Out of term time activities

Lots of students are in Leeds during the University holidays and there are a wide range of events and activities which you can get involved with to make the most of these times of year.

During Christmas, Easter and Summer the out of term time activities programme includes a wide range of events throughout the University holidays including the days when the University is closed. 

Christmas in Leeds

Christmas in Leeds is an annual programme for all students and postgraduate researchers who will be in Leeds over the winter break, providing the chance to meet others, experience Christmas traditions and find out about help and support.

From film and games nights, to volunteering opportunities and trips, there are lots of activities to keep you entertained and make your Christmas in Leeds one to remember! Many events are family friendly and welcome students with partners and children in Leeds.

Join the Christmas in Leeds 2019 facebook group to connect with others, share events and plan your holiday. You can also download our Christmas in Leeds 2019 guide (PDF download) or pick up a hard copy at various locations across campus. 

Events on campus

Every Monday (except 23 and 30 December)
Global Café (LUU Common Ground, 5.30pm - 7.30pm) Free, family friendly

Every Wednesday (except 25 December and 1 January)
International Students Club (Emmanuel Centre, 6pm - 8pm) Free, family friendly

Every Friday (except 27 December and 3 January)
Sketch Club (Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, Parkinson Building, 12.30pm - 3.30pm) Free 

Monday 9 December
Sustainable Christmas Crafts 1 (LUU Room 6, 1pm - 2pm) Free, book your place
Sustainable Christmas Crafts 2 (LUU Room 6, 2.30pm - 3.30pm) Free, book your place
Winter Unity Starlight Event (Level 12 Common Room, Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Building, 12pm - 2pm) Free, family friendly

Tuesday 10 December
Tuesday Treasure: A Dickensian Christmas (Treasures of Brotherton Gallery, Parkinson Building) Free

Wednesday 11 December
Harry Potter Night (LUU Pyramid, 5pm - 8.30pm) Free, book your place
Natural wreath making (LUU Room 1, 12pm - 3.30pm) Free

Thursday 12 December
Christmas Card Making (LUU Room 5, 3pm - 4.30pm) Free
Irish Dancing Christmas Show (LUU Pyramid, 7pm - 9.30pm) £5, book your place or pay when you arrive

Saturday 14 December
Make it Social: Mobile making for the festive season (Treasures of Brotherton Gallery, Parkinson Building, 1.30pm - 4pm) £10, book your place
Royal Institute Christmas Lecture Screening (Nexus Lecture Foyer and Theatre, Nexus Building, 4.30pm - 8pm) £3, book your place, family friendly

Monday 16 December
Wellbeing HIIT & Core workout (Jade Studio, 11.30am - 12.30pm) Free, book your place
Gingerbread decorating (LUU Room 5, 2pm - 3.30pm) Free, book your place

Tuesday 17 December
Wellbeing Pilates (LUU Jade Studio, 12pm - 1pm) Free, book your place
Christmas Decoration Making (LUU Room 4, 12pm - 1.30pm) Free
Christmas in Leeds Social (LG10 Michael Sadler Building, 2pm - 4pm) Free, book your place, family friendly

Wednesday 18 December
Culture Change Workshop (Emmanuel Centre SR 11, 1.30pm - 3pm) Free, book your place

Thursday 19 December
Wellbeing Yoga (LUU Jade Studio, 11.30am - 12.30pm) Free, book your place
Meditation (LUU Room 6, 12pm - 1.30pm) Free, book your place 
Global Games Afternoon (LUU Room 5, 2pm - 4pm) Free
Coffee Connections (Level 12 Common Room, Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Building, 12pm - 2pm) Free, family friendly
Wellbeing Kung-Fu (LUU Jade Studio, 4pm – 5pm) Free, book your place

Friday 20 December
Christmas Meal (University House, 12.30pm - 2.30pm) Free, book your place

Monday 23 December 2019 – Thursday 2 January 2020
University closes on 23 December and will reopen on 2 January 2019 but check out our off-campus events below.

Monday 6 January 
Wellbeing HIIT & Core workout (Jade Studio, 11.30am - 12.30pm) Free, book your place

Tuesday 7 January 
Wellbeing Pilates (LUU Jade Studio, 12pm - 1pm) Free, book your place

Wednesday 8 January
Tea Tasting (LUU Room 5, 2pm - 3.30pm) Free

Thursday 9 January 
Wellbeing Yoga (LUU Jade Studio, 11.30am - 12.30pm) Free, book your place
Meditation (LUU Room 6, 12pm - 1.30pm) Free, book your place 
Wellbeing Kung-Fu (LUU Jade Studio, 4pm - 5pm) Free, book your place

Friday 10 January
Make Your Own Natural Body Scrub (LUU Room 4, 2pm - 3pm) Free, book your place

The Edge are offering free virtual fitness classes almost every day from 16 December 2019 until 5 January 2020 - book your place early to avoid disappointment (no membership required). There are also a range of museums and archives on campus, you can find their opening hours and events details on their webpages: The Leeds University Library Galleries and the Marks and Spencer Company Archive.  

Events off campus

Whether you come to these events on your own or with friends or family, friendly student assistants will introduce you to new people and make sure everyone has a great time. Some ticketed events are subsidised so may be cheaper than buying elsewhere. Please book early to reserve your place. 

Wednesday 11 December
Community Christmas Celebration (
Rainbow Junk-tion Cafe, All Hallows Church LS6 1NP, 5 - 8pm) Free

Saturday 14 December
Explore Hadrian's Wall with Get Out, Get Active (Meet at Parkinson Steps, 8am - 6.30pm) £16, book your place

Sunday 15 December
Santa Dash Volunteering Taster (Meet at Leeds Town Hall, 8.30am - 12pm) Free, book your place
Christmas Experience at Lotherton Hall for Postgrads (Meet at Parkinson Steps, 9am - 3pm) £8, book your place

Wednesday 18 December
Trip to York (Meet at Parkinson Steps, 11am - 7pm) Standard £10, Halls £5, book your place

Thursday 19 December
Oxfam Online Volunteer Taster (Meet at Leeds Train Station, 9.15am - 3.30pm) Free, book your place 

Saturday 21 December
Pantomime: Sleeping Beauty (Carriageworks Theatre, Millennium Square, 6pm - 9pm) £10, book your place, family friendly

Wednesday 25 December
Rainbow Junk-tion Christmas Lunch (Rainbow Junk-tion Cafe, All Hallows Church LS6 1NP, 12pm - 3pm) Pay by donation on the day, book your place for free, family friendly

Thursday 26 December
Rugby Match: Leeds vs Wakefield (Meet outside Sainsbury’s in Headingley, 10.30am - 1.30pm) £5, book your place before 16 December, family friendly

Saturday 28 December 
Trip to Saltaire UNESCO World Heritage Centre with Get Out, Get Active (Meet at Parkinson Steps, 10am - 4pm) £10, book your place before 23 December

Many see the festive period as a time for helping others and taking part in community activities. Many organisations offer volunteering opportunities during the festive period, including Leeds Cares, Left Bank LeedsHarewood House and Oxfam Online BatleyFor more volunteering opportunities visit Leeds for Life or Doing Good in Leeds.      

Events in the City

There are many events happening in Leeds over the festive season. Why not book tickets for traditional shows such as carol concerts, ballets, and musicals at Leeds Grand Theatre or Leeds Playhouse

The annual Christkindelmarkt German Christmas Market is open from 8 November - 21 December 2019, turning Millennium Square into a festive winter wonderland. As well as food and craft stalls, there will also be a weekly show and rides for children. 

There are many family friendly activities in Leeds happening over the festive period, from Santa's Grotto at the Merrion Centre, the Christmas Experience at Lotherton Hall or the Sleepy Santa trail at Kirkstall Abbey! There are also lots of activities happening at Leeds Museums and Galleries

Whether you're looking for a performance, a party or something more relaxed, there are plenty of options for celebrating New Years Eve in Leeds on 31 December 2019.

For more events happening in Leeds over the festive period, take a look at Visit Leeds, Leeds City Council’s What’s On webpage and Leeds Inspired.

Opening hours

The festive season can be a busy time of year. The city centre and services such as public transport may be more crowded than usual. On the other hand, the University campus is quieter than during term-time as many students travel to other cities or countries. While you’re in Leeds over Christmas, don’t forget to plan ahead to make sure you have an enjoyable holiday. Here is some useful information about changes to services during the Christmas and New Year period.

Campus services

University of Leeds
The University will be closed from 24 December and re-open from 2 January 2020.

Leeds University Union
Your Students’ Union will be closed from 24 December and will re-open on 2 January 2020. Some bars, shops and cafes will have reduced opening hours during the Christmas period. You can contact the Union Helpdesk on 0113 380 1400.

The Edge
University sports facilities can be accessed over the holidays. Look online for information about their opening hours, climbing, swimming and personal training courses as well as class timetables. The Edge are offering free virtual fitness classes almost every day from 16 December 2019 until 5 January 2020 and also run a Christmas offer throughout December which includes full access to The Edge facilities for 7 days for only £10.

University Residences
If you live in halls of residence and are staying around this winter, make sure you’re part of your halls Facebook group to keep up to date with what is happening and to connect with other students still around. If you have any ideas for events or activities you’d like to see in your halls over the festive period, email residencelife@leeds.ac.uk

Cafes and Refectory 
Find out what the cafes on campus opening hours are over the next few weeks on campus. 

Study spaces 

University of Leeds Libraries
Libraries will be closed whilst the University is closed. See the opening times of all University libraries.

Leeds Central Library 
The city’s Central Library will close at 15.00 on 24 December and re-opens at 9.00 on 27 December. It will also be closed on 1 January. It offers free computer access, a quiet study area and free WiFi. Local libraries can be accessed across the city. 

University of Leeds Computer Clusters
24 hour IT clusters can be accessed throughout the holidays using a security keypad. 

Services in the city

Shops may have increased or reduced opening hours over the festive period. Visit the individual shop’s websites to find their seasonal opening hours. Most shops will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day so buy food and provisions in advance. 

If you want to eat out over Christmas, make sure to book ahead of time as restaurants get booked up quickly during the holidays, especially on Christmas Day.

Public transport 
There will be limited or no services on some days, including 25 and 26 December and 1 January. Services can also be disrupted by winter weather, particularly snow. Make sure you plan your journey and check for additional travel disruption or timetable changes. Here’s a list of some local taxi services, which can be booked in advance:
Amber Cars 0113 202 2117
Royal Cars 0113 230 5000
Arrow Private Hire 0113 258 5888
Wheels Taxis 0113 249 9999

Help and support  

LUU Help and Support 
If you need help or advice, visit the Help and Support team in the LUU foyer. LUU Advice offer a range of services, including drop-in sessions, appointments, phone calls, email communication and Skype meetings. 

Universities’ Chaplaincy in Leeds, Emmanuel Centre
The Chaplaincy run weekly social and prayer services and can offer help finding church services in the community.
The Chaplaincy and Common Room will close on 23 December 2019 and re-open on 2 January 2020.
If you need to contact a chaplain for faith or pastoral support, you can email chaplaincy@leeds.ac.uk or call on 0113 343 5071.
If you are in crisis and need Chaplaincy support out of hours, or in the holidays, call 07780 613 862

University Security Services
If you have any problems when the University is closed, you can contact the Security Office, which is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
175 Woodhouse Lane
General Enquiries 0113 343 5494 or 0113 343 5495
Emergencies Only 0113 343 2222

Feeling at Home in Leeds online guides
Whether you’ve recently arrived in Leeds, or been here for some time, these interactive guides can help you make the most of all aspects of University life. Take some time during the break to explore the student stories and activities in the guide, which will help you reflect on your experiences in Leeds so far and think about your future goals.

Big White Wall 
This supportive online community offers 24 hour support every day of the year. Trained counsellors are online at all times, as well as a range of helpful resources. Go to Big White Wall and sign up with your University email.

Located near the Business School, Samaritans offer 24-hour emotional support to anyone in need of someone to talk to. The best way to contact them is to call 116 123 for free from any phone. You can also email jo@samaritans.org or you can visit Samaritans in person for a face-to-face drop in appointment with a volunteer between 9am - 9pm, 93 Clarendon Road, Leeds, LS2 9LY. Please note the drop-in service is subject to volunteer availability.

What students said about the programme: 

“I got a lot of information, recommendations and suggestions regarding the Christmas activities. I did not feel lonely when some friends went back to their hometown.” 

Christmas in Leeds students

"I stayed in Leeds almost every day. Thanks to the information in the Christmas in Leeds programme, I could make my holiday enjoyable."

"Attending the Rainbow Junk-tion Christmas Lunch was a great way to spend Christmas day. All of the other volunteers were very supportive and I had some great chats to people."