From magic lamps to modern art, ‘tis the season to be merry in Leeds
There’s no denying it, the festive season is well and truly in full swing – and if you haven’t realised the futility of fighting it by now, I’m afraid there may be little hope for you this month. Our December round-up of all the best doable things attempts a deftly festive straddle of all things seasonal and some things less so. Much like your average family Christmas dinner, we’ve tried to please all tastes and inclinations – but we’ll let you be the judge of how well we’ve succeeded.
Here's our round-up of things to do in Leeds in December:
THOR'S TIPI | VICTORIA GARDENS | 20 NOVEMBER – 2 JANUARY
The Leeds Christmas Market might be off the table this year, but Thor’s Tipi is back, bringing its cosy triangle of festive joy to Victoria Gardens (that’s just in front of the art gallery if you, like me are confused by the sheer volume of things in Leeds named "Victoria"). Expect festive and non-festive drinks, food and a good old dollop of seasonal cheer.
ALADDIN | CARRIAGEWORKS THEATRE | 26 NOVEMBER – 9 JANUARY
Panto alert, Aladdin has landed. Head down to Carriageworks to sing along to all the bangers from your favourite magic carpet-laden tale. From the same people who brought us Sleeping Beauty last year, this one promises to set the sparkles soaring.
WATER LANE WORKSHOPS: LINOCUT CHRISTMAS CARDS | WATER LANE BOATHOUSE | 1 DECEMBER
Maybe this year will finally be the one you make your own Christmas cards. Just think, in 2021, you could become that righteous sender whose cards bear the subtle yet self-congratulatory stamp of "Homemade by X" on the back. Or this could just be a fun evening with pals, enjoying a drink at WLB and learning a range of linocut techniques. Up to you.
PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS | LEEDS UNIVERSITY STYLUS | 2 DECEMBER
In blankets in blankets in blankets in blankets in blankets in blankets in blankets. Do what you can to make it festive if you must, but this band at LUU is set to be an absolute belter.
BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS | LEEDS GRAND THEATRE | 8 DECEMBER – 2 JANUARY
Someone told me this one’s destined for the West End, and with the reception, it’s getting so far, I wouldn’t be surprised. The world premiere of Disney’s classic movie brings magic, magnificence and music to the stage – here in Leeds for just 39 performances, so bag those tickets now and prepare those pipes.
THE DARKNESS | O2 ACADEMY | 11 DECEMBER
Okay, so I don’t know if a Darkness gig in December is festive or not – probably depends on your knowledge of their back catalogue, so sorry if I’ve offended any lifelong fans. And if not and you just love catsuits, this one might be just up your street. Jokes aside, the legendary glam rock foursome are on tour with their new album, Motorheart, and their falsetto is calling you.
CHRISTMAS BY CANDLELIGHT | LEFT BANK | 12 DECEMBER
If anyone knows how to do Christmas right, it’s the atmospheric space that is Left Bank. Join them for a tingle-inducing celebration of all things festive, and expect, music, food, drink and a glorious candlelit ambience. You’ll get a mulled bev on arrival and a selection of seasonal snacks to enjoy as you absorb the mood-lit creativity.
SLADE | THE WAREHOUSE | 17 DECEMBER
Ever wondered what Slade do when it isn’t December? Me neither, but I can enlighten you with what they’re up to this festive month, which involves a UK Christmas tour, supported by Sons of the Seventies. Wear a Santa hat, wait for the encore and enjoy.
BILL BAILEY: EN ROUTE TO NORMAL | FIRST DIRECT ARENA | 18 DECEMBER
Christmas or not Christmas, a trip to see Bill Bailey is always going to be a showstopper. With an ironic nod to the verbiage that’s drenched the pandemic as its title, En Route to Normal offers a unique insight into the world – all through Bill Bailey’s signature humour and music.
SHAGGED MARRIED ANNOYED WITH CHRIS & ROSIE RAMSEY | O2 ACADEMY | 21 DECEMBER
It’s one of the UK’s most popular podcasts, it’s had more than 90 million downloads so far, and in 2020, it won the Global Best Podcast and the British Podcast Listeners’ Choice awards. Husband and wife, Chris and Rosie, are bringing their down-to-earth, laugh-a-minute chat to the O2 this December, and it’s set to be an evening full of banter, bickering and brilliance.
New Year's Eve
Believe it or not, at some point this month, Christmas will be over. If you’re a planner ahead-er looking for ways to make NYE one to remember, we’ve got a few alternative suggestions lined up to add to your diary.
Here are a few ideas for what do do on New Year's Eve in Leeds:
NEW YEAR'S EVE SUPERHERO YOGA FLOW | YOGA HERO | 31 DECEMBER
Take some you time and flow into the new year with this dynamic, challenging (but inclusive) class led by the OG Yoga Hero herself, Holly. Whether you’re letting go, setting intentions or simply looking for a deliciously zen entry to 2022, look no further than this very special session.
MIDNIGHT NYE – MODERN ART MADNESS | SHEAF STREET| 31 DECEMBER
Head down to Sheaf Street to discover the iconic Midnight event transformed in a NYE special. Expect festival vibes, interactive activities and artistic energy – and prepare to turn yourself into a masterpiece as an incredible line-up of DJs carries the night into the small hours. Cheers to that.
NEW YEAR’S EVE AT THE WARDROBE | THE WARDROBE | 31 DECEMBER
The Wardrobe’s legendary NYE party brings a three-course menu, a packed comedy line-up, a brass band and a DJ to take you past midnight and into 2022 in style. There’s a range of packages available, so whatever you love most, there’ll be a ticket option to suit it.
Read again: Alcohol-free drinks: what’s the point?
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