The nights are drawing in and the excitement of Christmas is just around the corner. So, what do Leeds folk do with themselves throughout November when they’re not Christmas shopping? Well, it turns out there’s plenty to see and do in Leeds all through the month, whether you’re into sports, beer, shopping, film, or theatre — there’s something for everyone. Take a look at our suggestions below and fill your diary with fun festivals and events.
Leeds is well-known for its wealth of exciting annual festivals, and November is host to three such events, celebrating film, science and beer.
Leeds International Film Festival
One of the largest movie events in the UK, Leeds International Film Festival showcases a wide selection of new and classic films from around the world. Audiences can enjoy a movie in a variety of popular Leeds venues, including Leeds Town Hall and The Hyde Park Picture House.
Otley Science Festival Week
Great for families with a passion for learning about the world around them, Otley Science Festival Week is packed with school events, special evening events, and sessions for pre-school children. Learn about fireworks, invisible worlds, and much more!
Otley Beer Festival
Friday 23rd & Saturday 24th November
This beer festival has come on leaps and bounds since its 1997 debut, gaining new fans each year. Sample a wide range of specially selected beers while supporting your local community.
If you enjoy shopping for homemade, unique gifts and fresh food, then you won’t go far wrong with these two Leeds markets — both sell food and also handcrafted items you can give away or keep for yourself.
Christkindelmarkt: the German Christmas market
Friday 9th November-22nd December
It’s back! Millennium Square will once again be transformed into a traditional festive village complete with wooden chalet stalls, twinkling lights, family entertainment, and deliciously authentic German food and drink.
Kirkstall Abbey Markets
Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th November
Peruse over 40 stalls at this deli market set within the beautiful cloisters of Kirkstall Abbey. Enjoy yummy Yorkshire-made treats, freshly cooked snacks, and handmade crafts.
If you like to keep fit, why not stay in shape by preparing for and taking part in a Leeds sports event, such as a 5 or 10k? You can do your bit for charity at the same time!
The Age UK Leeds Abbey Dash
This popular 10k race is a flat course that takes in Kirkstall Abbey en route and finishes outside Leeds Town Hall. Ideal for new runners and also the perfect opportunity for those more seasoned runners looking to smash their personal bests. 2018 will mark the Abbey Dash’s 33rd year!
Leeds 5k & 10k MoRun
With the aim of raising awareness and money for men’s health, the MoRun is partnered with the Movember Foundation. Run 5 or 10k this autumn in fancy dress, donning a real or fake moustache with pride.
If you enjoy live stage action, you need to head down to one of Leeds’s theatres in November and check out one of the exciting plays, pantomimes or musicals on offer.
- Motown — the Musical @ Leeds Grand Theatre: Tuesday 6th-Saturday 17th November.
- Jersey Boys @ Leeds Grand Theatre: Tuesday 20th November-Saturday 1st December.
- Beauty and the Beast pantomime @ The Carriageworks: Friday 23rd November-Monday 31st December.
If you’re looking for an outdoor event involving fun and fireworks, then November is certainly your month! Wrap up warm and look up to the sky.
There’s a huge selection of bonfires and firework displays across the city this Bonfire Night. The council runs six bonfire events which are absolutely free to attend, including the largest in the city: Roundhay Park bonfire. These are all taking place on Monday 5th November. There will also be plenty of other independent bonfires taking place over the entire weekend.
Leeds Christmas lights switch-on
Thursday 8th November, Victoria Gardens
Get in the festive spirit with live music, a firework display and more as the city centre Christmas lights are switched on for the 2018 season.