Top things to do in Leeds
Leeds is a vibrant and exciting city full of great things to do. As well as having plenty of shops, world-class food and drink scene and fantastic sporting facilities, the city is also renowned for having a wealth of culture, with several museums and art galleries to explore. Moving to Leeds or visiting for the day
Moving to Leeds or visiting for the day
Whether you are planning to move to Leeds or just visit for a few days there is a multitude of things to do read on to discover the top things to do in Leeds this year.
Leeds Art Gallery
Leeds Art Gallery can be found in the heart of the city. Free to enter, it’s the perfect day out if you’re looking to soak up a little culture. The gallery comprises a broad range of modern and contemporary art as well as offering an extensive programme of exciting events all year round. ‘Artspace’ is the gallery’s family-friendly area and includes art materials and activities for children of all ages to explore.
Leeds City Museum
Leeds City Museum is home to an array of incredible collections, including the Ancient Egyptian Mummy and the Leeds Tiger. The Life on Earth gallery is particularly popular, with centuries-old fossils, bones from extinct animals and many other remarkable specimens to discover. The Museum provides an educational and fun day out for people of all ages. Children are well catered for, with Rory the Leeds City Museum tiger present every Saturday for museum-themed craft activities.
Kirkstall Abbey may be slightly out of the town but it’s well worth the journey. Adjoined to the Abbey House Museum, the abbey is 900 years old and considered an architectural marvel. You can wander through the ruins of this Cistercian monastery and learn all about how the monks lived. Try to visit the abbey during the summer months and enjoy the alfresco cinema amongst the ruins.
The shopping arcades
Leeds’ famous shopping arcades are well worth a visit whilst in the city. Elegant, ornate architecture, fascinating history and fantastic shops are what draw people to the Victoria Quarter, Grand, Queens and Thorntons arcades. You’ll find a superb mix of independent stores and nationally renowned brands in the arcades, with cool indie businesses, boutiques, and high-end designer stores to explore. A visit to Leeds’ arcades is a must for any shopaholic!
The Corn Exchange
The Corn Exchange is a grade 1 listed building and a shopping centre in the centre of Leeds. Designed by the architect Cuthbert Broderick, the Corn Exchange first opened its doors to corner traders back in 1864. These days, it’s home to many independent businesses that dare to be different. You’ll find clothes you won’t find on the high street, records you’ve never heard before, and food that is quite simply out of this world. You’re sure to enjoy a shopping experience like no other at the Corn Exchange.
For cutting-edge theatre, look no further than Leeds Playhouse. Once known as the West Yorkshire Playhouse, it showcases world-class theatre from many of the country’s biggest touring plays and ballets. As well as staging famous productions, Leeds Playhouse also stages lesser-known works. There are also plenty of pantomimes and other child-friendly shows to keep the kids entertained in the school holidays. The theatre can be found on Quarry Hill, in the centre of Leeds opposite the bus station and is easily accessible by either car or public transport.
Hyde Park Picture House
For cinema-lovers fond of art-house, indie and foreign films, a visit to the Hyde Park Picture House is one of the top things to do in Leeds. A grade II listed building in the Hyde Park area of the city, the cinema first opened its doors in November 1914 and still retains many of its original features, including its beautiful ornate balcony and the external box office. It is also the only remaining gaslit cinema in the whole of the UK. The cinema is currently undergoing renovation work to make it an even more fantastic place to visit.
Brudenell Social Club
If you feel like catching a gig whilst in Leeds, head straight to Brudenell Social Club on Queens Road. Once a working men’s club, it’s now one of the city’s best-loved music venues. In fact, it’s arguably the jewel in its music scene crown. You can catch bands from all over the world here as well as enjoy some great food and drink. The club has played host to a series of “secret gigs” by the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs and The Cribs over the years.
Explore the local food scene
A visit to Leeds wouldn’t be complete without exploring its world’s renowned food scene. Known as the ‘Foodie Capital of the North’, it is celebrated for its fantastic eateries. From its Michelin-starred restaurants to incredible street food markets and independent cafes, there’s something to suit all tastes and budgets in Leeds. Chow Down, Trinity Kitchen, Little Bao Boy, Slap & Pickle and Manjit’s Kitchen all come highly recommended.
Watch Leeds United at Elland Road
Undoubtedly, one of the top things to do in Leeds is to attend a football game. Leeds United are a Premiership team once again after gaining promotion to the top flight in 2020. The club plays their home games at Elland Road in the Beeston area of the city and tickets can be purchased online in advance. If football’s not your thing, you could always watch Leeds Rhinos at the Emerald Headingly Stadium or pay a visit to the Yorkshire County Cricket Club. Leeds is internationally renowned for its various sporting achievements.
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