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Make it Leeds this Christmas #LeedsChristmas

Wednesday 31 October 2018

A spectacular programme of festive events in Leeds is set to get thousands of visitors from across the UK and beyond in the Christmas spirit this year.
With a huge selection of exciting events taking place across the festive season, the city is preparing to welcome huge numbers of seasonal visitors thanks to its growing reputation as a top weekend break destination.

Last year alone, Leeds welcomed more than 29 million tourists, with leading travel guide Lonely Planet also naming Leeds one of its top ten European tourist destinations.

This year, Christmas in Leeds will get under way with the traditional Lights Switch On, with a spectacular event taking place at Victoria Gardens on Thursday 8 November with live music, entertainment and a visit from Santa and is expected to attract crowds in excess of 20,000.

The switch-on is followed by Leeds Christkindelmarkt which runs from Friday 9 November until Saturday 22 December on Millennium Square; with traditional chalet stalls selling fantastic festive gifts, toys, decorations and authentic German food and drink. This is one of the most popular German Markets in the UK and is a family affair with Santa hosting breakfast every weekend.


Thors, #LeedsChristmas - credit Carl Milner for Visit Leeds

Visitors can also celebrate Christmas in Viking style at Thor’s Tipi on Victoria Gardens with cosy furs, an open fire pit and plenty of cheer. Beside it the Leeds Wheel of Light towers 100 foot into the sky, a wonderful way to view the festive lights from a new angle.

New for this year is Leeds BID’s Christmas Tree Trail with twinkling trees and festive art installations brightening up the night skies; check out the dramatic interactive 10m tree in the heart of Briggate.

Experience dazzling performances in an unmissable programme of family friendly events; Northern Ballet’s The Nutcracker at the Grand Theatre and Opera House is the ultimate festive entertainment; Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at Leeds Playhouse has Christmas spirit, fun, music and magic at its heart; Beauty and the Beast at the Carriageworks Theatre is the perfect pantomime experience; City Varieties Music Hall gives its unique rock’n’roll makeover to Cinderella; whilst Leeds Town Hall hosts festive favourites supported by the Orchestra of Opera North.

One of the Treasure Houses of England, historic Harewood House transports you back to Christmas Eve 1928; experience the Edwardian splendour of Lotherton decked in its finest decorations; or enjoy a cosy Christmas at Temple Newsam with log fires, choirs and festive crafts; each hosting a traditional visit to Santa and activities for all ages.


Victoria Quarter, #LeedsChristmas - credit Carl Milner for Visit Leeds

Why go anywhere else when there’s so much to enjoy and enjoy in Leeds, a city that’s full of festive entertainment, unrivalled Christmas shopping and a food and drink scene you simply won’t experience anywhere else.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said:

“Leeds is a world-class city and I am extremely proud that we are a leading European city-break destination not just at Christmas but throughout the year. We have a city steeped in history, amazing architecture, our own repertory theatre, opera and ballet companies; and most important we recognise the value of offering a family-friendly experience and a warm welcome.

Make it Leeds this Christmas, find out more at
To join the conversation and find out why more people than ever are visiting Leeds, follow the hashtags #LeedsChristmas and #VisitLeeds.


Angelica, #LeedsChristmas, credit Carl Milner for Visit Leeds


Stephanie Hewitt – Communications and Marketing, Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 3789172


Notes to editors:
VisitLeeds is an organisation run by Leeds City Council that aims to promote and showcase the variety of attractions on offer in Leeds and the surrounding area. Their vision is for Leeds to be a world-class, modern and historic European destination with a reputation for a vibrant and creative cultural scene set against the backdrop of rich heritage and outstanding architecture.

Leeds is the third largest and one of the fastest growing cities in the UK, attracting over 29 million visitors annually from both the UK and abroad.
One of the greenest cities in Europe, Leeds is the third best shopping destination in the UK outside of London, and has a unique array of independent and well-known retail firms gracing the city centre and beyond.

Leeds boasts four major theatres, over 16 museums and galleries. A thriving economy boasts strengths in financial and professional services, manufacturing, health and digital, and with excellent road, rail and air links, it is a perfect gateway for tourist and business visitors to the Yorkshire region.

Leeds is also a world class sporting destination having hosted the greatest ever Grand Depart in 2014, Rugby League and Union World Cups and this year hosting the ITU World Triathlon Series for the third year running as well as being home to Yorkshire Cricket, Leeds United and Leeds Rhinos. The home of Yorkshire County Cricket, Headingley Stadium will host four games in the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019.

STEAM is a tourism economic impact modelling process, commissioned by core cities which quantifies the local economic impact of tourism, from both staying and day visitors, through analysis and use of a variety of inputs including visitor attraction numbers, tourist accommodation bed stock, events attendance, occupancy levels, accommodation tariffs, macro-economic factors, visitor expenditure levels, transport use levels and tourism-specific economic multipliers.