Celebrate Christmas in style in Leicester this year, with a whole cracker full of amazing experiences from the real ice rink through to unique performances.


Christmas in Leicester

This year, Christmas in Leicester starts with the grand Lights Switch-On. On the evening of Thursday 17 November, the city will come together to celebrate from 5-8pm. Green Dragon Square will be playing three Wallace and Gromit short films to build up to the switch-on, before a countdown played over speakers around the city at 6.30pm will signal the switch on. You’ll then you’ll be able to explore and enjoy the displays, made up of more than 40,000 LED lights and marvel at the 46ft Christmas Tree by the Clock Tower, and maybe treat yourself to a mulled wine while the kids enjoy the Billy Bates Fun Fair on Gallowtree Gate.


A cool Christmas in Jubilee Square

We’re also delighted to welcome back the Jubilee Square Ice Rink from 1 December to 2 January 2023. Due to popular demand we’ve introduced special late skate sessions at 9pm, and the rink will be open on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and Christmas Day! We’ve got super off-peak tickets on sale for just £5 per person alongside special SEN sessions, school group times and chances to skate alongside local sporting mascot Welford the Tiger.

Whatever your level of skill then you’re welcome right through to the New Year, and there’s no need to worry about the weather… come rain, shine or snow (we can all hope), you can glide gracefully under the twinkling lights before heading outside to take a ride on the Wheel of Light!

The 110ft Wheel of Light will be arriving in Jubilee Square on the 11 November and you’ll be able to take a ride on one of its 24 covered gondolas from then until 2 January. The wheel offers amazing views around Jubilee Square and beyond as the city lights up for Christmas.


Santa and much more in Town Hall Square

This year, Santa is on the move! After his appearances in Green Dragon Square the past few years, a new Christmas grotto is being built in Town Hall Square ready for his annual visit to the city. Santa will be letting the kiddies know if they’re on the nice list and handing out pressies (all for free) from Saturday 3 December until Friday 23 December.

Santa will be joined in Town Hall Square by the traditional nativity scene with the Christmas story narrated by local school children. Don’t miss out on the chance to drop off a letter to Santa in one of the four GEM FM talking postboxes. If you’re lucky enough to have your letter read out on the GEM breakfast show you’ll win a fabulous festive prize.


It’s Showtime!

Christmas is always the best time to hit the theatre and this year you can follow the yellow brick road all the way to The Curve, where this year’s made at Curve festive show is The Wizard of Oz. It’s time to shout “he’s behind you!” as De Montfort Hall hosts Cinderella with Strictly Come Dancing star AJ Pritchard as Prince Charming and CBeebies’ Evie Pickerill as Cinders. And over at the Little Theatre, Aladdin and the evil Jafar will get you booing and hissing.

The atmospheric beams and roaring fire of the Guildhall’s Great Hall is the perfect place to get into the Christmas spirit, and you can enter the world of Charles Dickens as his great great grandson Charles performs the festive classic A Christmas Carol.

The Guildhall will also be hosting a concert of traditional carols from the Kingfisher Chorale, 600 years of Christmas music from Green & Matthews Gaudette, chilling ghost stories from MR James plus a day of festive films including the classic It’s a Wonderful Life and The Muppet’s Christmas Carol! You can also get the perfect Christmas gift at the Guildhall Christmas Craft Fair on 3 & 4 December.


What else is going on?

Every Sunday from 20 November – 18 December the Highcross Shopping Centre will be bringing the flamboyance as they host Ballroom Live! Do you know your samba from your rumba? Well these dancers do! You can catch some of the UK’s best as they show off their show-stopping moves in St Peter’s Square!

On Saturday 3 December, Santa will be visiting the Haymarket Shopping Centre, and hundreds of shoppers will get an early present as part of their Seasonal Surprises Christmas celebrations. Staff will be giving out free gifts, ranging from chocolates to store vouchers. Mr Scrooge and Mr Scratchit will bring their carol singing carriage and fabulous vintage singer Jayne Darling will sing retro Christmas songs. There will be lots of hugs from a pair of cuddly Brussel Sprouts who will be joined by glamourous Candy Cane stilt walkers.

In the evenings Green Dragon Square will be transformed into a vibrant kaleidoscope of colour. A spectacular moving 3D projection will light up the square from 4.30-10.30pm every day. This impressive, large-scale artwork is presented by BID Leicester and created by Metro Boulot Dodo.


Worship in the city

Christmas wouldn’t be complete without church services celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. While Leicester Cathedral is still undergoing renovations, they’re branching out to other city churches including St Mary de Castro and St Nicholas Church, with a host of carol services and concerts, including the Midnight Mass and Christmas Day service. The full list of Cathedral Carol services and concerts is available on the Christmas in Leicester site.

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