The best things to do in and around Leeds this month | December 2023

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Can you believe we’ve reached the final what’s on of the year?

2023 has flown by, but that doesn’t mean we’re short of things to do in the festive build up. From visits to see Santa to new restaurant openings, NYE plans and everything in between, we’ve got you covered…

Things to do

Magical Nights at The Queens

Friday 15 December – Saturday 23 December 2023 | The Queens Hotel, City Square

The Queens will host a special Christmas instillation, and we absolutely cannot wait.

Announcing the news to Instagram, the hotel said: “We invite you to join us for a Magical Night at The Queens. The landmark Leeds building will be brought to life, with British actress Celia Imrie to voice our new stunning new city centre animation, taking spectators on a tour around the iconic hotel with the help of one very special guest – The Gingerbread Man.”

Find out more here.

Visit Santa at Thackray Museum of Medicine

Select days until Christmas | Thackray Museum of Medicine

Image: Chapter 81

Start your trip with a visit to see Santa over at the Thackray Museum of Medicine in Harehills. There’s a 90-minute festive experience to explore that tells the tale of how Christmas is celebrated around the world, plus the opportunity to hang out with Father Christmas himself.

There’s additional ‘relaxed experiences’ on dates leading up to Christmas, plus extra crafts and exhibitions to check out around the museum’s grounds.

Find out more here.

Pup Up Cafe

Sunday 17 December 2023 10am-2pm | Revolution Electric Press, Cookridge Street

Image: The Hoot Leeds

Celebrating all things dogs, those heading over to Revs will walk through the doors into the fairground-themed bar and wander between stalls stocking everything your pup could ever want or need.

And there’s a photographer to capture all of the action too. From candid shots of the day to full on photoshoot moments in ball pits and velvet sofas, you and your dog will be papped throughout the experience so you can look back and remember the occasion. And because it’s the most wonderful time of the year, expect plenty of festive props to take photos with!

Find out more here.

Christmas Shows and Pantos

Friday 1 December – Sunday 31 December 2023

four people playing instruments on a stage.
Image: Supplied

Pantomime season is almost here…oh no it isn’t! Oh yes it is.

Nothing screams Christmas more than heading to the theatre on a cold, crisp evening and watching a brilliant show. Whether you want to risk being pulled on stage by a lavish panto dame or prefer a more civilised evening at the ballet, there’s so many productions happening in and around Leeds this season for you to enjoy.

Find out more here.

Bublé and Bubbles

Friday 17 December 2023 | Banyan, City Square

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas and Banyan has the the perfect way to get you in the mood. With a glass of fizz included in every ticket, singalong to the timeless Christmas hits from a wonderful performer that’ll give the real Bublé a run for his money.

Find out more here.

Hyde Park Flower Club’s Wreath Making Classes

Throughout December | Various locations

Images: Hyde Park Flower Club

The Mustard Pot, Tileyard North, The Cheesy Living Co., Left Bank, Gusto, Cut & Craft, Banyan and Nation of Shopkeepers will all host Dottie from Hyde Park Flower Club this Christmas for two-hour wreath making workshops. From expert flower arrangers to beginners looking for a new hobby to try out during the festive season, all are welcome at these exciting evening classes.

Find out more here.

Food & Drink

Christmas Specials

Nothing says Christmas like heading out for some pigs in blankets months before the big day, it’s almost like a warm up for the stomach ahead of December 25th.

Leeds’ foodie scene has gone big this year on its festive specials, here’s a few that have been announced so far…

Find out more here.

Leeds Christmas Markets

Images: The Hoot Leeds

Since the markets were last in the city a lot has changed, including the cost of pretty much everything (looking at you, my energy bills). That means that the previous prices at the Leeds Christmas Markets have changed too.

If you’re heading out to enjoy a mulled wine, a few pints, or a festive feast, you’ll be wanting to know how to budget. And where to find the cheapest pint, obviously. We’re here to help. Here is the list of food and drink prices at the Leeds Christmas Markets 2023.

Find the full list here.

Trinity Kitchen Trucks

Image: The Hoot Leeds

Back to draw the 2023 kitchen season to a close, you’ll find festival favourite Eat Like A Greek alongside Yorkshire Cheese Grill and Big Mouth Gyoza. Jimmy Macks return this year with those viral birria beef tacos and Nelly’s Barn has some wonderful winter warmers to check out.

Open for the next nine weeks, Trinity Kitchen shared the announcement this morning, stating “These friendly faces will be serving up their finest festive feasts until 14th Jan 2024“.

Find out more here.

New Openings

The Cheesy Living Co.

Opening Friday 1 December 2023 | Roundhay Road, Oakwood

Taking over the former The Pantry site on Roundhay Road in Oakwood, The Cheesy Living Co. is going to be bringing a new multi-storey store to the suburbs, and it’s set to bring everything we love about the flagship Corn Exchange store, and plenty more besides.

Think cheesemongers meets ‘posh off licence’, with fresh coffee in the daytime, fondue in the afternoon and cosy nights with a bottle of sustainable wine.

Find out more here.


Opening Thursday 7 December 2023 | Project House, Armley Road

A new woodfire restaurant and bar promises to bring the food in at new gig and event space Project House next month – and it sounds like there’s going to be a lot to love. Brunch will be served with ‘pancake stacks, breakfast flatbreads and the obligatory Bloody Mary to boot’ whilst evenings promise a host of meaty, doughy, sweet, sour and savoury delights – we can’t wait to find out what’s on the menu.

Find out more here.

Chance & Counters

Opening Friday 8 December 2023 | Merrion Street, Leeds City Centre

bookshelf full of games.
Image: Chance & Counters via Instagram

Chance & Counters is known down south for its inviting setting, and seemingly endless supply of board games. And now the cafe company is taking over the former Yard & Coop site on Merrion Street.

The cafes are all centred around a library of 500 board games: there’s everything from old-school family favourites to new releases, and everything in between. It’s not just games here too – all that competitive spirit is bound to work up an appetite. By day, you’ll be able to grab a coffee and light lunch and craft beer or cocktail in the evening, with hearty pub grub like smash burgers, tacos, loaded fries and wings.

Find out more here.

Gig Guide

Friday 1 December 2023 – Leftfield at Project House (tickets here)

Saturday 2 December 2023 – Of Mice And Men – Leeds University Union, Stylus (tickets here)

Sunday 3 December 2023 – The Charlatans at the O2 Academy (tickets here)

Thursday 7 December 2023 – Amity Affliction at the O2 Academy (tickets here)

Friday 8 December 2023 – Madness at the First Direct Arena (tickets here)

Sunday 10 December 2023- Donny Osmond at the First Direct Arena (tickets here)

Monday 11 December 2023 – Foy Vance at the Brudenell Social Club (tickets here)

Monday 11 December 2023 – The Big Moon at The Wardrobe (tickets here)

Wednesday 13 December 2023 – Fit For A King at the Leeds University Union Stylus (tickets here)

Wednesday 13 December 2023 – The Lathums at Project House (tickets here)

Sunday 17 December 2023 – Jools Holland and his blues rhythm and blues orchestra (tickets here)

Monday 18 December 2023 – Noel Gallagher‘s High Flying Birds at the First Direct Arena (tickets here)

Feature Image – Unsplash

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