Celebrate the Magic of Christmas: Festive Events in Birmingham and Leicester

Magic of Christmas

As the holiday season approaches, the cities of Birmingham and Leicester transform into enchanting winter wonderlands, each offering a plethora of festive events and activities. From dazzling light displays to bustling markets and family-friendly attractions, both cities provide a magical backdrop for celebrating Christmas. Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor, there’s something special for everyone. Here’s a comprehensive guide to some of the best Christmas events in Birmingham and Leicester.

Christmas Event in Birmingham

Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market

One of the highlights of Birmingham’s festive season is the Frankfurt Christmas Market, the largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany and Austria. Located in Victoria Square and New Street, the market features over 80 stalls offering traditional German goods, from handcrafted decorations to delicious food and drinks. Visitors can indulge in bratwurst, pretzels, and mulled wine while browsing for unique gifts. The market also features live music and entertainment, adding to the festive atmosphere. Open from early November to late December, it’s a must-visit for anyone looking to experience a traditional Christmas market.

Birmingham Christmas Lights Switch-On

The festive season in Birmingham officially begins with the Christmas Lights Switch-On, a spectacular event usually held in mid-November. The city center is illuminated with thousands of twinkling lights, creating a magical ambiance. The switch-on ceremony includes live performances, entertainment, and a fireworks display, attracting large crowds. This free event marks the start of Birmingham’s Christmas celebrations and is perfect for families and friends to enjoy together.

Ice Skating at Centenary Square

For those looking to embrace the winter spirit, the Ice Skate Birmingham rink at Centenary Square is the place to be. The large outdoor ice rink is open from mid-November to early January, offering a fun and festive activity for all ages. Next to the ice rink, you’ll find the Big Wheel and the 40-meter high Star Flyer, providing stunning views of the city’s festive lights. Whether you’re an experienced skater or a beginner, the rink promises a delightful experience in a picturesque setting.

The Polar Express Train Ride

Experience the magic of Christmas with The Polar Express Train Ride at the Birmingham Railway Museum. Inspired by the beloved holiday film, this immersive experience takes passengers on a journey to the “North Pole” with dancing chefs, singing elves, and a visit from Santa Claus himself. Each ride includes hot chocolate, cookies, and a keepsake bell for every child. Running from late November through December, it’s a magical adventure for families and a wonderful way to create lasting Christmas memories.

Christmas at the Botanical Gardens

Birmingham Botanical Gardens transform into a winter wonderland during the holiday season, offering a spectacular Christmas light trail. The illuminated trail features festive installations, interactive displays, and beautiful light sculptures set against the backdrop of the gardens. Visitors can enjoy hot drinks and seasonal treats as they stroll through the enchanting displays. This event runs from late November to early January and is perfect for a romantic evening or a family outing.

Birmingham Hippodrome’s Christmas Pantomime

A staple of British Christmas culture, the annual pantomime at Birmingham Hippodrome is a must-see. This year’s production promises a blend of comedy, music, and spectacular stage effects, appealing to both children and adults. The pantomime typically features a well-known fairy tale with a humorous twist, performed by a talented cast including popular celebrities. Running from mid-December to late January, it’s an entertaining and festive way to celebrate the holiday season.

Christmas Event in Leicester

Leicester Christmas Lights Switch-On

Leicester’s festive season kicks off with the Christmas Lights Switch-On, an event held in mid-November that illuminates the city center with thousands of sparkling lights. The switch-on ceremony features live music, entertainment, and a fireworks display, drawing large crowds to the city streets. This free event marks the beginning of Leicester’s Christmas celebrations and sets the tone for a festive season filled with joy and excitement.

Leicester Christmas Market

Located in the heart of the city, the Leicester Christmas Market is a bustling hub of holiday activity. The market features a wide array of stalls offering handcrafted gifts, festive decorations, and delicious seasonal treats. Visitors can enjoy mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, and other traditional Christmas foods while exploring the unique offerings from local artisans and vendors. Live entertainment, including carol singers and street performers, adds to the merry atmosphere. The market is open from late November through December and is a must-visit for anyone looking to immerse themselves in the festive spirit.

Winter Wonderland at Jubilee Square

Jubilee Square in Leicester transforms into a Winter Wonderland during the Christmas season, featuring an ice skating rink, funfair rides, and a Christmas market. The square is adorned with festive lights and decorations, creating a magical setting for holiday activities. Children can visit Santa’s Grotto and participate in craft workshops, making it a popular destination for families. The Winter Wonderland at Jubilee Square runs from late November to early January and offers a variety of activities to enjoy in a festive environment.

Christmas at the National Space Centre

For a unique Christmas experience, visit the National Space Centre in Leicester. During the holiday season, the center hosts special festive events and activities that combine the magic of Christmas with the wonders of space. Visitors can enjoy themed exhibitions, planetarium shows, and hands-on activities that are fun for the whole family. The National Space Centre’s Christmas events provide an educational and entertaining way to celebrate the festive season, making it a must-visit for space enthusiasts and families alike.

De Montfort Hall’s Christmas Concerts

De Montfort Hall in Leicester hosts a series of Christmas concerts that are a highlight of the city’s festive calendar. These concerts feature performances by local choirs, orchestras, and solo artists, offering a variety of musical styles to enjoy. From traditional carols to modern holiday classics, the Christmas concerts at De Montfort Hall provide a wonderful way to celebrate the season with family and friends. Tickets for the concerts are popular, so it’s advisable to book in advance to secure your seats.

Leicester Cathedral’s Christmas Services

For those looking to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, Leicester Cathedral offers a variety of services and carol concerts throughout December. The cathedral’s beautiful architecture and serene atmosphere provide a perfect setting for reflecting on the season. Traditional Christmas Eve services and carol singing events are open to all, creating a sense of community and festive spirit. Attending a service at Leicester Cathedral is a beautiful way to experience the spiritual side of Christmas.

Festive Workshops and Activities

Throughout the Christmas season, various venues across Leicester host festive workshops and activities. These events provide opportunities to get creative and make your own Christmas decorations, wreaths, and cards. Local community centers, libraries, and art studios often run these workshops, catering to both children and adults. Participating in a festive workshop is a wonderful way to spend a cozy afternoon and create something special for the holiday season. It’s also a great opportunity to learn new skills and meet like-minded individuals who share a love for Christmas crafts.


Both Birmingham and Leicester come alive during the Christmas season, offering a diverse range of events and activities that cater to all ages and interests. Whether you’re drawn to the twinkling lights, bustling markets, or family-friendly attractions, there’s something to make your Christmas in these cities memorable. Embrace the festive spirit and explore all that Birmingham and Leicester have to offer during the most wonderful time of the year.

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