Leicester is a city steeped in history and rich in cultural offerings, from its iconic King Richard III Visitor Centre to the vibrant Leicester Market.
Christmas in the city is no exception, featuring a mix of attractions like ice skating, the Ferris wheel and even a free Santa’s Grotto in Town Hall Square.
In this guide, I share all the details you’ll need for planning your visit to the Leicester Christmas Market, including event dates, opening hours and things to do.
Christmas in Leicester is marked by a variety of family-friendly activities and illuminations throughout the city.
Residents and visitors alike can enjoy skating opportunities, amusement rides, and even a free Santa’s Grotto for children.
Leicester Christmas Market 2023
In Leicester, you won’t find a traditional Christmas market but many Christmas events, including the distinctive Festive Adventure trail, designed to highlight the best the city has to offer.
At Jubilee Square, you’ll find a covered ice rink where skaters can enjoy themselves regardless of the weather.
Additionally, the market features a 35m-high Wheel of Light for panoramic city views and a fun fair in Humberstone Gate. Children can also visit a free Santa’s Grotto in Town Hall Square.
Dates and Location
Leicester Christmas Market dates: Likely dates: 2nd to 23rd December 2023.
Location: Town Hall Square and Jubilee Square.
Opening times: 11am to 7pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Christmas lights: Yes, switch on date: 16th November 2023.
Santa: Yes, Santa in the Square at Town Hall Square.
Ice skating: Yes, at Jubilee Square.
Jubilee Square Ice Rink: Likely dates: 30th November 2023 to 2nd January 2024.
Ferris wheel: Wheel of Light at Jubilee Square. Likely dates: 6th October 2023 to 2nd January 2024.
Pet-friendly: Yes, but not at the ice skating.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: The festive lights and Christmas tree in Leicester’s city heart.
Specialities: Local ales, Melton Mowbray pies, artisan chocolates, traditional fudge.
Where to stay: St Martins Lodge is a highly-rated hotel, 4 minutes from Town Hall Square
Hotels near Leicester Christmas Market
I suggest staying in Leicester’s City Centre for convenience and proximity to the city’s festive activities. This area puts you at the heart of the action, with Santa in the Square just a short walk away.
If you’re visiting the city, consider booking a room at St Martins Lodge, a highly-rated hotel well situated near the city’s attractions.
Location of Christmas in Leicester
Christmas in Leicester
The video below provides a visual tour of Leicester’s Christmas lights and the fun fair.
If you’d prefer to visit a traditional market, read my guide to the best Christmas markets UK to find out where to go in the UK.
Leicester Christmas Experiences
Jubilee Square Ice Rink: Located in the heart of Jubilee Square, the ice rink returns this year, providing a covered setting for skaters. It operates from early December to early January, making it a central part of Leicester’s Christmas celebrations. Rain or shine, you can glide on the ice and practice your skating moves.
Wheel of Light: This 35-metre-high Ferris wheel lights up Jubilee Square. It gives passengers the chance to see Leicester from an elevated perspective. It’s particularly popular in the evenings when the city lights make the view even more engaging.
Billy Bates Fun Fair: Situated in Humberstone Gate, this fun fair brings traditional rides and attractions. It includes classic fairground games and rides suitable for both children and adults. A choice spot for family entertainment during the holiday period.
Santa’s Grotto in Town Hall Square: A free attraction, Santa’s Grotto is available for children of all ages. After a chat with Santa and his elf, kids on the ‘nice list’ receive a complimentary gift. An ideal place for families looking to add a touch of magic to their Christmas experience.
Festive Adventure Trail: An exciting trail designed to showcase what the city has to offer during the holiday season. Though not directly a Christmas market event, it enhances the seasonal atmosphere and encourages exploration of Leicester’s various attractions.
For current events and winter activities in Leicester, consider exploring Visit Leicester as an up-to-date resource.
Sustainable Christmas Tips
Here are a few tips on how we can travel more responsibly in Leicester at Christmas.
Reduce Food Waste: Food markets and stalls, including Christmas markets, can produce significant food waste. You can help combat this by only purchasing what you’re sure you’ll eat and trying to finish your food. Additionally, some market stalls and restaurants in Leicester participate in apps like Too Good To Go, which allows you to buy surplus food at a reduced price.
Practice Ethical Consumption: Some of Leicester’s Christmas market stalls and shops sell locally sourced, ethically produced goods. You can support local artisans and sustainable production methods by choosing these over mass-produced items. Consider buying gifts that have been handmade in Leicester or the surrounding area.
Utilise Sustainable Transport: Leicester is a compact and pedestrian-friendly city, making exploring on foot or by bike easy. The city has extensive cycle lanes and pedestrianised areas, making it a breeze to get around sustainably. Alternatively, consider using the local bus services, which are an environmentally friendly alternative to driving.
Leicester Christmas Market mostly involves the Jubilee Square Ice Rink and Santa in the Square. Santa’s Grotto dates are 2nd to 23rd December 2023.
Christmas in Leicester takes place in the city centre at Town Hall Square and Jubilee Square.
The Christmas market and events open from around 11am to 7pm.
If you would like to leave a review of Leicester Xmas Market or the attractions, comment below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Leicester, United Kingdom. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.