Leeds is not dubbed the ‘Knightsbridge of the North’ for nothing. Its mixture of state of the art shopping centres, Victorian arcades and stylish pedestrianised high streets are overflowing with shops. It’s not for nothing that Rough Guides termed shopping in Leeds one of the top 30 things to do in the UK. Leeds is a place where conspicuous consumption is the name of the game. Leeds folk would rather be seen dead than out and about with a Lidl bag.
Some people do not like shopping, but don’t rush off, stay awhile and you will find there are plenty of other things to do in Leeds. The Royal Armouries holds the nation’s collection of national arms and armour, the City Art Gallery offers you one of the finest collections of British 20th Century art outside of London And, for the young (or middle aged in denial) a dedication to decadence is rewarded by 180 pubs to get through, and plenty of clubs and bars to stagger into at closing time.
Those who (thankfully) aspire to more genteel pursuits have the attractions of Harewood House and Yorkshire Sculpture Park at their disposal.
Leed's Top 10
10. The Henry Moore Institute has three galleries and stunning sculptures on show. There is always a new exhibition or event to check out too
5. Temple Newsam House Furniture, ceramics and fine art to thrill the most demanding of visitor.
9. Kirkgate Market is where ‘Marks’ Penny Bazaar’ first set up shop, the humble Leeds beginnings of Marks & Spencer.
4. Armley Mills is one of the largest textile museums in the world. Fascinating attraction, so allow a full day and bring a picnic.
8. Headingley Cricket Stadium Home to Yorkshire cricket.
3. Leeds Discovery Centre is home to a collection of over a million important items and artefacts dating back to 1819. Tours take over 4 hours, so be prepared.
7. The Corn Exchange Pretty shopping arcades, top notch restaurants, bars and cafes.
2. Abbey House Museum recreates life as it was lived in Victorian Leeds – right out of a Dickens novel.
6. Millennium Square is always buzzing with activity from concerts, exhibitions and a Xmas ice rink and market.
1. Leeds City Museum has Egyptian mummies, ancient fossils and four floors of interactive galleries.
Leeds Young People’s Film Festival takes place in March and April and is mostly free. Now in its 12th year, Leeds Town Hall is where the majority of the action including workshops, screenings and events takes place.
Get your running shoes out and enter the Leeds Half Marathon which starts at the Headrow and ends at Millennium Square. No excuses – it’s for charity.
The Leeds Opera in the Park is classical, very big and free – so what’s not to like? Plus, it takes place at the exquisitely beautiful Temple Newsam. Join 50,000 other people in a big classical hug with a host of international stars performing their stuff.
The Leeds LOOP Arts Fair is a celebration of graphic art and illustration in the UK today. If the likes of Jez Burrows, Matt Hodson and Drew Millward float your boat, then head to Marshall’s Mill during the month of June.
Get all retro at Leeds’ Corn Exchange Record Fair held monthly. Here nostalgia abounds. Discuss the great age of vinyl and its sad demise, plus there are also some of these new fangled CDs for sale.
The Leeds Festival is an annual event which takes place at Bramham Park. The August event always attracts the big names, so book early.
Music lovers should also head to Music at Leeds’ Kirkstall Abbey in August. Classical music played out against a background of the cloisters of this 12th Century abbey – all free
If you love food get to Leeds Loves Food. The event gathers momentum as the years pass, now in its 6th year and bigger and better than ever at Millennium Square in July.
For two weeks in June, the West Yorkshire Playhouse brings world class theatrical artists to Leeds at the Transform event. Wristbands are available for daily events and cost £15 each.
The Affordable Vintage Fair takes place in December. You can pick up a bargain here with clothes and homewares from the 1920s to the 1980s (yikes - is the 80s now vintage?) at the Leeds Corn Exchange.
When To Go
Leeds’ climate follows the UK generally with no real extremes – just the changes of the seasons, and a mixture of sunny and overcast days throughout the year.
Temperatures during a typical English summer are around 20-25 °C, with winter temperatures on average around 6 degrees. Leeds’ northern location can mean sub zero temps and snow though.
Rain – what can we say – always pack your waterproofs and a brolly.
Leeds- Bradford Airport is just 10 miles to the northwest of the city centre, and offers a wide number of domestic and international flights. A bus service connects the airport to the centre which takes around 40 minutes.
Leeds Railway Station is one of the biggest in the UK with connections to all main cities.
Leeds had good road connections to the rest of the UK with National Express running highly competitive and regular services.
With a bustling populace of over 440,000, Leeds is a lively little city with tremendous appeal. The history of the West Yorkshire city on the River Aire runs as far back as the 5th century and by extension, Leeds has a lot to offer visitors to England. Like London and other towns in Great Britain, the city contains numerous areas and subdivisions, each with a unique character and spirit. As a result, the city provides rich rewards for those who tackle it on foot.
Important landmarks include the Leeds Art Gallery, Grand Theatre and several that center around Millenium Square, such as the Leeds City Museum, Town Hall and Leeds Civic Hall. The city is a notable hub for avant-garde musical acts and has a superb nightlife and festival scene. A vibrant student population ensures a steady and heavy stream of reliable pubs, clubs and bars spread out around town.
Attractions & Activities
Restaurants & Nightlife
Leeds is not that different from the rest of England, with mild, rainy weather for most of the year.
- Winter (December to February) 0-7°C
- Spring (March to May) 1.5-15°C
- Summer (June to September) 8.5-20°C
- Fall (October to November) 3-13°C
Granary Wharf, 2 Wharf Approach Map
Signature chocolate chip cookie at check-in
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