15 Best Things to Do in Leeds, England

15 Best Things to Do in Leeds, England

By will

Are you looking for a memorable experience in Leeds, England?

Look no further!

With its vibrant culture, rich history, and diverse attractions, Leeds is the perfect destination for those seeking a truly unique adventure.

From historical sites to modern marvels, there’s something for everyone in this lively city.

Here are 15 of the best things to do when you visit Leeds – get ready to be amazed!

1. Go Wildlife Spotting At Rodley Nature Reserve

A Heron and Swans at Rodley Nature Reserve
Photo by David Goodall

If you’re looking for an adventure in the great outdoors, head to Rodley Nature Reserve in Leeds.

Located between the River Aire and the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, this stunning nature reserve is a haven for wildlife lovers.

From birds to butterflies, it’s sure to have something special to offer.

Visitors can take part in a variety of activities here, from guided tours to self-guided walks.

You’ll find plenty of trails winding through the reserve, giving you the chance to explore its vast array of flora and fauna.

Whether you’re an avid bird watcher or just want to get away from it all and enjoy some peace and quiet, there’s something for everyone here.

So pack your binoculars and head out on a wildlife spotting expedition – you won’t be disappointed!

2. Wander Around The Ruins Of Kirkstall Abbey

Kirkstall Abbey Ruins
Photo by Graham Robson

If you’re looking to explore some of the most fascinating histories in Leeds, then a trip to the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey is a must.

The abbey, set alongside the River Aire, dates all the way back to 1152 and has stood witness to a turbulent period of English history ever since.

As you wander around the ruins, you’ll be able to take in the stunning Gothic architecture and imagine what life was like for those who once lived here.

You’ll also be able to take in incredible views of both the surrounding countryside and distant cityscape.

It’s truly an awe-inspiring experience that will stay with you long after your visit.

There’s no better way to explore Leeds’ rich past than a visit to Kirkstall Abbey’s ruins – it’s sure to leave an unforgettable impression!

3. Discover Birds, Period Art And Ruins At Harewood House

Harewood House
Photo by Peter Jeffery

Harewood House is an iconic landmark of Leeds and an absolute must-see for all visitors.

An 18th-century country house set in sprawling grounds, it’s the perfect spot to soak up some of the incredible histories of England.

The bird garden is home to exotic species from around the world, and the period art collections will take your breath away.

Then there are the ruins; explore these ancient remains and discover a hidden past that you never knew existed.

The grounds are vast and full of surprises, so make sure you bring your camera to capture all the stunning views.

Bring a picnic, or purchase one from their cafe and enjoy it while you take in all that Harewood has to offer.

There are also plenty of activities for kids, so this is a great destination for families who want to experience something special together.

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With its array of art, wildlife, and history, Harewood House is one place you won’t want to miss when visiting Leeds!

4. Stroll Around Roundhay Park

After taking in the old-world charm of Harewood House, it’s time to experience the modern marvels of Roundhay Park.

This 700-acre oasis is one of Leeds’ most beloved attractions, and it’s easy to see why.

With its sprawling green spaces, breathtaking views, and abundance of activities, Roundhay Park is a must-visit destination for any traveler.

Once you enter the park, you’ll be greeted by lush lawns perfect for picnicking on a summer day.

If you’re feeling adventurous, grab a bike or rent a rowboat to explore the lake.

For those who prefer more leisurely pursuits, there are plenty of walking paths and gardens that offer stunning vistas and opportunities for wildlife watching.

And if you’re looking for something truly unique, take a guided tour through Tropical World – an exotic rainforest house full of exotic plants and animals.

Whatever your pleasure, Roundhay Park has something for everyone – making it one of Leeds’ top attractions.

5. Dine At Murgatroyds

Dine at Murgatroyds in Leeds is an absolute must if you’re looking for some of the best fish and chips around.

With its cozy atmosphere and friendly staff, it’s a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Established in 1952, this old-fashioned eatery is a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

The menu includes traditional favorites such as cod, haddock, and plaice accompanied by chips or mashed potatoes, mushy peas, and a variety of sauces.

The generous portions are guaranteed to satisfy any appetite!

You can also sample some of their delicious seafood dishes like scampi, prawns, calamari, or even battered sausage.

With prices that won’t break the bank, this is one dining experience that won’t disappoint!

Whether you’re looking for a quick bite before exploring the sights of Leeds or an enjoyable evening meal with friends, Murgatroyds is sure to hit the spot.

Plus with its great location near Leeds station and other attractions like Kirkstall Abbey, it’s easy to make a day out of it!

So why not take a trip down memory lane with some classic British cuisine at this classic family-run restaurant?

We guarantee you won’t regret it!

6. Visit The Royal Armouries

Next up on your itinerary is a visit to The Royal Armouries.

This iconic museum houses the national collection of Arms and Armor and is one of the oldest museums in the world.

From swords to firearms, you’ll get an in-depth look at the history of warfare and how it has shaped our world today.

The Royal Armouries boasts five floors full of fascinating exhibits, with something for everyone.

You can explore the galleries and interactive displays to learn about weapons from around the globe throughout history.

There are even live demonstrations and educational activities for kids, making it a great day out for all ages!

Best of all, admission is free so that you can take as much time as you like to explore this incredible destination.

So make sure you don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind experience when you’re in Leeds!

7. Visit Leeds City Museum

Leeds City Museum is a must-see spot if you’re visiting Leeds.

It’s the city’s oldest museum, and it offers a wealth of history and culture to explore.

The museum hosts an array of permanent collections, as well as temporary exhibitions.

There’s something for everyone, from history buffs to art lovers.

The museum houses collections on everything from archaeology to fine art, meaning there’s plenty for visitors to explore and learn about.

A particular highlight is the Ancient Egypt gallery, which features some fascinating artifacts from Egypt’s past.

There are also interactive displays that add an extra layer of fun to the experience.

Meanwhile, the contemporary art gallery showcases some of Leeds’ best modern artists.

No matter what your interests are, Leeds City Museum is sure to provide something of interest – it’s truly a unique destination that should not be missed!

Leeds Art Gallery is a must-visit for art aficionados.

Located in the heart of Leeds, this gallery houses some of Britain’s best collections of modern and contemporary art.

It also features a wide array of sculptures and photographs from all over the world.

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With its stunning architecture and beautiful displays, it’s sure to captivate the imagination.

From immersive installations to thought-provoking exhibitions, there’s something here for everyone.

The gallery has an impressive collection of works from renowned international artists such as Damien Hirst and Yoko Ono.

There are also pieces from up-and-coming local artists that add their own flavor to the mix.

The permanent collections are always free which makes it an ideal spot for budget travelers looking to enjoy some culture at no cost.

Be sure to check out the special events held throughout the year where you can get a deeper insight into the works on display.

Whether you’re a seasoned art fan or just curious, Leeds Art Gallery is bound to inspire!

9. A Trip To Leeds Discovery Centre

After visiting the Leeds Art Gallery, why not take a trip to Leeds Discovery Centre?

This educational center is located in the heart of the city and offers visitors an exciting way to learn more about the history and culture of Leeds.

Discover a wide range of interactive displays that explain how this vibrant city has evolved over time.

You can also explore their unique collection of artifacts, including archaeological finds and objects from Roman Britain.

The Leeds Discovery Centre is packed with activities for all ages; from children’s workshops to adult lectures.

There are plenty of opportunities to get involved in interesting things such as discovering our local environment, craft activities, and learning about the history of trade in Leeds.

For those who want to find out more about life in this exciting city, there are guided tours that reveal hidden stories from its past.

So why not take some time out of your day and visit the Leeds Discovery Centre?

Enjoy a fun-filled day filled with learning and discovery!

10. Visit The Leeds Victoria Quarter

The Leeds Victoria Quarter is a must-see for anyone visiting the city of Leeds.

Located in the heart of the city, this elegant shopping district is one of the UK’s most opulent retail spaces.

Whether you’re looking for high-end fashion, unique artisanal crafts, or even just a special souvenir to take home, the Victoria Quarter has something for everyone.

From designer stores such as Vivienne Westwood and Reiss to independent boutiques like The Card Garden and Rare Magpie, this area is an absolute paradise for shopaholics.

Not only does it offer a wide selection of quality items at competitive prices, but its historic architecture and beautifully adorned streets make it a truly mesmerizing sight.

Take your time walking through the cobbled alleys and open courtyards, taking in all the sights, sounds, and smells that make up this iconic corner of Leeds.

With so much to explore here, you could easily spend an entire day indulging in some guilt-free retail therapy!

11. Experience Partying At A Music Festival

When it comes to partying, Leeds is definitely the place to be.

From intimate clubs and bars to huge concerts and music festivals, the city has something for everyone.

For those looking for a unique experience, there’s no better way to explore the city’s vibrant nightlife than with a ticket to one of its many music festivals.

From the world-famous Leeds Festival to smaller events like ‘Live At Leeds’ and ‘Carnival 56’, there’s no shortage of incredible music experiences in this amazing city.

The atmosphere at these events is electric; you’ll get lost in the infectious beats as you dance along with your friends or new acquaintances.

You can also take time out from the music to enjoy some delicious food from nearby vendors or take part in interesting conversations at nearby stalls.

Not only will you have an unforgettable time, but you’ll be sure to make some incredible memories too.

So if you’re looking for an unforgettable night out, a trip to one of Leeds’ many music festivals should certainly be on your list!

With so much variety and lots of exciting activities, it’s an amazing way to discover what the city has to offer – and have lots of fun while doing it!

12. Lunch At Kirkgate Market

At the heart of Leeds lies Kirkgate Market, a treasure trove of culinary delights.

It’s one of England’s oldest and largest covered markets, boasting over 800 stalls that draw in locals and tourists alike.

There’s something for everyone here – from fresh produce and spices to kitchen tools, clothing, gifts, and even pet supplies.

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But what really stands out is the food!

Whether you’re looking for a quick snack or want to explore the variety of restaurants on offer, you won’t be disappointed.

The market is a great spot for lunchtime dining.

You can sample classic British dishes like fish & chips, or opt for international cuisine such as Indian or Chinese.

Vegetarian options are also available if you wish.

The atmosphere is always buzzing with people enjoying their meals and chatting away – it’s a great way to immerse yourself in Leeds culture.

So take some time out from sightseeing and indulge in some delicious local fare at Kirkgate Market!

13. Head On A Street Art Trail

Leeds is a vibrant city, and it has plenty of incredible street art to explore.

Taking a street art tour around the city is one of the best ways to experience its unique culture.

As you wander through the city, you’ll come across stunning pieces that have been created by local artists.

From colorful murals to thought-provoking installations, there’s something for everyone to appreciate.

If you want to go on a self-guided tour, you can use an app such as Street Art Cities or Graffitimaps.

Both are great tools for finding out more about Leeds’ street art scene and discovering hidden gems in your neighborhood.

You can also search for specific pieces or take a look at the works of renowned local graffiti artists like Banksy and Stikki Peaches.

Exploring Leeds’ street art is sure to be an enriching experience – not only will it give you an insight into the city’s unique culture but it will also make your travels much more exciting and memorable!

So why not head out on your own street art trail and explore what this amazing city has to offer?

14. Indulge In Afternoon Tea At The Tetley

If you’re in Leeds, England, the perfect way to indulge is with afternoon tea at The Tetley.

This former brewery has been transformed into a vibrant arts center and café.

The atmosphere is inviting and relaxed – a great spot to unwind and take in the local culture.

Enjoy a selection of finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, warm pastries, and homemade cakes with your cup of tea.

All are freshly prepared by the café’s talented chefs.

For those looking for something stronger than tea, there’s also a great selection of craft beers and ciders on offer.

The Tetley also hosts regular events including live music, film screenings, and art exhibitions – so there’s always something new to experience while you relax over your afternoon tea!

So why not make The Tetley your destination for an afternoon of indulgence?

15. Dance The Night Away On Call Lane

Call Lane is the ultimate destination for night owls looking to let loose.

This vibrant street is lined with bars and clubs, each offering something different.

From relaxed pubs to underground music venues, there’s something here for everyone.

You can spend the night dancing away to the latest beats or take a break between sets and enjoy a few drinks at one of the many bars.

You’ll also find plenty of food options on Call Lane, making it easy to refuel while you’re out on the town.

No matter your taste in music or style of dress, you’ll fit right in on Call Lane.

This colorful street is full of people who are there for one thing: to have a good time!

So put on your dancing shoes and get ready for an unforgettable night out in Leeds!

Best Things to Do in Leeds – Final Thoughts

I’m sure you’ll agree that this list of the 15 best things to do in Leeds, England is the perfect way to experience all that the city has to offer.

From wildlife spotting at Rodley Nature Reserve to indulging in afternoon tea at The Tetley and dancing the night away on Call Lane, there’s something for everyone.

If you’re looking for a unique experience, look no further than Leeds!

Whether it’s biking around Roundhay Park or exploring the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey, you’re sure to make lasting memories here.

Plus, with so many delicious dining options like Murgatroyds and the famous Kirkgate Market, it’s easy to find something tasty while you’re visiting.

All in all, Leeds can easily satisfy any traveler’s craving for adventure.

So don’t wait any longer – pack your bags and head off on an unforgettable journey through this vibrant city!


What are the best things to do in Leeds with kids?

The best things to do in Leeds with kids are visiting the Royal Armouries Museum, Abbey House Museum, and Harewood House Trust.

What to do during the day in Leeds?

The best things to do during the day in Leeds are visit Royal Armouries Museum, stroll in Roundhay Park, and Kirkstall Abbey.

Is Leeds worth visiting?

Yes, Leeds is worth visiting because of its vibrant community and renowned retail destinations.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.