October has been a whirlwind month for me. I’ve been a bit absent from my blog – which I discussed here – but the time away has felt necessary, and after a particularly relaxed weekend last week I finally feel ready to up my game again. My trip to Porto in October marked my last holiday of the year which has given me the drive I needed to plan a few extra activities and trips around the UK, and there are so many exciting events going on in Leeds in the run-up to Christmas that I hardly know what to choose. There’s no way I’m going to get to all of them, but these are my top picks for what to go to in November.
2nd – 12th: House of Peroni Pop-Up Cinema
This event sounds super cute. Over two weeks, Peroni are coming to Harvey Nichols to host an Italian-themed pop-up cinema featuring classic films, drinks and snacks. The bar is going to be stocked with a range of Peroni lagers and infusions, and the chefs at Harvey Nichols are providing boxes of cicchetti for guests to snack on during the film (a bottle of Peroni Nastro Azzurro and a cicchetti box are included in the £20 ticket price). They’ve made some great choices for the film line-up, including Cinema Paradiso, Life is Beautiful, The Talented Mr Ripley and To Rome with Love.
2nd-5th Abandoned Yorkshire Exhibition
During a period of incredibly fast and large-scale development for Leeds, this exhibit promises to expose a little-known side to our county. Abandoned Yorkshire are a group of urban explorers who make it their mission to seek out disused buildings and capture their gradual decline as nature and neglect take their toll, and Left Bank Leeds are hosting an incredible exhibition of some of their best work. I love the haunting aesthetic of abandoned buildings, and as many of these sites were once important buildings I’m also looking forward to learning a little more about Yorkshire’s history.
3rd-17th: Leeds International Film Festival
Abandoned Yorkshire is part of the larger event that is Leeds International Film Festival, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year with the biggest programme yet. I’m not enough of a film buff to have heard of even half the stuff on the schedule, but I love that it’s such a great opportunity to discover new talents, or take a lucky dip on something you’ve never considered before.Old favourites like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Jurassic Park mingle with new releases Paterson and Toni Erdmann, and all genres are represented. The programme is split into five themes to help you make your choices; Official Selection (top picks), Retrospective (classics), Fanomemon (cult/fantasy), Cinema Versa (documentaries) and Short Flick City (shorts).
5th: Bonfire Night
Forget Halloween – Bonfire Night is my favourite autumn festival by a mile. Roundhay has the biggest firework display in Leeds, but I’m a faithful follower of the Woodhouse Moor event having attended every year since I was being taken by my parents as a kid. I love that I can huddle around the fire, enjoy the fireworks, and then simply head home on foot without having to stress myself out getting stuck in traffic. If you walk all the way back into city centre, you can even find a bar that isn’t completely rammed to the rafters.
11th: Christkindelmarkt Opens
The Christmas market has been getting pretty old for me in recent times – the same stalls in the same places roll back year after year, and the drunks falling out of the Bierkeller before 10pm have multiplied at a scary rate. I love a bratwurst hot dog as much as the next person, but it’s not worth the very real risk of some knobhead vomiting on your shoes. That’s why I’m pretty excited to hear that Christkindelmarkt is bringing a new concept with it this year – a Viking tipi bar with mulled wine, hot chocolate, firepits and a winter barbecue. Sounds right up my street.
11th-20th: Compass Festival
Compass Festival is one to be aware of this month, especially if you’re on a budget; they’ve got 18 art and creative events planned across 10 days and almost all of them are free! The exact subject matters of the pieces vary hugely, but their common ground is that they all focus on immersive experiences that disrupt our usual behaviours and challenge the audiences to look at things a little differently. Among the most interesting-sounding events are Walking:Holding, Spiral, Ambulation and All Of The People In All The World. And if you’re in need of some relaxation, track down Warmth and its mobile sauna at Art Hostel. Curious? I am…
25th-2nd Jan : Magic Lantern Festival
I’m generally not a fan of embracing Christmas before December, but I’m going to have to break my rule in order to go to the Magic Lantern Festival. For over a month, Roundhay Park is going to be transformed into a wonderland of lanterns that seek to bring traditional Chinese culture together with modern Christmas. I generally love anything with bright colours and pretty lights, and spending a chilly evening all wrapped up in a winter coat, scarf and hat is just the thing I need to put me in a festive mood. Pass the mulled wine!
What are you up to in November? Maybe I’ll see you there!