Leeds is a beautiful city to walk around, thanks to its Georgian, Victorian and 20th century architecture. It’s also a great spot for shopping, eating out and bar-hopping, as well as checking out the local museums and exhibitions. Here’s what to do in Leeds!
Haven’t discovered Leeds yet? There’s so much to do in this stunning West Yorkshire town. The only problem is where to start!
Admire the architecture
One of the fun things to do in Leeds and the best way to see the city is by foot. Simply walk around the city centre and enjoy getting lost in this pretty city, but make sure you take the time to look up and see a few of its major sights: the Town Hall, a stunning Victorian building and recently renovated interior; the Victoria Quarter and County Arcade, once a rundown part of town that was rebuilt in Edwardian times and is now one of the most elegant shopping destinations; the lovely Park Square gardens; the old Post Office, the City Library; Millennium Square and the City Museum.
All about the shopping
Shopaholics will have the time of their lives in Leeds – there are more than 1,000 shops in the city centre, catering to all styles, budgets and occasions. You can easily lose a few hours wandering through the modern shopping centres, getting lost in the Victorian arcades and pounding the pavements on the pedestrianized streets. The best place to go is Briggate and the Victoria Quarter, right in the heart of Leeds – here, you’ll find all the designer favourites including Louis Vuitton, Ted Baker and Harvey Nichols housed under Europe’s largest stained glass window. Just opposite are the Queens Arcade and Thornton’s Arcade where you’ll find more unusual boutiques as well as cute tea shops. For high street treats, head straight to Trinity Leeds, the city’s newest and biggest shopping and leisure destination. This three-level complex includes 120 shops, cafes, bars, restaurants and a cinema. For vintage finds and one-of-a-kind gifts, the Corn Exchange is your best bet. The exquisite domed building often holds community fairs and markets, and is home to many independent boutiques, as well as cool little cafes.
A night at the opera
Leeds is one of the only UK cities outside of London that boasts its own opera house and ballet company. One of the most popular things to do in Leeds is to enjoy a sophisticated night out with a show at any of the city’s superb theatrical venues. The Northern Ballet is a Leeds-based touring company who perform the likes of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Romeo and Juliet and Beauty and the Beast around the country. When in town, you can see shows at the Leeds West Yorkshire Playhouse, the Leeds Grand Theatre and the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre. Meanwhile, the award-winning Opera North National Opera Company performs not only the classic operas, but also world premieres of productions rarely seen in Britain. See performances at the Leeds Town Hall, Grand Theatre and Opera House.
Get out of town!
The historic Harewood House is a must-see on any trip to Leeds. This 18th century royal estate is just eight miles from the city centre and the perfect place for a daytime escape to the country. Admire the rare furniture and incredible Italian Renaissance painting collection in the main house, then take a walk in the sunshine around the famous 1,000-acre gardens, designed by England’s greatest gardener, Capability Brown. Don’t miss the Harewood Bird Garden where you can see over 30 species of exotic birds from all around the world, including penguins, flamingos, parrots and cockatoos!