his way to the grounds of Harewood House, Temple Newsam, and Lotherton, families can enjoy a Christmas experience like no other and enjoy displays of sparkling lights, storytelling and gifts for the little ones. Santa will even be giving families the chance to board his Santa Special Train at Middleton Railway to embark on a journey with himself and his elves.