This December, 42 The Calls is offering a stunning range of Christmas parties and buffets – perfect for your festive work outing, family gathering, or swinging social occasion. Hosted in our stunning River Room overlooking the River Aire, you can expect an elegant 4-star setting, magnificent menus, and a selection of brilliant beverages.
As with every year, demand is expected to be high; so ensure you get your booking made early to avoid disappointment. All the details you need can be found here.
Of course, during this most wonderful time of the year, you’ll have plenty to entertain yourself with (when not enjoying raucous festivities at 42 The Calls). So we’ve put together a rough guide of our favourite winter pastimes in Leeds.
Festive Theatre & Pantomime
Already admired as a vibrant centre for that arts, Leeds outdoes even itself during the winter; when festive theatre and pantomime take over the city’s revered venues. Kicking off the eclectic seasonal schedule is Aladdin, as City Varieties’ prepare to present the latest of their celebrated Rock ‘n’ Roll Pantos, between the 24th November and 7th January. Expect a profusion of audience participation, corny pantomime gags, and a panoply of pop, rock and soul hits played live on stage!
The warm weather of Aladdin is then swapped for the cold climates of Narnia, where C.S. Lewis’ classic The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobewill be brought to life on the stage of the West Yorkshire Playhouse between 29th November and 21st January. Boasting spellbinding sets, Sally Cookson’s production will arrive you in the land where it’s always winter, but never Christmas (though it will certainly feel like Christmas) – as you join Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter in their endeavours against the evil White Witch.
Theatre goers are then invited on an underwater adventure with Northern Ballet, as the ensemble unveil the third of their unprecedented premieres in a calendar year – The Little Mermaid – at Leeds Grand Theatre; where it will make its home between the 5th and 17th of December. For the production, Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale classic will be revamped with contemporary touches; as you join the little mermaid on her quest to find a human soul and a life beyond the ocean, after falling in love with the handsome prince. The dramatic dancing and heartfelt narrative from Northern Ballet’s latest world premiere will also, of course, be accompanied by a scintillating score, courtesy of the troupe’s sinfonia, making this spectacle a seasonal theatre must.
Christmas Shopping in Leeds
Delightfully diverse, Leeds has it all; spanning the quirky independent boutiques in the listed Leeds Corn Exchange and Grand Arcade, to the luxury labels like Harvey Nichols, Mulberry, and Michael Kors which reside in Victoria Leeds. Arguably the star of the show is the retail haven that awaits under the iconic glass roof of Trinity Leeds; where over 120 high street favourites, bars and restaurants fill the three floors. Kirkgate too houses something of a shopping sanctuary under Europe’s largest covered market; though most will be more thrilled by the winter arrival of Leeds’ cherished Christmas Markets.
In true Christkindlmarkt fashion, Yorkshire’s take on the longstanding Austrian tradition brings all of the expected mulled wine, gingerbread, and frankfurters to Leeds’ Millennium Square, between the 10th November and 17th December. Festive food is also accompanied by over 40 charming chalet stalls; where traditional tin toys, scented candles, and decorative trinkets are but a scratch on the surface of the beautiful handcrafted goods that await. Children in particular will be overjoyed by the various shows and stalls that appeal to the market’s younger visitors; which are too joined by a certain Santa Claus every Sunday morning. While adults may now be too old to sit on Santa’s knee (you are welcome to try) they can instead seek solace in the Christkindlmarkt’s many bars – some of which boast roaring log fires.
Evenings of Entertainment
Whether you wish to embark on a festive pubcrawl, or would rather welcome a quiet one in comfortable confines; Leeds is home to a tapestry of taverns which are perfect for all occasions – our favourites of which are listed below.
First up is Crowd of Favours (situated a mere 3 minute stumble from 42 The Calls) – where an eclectic selection of beers and a cultured wine list aren’t all that’s on the menu. Accompanying them are homely interiors, shabby chic furniture, and an ever changing wall installation which is entrusted to local artists. On the actual menu, though small in size, its contents are undoubtedly sumptuous; where hearty homemade food can be enjoyed in the venues numbering nooks. Another quirk is The Crowds playing of classic films and its housing of retro games consoles; though while a perfect place to enjoy a peaceful pint, weekend DJs and the monthly hosting of live music never waver in their crowd enticing capabilities.
Next on the agenda is Leeds’ oldest and most precious boozer – Whitelock’s – located just 8 minutes from 42 The Calls in the historic Turk’s Head Yard. But, besides the pubs illustrious past – which dates back to 1715; Whitelock’s biggest draw is undoubtedly its extensive menu of locally sourced food, and even more so it’s amazing assortment of beers. Such is the prestige of their ales, the aged inn has featured in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide 34 out of the 40 years it has been published! What’s more, a plush menu, great beer, and historical intrigue are also accompanied by characterful interiors – perfectly embodied in the venues’ housing of a real log fire.
We could quite easily waffle on for hours about Leeds’ plethora of cosy pubs (Baht’ap gets a quick honourable mention) but time is of the essence. Instead we will enlighten you as to some of the more raucous evenings of live music taking place at Leeds’ First Direct Arena; beginning with the very raucous Royal Blood, and the not so raucous Steps. Following H and the gang it’s all the K’s, with The Killers and The Kooks; before Queen, accompanied by Adam Lambert, prepare to rock you. As Christmas nears, music virtuoso Jools Holland will be joined on stage by an excessive entourage of guests; and after Christmas, the one and only Paul Weller arrives in Leeds to conclude the exceptional winter lineup of live music.
Festive Fun for the Whole Family
While Christmas is in part about spoiling one another, getting drunk, and generally indulging until your stomach can take no more, it is of course mainly about family; and Leeds is home to no end of events which will excite young and old alike!
One such happening is the Christmas Adventure, which will reside at Stockfield Park between the 3rd November and 9th January. Here, kids can enjoy no end of entertainment in illuminated amenities like the Enchanted Forest, extensive outdoor ice rink, Nordic Skiing along a woodland trail, and a beautifully appointed Santa’s Grotto housed within a charming log cabin. Adults too can amuse themselves while children play with a spot of shopping in Stockfield Park’s Christmas store, where decorations, festive fancies, and sumptuous seasonal treats abound.
Another illuminated spectacle which is ensured to ignite festive feelings, is the Magical Lantern Festival at Roundhay Park. Here, you are invited to follow the trail, where you can discover over 30 intricate displays made with over 40,000 lightbulbs in a beautifully crafted fusion of art, heritage and culture. In keeping with Christmas tradition, the Magical Lantern Festival will also house its own Santa’s Grotto, although this time log cabins give way to a tipi!