Christmas comes early in Bradford. Don’t miss out.


Christmas shouldn’t start until December. I am currently in Rome, where Christmas is much more low key, decorations are only just starting to appear – officially this shouldn’t happen until 8th December and the Festa dell’ Immacolata – but at least I am not overwhelmed with Christmas glad tidings and constant Christmas music in every cafe. When I get home in mid-December I will embrace all the festive good cheer. Until then I’m happy to escape it.

However, in Bradford Christmas has started early and I am sick that I am missing Illuminate Bradford which starts on Friday evening at 5pm and runs Saturday and Sunday 1st and 2nd December from 4pm. Three days of festivities, street theatre, a night market, interactive installations and a stunning light show projected on to our beautiful City Hall. Not to be missed. Visit the Sparkling Bradford website for more details of all the city’s Christmas events including a city centre bauble trail.

Here are a few of my other favourite things going on in December:

Wur Bradford have organised a tour of Oastler Market in support of Small Business Saturday and local traders on Saturday 1st December at 1pm. Pop along, meet the traders, taste the food and give them your support.

Saltaire’s Living Advent Calendar begins on 1st December with a festive scene opening in a different window each day in December at 4pm. Download a map with locations of the homes and businesses taking part here.

Italian Christmas Market in Keighley, stock up on all your panettone, Italian meats, cheeses and wine on 1st and 2nd December at the University Academy on Green Head Road from 11am – 5pm.

Take part in the Reindeer Stampede on Sunday 2nd December at Lister Park, dress as your favourite reindeer in support of Epilepsy Action’s festive family fun run.  Medals and mince pies for those taking part.

East Riddlesden Hall near Keighley has Christmas tree sales this weekend and next and a Christmas market on 8th and 9th December, as well as wreath making workshops on the 15th and 16th December.

Festive ghost stories at City Hall with Bradford Civic’s Ghost Tour on 5th December. Book tickets here.

Waterstones book shop are holding a special Christmas shopping event on 6th December with hot drinks, mince pies, board games and songs from the Bradford Festival Choral Society from 4.30pm – 8pm.

There are events in Haworth every weekend in December, including carols by torchlight procession at dusk on the 8th and 9th December and a Nativity Weekend on the 15th and 16th December.

Don’t miss Christmas at Cliffe Castle on Sunday 9th December. Christmas markets, a brass band, craft activities for kids, Father Christmas and real live reindeer.

Bolton Abbey’s countdown to Christmas begins with wintery walks along the Strid, with Christmas trees and an advent puzzle along the way. Father Christmas will be appearing every weekend leading up to Christmas – tickets must be booked in advance. A free Christmas Nativity takes place on Saturday 15th in the priory grounds at 11am and 1.30pm.

What is Christmas without cheese? A Christmas Cheese Club will be held at the Brick Box rooms 11th December at 7pm. For a cosy, cheesy night contact Homage 2 Fromage for tickets. 

Roswithas European deli in Oastler market will be hosting festive drinks and hot sausage sandwiches while you shop on Saturday 15th and 22nd December and 23rd and 24th December from 10am. Wur Bradford will also be hosting a music and spoken word event from 2pm at the market.

There’s a Tropical Takeover with Jerkey Turkey at the Guzelian Café Bar, Thursday 13th December from 5pm til late, celebrating Christmas with jerk turkey and spiced sprouts, tropical tapas, cider and classic reggae. Free entry and families welcome. Call 01274 733898 to book.

Celebrate this year’s cultural highlights in Bradford at Kala Sangam’s Pick and Mix of the best music, theatre, dance and talent in the city during 2018. Saturday 15 December from 7.30pm. Tickets can be booked online or purchased at the door. 

Carols and curry at the Peacock Bar on North Parade December 23rd at 7.30pm. Free entry, free curry and lots of singing!

Bradford Cathedral has a timetable of its Christmas services and events on its website, including a Swedish Santa Lucia concert on 8th December and Christingle service on 15th December.

The Picturehouse cinema at the Media Museum is showing a range of classic Christmas films throughout December including Polar Express and It’s a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve at 5pm.


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