Christmas in Leeds 2023
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The best things to do in Leeds this Christmas season

The most wonderful time of the year is upon us with tonnes of festive activities taking over the city of Leeds. 

Situated in the city centre, Dakota Leeds is in the prime location for some seasonal exploring, so if you’re on the search for some fun-filled family days out or a romantic festive evening for two – we’ve hand-selected ten of the best winter activities for you to enjoy in Leeds this year. 

Make your trip extra special with our new exclusive festive specials – retreat to a luxurious haven and treat yourself to some well-deserved rest and relaxation with Dakota Leeds. Enjoy special rates on short breaks, overnight stays, and festive dining experiences, designed to make your holiday adventures a touch more magical.


1) Visit Leeds Christmas Markets 2023  

After being postponed previous years due to Covid implications Leeds have announced the return of their Christmas markets, and this year promises to be even bigger and better than it was before, with all new Bavarian-style markets taking over. The new and exciting holiday experience will transform the whole city into a festive wonderland with 120 stalls across 13 locations; making the most of the newly pedestrianised areas across the city. The Christmas markets are the perfect place to stock up on some truly unique, handmade gifts that they’re sure to treasure. While you’re perusing the craft stalls, you’ll find an endless supply of seasonal food offerings from around the world and spiced warm drinks to keep you both warm and satisfied. Dakota Leeds is the ideal base for a trip to the Christmas Markets – book an overnight stay in one of our luxurious rooms and make the most of everything the markets have to offer. 

2) Indulge on a traditional Sunday Roast 

There’s arguably no better way to enjoy the Autumn and Winter seasons than with a traditional Sunday roast. Retreat from the brisk weather and make your way to the warm and inviting Dakota Grill in Leeds for a succulent Sunday roast, prepared with the highest quality local produce. Our Sunday Lunch menu is designed to suit all tastebuds with tender roast beef, sumptuous chicken, roast pork, and nut roast to choose from – or if you fancy something a little extra special, indulge on the chateaubriand for two. Served with all the trimmings you would expect from a traditional roast but with our special Dakota twist. Tantalise your tastebuds and make a reservation in the Grill to enjoy one of the best Sunday roasts in Leeds. 

3) Celebrate NYE in style 

Leeds is known for its extravagant nightlife and buzzing atmosphere and New Year’s Eve is certainly no exception with events taking place across the whole city. Situated on the lively Greek Street, there is no better place to start your night than in the Dakota Bar – gather your friends and enjoy the flowing drinks and sounds of merriment before you head off into the night to enjoy the New Year’s events across the city. Elevate your experience with our New Year’s Eve special; created with you in mind – enjoy an overnight stay for two in one of our luxury rooms, a generous dinner allocation for the Dakota Grill, and a fully-cooked breakfast to leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated the following morning. Start 2024 off in style and book your New Year’s Eve stay at Dakota Leeds. 

 4) Enjoy a fun-filled day at Ice Cube Skating  

Strap on your skates and take to the ice with Ice Cube Skating on Millenium Square – open from the 24th of November. The perfect winter activity to enjoy as a couple or with the family, create memories as you glide around the rink and embrace the festive spirit. When it’s time to hang up your skates for the day, seek refuge from the weather at the Dakota Bar – just a short 6-minute walk away. Dine on festive indulgences with our brand-new bar menu and enjoy light bites and seasonal snacks as you reminisce on a day of festive fun on the ice. Make your reservation with Dakota Leeds and get the festivities started.

5) Discover cinematic delights at Leeds International Film Festival 

Leeds is once again opening its doors to the Leeds Film Festival, celebrating its 37th year running. From the 9th of November to the 19th of November film fanatics can revel in the cinematic odyssey that’s taking over the city. Embracing a diverse array of local and international filmmaking talents, this year’s festival will grace prominent venues such as the recently renovated Hyde Park Picture House and the Howard Assembly Room, among others. Expect an exhilarating showcase of compelling narratives and visionary creations from both Leeds’ vibrant filmmaking community and acclaimed artists worldwide. Considering an extended stay? Look no further than Dakota Leeds as your ultimate base. Exuding an old Hollywood allure and timeless elegance, there’s no better place to unwind during the film festival. Secure your reservation with us today. 

6) Celebrate date night with Candlelight concerts 

Candlelight concerts have rapidly become sought-after date night experiences in Leeds, leaving attendees spellbound and captivated by the moving melodies. Situated in iconic buildings across Leeds, candlelight concerts transform your surroundings into a truly magical atmosphere with the flickering light of thousands of candles accompanied by a sweet symphony of strings. Elevate your date night experience with our Dakota Date Night special and pave the way for a truly memorable stay. Enjoy an overnight escape in one of our luxurious rooms, dine in the Dakota Grill with a £30 dinner allocation each, and rest and relax in the morning with a fully cooked breakfast and a complimentary late checkout. Book your Dakota Date Night experience today. 

7) Shop ‘til you drop at Victoria Leeds 

Christmas is the perfect excuse for shopping – and Leeds has everything you could need. So, get your Christmas lists ready as you prepare to embark on a shopper’s paradise, starting at Victora Leeds, home to hundreds of high-street and designer shops. Don’t forget to treat yourself this season too; our luxury shopping experience in partnership with Harvey Nichols serves as the perfect gift to yourself to relax and indulge. Enjoy an overnight stay, half a bottle of champagne, an exclusive Harvey Nichols gift bag, a £100 Harvey Nichols gift card with a personalised shopping experience and a welcome glass of champagne included on arrival, and a fully cooked breakfast the following morning. Add a little indulgence to your holiday plans and treat yourself to our  Luxury in Leeds – Bed & Breakfast special. 

8) Be entertained with Christmas Theatre shows  

Leeds is home to a plethora of entertainment venues hosting live music, theatrical performances, and seasonal pantomimes for you to enjoy. Visit the First Direct Arena and witness Home Alone in Concert for the ultimate Christmas throwback. Experience luxury at Leeds Grand Theatre for a spectacular live performance of The Nutcracker. Start a family tradition and take a trip to the City Varieties Music Hall to see Robin Hood: The Rock ‘n’ Roll pantomime. With hundreds of shows taking place across the city this Winter, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Extend your festive visit and stay for the evening with our  ‘Tis The Season special – enjoy an overnight stay for two in one of our luxurious rooms, a £30 dinner allocation each to redeem in the renowned Dakota Grill, and a fully cooked breakfast in the morning to keep you feeling energised and refreshed.  

9) Reach new heights on the Leeds Wheel of Light  

If you’re looking for the best views in the city and fancy a more thrilling experience this holiday season – the Leeds Wheel of Light is making a return to Victoria Gardens again this year. Take in the magic of the Christmas Markets and the beauty of the festive shop displays from above, as you take a spin on the 110ft wheel and admire the enchanting lights from the streets down below. Cheers to the end of the perfect festive evening with spiced cocktails and warming drinks on the snug Dakota Terrace, just a short walk from the Gardens, we’re the ideal place to stop, reset, and relax as you wind down for the evening. Treat your tastebuds to some festive cocktails and make your reservation for the Dakota Terrace. 

10) Experience the magic as you meet Santa Claus himself  

Make it a Christmas to remember for the little ones in your life this year as you meet Father Christmas himself. Santa is making multiple appearances across the city this year, and these two have got our vote as the best. Visit the festive Grotto at White Rose for a truly unique experience as Santa’s Grotto is located in a beautiful vintage train carriage, on its way to the North Pole. Fancy a spot of tea with the big man himself? Head to the Santa Clause Experience at the Mansion and you could do just that. Join Father Christmas in his secret Yorkshire HQ, enjoy a seasonal afternoon tea experience, and get a Christmas gift before you leave. If you want to put a smile on their face this holiday season and give them magical memories to last a lifetime, a trip to visit Santa is a must. 

Simply looking to find an escape? 

We understand that the festive period might feel like a lot for a few, so if all you need is a tranquil spot to unwind and de-stress, we can provide just that. With our luxury facilities and exceptional service, we assure you that you won’t need to step out of the hotel unless you choose to. Secure your staycation at Dakota Leeds and let us pamper you in your home away from home.