19 Free Festive Things to Do in West Yorkshire This Christmas

Enjoy West Yorkshire with budget and FREE festive activities to put on your December to-do list for kids and adults alike. Discover fascinating museums, places to get into the festive spirit, winter wonderlands to escape to, a torchlight procession to join in, illuminated towns and cities to explore while shopping, and more.  Fall in love with West Yorkshire this Christmas with Visit Bradford, Visit Calderdale, Visit Leeds and Experience Wakefield.



Reindeer Trail at Halifax Borough Market 

Discover a Magical Christmas at Halifax Borough Market and help Santa find his cheeky reindeers, before Christmas Eve.  Those naughty reindeer have escaped the cold of Lapland and hidden themselves among the market stalls of the Borough Market, and Santa needs help to find them all and return them before the ‘big night’.

Pick up a reindeer trail leaflet from the stage area of the Albany Arcade, explore the market stalls and find where Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph are hiding! Return to the Albany Arcade to post your completed entry and be in with the chance of winning a £25 Toymaster voucher.

Where? Halifax Borough Market, Market Street, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX1 1DU

When? 1st – 24th December


Hardcastle Crags

Enjoy over 400 acres of unspoilt woodland winter wonderland, including deep rocky ravines, tumbling streams, oak, beech and pine woods and some of the best examples of upland meadows in the country. Gibson Mill is located in the heart of the Crags, with the Weaving Shed café open seven days a week, serving a range of hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, soup, cakes and ice cream. Find out more

Where? Hardcastle Crags, Midgehole Road, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 7AW

When?  Seven days a week.

Ilkley Festive Augmented Reality Trail

Watch festive characters come to life on the family-friendly augmented reality Christmas trail in Ilkley. Stretch your legs and get some fresh air as you stroll through the town centre, or do some Christmas shopping at fantastic independent stores. Simply search for “Discover Ilkley” in the App Store on your smartphone and enjoy.

Where ? Ilkley Town Centre, LS29 9LW

When? 17 November to 31 December


Saltaire Living Advent Calendar

Wander around the Saltaire Living Advent Calendar and share joyful moments with family and friends.  See how many festive scenes you can spot, every day a new window lights up in one of the houses or shops in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, then stop at one of the bars and cafés for a hot chocolate or mulled wine.

Where? Saltaire Village, BD18 3LA

When? 1 December to 1 January 2023, 4pm – 10:30pm




Celebrating Christmas at Bradford Museums

Admire the stunning Christmas decorations at Cliffe Castle Museum in Keighley experience something magical at Once Upon a Pantomime, the newest display featuring costumes from Pantomimes past.  On Sunday 11 December, Bracewell Smith Hall will come alive to the sound of Music in the Museum featuring swing band The Two Rivers playing classic big band and jazz tunes. 

Where? Cliffe Castle Museum, Spring Gardens Lane, Keighley, BD20 6LH

When? Tuesday – Friday: 10am – 4pm.  Saturday – Sunday: 11am-4pm


Christmas @ Pit

Enjoy a truly magical festive season at the National Coal Mining Museum. Watch living history performances with Peggy the miner’s wife, get creative in the Maker’s Shed, ride the paddy train, meet the pit ponies at the Pony Discovery Centre, explore Sparky the canary’s winter story trail, and lots more!

Where? New Road, Overton, WF4 4RH

When? Open Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm


Liquorice Santa

Children of all ages and their grown-ups are invited to visit Santa in his liquorice-inspired grotto at Pontefract Museum!  Follow a magical trail around the museum, and take part in hands-on crafts to make sweetie-themed Christmas cards, Christmas crackers and candy-cane reindeer decorations

Where? Pontefract Museum, Salter Row, WF8 1BA. 

When? 10 December, 10:30am-3pm. No booking required, just drop in!

Pontefract Castle

Discover a place of family-friendly adventure, with wide open spaces to explore and play, and fascinating ruins to investigate. Families can have a go at Civil War Soldier skills as they make their way around the grounds, and climb to the top of the keep for stunning views. Don’t forget to visit the castle gift shop for a colourful range of souvenirs, gifts, books and ice creams, and play in the children’s playground to create your own castle adventures!

Where? Castle Garth, Pontefract, WF8 1QH

When? Monday-Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm, Saturday-Sunday, 9:30am-4:30pm


Viking Yule at Royal Armouries

Like the majority of Leeds’ museums and galleries entry to the Royal Armouries is free all year round. Based at the iconic Leeds Docks and it’s a must-see for any visitors to the city, with the biggest display of weapons and armour in the country. Highlights include elephant armour, the wall of swords and the actual weapon used in the film Aliens. This Christmas Royal Armouries will celebrate Viking Yule, which takes place from 27 to 31 December featuring live combat, sagas and axe-throwing! All for free.

Where? Royal Armouries, Armouries Dr, Leeds LS10 1LT

When? Daily, 10am to 5pm (Closed Mondays)



Sparkle Spectacular at The Broadway Bradford

Have fun while Christmas shopping at the Broadway Bradford Sparkle Spectacular.  December weekends offer a dazzling mix of entertainment, including roller-skating Christmas presents, singers and dancers.  Shop, Watch, Eat and Play with over 80 shops, restaurants and The Light Cinema. 

Where? The Broadway, Hall Ings, Bradford, BD1 1JR

When ? Every weekend from 3 December to 18 December, 11am- 4pm.


Christmas in Halifax

Enjoy family-friendly, inclusive fun with a variety of free festive activities including musical performances, street entertainment, animatronic characters and a Christmas Story Trail, with shop windows sporting beautiful festive designs by acclaimed window artist Jenny Tribillon. Halifax’s new LED Christmas lights are designed to showcase the town’s historic architecture.

Where? Across Halifax town centre

When? December 1st – 24th


Festive Family Activities at The Piece Hall

This Festive season the magnificent circus-style Spiegel tent at the Piece Hall brings you a range of FREE family arts and crafts workshops.

  • WRAP UP FOR CHRISTMAS! 10 December, 10am – 12pm Free drop-in. Drop into the Spiegel tent and print your own festive wrapping paper to make your gifts truly unique.
  • MAKE YOUR OWN CHRISTMAS CARD 11 December, 10am – 12pmFree drop-in. Stick, stamp, draw and paint! Make your own mixed media Christmas card to give to someone special.
  • DESIGN YOUR OWN BAUBLE 19 December, 1pm – 4pm, Free drop-in. Decorate your own beautiful wooden festive bauble to take home and hang on your Christmas tree.
  • CREATIVE CHRISTMAS CRAFTS 21 December, 1pm – 4pm, Free drop-in. Make a creative Christmas decoration to decorate your home this festive season.
  • CHRISTMAS COLLAGE 22 December, 1pm – 4pm, Free drop-in. Create a beautiful Christmas collage using our festive craft materials.

Where? The Piece Hall, Blackledge, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX1 1RE

When? December 1st – 24th


Winter Wonderland in Wakefield City Centre

Experience an enchanted snow maze in Wakefield city centre. Festive characters weave an interactive story to help visitors find clues and solve the Mystery of the Missing Santa (and enter into a free prize draw to win Christmas treats!). 

Outside the maze will be an enchanted forest entrance, creating a fantastic backdrop for Christmas selfies. 

Where? Northgate, Wakefield WF1 1HG

When? 3-4 December, 12pm-12pm


Take time to appreciate the smaller things at Victoria Leeds

Leeds City Centre

On until 24th December

This Christmas, Victoria Leeds is reconnecting shoppers big and small to the joys of the festive season by transforming Sidney Street into a beautiful market square with a show-stopping, bespoke window display taking pride of place. With regular flurries of snow falling throughout the day, this quintessential scene, reminiscent of many Christmas classics, will make for an unforgettable Christmas shopping trip in the city. Find out more. 


See the City Sparkle at Millennium Square & Victoria Gardens

Leeds City Centre

Enjoy the twinkling lights and soak up the festive atmosphere in Leeds’ Christmas epicentre at Millennium Square. Stroll through Victoria Gardens to take in the magic of the traditional carousel, and the dizzying heights of the Wheel of Light. Wander through Millennium Square to watch the ice-skating. It doesn’t cost anything to enter this magical Christmas village, where you can opt out of paying for a ride and enjoy from the side lines. And there are traditional food and drink stalls with plenty of hot treats to keep you warm. Find Out More.

Traditional and artisan Christmas markets and ice skating at Kirkgate Market

Leeds City Centre

Every weekend until Friday 23rd December

The oldest part of Leeds city centre is home to one of Europe’s largest indoor markets; the iconic Grade 1 listed Kirkgate Market dates from 1875 and is the birthplace of Marks and Spencer, with a replica of the original Penny Bazaar. As well as over 150 independent traders to source your fresh festive produce, Kirkgate Market has a packed Christmas programme, with performances galore, an ice rink and a huge tree. All of which can be enjoyed for free. Find out more. 



Christmas Brass presented by Wakefield Music Collective

Wakefield Music Collective presents a Christmas Brass concert with Wakefield’s very own Phoenix Brass Band. To help you get into the festive spirit, there will be mince pies and mulled wine in the interval!

Where? Clarence Park, Wakefield, WF2 8SY

When? 4 December, 1pm-3pm

Christmas in Haworth

Experience a traditional Christmas atmosphere in Haworth the heart of Brontë Country every weekend before Christmas. With a variety of activities, you can enjoy brass bands, sing along to carols, gather around the Christmas tree to join the Main Street Nativity Parade and stroll through historic Haworth in a festive torchlight procession.

Where ? Main Street, Haworth, BD22 8DF

When ? Weekends in December

Christmas Music at Ilkley Manor House

For the perfect pre-Christmas day out this winter, visit Ilkley Manor House. The Rock Choir will be performing on 10 December at 2.30pm. A mix of popular Christmas carols and favourites.

Where ? Ilkley Manor House, Castle Yard, LS29 9DT

When? Weekends from 11am-4pm