It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and Leeds definitely knows how to make an effort for the occasion! I can be a bit of a grinch if the mood strikes me, but there are a few festive things about Leeds that are guaranteed to put a smile on my face, even if I’m deep in denial that the date is approaching. Here are a few of my favourite things about Leeds at Christmas!
City Square’s Christmas Tree
The Christmas tree in Leeds’ City Square is not a graceful creature. Every year without fail it’s either leaning, or has a bald patch, or is thicker on one side than the other, and there’s no colour theme or coordinated decorations – just a string of multicoloured lights that look like they’ve been thrown onto the tree. But there’s a charm in that; it resembles a bigger version of the tree in my parents’ living room, and that’s why I love it. Screw the stylish Selfridges Christmas.
Food at Christkindelmarkt
The German Market, with its mile-long queue for the beer tent and hordes of chavs who can’t handle a couple of steins, is arguably as much of a reason to hate Christmas in Leeds as to love it. Personally I class it as a no-go after 9pm; by this time everyone is hammered and blissfully unaware of everyone around them. But fried potatoes in garlic sauce from that one burger stand have become as much a staple Christmas food to me as mince pies, and if they’re washed down with an overpriced Bailey’s hot chocolate, all the better.
Shopping Centre Decorations
The Christmas lights on the streets in Leeds are pretty lacklustre and I’m pretty sure some of them are older than me, but the shopping centres really go all out on festive cheer. The Trinity Centre’s are particularly memorable, with the huge pink and purple 3D snowflakes and green and red lights in the roof, but The Light make a good effort too. And don’t forget the Magical Leeds Reindeer Trail!
The Students Go Home
Oh the glory! I love living in Headingley, I love how many bars, restaurants and shops are right on my doorstep, and I’m aware that the students are the reason all those things are here. However. It’s so nice when they all go home for Christmas and I can sleep through the night on a Saturday, get a table at my favourite cafe without having to queue, and walk to the bus stop without having to sidestep splodges of vomit. Happy days.
The Corn Exchange
The Corn Exchange is beautiful even on a regular day, but at Christmas the tree comes out, the lights go up, and it’s all perfect. There’s an added benefit to the Corn Exchange at Christmas; while Headingley quiets down in the absence of students, Leeds is flooded with frenzied hordes of Christmas shoppers. Due to only half the outlets being occupied, the Corn Exchange is always quieter than the rest of city centre, which makes it a welcome break when you’re doing your present shopping.
What are your favourite things about Christmas in Leeds? Tell me in the comments!