Last Updated on November 29, 2021 by Suzy McCullough

We visited Leicester city centre to experience some of the great things they have on at Christmas. There’s a 35-metre-high Wheel of Light that looks spectacularly lit up. They have a covered ice rink, located next to the wheel. Plus a Christmas market with stalls selling gifts, crafts and food. There’s a funfair on over at Humberstone Gate West. In Town Hall Square is their FREE Santa’s Grotto. Children of all ages can visit Santa and his elf, and those on the nice list will also receive a wonderful free gift.

Christmas Events in Leicester

The Wheel of Light

During our visit to Leicester, we had a ride on their Wheel of Light in Jubilee Square. It was raining and thankfully we didn’t get too wet as the gondolas were covered. A little rain had come in at the sides and the man helping us on dried the seats off for us. Now that is what I call service!

Christmas Events In Leicester - The Big Wheel and Ice Skating
The Wheel of Light next to the Ice Skating

Both the Wheel of Light and the ice skating rink are located in Jubilee Square (just around the corner from the Cathedral). One ride lasts approx. 8 to 10 minutes. We went around three times. Each gondola can seat up to 6 people and they have one special gondola with wheelchair access.

The wheel runs from 11 am until 9 pm Monday to Thursday. Friday to Sunday the wheel runs from 11 am until 11 pm. (These are anticipated timings – timings may change at short notice due to unforeseeable circumstances. Closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day). If you can go when the day is turning dark please do so because it comes into its own when you can see all the lights truly shining.

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The Wheel of Light comes into its own as it gets dark
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You get a good view of the City from the wheel and it was fun looking down on the ice skaters. There was a kid on the gondola before ours who cried because he didn’t want to get off!

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Looking out over the city of Leicester

Ice Skating in Jubilee Square

The skating rink has real ice and all the extra ice created by the skaters is put outside around their Christmas trees so it looks like it’s snowed.

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It looks like it’s snowed!

As you can see it was raining when we went. That’s not a problem here because the ice rink has a clear cover. So you can still see out without getting soaked. You must purchase your tickets online in advance or on the day from the Visit Leicester information centre or BBC Radio Leicester in Jubilee Square.

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By the entrance to the ice skating. It looks very pretty with all of its lights

Skating times run on the hour every hour with 10 sessions a day starting from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. You are allowed to skate for 45 minutes. Bags are not permitted on the ice, however, I did have my handbag with me. Although I had wished that I had put it in one of the lockers over at BBC Radio Leicester. It’s not easy picking up Bambi when you have a bag over your shoulder. Lockers are £2.00 (non-refundable).

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Discovering that he can stand up in his skates

The price of the ticket includes skate hire. You can bring your own skates but this does not reduce the price. Skate aids are also available to hire. Spectators can watch at the sides for free. The ice rink is wheelchair accessible and manual wheelchair users are able to go on the ice.

For children aged 4 and over they have penguin skate aids for an additional charge. Children under 4 are allowed to ride on a seal which also has an additional charge. Jamie struggled to stay upright with his penguin so the kind lady let us swap for a seal.

He had great fun riding around while I pushed him and he was able to use the seal as an aid whenever he fancied giving skating another try. If you want to hire a skate aid you must pay over the road at BBC Radio Leicester first.

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Riding on the seal
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Top tips

1 – Take an extra pair of socks for everyone that skates. When you collect your skates you also have to hand over your shoes. This meant having to put our feet on their wet floor. I wish we’d taken spare socks!

2 – Visit before you go shopping so you don’t have any big bags with you

3 – Although both the rink and wheel are prettier in the dark I noticed that the ice rink was a lot quieter earlier on than our 3 p.m. slot. Jamie found all the people a little overwhelming for his first time.

4 – Make sure you’ve purchased your ticket for a skating aid before you queue to get your skates (head on over to BBC Radio Leicester to pay).

Getting into Leicester

Why not try out this really handy website all about getting into Leicester? The website is a one-stop shop for travel information in Leicester & Leicestershire, with a journey planner that allows residents and visitors to consider the different travel options available to them.

If you are driving in there is a choice of park and rides. The bus station is a 10-minute walk from Jubilee Square. The rail station is a 10-15 minute walk away. If you want to park nearby then there are two public car parks both located within easy walking distance to the ice rink – NCP St Nicolas Circle with 715 spaces and the John Lewis Multi-Storey car park located off Vaughan Way with 2000 spaces. We were recommended Newark Street car park. It was approx. 8-minute walk for us from there to Jubilee Square.

Book a Stay in Leicester City Centre for Christmas Events

Disclaimer: We were invited by Visit Leicester to join in with their Christmas events. Tickets to ride on the wheel and to go ice skating were provided. All words, opinions and photos unless credited are my own.


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