Revealed: Christmas really is around every corner in Leeds this festive season

10th December 2021

Santa has crashed in Leeds! While on a trip to seek out the good boys and girls of the North, Santa and his elves have crash landed on Merrion Gardens leaving parts of his sleigh across the city centre for families to recover in time for his flight around the world on Christmas Eve.

The Christmas treat comes after our research revealed that Christmas really is around every corner in the city centre, with visitors never further than a six minute walk from a festive activity, event or dining experience that is distinctive to Leeds.

Hosting a Christmas like no other, Leeds’ Winter Favourites is a seasonal campaign which is bringing a host of festive fun to the city this holiday season, inspiring visitors and residents to immerse themselves in a host of new winter wonders on offer in Leeds.


Become one of Santa’s helpers and help him find his sleigh


The Santa Sleigh Trail is just one of many events happening as part of the campaign which encourages visitors to the city centre to help Santa put his sleigh back together. To start the trail, families can download a map online or collect a print version from a number of city centre locations. Then, it’s time to experience what it’s really like to be one of Santa’s little helpers as you journey across the city centre to reassemble his vital mode of transport.

Once you have found all of the lost pieces to Santa’s Sleigh, you are invited to return your completed map to Santa where there will be a little gift waiting for children to collect as a thank you for helping him find his sleigh in time for the big day. With your completed map in hand, make your way to Briggate on Tuesday 22nd December or Wednesday 23rd December 10:00am to 4:00pm to find the man dressed in red himself. 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.


While you’re in Leeds…


The festive fun doesn’t stop there in Leeds this Christmas! Families and visitors can enjoy a cosy Christmas haven from the 26th of November until Christmas Eve at Millennium Square, Leeds’ first city centre outdoor event venue. Visitors will be able to experience the magic of outdoor skating and get cosy at the Spirit of Christmas Igloo Bar, which will feature winter garden-themed décor, staff in ice-themed costumes, live music and entertainment, and festive street food and drinks.

More festive flavours will be on offer at Chow Down, which has extended its stay at the arches behind Leeds Train Station following a successful summer season. From the 11th of November, The Chow Down Winter Village will see the venue get a festive makeover and welcome headline DJs, a rooftop curling club, cosy Christmas tipis, and a heated ski lodge; the perfect setting for a boozy hot chocolate or two.

A family friendly tipi bar will also be arriving on Briggate, a pedestrianised prime shopping destination in the city centre, providing the perfect location for the whole family to get together. People of all ages will be able to enjoy a variety of festive refreshments, from hot apple punch to hot chocolate, to accompany their favourite Christmas cuisine thanks to the bar’s ‘bring your own food’ policy. For the ultimate family fun, the new public space on Cookridge Street, which is just 10 minutes from the tipi bar, will become a yuletide haven where visitors can take a ride on the Christmas Carousel and dig into the variety of food and drink market stalls serving up festive treats and tipples.

For the culture seekers Temple Newsam, one of the city’s most recognised stately homes, will launch its After Dark illuminated trail through the grounds and transport visitors to a magical Christmas setting with a series of sparkling light tunnels, giant baubles and illuminated trees.

With plenty of festive events and activities taking place in Leeds this Christmas season, there’s plenty of reasons to stay a bit longer, make a weekend of it or plan a festive city break.

However you decide to celebrate the festive season this Christmas, the city of Leeds has plenty to keep you entertained. Browse Leeds’ Winter Favourites and start planning your visit here.