Shortlist symbol Add to shortlist button.

Calendar of Culture in Magical Leeds

Once more the city of Leeds is offering a spectacular jam-packed programme of unique cultural events to give visitors a more magical festive experience than ever before.

Whether it’s hunting for treasures at enchanted Christmas markets, getting lost in a world of bewitching ballet or uncovering some of the most fascinating art in the UK, a short break in Leeds is guaranteed to get visitors in the mood for a spellbinding Christmas.

We’ve picked out some cultural highlights for this festive season in Leeds:


Discover some of the most exciting contemporary art produced in the UK at the British Art Show 8 which opens on 9th October (until 10th January) at Leeds Art Gallery. The work of 42 artists will span the whole gallery, creating a unique experience, including: performance, film, sculpture, installation, painting and design. Returning to Leeds for the first time since 1990, the national show will allow cultural connoisseurs to be immersed in a mix of new and existing works from some of the most reputable artists in the country.

British Art Show 8
This October, Opera North will be showcasing productions of The Barber of Seville (until October 29th) and Jenufa (22nd – 28th October) at Leeds Grand Theatre. Two handsome productions featuring love, jealousy and sacrifice, offering world-class casts alongside the enthralling orchestra of Opera North, not to be missed!
Leeds International Film Festival at Leeds Town Hall - Credit James Carmichael


From 5th – 19th November, Leeds International Film Festival (LIFF29) will celebrate the greatest new and classic cinema from around the world. LIFF29 will take place at various venues around the city centre, including the magnificent setting of Leeds Town Hall’s Victoria Hall, Hyde Park Picture House, Everyman Leeds and Vue in The Light. Comedy, drama, thrillers, animation, documentaries, sci-fi, music film, short film, horror and cult screenings will all be on the programme.

Experience twinkling lights, festive greenery and carousel rides as you take in the unique continental atmosphere of Leeds’ Christkindlmarkt (13th November – 20th December). Browse 40 traditional wooden chalet stalls from authentic German traders or retreat to the Alp Chalet Bavarian eatery for some famous gluhwein and Frank-furter Scheune.

One of the world’s favourite musicals, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, will be landing on 2nd December at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, promising laughs and magic galore! Perfect for a family Christmas treat, the fun-filled production is ideal for all ages and will have audiences flying high with songs including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Truly Scrumptious and Me Ol' Bamboo, until its last show on 30th January.

Be sure to check out the stellar winter line-up at first direct arena, with the MOBO Awards, WWE Live, Imagine Dragons, Harry Enfield & Paul Whitehouse, Simple Minds, Duran Duran, Paul Weller, Stereophonics, Michael McIntryre, Mumford & Sons and Dynamo all taking to the stage in November and December to offer something for everyone over the festive period.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at West Yorkshire Playhouse
Northern Ballet's The Nutcracker - Credit Bill Cooper

Gear yourself up for a real Christmas cracker, as Northern Ballet brings The Nutcracker to life. Everyone’s favourite festive story, performed to Tchaikovsky’s enchanting musical backdrop, will open at Leeds Grand Theatre from 16th December until 2nd January 2016. The ballet’s magic is sure to capture the hearts of young and old.

With so many fantastic shops, attractions and restaurants to pack in to one day, it can be overwhelming, even for the experienced day tripper, so why not take advantage of some of the fantastic hotels available in Leeds and enjoy creating magical memories with family, friends and loved-ones?

Visitors can choose from an abundance of hotels in the heart of Leeds city centre, including The Met, The Queens and DoubleTree by Hilton, all of which are offering exclusive Christmas packages with Visit Leeds including special room rates and shopping vouchers for selected shops in Trinity Leeds.

From a major multi-arts and light festival, to the opening of British Art Show 8 and the return of the Leeds International Film Festival, there’s never been a better time to take a short break to Leeds.

To find out more about Magical Leeds, including what’s on across the city’s theatres and first direct Arena or to book your festive break, please go to the Magical Leeds page, or follow us on Twitter @VisitLeeds to keep up to date with our inspiring experiences. #MagicalLeeds

Leeds German Christmas Market - Credit Leeds City Council