Enjoy West Yorkshire this Christmas, there’s so much to explore! We’ve worked with VisitBradford, Kirklees Council, VisitLeeds and ExperienceWakefield to compile a list of not-to-be-missed Christmas highlights from across the region. Explore Christmas Markets, find a unique handmade gift, soak up the festive atmosphere of illuminated cities and towns or the beauty of our countryside, enjoy traditional and not-so-traditional entertainment – panto, brass bands, ballet and more!
There’s plenty to keep you entertained from now until next year.
For Christmas 2023, this unique heritage site has a packed winter programme with more than fifty spectacular gigs, shows, workshops and events to celebrate the festive season.
Stars appearing in the magnificent circus-style Spiegel tent include Julian Lloyd Webber, Martin Kemp, Kimberley Wyatt (The Pussycat Dolls), Chris Difford (Squeeze), P.P. Arnold and The Haggis Horns.
The Piece Hall’s already stunning Georgian splendour will be enhanced even further by the addition of sparkling decorations, twinkling lights and a huge 45ft Sitka spruce Christmas tree.
For the first time ever there will be a vintage big wheel in the courtyard, complementing the much-loved Victorian carousel and three weekends of Christmas Markets.
Where? The Piece Hall, Blackledge, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX1 1RE
When? November 11th – December 23rd 2023
(Piece Hall image by Ellis Robinson)
This Christmas the Victoria Theatre brings you everyone’s favourite rags to riches tale, Cinderella! This hilarious family pantomime is suitable for all ages, with tons of slapstick comedy and stunning musical numbers that you’re guaranteed to be singing for days afterwards. The clock is ticking, so grab your tickets now to the show that proves that a pair of shoes really can change your life!
Where? Victoria Theatre, Fountain Street, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX1 1BP
When? 16h December 2023 to 6th January 2024, various times each day
Gather friends and family for a delightful afternoon tea in the traditional festive atmosphere of this 17th century Jacobean manor house. The award-winning restaurant at Holdsworth House offers three adjoining dining rooms: the Stone Room, the Panelled Room and the Mullioned Room. Each offers a cosy atmosphere, open fireplaces and stone mullioned windows to the gardens outside.
Each of Holdsworth House’s famous afternoon teas is made to look as good as it tastes and to cater for any dietary requirements. This season you can pop the corks with a glass of sparkling wine and a delectable selection of seasonal bakes. If you can’t finish it, any leftovers can be boxed up for you to take home.
Where? Holdsworth Road, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX2 9TG
When? 1-5pm 7 days a week (closed Christmas Day)
Come along and join in with the Halifax Christmas Parade! Unlike traditional ‘static’ Christmas switch-on events, this walking parade promises an immersive and inclusive experience for everyone.
Starting at the Woolshops Shopping Centre, the parade (conceived and choreographed by Calderdale’s Handmade Productions, the creative minds behind Hebden Bridge’s legendary Handmade Parade) features whimsical lanterns such as reindeer on stilts, a ‘snow-bringer’ on a chariot, and adorable elf puppets. All inspired by our town’s unique Christmas tale, “A Christmas Wish for Halifax.”
But the festivities don’t stop there! In the lead-up to the parade, Handmade Productions will host lantern-making workshops to light up the evening and there will be live bands and activities scattered throughout the town centre.
This family-friendly event marks the beginning of a whole season of Yuletide activities in Halifax, including competitions, gifting trees, Christmas elves, giveaways, a Christmas Tree Festival and even more festive magic.
Brought to you by Halifax Business Improvement District.
Where? Halifax town centre, starting at the Woolshops Shopping Centre
When? Saturday November 18th 2023, from 4.30pm
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.
Where? Gibson Mill, Midgehole Road, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 7AW
When? Seven days a week (cafe Closed Christmas Day)
Come and enjoy the perfect festive atmosphere in Haworth as the village transforms into a dazzling spectacle of twinkling lights and whimsical shop windows, transporting you to a magical winter wonderland. Feel the excitement build as the traditional torchlight parade illuminates the streets, the melodies of brass bands fill the air during the music weekend, and the Nativity parade showcases the Christmas story.
Where? Haworth Village, BD22 8EF
When? 2-3. 9-10, 16-17 and 23-24 December
Bring the whole family to East Riddlesden Hall in Keighley for a fun-filled festive experience! Mrs. Claus herself will be there to share some heartwarming stories with you in the Great Hall. So, sit back, relax, and let the magic of the season take over. And that’s not all! You can even write your own letter to Santa while you’re here, and Mrs. Claus will make sure it gets delivered straight to the North Pole!
Where? National Trust East Riddlesden Hall, BD20 5EL
When? Weekends from 25 November plus 18, 19, 20 December
Step into the creative world of the Saltaire Living Advent Calendar, where you can marvel at the quirky window designs that adorn the homes and shops of Saltaire, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Every day a new window lights up, bringing a touch of magic to your December.
Where? Saltaire Village, BD18 3LA
When? 1 December to 1 January 2023, 4pm – 10:30pm
Mark your calendars because the Christmas Makers’ Fair at Ilkley Manor House is just around the corner! Prepare to be dazzled by a wide selection of beautiful objects and works of art, from ceramics and jewellery to Christmas cards and unusual decorations. This is the perfect opportunity to find unique gifts for your loved ones while supporting the incredibly talented artisans of Yorkshire.
Where? Ilkley Manor House, LS29 9DT
When? 2 & 3 December, 10:00 – 17:00
Get ready to be whisked away to the enchanting Alhambra Theatre, where the one and only Billy Pearce is waiting to take you on a magical journey through the timeless tale of Cinderella. Filled with plenty of boos and hisses as Cinderella cleverly outsmarts her wicked sisters and finds her Prince Charming. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your friends and family and book your tickets now before they vanish like a fairy godmother’s spell!
Where? Bradford Alhambra Theatre, BD7 1AJ
When? 9 December 2023 – 21 January 2024
Experience Christmas in the Bradford district filled with magical moments! Be inspired at VisitBradford.com
IMAGE: Leeds German Christmas Market 2018 – credit Carl Milner Photography for Leeds City Council
This is the one everybody has been waiting for… Leeds Christmas Markets is a whole new festive experience with a range of stalls at different locations across the city centre. Expect artisan gifts and handcrafted goods with a standout selection of food and drink options – Hog roast, Italian chocolates and specialty cheeses are just the beginning. Nothing says Christmas quite like getting wrapped up and exploring the stalls.
Plus, Leeds Christmas Markets is bringing you a Nutcracker Trail! Locate all the Nutcrackers to solve the mystery Christmas word for your chance of winning a voucher to spend at the stalls.
Where? Various locations across Leeds City Centre
When? 24th Nov – 22nd Dec
Mon – Wed: 10am – 7pm, Thu – Sat: 10am – 9pm, Sun: 10am – 6pm
*Some market locations opening at 10.30am
Ice Cube on Millennium Square is the perfect place to test out your ice-skating skills. Whether you’re a pro on the ice or it’s just your first-time skating, there’s different timings to suit every ability. In addition to the skating rink, you’ll find food and drink stalls and a full family funfair with themed rides, like Rescue Rudolph, Santa’s Super Shooter, a giant Snow Globe and the North Pole Funhouse! For the traditionalists amongst you take a ride on the iconic vintage carousel or The Wheel of Light which gives you spectacular views of the city. And after all that excitement, what could be more perfect than settling down with a hot chocolate or mulled wine and a blanket by the fire at THOR’S Tipi?
Where? Millennium Square and Victoria Gardens
When? 24th Nov – 31st Dec
During the festive season we all love to get together with friends, family and loved ones to see a show and enjoy some glitz and cheer. And this year, the City Varieties’ Rock ‘n’ Roll panto is giving the classic tale of Robin Hood a fun, festive makeover. This is a pantomime with a twist; expect banging tunes, and plenty of participation! It will certainly get your toes tapping and the whole family laughing.
Where? City Varieties
When? 24 Nov–07 Jan 2024
A magical journey through the enchanting world of Christmas. From visiting Santa in the North Pole to crafting in the Elf Village, there’s something for all the family. Explore the Christmas Traditions Woodland Walk, and Fairy Dell. Marvel at Lotherton’s splendour in the Hall and lit gardens. Warm up with a hot chocolate or mulled wine, don’t forget to visit the Christmas stalls on a weekend.
When? 25 November 2023 – 7 January 2024
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without any presents, if the famous opening lines to Little Women are anything to go by. In Leeds we believe gift-giving should be as much an enjoyable part of the festive period as everything else – and with stunning arcades and shopping centres with high-end brands, high street favourites and an amazing selection of independent shops your Christmas shopping will be a breeze. Must-visits include Leeds Corn Exchange, Trinity Leeds, Thorntons Arcade, Leeds Kirkgate Market, Grand Arcade and, of course, the gorgeous Victoria Gate and Victoria Leeds, who have dazzling new decorations.
Where? Leeds City Centre
When? Seven days a week!
Christmas at National Trust Nostell
For a memorable festive family experience, visit Nostell, a beautiful National Trust 18th century mansion house, dressed for Christmas. Explore the stunning rooms of the house decorated in a magical fairy tale theme, featuring elements from stories such as Rapunzel, Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. You might even spot Father Christmas as he walks around the house!
Where? National Trust Nostell, WF4 1QE
When? Nostell is open on various dates throughout the festive season
Light Up kicks off the festive season with a series of events lighting up the Wakefield district. Look out for spectacular light installations, colourful festive markets, cosy tipi bars, lively street entertainment and delicious winter street food, to warm you up on those cold nights. Wrap up warm and check out the range of FREE Light Up events taking place at locations across the district, including Wakefield city centre, Pontefract, Castleford, and more.
Where? Various locations around the Wakefield district
When? Friday 17 November – Sunday 26 November, various times
Sam Nixon (pictured in 2022’s Dick Whittington) returns in Theatre Royal Wakefield‘s legendary pantomime, Sleeping Beauty! Featuring all of the magic, belly laughs and outrageous Chris Hannon outfits that Theatre Royal Wakefield’s pantomime is famous for – don’t miss this year’s dose of festive family fun.
Where? Theatre Royal Wakefield, WF1 2TE
When? Tuesday 28 November – Sunday 7 January 2024, various times
Start your Christmas shopping and support independent makers when The Hepworth Wakefield’s popular Festive Market returns! You’ll find over 90 stalls each weekend selling candles, ceramics, gifts, homeware, prints, textiles and more, plus drop-in family activities, music and a seasonal offer in the café. During the Festive Market weekends, half price exhibition tickets are available to explore the gallery.
Where? The Hepworth Wakefield, WF1 5AW
When? Saturday 25 – Sunday 26 November, and Saturday 2 – Sunday 3 December, 10am – 4pm
Step into a magical world of light, colour and sound this winter and discover Light Organ at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Experience the beautiful sculpture brought to life, activated by electrifying musical and poetry performances.
This is a very special opportunity to visit YSP by night. Start your visit at the Visitor Centre, where the Coffee Shop will be open for warm drinks and snacks by the bonfires, before walking down to the Chapel by torchlight.
Where? Yorkshire Sculpture Park, WF4 4LG
When? 17 and 18 November 2023, 7 December 2023, 20 January 2024
6pm – 8pm
Have yourself a merry little Christmas in Wakefield at ExperienceWakefield.co.uk
We wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope you and your family have a wonderful time!