Leeds Diary Dates: December 2016

So, November feels like the month where a whole year’s worth of significant stuff has happened. I confirmed an extension on my flat tenancy (ensuring I won’t be homeless on Christmas Day, yay), got promoted, and my company won Best Travel Blog at a major travel awards, to the shock and delight of my fellow content writers and I. Add to all this the fact that basically every week from now until the end of the year is filled with lovely plans and celebrations, and I’m feeling positively festive as we head into December.

The street lights have been turned on, the Christmas trees are up in City Square and the Trinity Centre, and Christkindlmarkt is open for business, which means Christmas has officially started in Leeds. So it will come as no surprise that the majority of my diary dates for December are dominated by festive cheer. But really, is anyone complaining? Continue reading

Leeds Diary Dates: November 2016

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. Continue reading

Reasons to Love Leeds at Christmas

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.

City Square Christmas tree, Leeds

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!

Trinity Centre Christmas decorations, Leeds

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.

Corn Exchange at Christmas, Leeds

What are your favourite things about Christmas in Leeds? Tell me in the comments!