Six of the Best: Festive activities in Leeds

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The big day is not far away but with the pressures of daily life getting into the festive spirit can be a struggle. If you are feeling more Scrooge than Santa here are some last minute treats sure to get you ho, ho, hoing.

PETTING REAL REINDEER, MERRION CENTRE

The Victorian street in the Abbey House Museum in Leeds.

The Victorian street in the Abbey House Museum in Leeds.

Two of Santa’s most important reindeer, Dancer and Prancer, will be making their last appearance at the Merrion Centre, Leeds on Sunday before they head off back to the North Pole for Christmas duties.

This is a fantastic chance to see get up close to real reindeer and the event is free.

As well as Dancer and Prancer, a visit to the Merrion Centre can be incorporated into a fun trip around the Leeds City Centre Reindeer trail. The perfect way to make last minute shopping an adventure rather than a chore. Download a map from the council website and tick off the decorated reindeer as you go. www.leeds.gov.uk

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BEER WALK FRIENDS OF HAM, LEEDS

What could be better than a cheeky mulled cider and a walk that includes Leeds finest hostelries. Join the Friends of Ham and your host renowned beer writer Simon Jenkins for a festive walk with a difference.

Arrive at 3.30pm on Sunday 20th December at the Friends of Ham bar and charcuterie on New Station Street, Leeds for a warming cider ready to set off at 4pm. The tour will take in the sights including landmark spots Whitelocks Ale House, The Tetley, and Northern Monk’s Refectory! Tickets are £10 which includes four free drinks from www.friendsofham.co.uk

FROZEN SING ALONG, LEEDS TOWN HALL

Never let it go and join in with a Frozen sing along extravaganza. Hosted by The Snow Queen, the event which starts at 9.30am will feature a 40 minute interactive show with the Queen and her friends who will also talk the younger members of the audience through the interactive fun pack which can be used during the showing of Frozen. Words will appear on the screen so bring your best singing voices and as you are the star of the show get dressed up as your favourite character for the morning. Tickets are £10 for under 18s and £8 for adults from www.leeds.gov.uk

THE NUTCRACKER, GRAND THEATRE, LEEDS

Be transported to a magical world with Clara and her Nutcracker Prince. Northern Ballet brings this traditional story to life with a big sprinkling of festive stardust. Share the adventure and meet the dazzling dancing snowflakes, the famous Sugar Plum Fairy and watch as the Nutcracker battles the notorious Mouse King, guaranteed to put you in the mood for Christmas magic.

Accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s enduring score, which is played live by Northern Ballet Sinfonia. Running until January 2, tickets from www.leedsgrandtheatre.com

SANTA’S GROTTO, ABBEY HOUSE MUSEUM

Getting ready to make the journey back to the North Pole with his reindeer, Santa will be making a final appearance in his grotto at Abbey House Museum this weekend. Just in time for last minute requests before he heads back to get everything packed for Christmas Eve, he will be there between 10am and 12pm on Sunday. Every visitor will receive a gift in preparation for the big day. There is plenty to enjoy at the museum once you have finished your visit to Santa with crafts, music and Victorian streets to explore. Entry to the grotto is £4, normal museum fees apply www.leeds.gov.uk

FESTIVE ART SHOP, THE TETLEY

Enjoy a bit of creative family time with a festive workshop at The Tetley. The free Art Workshops are led by artists and open to all, children must be accompanied by an adult at all times and they are especially suitable for families with children aged betwen five to 11. The next one is The Winter Wagon workshop with Leeds Development Education Centre being held on Monday, Dec 21 between 11am and 3pm. Children can create a toy sized wagon and decorate it with cut out stars and flowers illustrated with drawings and descriptions of what they would pack for a great journey to unexplored lands. www.thetetley.org

PIC: Bruce Rollinson

Windswept land of myth and 800-year-old spells