Leeds Christmas what's on: Markets, food festivals, ice rink and festive light and art installations

As December nears, Leeds is getting into the full festive spirit.

Friday, 19th November 2021, 11:45 am
Ice rink in Millennium Square. Credit: Zagni photography.

There may be no German Market this year, but there are still plenty of other things going on.

Food festivals

Things are turning festive down at Temple Arches, as Chow Down Winter Village brings a new level of cosy festive spirit – complete with Christmassy cocktails and curling lanes.

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This is what is on this Christmas in Leeds - everything from food festivals, festive markets, ice rinks and art installations. Pictured is people enjoying curling at Chow Down food festival in Temple Arches.

There’ll also be an assortment of street traders selling food, drinks and gifts down at the Corn Exchange, plus more at Leeds Station and on Briggate.

Family friendly

And there’s plenty for families too, with an ice rink in Millennium Square, a big wheel in front of Leeds Gallery, and a carousel on Cookridge Street.

The Merrion Centre, the Victoria Quarter and Trinity Leeds are all running interactive activities, with a brand new Christmas trail set to get the kids hunting for the parts of Santa’s sleigh.

Santa's Grotto at the Merrion Centre.

Christmas is arriving in Leeds in style this festive season, with a sparkling selection of things to watch, do and enjoy bringing cheer to locations across the city. From lights and music to family fun and festive art, there’ll be something to put a smile on everyone’s face this winter.

Art and light installations

Head to Briggate to see the return of the magical ‘Dear Leeds’ light installation, before turning the corner onto Albion Street to admire a flurry of projected falling snowflakes.

Another unmissable holiday happening comes in the form of My Christmas Home, an art installation inviting people to literally step into the world of Christmas.

Created by artistic collective, Found Fiction, and brought to the city by LeedsBID, My Christmas Home is an immersive structure designed to welcome visitors into a range of fictional festive households.

Step through the doors to discover an elderly couple’s bungalow, a packed student house, a homeless shelter and the home of an NHS nurse. It’s all about capturing the diversity of Christmas and sharing the celebratory energy of the entire festive season.

Find 'My Christmas Home' on Bond Court, where video projections, interior decor and recorded audio combine to create convincing simulations of festive life in someone else’s home.

The installation also features interactive elements including a Christmas Wish Tree and Christmas card writing, as well as an online repository of stories about the characters from each household.

You can visit My Christmas Home between Saturday November 27 and Thursday December 30, where the doors will be open daily from 11am until 7pm.

Founder of Found Fiction, Steve Clarkson, said: “We all remember Christmas 2020 – even though it was pretty forgettable – and we’re counting on this Christmas to be better than the last. The big thing about this Christmas is that we should be able to open up our doors and celebrate together – and we’ll never take that for granted again.

"That’s exactly what we’re emphasising with this installation, by giving people the chance to experience a Christmas that’s completely different to their own.

"I hope that My Christmas Home will build empathy and connections between different Leeds communities by allowing everyone to share in a multitude of Christmas experiences.”

General Manager of Emmaus Leeds, Gina Morrison, said: "We’re very excited to be taking part in My Christmas Home.

"We love that the installation will show the diversity of households in Leeds, and highlights that Christmas looks different in every home.

"Being involved in a large community project such as this can help to raise the confidence and self-esteem of our companions (service users), who are rebuilding their lives after experiencing homelessness."

Karen Butler, Head of Place Management at LeedsBID, said: “This Christmas more than ever, we want people to be able to revel in the festivities in Leeds city centre.

"By working with key partners, we hope to have wrapped up something for everyone to experience and enjoy.”

From Friday November 26 until Christmas Eve, Christmas hosts will be around to help visitors enjoy the festive season to the fullest in the city – ready to meet, greet and give directions in key pedestrianised areas.

Here not only to make sure everyone gets a warm welcome to Leeds, but also to support a safe return to the high streets as Leeds builds back better from the pandemic, the hosts are on hand thanks to LeedsBID, through funding from the Government’s Welcome Back Fund.