Your tree is up, the high streets are full of crazed shoppers, and you can’t move for cinnamon spiced drinks and snacks – Christmas is well and truly in the air, but what if you’re not feeling quite in the spirit of it all yet? Well, fear not, because we have rounded up the very best sights, sounds and seasonal treats that are sure to have you singing Mariah in your Christmas Jumper in no time.
So get cosy, get your calendar out and start planning – here’s our guide to getting festive in Leicester!
See & Do
The city’s main tree is located at the iconic Clock Tower in the centre of town. From there, you can take a walk around to Town Hall Square for more festive lights, Christmas tableau and nativity scene, or head down to Orton Square to view the Rhizome light installation.
A brand-new, free activity this year is the Interactive Adventure Augmented Reality trail. Great for children (and big kids!), download a free app and unlock Pokémon-Go-style games as you walk around the city. From entering a winter wonderland with penguins and polar bears to collecting reindeer dust to help Santa fly through the sky, this will brighten up any shopping trip in Leicester. Best of all, the games can be played at home, too!
The covered real ice rink at Jubilee Square is back, providing a great activity for all weathers, and Santa’s grotto surrounded by twinkling trees can be found in Green Dragon Square – free for children to visit.
If you’re looking for magical Christmas experiences, venture out to Whatton House for A Winter’s Trail – a Dickensian themed immersive and enchanting festive light walk experience around the beautiful grounds, or head over to Belvoir Castle and experience the magic of a colourful Regency Christmas – enjoy the exquisitely styled state rooms of the Castle, each adorned with trees, lights, and dramatic festive displays, and complete your visit with a walk through the Enlightened Belvoir Light Trail.
If you’re looking for some glitz and glamour, book in to see A Chorus Line at Curve theatre, or treat yourself to a festive pantomime – Loughborough Town Hall has lived up to it’s award-winning name with another 5 star show in Aladdin, or head over to De Montfort Hall for their take on another classic panto, Sleeping Beauty.
Eat & Drink
Rest those feet after Christmas shopping in one of the city’s best loved cosy corners, St Martins Coffee Shop, and whilst you’re there you can’t miss the St Martins Grand Hot Chocolate. Blendsmiths hot chocolate, caramel syrup, whipped cream, Biscoff sprinkles and chocolate flakes – order now, thank us later. If you’re feeling extra festive, ask for a shot of your favourite liqueur (top tip: Baileys is always the answer).
If you’re after something a little stronger, Bodega Cantina is the place to go. Their cocktails are always delicious but they’ve pulled out all the stops this year with some festive specials. We can’t look beyond the Tijuana Christmas Pornstar – a twist on the classic we all love – featuring 1800 silver tequila, passionfruit liqueur, pumpkin-spiced syrup, vanilla, lime and pineapple juice. Two for me please – they’re included in the 2 for £10 Happy Hour, don’t you know!
Before all those drinks you need to fill your belly. If you’re out and about, the festive turkey sandwich from Hollys Coffee Shop is a must. This isn’t any old sandwich, with thick sliced turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and a pig in blanket as a garnish. It’s too good to share.
If you’re veggie, vegan or reducing your meat intake, head over to Prana Café for their wonderful turkey style dinner – with meat free roast slices, roasted baby potatoes and seasonal vegetables topped off with delicious gravy. Don’t miss their spectacular Christmas cakes whilst you’re there!
In the evening you’ll be spoilt for choice, but if you’re looking for something a little different (because, let’s face it, there’s only so many turkey dinners you can stomach) why not pay Sonrisa a visit to experience seasonal festivities, Buenos Aires-style? The Argentinian restaurant has made some of their most popular dishes larger for their Christmas menu – so parties of 8 or more can enjoy a starter, main and desert along with some extras to share. Feliz Navidad!