City Buzz: Creepy festive woodland appears underneath Leeds Town Hall

Sneaky Experience
Sneaky Experience
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IT’S BEGINNING to look a lot like Christmas in Leeds. But for those of you struggling to get in the festive mood, we may have found the perfect place to banish your inner Grinch.

Sneaky Experience – the company behind some pretty cool pop-up experiences in Leeds – will be taking over the Town Hall this month for a seasonal extravaganza that will help put the jingle back in your bells.

The iconic city landmark will see its creepy basement transformed into an underground woodland, complete with snow.

The Tales Of Grimm Woods will include live walk-through performances where actors guide visitors through the creepy corridors, courthouse and woodland crypt under Leeds Town Hall.

Performances of the Grimm brothers’ fairytales will be held at the woods, with characters ranging from Rumpelstiltskin and Rapunzel to Little Red Riding Hood.

There will also be a cosy pop-up bar serving winter warmers in the snug Victorian prison cells under the Town Hall steps.

Three versions of the plays are available – a child-friendly version, a performance for children over the age of 14 and an adults-only show, where things get a bit darker.

The shows offer everyone the opportunity to explore the woodland set, which was created by Leeds set designers Lord Whitney for their fantasy experience ‘The Woods Beneath The World’, which you may remember from last year.

Julia Benfield, director at Sneaky Experience, set up the company just a few years ago and has seen great success – with many of the events selling out way in advance.

Some of her more unusual events have included a Dirty Dancing screening at a boutique glamping site and a zombie night underneath the railway arches in Leeds.

Speaking to City Buzz, she said: “I used to travel across the country to go to unique events and I thought there was a gap in the market in Leeds for something a bit quirky and different.

“People want more than just going to a bar, club or cinema at the weekend.

And she’s not wrong, as tickets for the latest Sneaky Experience are already being snapped up, with half of the 4,000 spaces already sold.

Julia added: “We want The Grimm Woods to be magical and enchanting.

“We’ve created three very strong storylines for each target market.

“The original stories are quite dark.

“Rapunzel is heavily pregnant in the original, and a bit of a tart, really!”

Speaking about the set, she added: “It seemed a shame to waste it on just one event.

“The set is phenomenal – the way it looks, the smell and the texture of the trees is just superb.

“You just don’t expect something like that to be in a public building.”

That’s not all, as Sneaky Experience is also hosting four festive film screenings this month, including It’s a Wonderful Life, Elf and Frozen (of course!).

The Tales of Grimm Woods will be at Leeds Town Hall from Thursday, December 10 until Sunday, January 3.

Tickets cost around £8.50 and can be bought online.

For more information or to book, visit the website at