Your guide to what's on over Christmas in Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland
Temperatures are dropping, the woolly scarves are coming out and mince pies are lining supermarket shelves: Christmas is just around the corner.
In the coming weeks Leicestershire will get well and truly into the festive spirit, with a calendar jam-packed with events - from Christmas workshops to Christmas Tree Festivals.
Whether you’re looking for festive family fun, ways to celebrate the Christmas countdown with friends or just somewhere to do your shopping in style, Leicestershire’s got it covered.
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If A Christmas Carol is your favourite festive tale, this event is not be missed.
Throughout November Rockingham Castle will be decked in magical Victorian fanfare. You’ll be transported to Christmas Eve 1849, and taken on a guided tour past roaring fires, the Great Hall laid out for Christmas dinner, and presents arranged under a towering Christmas tree.
Round off your trip with lunch, tea or supper in the castle restaurant, or just pop in for a hot drink and a mince pie.
Victorian Christmas at the Castle will take place from November 19 to 23.
Adult tickets are £7; children (5-16yrs) £2.50; under-5s go free.
To find out more and book online go to: www.rockinghamcastle.com
Christmas Lights Switch On
Nothing says ‘Christmas’ quite like the warm glow of lights, so the festive switch ons are not to be missed.
Leicester: Usher in the festive spirit with a bang on November 18, with a fun-filled day of stage entertainment, shopping and a nativity scene.
The big switch-on in Town Hall Square will start at 4pm. Find out more here: www.leicester.gov.uk
Hinckley: On November 23 the switch on will be followed by a magical firework display over St Mary's Church.
You’ll also be able to do some Christmas shopping, as stores will be open late and there’ll be a variety of market stalls to peruse.
And keeping the kids entertained is no problem – Santa will be in his grotto with his reindeer, and there’ll be live entertainment.
The day kicks off at 4pm.
Loughborough: The Mayor of Charnwood, Councillor Diane Wise, will turn on Loughborough's Christmas lights on November 25.
Before the switch on there’ll be music and entertainment, Santa’s grotto will be open and popular TV characters The Octonauts will make an appearance.
The little ones can enjoy a free workshop, and mums and dads can browse a charity market.
To find out more go to: www.goleicestershire.com
Melton Mowbray: The streets of Melton Mowbray will shine bright on November 30. Make a day of it by watching performances from local schools, choirs and bands throughout the day, and paying a visit to Santa in his grotto.
Browse a Christmas market, enjoy street entertainment and late night shopping, and marvel at a firework spectacular.
Find out more here: www.goleicestershire.com
Christmas Tree Festival at St Mary's Church
The Christmas tree is the ultimate symbol of festive cheer, so what better way to get into the swing of the holidays than by heading to a Christmas Tree Festival?
The largest of its kind in the country, this is a festival like no other. Marvel at row upon row of trees beautifully decorated by local organisations - large and small, funny and serious, here you’ll find trees to both charm and amuse you.
And with more than 220 organisations taking part, it is hoped this year will trump last year’s record of 457 trees.
There’ll be festive refreshments on offer, and the event coincides with Melton Mowbray's Victorian Christmas Fayre www.victorian-fayre.co.uk so it’s the ideal place to spend a wintery day.
Find out more here: www.melton.leicester.anglican.org
Christmas at The Tudor Manor
If Christmasses of yesteryear fascinate and excite you, Tudor Christmas at Donington le Heath Manor House is the event for you.
In a rolling medieval building you’ll enjoy Tudor decorations, music, carols and crafts.
The event is free to attend, with a small charge for crafts.
Find out more here: www.leics.gov.uk
Winter Food & Craft Festival
Christmas is the perfect time to show your loved ones you care, and what better way than with a unique gift they can treasure?
At the Winter Food & Craft Festival in Leicester, there’s no shortage of inspiration. Boasting a huge number of stalls selling hot and cold food and one-of-a-kind gifts, you’re sure to find the perfect present.
You can also pick up some Christmas cooking tips from professional chefs, who’ll be on site hosting demonstrations.
To find out more about the festival, will takes place on November 18, click here: www.leicestermarket.co.uk
A Christmas Carol at Curve
For guaranteed festive family fun, snap up tickets to see A Christmas Carol.
The classic Christmas tale by legendary author Dickens, this is sure to get you into the swing of the holidays.
The show runs from December 6 to 8, with both matinee and evening performances. Tickets are £12. See www.curveonline.co.uk for more details.
Christmas Winter Wonderland at Conkers
Sitting on Santa’s lap is the highlight of Christmas for the little ones, but why not make it extra special this year by meeting him in a snowy wonderland?
Throughout December Conkers will be transformed into a winter paradise. Upon arrival you’ll be greeted by Santa’s chief Elf, who’ll lead you through the enchanted forest and Christmas lights to his woodland grotto.
You’ll then meet his reindeer and the Balloon Modeller, and enjoy street entertainment. Snow machines guarantee a white Christmas, and festive culinary delights such as roasted chestnuts and mulled wine are sure to delight mum and dad.
Adult tickets are £8.95 (including a mulled wine & mince pie); child tickets £8.95 (includes a personal present from Santa Clause) and family tickets (2 adults and two children) £29.95.
For more details visit: www.visitconkers.com
Did the Victorians Invent Christmas?
Trace the root of Christmas customs with Virginia Wright while enjoying festive refreshments at Newarke Houses Museum & Gardens on December 2.
Tickets are £3 and booking is essential – call 0116 225 4980.
Christmas Toys and Steam Day
Marvel at the toys from Christmas past, climb aboard a steam train and listen to a live band play the Christmas songs you know and love at the Christmas Toys and Steam Day.
You can round off the day, held at Abbey Pumping Station, with a cup of tea and a slice of cake at LMTA’s café.
Family tickets are £8.00; Adults £3.50; Children/Concessions £2.50.
Ensure your guests feel festive the moment they arrive at your door by making a beautiful wreath.
On November 28, in a workshop at The Guildhall, you’ll be shown how to make a traditional wreath while enjoying mulled wine and mince pies.
The session runs from 7pm to 9.30pm, and tickets are £20. All materials are included and no experience is necessary.
Pre-booking is recommended – call 0116 253 2569.
To find out about other Christmas craft workshops in Leicester, click here.
Christmas Eve Market at Melton Mowbray
If you’re known to leave your shopping to the last minute, this market is a true Christmas miracle!
Held on Christmas Eve, it boasts a wide range of food, gifts and stocking fillers. You can enjoy live street entertainment and music, and even get your gifts wrapped.
Find out more here www.goleicestershire.com