Keeping the kids happy and entertained throughout the Christmas Holiday doesn’t need to be expensive with these fun, FREE or low cost activities and events in and around North Leeds.
You can see the full list of Christmas and New Year events, activities and days out ideas HERE.
Events and Activities at North Leeds Libraries
20th December, Santa Story and Rhymetime, Moor Allerton Library, Free event for under 5’s, no booking required
20th December, Christmas Duplo, Moor Allerton Library, Free event for under 5’s, booking required
Leeds Museums and Galleries
Leeds Museums and Galleries have some fantastic festive family events at a number of attractions.
Abbey House Museum, Children can visit Father Christmas in his magical grotto, write him a letter, dress up, decorate a Christmas ornament and follow the trail around the Victorian decorated streets. From the 18th -21st December there will be festive craft sessions for under 5’s. For dates, session times and prices click here.
Festive Muddy Monkey’s at Kirkstall Abbey, get ready for Christmas with festive crafts for the under 5’s and the usual instruments and toys! (4th, 11th, 18th December 10-11am) Free event, no booking required.
Celebrate the Christmas story with the Family nativity at Kirkstall Abbey on 1st December and on the 9th December there will be carols with the Heritage Singers. Free events, more details here.
Lotherton Hall’s Christmas Experience, Enjoy a magical Twelve Days of Christmas walk through the Captains Wood around the estate. Visit Santa in the North Pole and meet the elves helping in their workshop. Marvel in the splendour of the Edwardian House with the rooms dressed in all their festive finery. Wander down to the Elf Village where children can join the elves in making craft activities or listen to stories. For more details have a read of Mumbler’s review here.
Christmas at Temple Newsam A traditional Christmas awaits at weekends in December as the House gets a festive makeover, the animals bed down for winter and the Tea Rooms offer a festive menu. Plus a special visitor promises to stop by (booking required), there will also be Christmas crafts, games and dressing up! For dates, session times and prices click here.
Leeds City Museum – Hibernate Spend some time hiding out at the museum with cosy colouring activities and search for animals that hibernate! Free event. (Museum closed 24, 25, 26, 31 Dec and 1 Jan)
Leeds Industrial Museum – Happy Christmas In the run up to Christmas you’ll have the chance to make your own reindeer feedbag. Selected dates. Normal admission applies,
* Get a Leeds card (£10 a year) and a free breeze card for the kids to get discounted entry into lots of council run and local attractions.
Arts and Crafts Sessions
If the kids are wanting to do some crafting this Christmas but you don’t want glitter everywhere there are quite a few places with free Christmas craft sessions.
The craft table is running every day from the 1st December for children at The Arium, where they can have fun making stockings and Christmas cards. Free activity.
Mango’s Magical Christmas at Tropical World This December, your little ones can help Mango the Meerkat bring the magic of Christmas to Tropical World whilst enjoying lots of festive fun, such as Christmas crafts and activities. 1st -24th December. Normal admission applies.
Left Bank Leeds – Messy Christmas Session – 16th December, children can enjoy Christmas themed crafts, including cutting, sticking, biscuit decorating and crown making. There will also be a storytelling room where children can listen to the nativity story. Pre booking required.
Festive Films & Shows
If you fancy seeing a festive film or show as a family we have included a few low cost options.
Leeds Industrial Museum Head to the Palace Picture House throughout December for a different family Christmas movie matinee. For £9 a family of five can go to the cinema and get the chance to look around the rest of the museum as well! (Closed Monday’s)
Movie Morning at Myrtle Tavern Meanwood, Enjoy a magical morning amongst the decorations and watch ‘The Polar Express.’ on Thursday 20th December, 10am-12pm. No booking required.
The Muppet Christmas Carol at Hyde Park Picture House Great way to start the Christmas celebrations, showing Christmas Eve, 12.30pm. Booking required.
Dawsons Arthouse Presents Free entry Xmas films at Belgrave Music Hall Screening Christmas movies on 16th and 23rd December at 12pm, 4pm, 7pm, Free entry, Free popcorn!
The Princess & the Sprout and Other Festive Tales at Leeds Central Library Wrongsemble Theatre Company presents ‘The Princess and the Sprout & Other Festive Tales’, catering specifically to 3-8 year old audiences. 7th -31st December. Booking required.
Christmas Quackers by Curly Tales at Leeds Libraries A brand new festive adventure for children aged 3-7 and their grown ups. Jam packed full of live music, original song and plenty of silliness. Showing at libraries across North and Central Leeds from 15th – 24th December. Booking required.
A Merry Grinch-mas at The Rainbow Factory Enjoy a funny and heartwarming re-telling of the Grinch who Stole Christmas that the whole family will enjoy (suitable from age 2+). Featuring original songs, dance, puppetry and magic. Showing from 17th December – 4th January. Booking required.
Fancy a film at home? Check out our blog on the best family festive films for some inspiration or if you are looking for a Christmas Show or Pantomime we have a handy guide here.
Festive Walks, Trails and Markets
Enjoy some fresh air has a family with these festive walks, trails and markets.
Bolton Abbey A Christmas Countdown. Stroll through a wintery Strid Wood and spot the wooden Christmas trees dotted along the trail. Each Christmas tree has a number of oversized advent calendar doors waiting to be opened! Free event but estate admission charges apply.
Have a walk around one of the most established Christmas markets, Leeds Christkindelmarkt, plenty to do for all ages including traditional stalls and carousel. You could also enjoy a walk around the Leeds Christmas Lights and have a go on the Leeds Wheel of Light in Victoria Gardens. If you want somewhere to pop for a hot chocolate Thor’s Tipi is great or we have lots of Mumbler recommendations for child-friendly places to eat here.
Fairburn Ings Festive Quiz TrailWalk off the excesses of Christmas with a festive themed quiz trail at Fairburn Ings, suitable for all ages. 14th December – 4th January. Free event, normal admission applies.
Leeds Owl Trail – Enjoy a walk around Leeds City centre taking in the landmarks and heritage whilst also spotting some unique owls. Each owl informs you of why it is there and gives you a brief snapshot of what it has seen in its lifetime. Download and print your free map (or you can buy one for £1 from the art gallery shop).
Have a walk around your local garden centres such as Langlands, Crimple Hall or Tong to name a few looking at the Christmas displays and have a pit stop at the cafe!
Festive Fun at Home
If you need some downtime or the weather isn’t playing ball, here are a few ideas of festive things to do at home.
- Dig out some board games or jigsaws and enjoy some old-fashioned fun.
- Arts and Crafts – have a look at our Christmas Arts and Crafts blog for inspiration.
- Make reindeer food – an animal safe recipe can be found here.
- Decorate a Gingerbread House – an annual tradition in our house!
- Festive baking – some great ideas for biscuits here.
For more ideas have a read of our blog indoor fun on rainy and snowy days!
Post Christmas Ideas
For those tricky few days between Christmas and New Year, why not try one of these free or low cost activities.
Sleepy Santa Trail at Kirkstall Abbey – Follow the trail around the Abbey and find Santa, his elves and reindeer who are all napping! Answer the questions and receive a sweet treat at the end! Running 27th – 30th December. Free event.
Splat a Sprout family challenge trail and activities at Abbey House MuseumJoin the team at Abbey House for a series of sprout related family challenges in the Victorian Streets! 27th -30th December.
Leeds Industrial Museum – Happy Hogmanay In the lead up to New Year children will be able to make their own Hogmanay gift bag and will learn all about the traditions behind this festival. 27th – 30th December. Normal admission applies.
Legends: King Arthur at The Royal Armouries An action-packed themed weekend featuring the legendary leader of medieval myths and romances. Enjoy storytelling, performances, combat demonstrations, music, film and activities for all ages. Free entry to the Royal Armouries including the free River taxi outside. 29th-31st December.
Thwaite Mills Watermill – Indoor Make & Play There will be indoor toys and games, plus a picnic area and craft activities to keep all the family entertained whatever the weather! 27th – 30th December and 2nd – 6th January. Normal admission applies.
Enjoy a family walk – Grab some fresh air and head out on one of our 12 child-friendly Boxing Day and New Year walks in and around Leeds.
Panto Time – Panto season continues into January. So to catch a potentially quieter show, why not take your pick from our list of the very best local pantos in and around North Leeds.
For more activities, events and parties for between Christmas and New Year click here.
If you’re looking for somewhere local to see Santa we have a handy roundup here
Our Christmas and New Year Holiday Activity and Events Page has loads more ideas of one-off events, places to see Santa, Christmas parties and day trip ideas.
Also don’t forget to check our Offers Page we have discounts for Go Ape at Temple Newsam and Oxygen Freejumping which are valid until 31st December 2018.
Why don’t you join the North Leeds Mumbler Chat Group where you can share reviews of days out/activities and get ideas from others.
Hopefully, some of these ideas will help you entertain the children without costing a fortune.
Hope you have a great Christmas!
* Information correct at time of publishing, please check all events/activities before travelling in case of last minute changes and for more details on session times and prices.