The nights are getting darker and colder and, as the clocks have gone back, there is no denying the fact that winter is upon us. Although the north will probably have another winter full of snow, there is lots to do other than dodge the ice and wait for the summer months to return. Hopefully this guide will spark a few ideas, whether you are looking for a day out with the kids, or just something a bit different to do.
Stockeld Park at Christmas
The Christmas Adventure in Stockeld Park, Wetherby is a great place to embark on a winter wonderland for the day. With an enchanted forest, snowflake maze, nordic skiing and real ice-skating there are plenty of things to entertain the kids. Throughout the enchanted forest you will find illuminated unicorns and angels glowing on the lake.
Added to this is Santa’s grotto for the little ones to enjoy before heading inside for a yummy hot chocolate and marshmallows. Then before you leave you can pick up a locally grown fresh Christmas tree, really getting you in the mood for Christmas tree. However, these are only in stock after November 26.
Harewood at Christmas
Harewood House is another great place to go and visit, with lots of different events happening throughout the year. From November 25 to December 23 it is the time for Santa’s Harewood Grotto. Last year was the first time Santa had been to visit, and, after its success, he is coming back on the weekends and then for the whole the week in the run-up to Christmas day.
So as well as a visit to the beautiful setting Harewood House sits in, you can also walk away with a little gift from Santa himself.
Leeds Town Hall at Christmas
The Town Hall hosts events throughout the year. Friday December 9 will see Kate Rusby showcasing carols and songs learnt from her childhood in South Yorkshire. Then on Thursday December 15 the annual family carol concert will take place, The 2011 Lord Mayor’s Carol Concerts.
Following this on Saturday December 17 is A Night at the Ballet with promises of Christmas favourites such as The Nutcracker, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the last act of Swan Lake. Supporting this on the Sunday, to really get you in the Christmas spirit, Inspiration and The Orchestra of Opera North are joining to together to present Everywhere Christmas Tonight.
The night will feature music from around the world in unique choral arrangements, and this year will pay tribute to Henry Mancini, Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph. This is guaranteed to put everyone in the mood for the festive season.
Christkindelmarkt German Christmas Market
As well as the Town Hall supporting great music and culture heading into the Christmas season, you can’t forget the German market that pops up in Millennium Square. It’s a great place to buy trinkets and sample some German cuisine, beer and mulled wine to add to the festive spirit. Then in January, as the cold weather is set in, the ice rink will pop up.
Christmas shopping in Leeds
As well as heading out for the day to any of the above, there will always be Christmas shopping to fit in. A top tip is to avoid the high street, be completely prepared, and do it online. Once that’s sorted you can treat yourself for being so organised to a night out on the town. Leeds has such a growing and vibrant night life that there is almost too much choice.
Xscape in Castleford
If you are looking for something a bit more adventurous then a visit to Xscape might be in order. All under one roof you can enjoy a bit of shopping, dining, and a go on one of the various activities, if not more than one. Xscape’s real snow slope is a great way to get a bit of practice in if you’re heading to the Alps, or, if not, to enjoy real snow without having to jet to the mountains.
Either way it will definitely get you in the mood for the wintry, Christmassy weather. In addition to the slope there are three rock-climbing walls, an aerial assault course, an indoor skateboard park, laserzone, bowling and a cinema. Only a short drive down the motorway, it’s a great way to spend a couple of days. You have the option of splitting the family into shoppers and those with a more adventurous spirit, and then joining together for dinner. A great way to keep entertained and, if you’ve never been before, a chance to try something new.
Leeds at Christmas
With so much to see and do in and around Leeds there is no real excuse to bury your head and wait until the hot weather returns. This guide is not a definitive list of everything to do in Leeds during the lead-up to Christmas, but hopefully will give you a bit of food for thought when looking for things to entertain the kids or just venture out to do something different for the day.
If you would like additional ideas for things to do in Leeds, why not take a look at more of the attractions and events in our other Leeds guides.