Christmas in Leicester is nearly here and we can’t wait to welcome you for a whole host of festive excitement and activities. From the real ice rink to the Wheel of Light and the Enlightened Leicester trail to the traditional free Santa’s Grotto, there’s so much festive magic to discover.

A Spectacular Switch-on

It all starts with the big lights switch on which takes place on Wednesday 22 November. Leicester lights up with the illumination of the 50ft tree and 16,000 sparkling LED lights around the city. The fun begins at the Haymarket at 5pm, where a DJ on the balcony will soundtrack the start of the celebrations, with the light switch-on at 6.30pm! A parade of LED drummers will lead crowds around the city for special moments at St Martin’s and the Highcross, as Leicester lights up for Christmas. Shops will open late for the evening, with park and ride buses extended until 9pm at all 3 sites. In addition, the HOP! free bus will also operate until 9pm.

The real ice rink returns

Come and glide round the ice in Leicester as the Real Ice Rink sponsored by GEM Radio returns from 7 December as the centrepiece of our Christmas celebrations. The ever-popular rink is the best value ice skating experience in the region, with tickets starting from just £5, and will delight young and old as you glide around the covered ice with friends and family.

Open throughout the Christmas period, including Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day, there’s a whole month of skating to perfect your moves and refresh yourself at the Alpine Tavern inside the rink.

Book your tickets now and beat the rush!

More Christmas fun

Next to the ice rink and open from the 17 November is the 110ft Wheel of Light, offering you amazing views across Leicester city centre, with tickets only £7, or £20 for a family ticket.

In Town Hall Square come and see Santa Claus in his magical Grotto from Saturday 2 December through to the 23 December. Make your magical Christmas moment for the kids as they meet Santa and his elf and get a special gift, all for free! Also in Town Hall Square is the traditional Nativity Scene, which is brought to life with lights and music and a recording of children telling the nativity story.

In Gallowtree Gate enjoy all the fun of the Christmas fair as Billy Bates bring bright lights and thrilling rides to the city centre. Explore the lights and then delight in the whoops and screams of people enjoying the rides.

Take the Enlightened Leicester trail

Running from 16 November to 24 December, explore Abbey Park in a new way as an enchanting outdoor light trail comes to the gorgeous parkland surroundings. The illuminations and installations make this a magical Christmas moment as you take in the sights and sounds of this interactive trail.

You can book your tickets here

Experience Emergence

Right at the bottom of New Walk in the Circle experience Emergence, an immersive audio-visual experience presented by BID Leicester and created by This is Loop. With 75 large mirrors, an otherworldly soundtrack and three accessible entrances, this spectacular structure gives you the chance to see and experience a familiar place in new ways from 13-23 December.

It’s Showtime

From the traditional De Montfort Hall panto Jack and the Beanstalk starring BBC Radio’s Scott Mills to Evita and The Owl Who Came for Christmas at Curve, there are loads of festival productions and showings at Leicester’s theatres and cinemas.

All this and much more can be found on the Christmas In Leicester website. Check out more Magical Moments at




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