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What’s on in Leeds? Food, film and festive kids’ events

Jo Dorey

01 February 2019

Time to Read

4 minutes

Looking for what’s on in Leeds? Renowned for its industrial architecture and what some people are calling the best fish and chips in the UK, you’re not alone. Loads of families are making the trip up north to visit this cultural gem. Not only that but there’s loads available for kids, from a film festival dedicated entirely to littluns to a Christmas extravaganza at Lotherton Hall. Get a dose of that Yorkshire warmth with a weekend in Leeds.

A view of Leeds city centre.

Family and kids’ events in Leeds

Spring Events

  • Leeds Young Film Festival, 8th - 22nd April, Hyde Park Picture House:

    The silver screen is a powerful thing and the films we watch as kids really stick with us - anyone still scared of the Child Catcher?! The team at the Leeds Young Film Festival get that fandom starts at any age so have created a stuffed bill of workshops and screenings. This is the UK’s largest event of its kind with over 12,000 families coming, so make sure you’re one of them!

Summer Events

  • Harewood House Food Festival, 25th - 27th May, Harewood House:

    When you asked what’s on in Leeds, we bet you didn't expect it to include stilt walking, plate spinning and a unicycle! The Harewood House Food Festival is happy to buck expectations and is one of those classic family events with tots running around and lots of lovely grub. Those circus skills we mentioned - they’re free for kids who love acting the goat alongside treasure hunts, arty workshops, a children’s dog show (!) and plenty of foodie fun for budding chefs. Throw in a few rides and you’re all sorted.

    A child running with a dog at Harewood House Food Festival.
  • Peter Rabbit: Mischief And Mayhem, 18th May - 8th September, Cartwright Hall Art Gallery:

    This is a must-see exhibition for any Beatrix Potter fan, no matter how big or small! You're invited to take an up-close look of the original illustrations and manuscripts of the first Peter Rabbit stories. The little ones will have the chance to dress up as their favourite bunny, plant carrots in Mr McGregors's garden, help Mrs Tiggy-Winkle hang up the laundry and much more. 

    A child and mother at The Tetley Weekender.
  • Leeds West Indian Carnival, 25th - 26th August 2019, West Indian Carnival Centre:

    Leeds West Indian Carnival has been taking to the streets for over 50 years and plays an important part of what’s on in Leeds as the city’s thriving community comes together to throw a big party. Street performers will be decked out in some incredible costumes (feathers, sequins and glitter oh my!) while infectious tunes play overhead and platters of delicious West Indian cuisine are served up. The colour, spectacle and simply the sheer joy on display will be more than enough to get your gang immersed in the culture and it’s a great way to open their eyes to different ways of doing things.

Winter Events

  • Light Night Leeds, October 2019 (dates TBC), all over the city including Town Hall:

    Come and see the city in a new light (ahem) at Light Night Leeds! With interactive installations and incredible projections, the city becomes a luminous labyrinth across 10 different zones. Last year a collection of giant desk lamps illuminated Briggate and you can expect something just as surreal this time around with a programme filled with exhibitions, dance, music and brilliant street performances. Not only is it a true spectacle but it’s free, so with that glowing recommendation in mind, give it a go!

  • Lotherton’s Christmas Experience,  2019 dates TBC, Lotherton Hall:

    The Twelve Days of Christmas will be brought to life with masses of festive fanfare at Lotherton’s Christmas Experience. The main challenge will be where to explore first, although we’re pretty sure kids will make a beeline for Santa and the North Pole. Watch as his elves go about their business in the workshop and take part in crafts and storytelling, with an essential cup of cocoa in hand! Then there’s the Twelve Days of Christmas Walk through the Captains Wood where drummers are drumming and turtle doves are flocking. Plus everything is nestled beneath a twinkling canopy - truly magical.  

    A family at Lotherton’s Christmas Experience.

We hope you find something to love in our list of what do in Leeds. For extra inspiration, check out our page for things to do in Leeds or our ‘Top 10 history and nature sights’ in Leeds post. Any one of the activities hidden within should be serious family fun.

Stately Homes and Gardens in Leeds | Museums in Leeds | Railways in Leeds | Go Karting in Leeds | Tenpin Bowling in Leeds


What's on in Cardiff | What's on in Liverpool | What's on in Birmingham | What's on in Manchester | What's on in Edinburgh | What's on in Bristol | What's on in Glasgow | What's on in York



Jo Dorey

01 February 2019

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Jo is a Copywriter at Day Out With The Kids. She’s lived all over the world in places like Pakistan, Hungary and Hong Kong - these days though she loves a good, long walk and hanging out with her cat, Fergus.

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