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

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!

Leeds Diary Dates: December 2015

As if we didn’t have enough on our plates with present shopping, office parties and family gatherings, Leeds has got some amazing happenings going on this month to keep us busy until Christmas! Take a look at my stand-outs for December…

5th: Leeds Loves Xmas Cocktails

This event looks like so much fun; after the huge success of Leeds Love Cocktails, we’re getting a festive follow-up with a celebration marking the end of prohibition. In true prohibition style the location is being kept secret for the time being, and guests are required to get out their finest Gatsby suits and flapper dresses for the occasion.

5th: Django Django at Leeds University

Everyone loves a bit of live music in Leeds! I saw Django Django live a few months ago at End of the Road Festival and they were amazing – they have such good energy and their songs have such good beats. I’m still on the fence about whether to splash out on tickets to see them again so soon, but those who are going are in for a treat. Leeds Loves Xmas Cocktails has competition…

6th: Etsy Made Local

Etsy are hitting the physical world! On Sunday 6th Leeds City Museum is going to be filled with local creatives selling all their amazing crafts, designs, jewellery and anything else you can think of. You’re sure to find some gorgeous gifts that are totally unique, and you can support some local one-man(or woman) businesses at the same time. Winner.

9th: Brewdog vs Gin: A Night of Indulgence

Brewdog are teaming up with Lazy Lounge to put on a night of beer and gin tasting! Each beer is being matched with a different gin – I can’t imagine how it’s going to work but I thought the same about beer and ice cream and Leeds Indie Food’s Beer and Ice Cream Party at Black Swan proved me completely wrong. Let’s give it a whirl…

12th-13th: Belgrave Xmas Feast

The Belgrave is hosting their monthly food and drink event with a festive twist this month – the standard line-up of fantastic food and drink vendors is being accompanied by German beers, mulled wine and cider, and christmas films. Plus on Saturday night there’s going to be a gig by Blacklisters with DJ sets from Pulled Apart By Horses, Hookworms and Menace Beach.

18th-24th: It’s A Wonderful Life at Hyde Park Picture House

Everyone has their own pre-Christmas rituals; one of mine is that it’s just not Christmas until I’ve watched It’s A Wonderful Life. Screw chirpy songs and happy elves – I want financial ruin and thoughts of suicide in my Christmas films. Hyde Park Picture House has bucket loads of charm, and it’s the perfect place to snuggle up and start nurturing that warm festive glow in your stomach. For maximum effect, go on Christmas Eve.

What are you going to this month? Might see you there!