All aboard as ‘White Rose Express’ Christmas decorations unveiled

White Rose Shopping Centre has unveiled its magnificent ‘White Rose Express’ Christmas scheme, with enchanting steam train-themed decorations delighting South Leeds with festive magic.

An immersive spectacle that transports guests to ‘North Pole Railways’ from the second they step into the centre, visitors are invited to follow the glowing, enchanted train track of the White Rose Express past charming floating Christmas trees, signal signs, and lampposts on their way to an unforgettable meeting with the man in red.

The impressive display was installed over five nights and includes more than 2,000 metres of lights – enough to cover the pitch of Elland Road 19 times – and 300 metres of garland: more than twice the height of Leeds’ tallest building, Altus House.

Guests are guided on a fantastic journey through the centre by 155 meticulously hand-decorated railway sleepers, leading them to the most enchanting of Christmas grottos: the 6.5 metre-long White Rose Express train, where Santa awaits.

The wonder continues outside in The Village, where a glorious selfie spot complete with a towering, adorned Christmas tree invites families to capture a festive memory of their magical experience.

The experience was brought to life by James Glancy Design, the UK’s ‘secret force behind Christmas’, responsible for iconic festive installations across the country including Carnaby Street and Regent Street’s ‘Spirit of Christmas’. The work to design the new White Rose Express scheme began as far back as July 2022, with a team of 50 designers, project managers, artists, electricians, and riggers coming together to bring the North Pole to South Leeds.

The wondrous new grotto, where visitors can meet Santa in his vintage train carriage, is now open daily until Christmas Eve, Sunday 24 December.

The grotto will also host sensory-friendly sessions from 10am–10:30am every Tuesday throughout December, during White Rose’s weekly Quiet Hours from 10am–12pm.

Luke Robson, senior creative designer at James Glancy design, commented:

“With this scheme we invite audiences on a cinematic journey past twinkling Christmas trees, glowing signal signs and flickering lampposts; culminating with an unforgettable meeting with Santa onboard the train-themed Grotto.

“The design is inspired by Yorkshire’s rich history of steam railways and the unique arched architecture of White Rose Shopping Centre. We are thrilled to welcome visitors onboard the White Rose Express”.

Steven Foster, Centre Director at White Rose Shopping Centre, said:

“Our White Rose Express decorations truly transport visitors to a magical world; you can see the festive spirit on our guests’ faces as they enjoy the spectacle.

“Our grotto is sure to get visitors in the Christmas spirit and, alongside hundreds of shops and restaurants, plus thousands of free parking spaces, White Rose is the perfect festive family day out.”

Booking is required to visit Santa at White Rose’s grotto, with tickets priced at £6 plus booking fee per child, including a gift, and free for accompanying adults. There is also the option to purchase photography of the magical moment after visiting the grotto.

Grotto tickets are on sale now at


This post is based on a press release issued on behalf of White Rose Shopping Centre


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