It's officially Christmas with Visit Leicester's winter round-up
Ice skating, Cinderella themed magic, and even a visit from Charles Dickens' actual Grandson!
Leicestershire is in store for many treats throughout November, December and January.
Visit Leicester has produced a round-up of some of the many special experiences and events around Leicestershire this Christmas.
Whatton House in Loughborough is a stately home set within 15 acres of beautiful English countryside. This year, the venue is celebrating Christmas with A Yuletide Tale, a 30-minute interactive experience, with plenty of festive fun and fayre on offer for families. Visitors will be taken on a journey through myth and mystery to unearth the origins of Midwinter Magic. Along the way, they will meet the mischievous Lord of Misrule as he ventures through time to reveal The Holly King, the first St Nicholas, Krampus and more.
Enter the world of Charles Dickens with A Christmas Carol with Gerald Dickens who will perform 26 different characters. Gerald, the grandson of Charles Dickens, will bring to life the much-loved tale of Ebenezer Scrooge. The performance will take place in the beautiful and historic Leicester Guildhall, complete with a real fire, mulled wine and mince pies which can be purchased – the perfect way to get into the festive spirit. This is a truly unique experience that is not to be missed.
You can perfect your pirouette at the ice rink in Jubilee Square from December 1 to January 2, 2023. Due to popular demand, opening hours have been extended with the addition of a new later session at 9pm. Make your Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day extra special as the rink will be open on these days too.
Christmas Light Switch On
This year’s Christmas Lights Switch On celebration will take place on Thursday, November 17, from 5-8pm. Various activities will take place at key locations around the city centre. A countdown will be played out on speakers at 6.30pm which will announce the switching on of Leicester’s Christmas lights.
The Wheel of Light will return to Jubilee Square from November 11 until January 2, 2023. The observation wheel has a total of 24 covered gondolas and each one can seat six people. One of the gondolas offers wheelchair access and assistance will be provided for anyone who wishes to ride it. Each ride lasts approximately eight to 10 minutes where you will ascend to a dizzying height of 110 feet! The wheel offers unparalleled views around Jubilee Square and beyond and you can even catch a sneak peek at all the skaters twirling around in Jubilee Square’s ice rink.
Christmas would not be complete without a church service celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Leicester Cathedral has a host of carol services and concerts planned in partnership with churches in Leicester, Coalville and Derby, due to the restoration work that is taking place at the Cathedral. The complete list of Cathedral Carol services and concerts can be found in the Cathedral’s seasonal booklet which is available here.
At the Great Central Railway in Loughborough, Santa has swapped his sleigh for a fun-filled ride on the award winning Santa Specials, a series of train rides with Santa, who will leave you an exciting present and you can have a chat with the man himself! This year will see the return of the Winter Wonderlights trains, which thanks to Penguin Random House, have been inspired by Tom Fletcher’s The Christmasaurus!©. See Charnwood’s picturesque countryside shine brightly with a myriad of lights all sequenced to the music of The Christmasaurus! Look out for some special guests on the train and join in a sing-along at Rothley Station. Visitors can also buy the book with their tickets at a special discounted price.
Santa in the Square
A new Christmas grotto will be built in Town Hall Square ready for Santa’s annual visit to the city. The Santa in The Square event is free to visit and will run from Saturday, December 3 until Friday, December 23. The traditional nativity scene will also return to Town Hall Square in time for the big switch on.
Belvoir Castle festivities
Step into the magic of Cinderella at Belvoir Castle from November 18 to January 1, 2023. When the clock strikes twelve on November 18, Belvoir Castle will be transformed into a breathtaking Cinderella-themed scene, which will be brought to life by award-winning interior designer, Charlotte Lloyd-Webber of CLW Event Design. Visitors can wander through the lavishly decorated spaces and admire the exquisite gardens adorned with twinkling lights that will line the route to the Engine Yard for shopping, Christmas-themed food and more. There is even a glass slipper to find, so do not be late! The little ones can look forward to Father Christmas at the Castle where the famous Belvoir elves will guide them to Santa’s grotto, while Mrs Claus will be on hand to read a Christmas tale.
Twinlakes, the family theme park in Melton Mowbray, is set to host Winter Wonderland. Packed with gingerbread decorating workshops, along with meet and greet sessions, competitions and character events, families can step inside the grotto to experience the fairy tale forest and ride the Christmas Train through thousands of festive lights and sights. After this, you will be greeted by Santa’s elves who will introduce you to the main man himself! Each paying child with a grotto ticket will receive a free gift from Father Christmas’ gift shop.
Families can enjoy a great day out at Conkers’ Winter Wonderland near Ashby-de-la-Zouch. The elf adventure will run on November 26 and 27 and on selected dates in December up until Christmas Eve. Upon arrival, each adult will receive mulled wine with a special treat, while children will be given a delicious treat during the Winter Wonderland Walk. Santa’s Chief Elf and his team will send you through the Waterside Enchanted Forest and the Valley of Christmas Lights to discover Santa’s Woodland Grotto. The Winter Wonderland adventure will begin at the amphitheatre where you will be met by your elf for access to Barny Owl for storytelling, whilst the Singing Reindeer trio will be back by popular demand, along with the Snowman Band for all time slots again this year.
Hotel stays in Leicester
For those looking to extend their visit and book an overnight stay, there are many offers available at high quality city centre and county accommodation including Vale House on the Belvoir Estate, The Gresham Aparthotel, Novotel, Belmont Hotel, Kilworth House and Mercure Leicester The Grand Hotel.