22 Spectacular Things to do in Leeds, England
Updated On: March 19, 2023
Leeds is a well-known city in North Britain, west of Yorkshire, on the banks of the river Ayre, and surrounded by Huddersfield and Bradford. Leeds is the second-largest city in this county after Sheffield.
It is a commercial, economic and financial district. Leeds contains four famous universities in Britain. The University of Leeds’s the most important. Leeds is one of the cities visited by many students annually to study at its universities.
History of Leeds
The history of the emergence of the ancient city of Leeds goes back to the days of Roman rule. The name Leeds is derived from the word Ladenses, which means fast-flowing River.
In the Middle Ages, Leeds was a large commercial market targeted by many merchants to sell their imported and locally manufactured goods; with the prosperity of trade, it witnessed tremendous civilised growth, which contributed to its incorporation to be part of the United Kingdom.
At the beginning of the 18th century, attention was given to constructing a railway in Leeds, a group of productive factories and mills used to grind grain, and chemical plant factories were also built, contributing to its economic progress.
The affairs of the city of Leeds are currently managed by a local authority represented by a city council, which helps implement all government and legal services. A group of private companies also provides the population with various industrial services.
Weather in Leeds
Leeds is one of the best cities to visit from April to September because it is considered the best climate period in the city. The weather there is mild thanks to the beautiful landscapes in the city. One of the least rainy months is February, while January is one of the hottest months.
Football in Leeds
Leeds includes many famous football teams, it is a popular sport among the people in the town, and the most famous team in the city is Leeds United.
The club was formed in 1919, the team’s current stadium is Island Road, and they have many nicknames, such as The Whites and The Peacocks.
The club competes in the English Premier League. It spent most of its history competing in the first division.
They won one League Cup, one FA Cup, and three English Premier League titles. The club also made it to the 1975 European Cup final but lost to Bayern Munich.
The club’s golden era was in the sixties and seventies of the last century. When it won for the first time in its history the English Premier League championship in 1969, then again in 1974, and also earned the English Premier League championship in 1992.
Things to do in Leeds
Tourism in Leeds is unique, as the city of Leeds has become widely known among the world’s countries as one of the best places that attract tourists annually. It is considered Britain’s cultural, tourist and marketing destination because it is in the middle of Britain.
Leeds has many recreational, religious, and historical attractions, shops, and shopping centres. Leeds is called the shopping capital of Britain because of its beautiful centres and shops.
In the coming part, you will learn more about Leeds, the most famous and best places and attractions, and the most prominent hotels available in the city. To become a tourist guide before visiting the city, let us start our tour there.
The Headrow is a street in the centre of Leeds, where you can find many shops and cultural attractions. While walking on the road, you will find many famous buildings, such as Leeds Town Hall.
The street was opened in 1856, serving as the template for numerous buildings across Britain and its empire. Also, it is where the West Yorkshire Playhouse is found, known to be the most prominent production theatre outside London. Besides that, the Grade-II-listed Leeds City Varieties is the oldest music hall in the world.
The Royal Armouries Museum
The Royal Armouries Museum is famous for being home to Britain’s national arms and armour collection. It is in the city’s dock area and includes over 8,500 objects spread over six magnificent galleries.
The museum holds about 3,000 years’ worth of weapons from all over the world, and you will see Tournament Gallery, showcasing the greatness of medieval jousting tournaments. Also, you will find the Oriental Gallery with its samples of armour from Asia, and Africa.
It is known that there are many parks in England covered in magnificent green places, and most of them are located just outside the cities. The park is located north of Leeds City, with 700 acres of trees, two clear lakes, and green space.
It is a perfect place for families, with several formal gardens and two playgrounds for your children, and buses run regularly from Leeds City Centre to the park. Another place you can visit inside Roundhay Park is the Tropical World. Stop by the building to see the butterfly house that includes about forty different species of butterflies.
John the Evangelist’s Church
St. John, the Evangelist’s Church, is a beautiful church in England; built in 1634. When you visit the church, you will notice that the interior is distinguished by having two naves, a Renaissance rood screen, a pulpit, and stalls.
There are other religious places that you can visit too such as St. Anne’s Cathedral, the Roman Catholic cathedral, and the Georgian Church of Holy Trinity.
The Briggate area is considered one of the famous historic shopping hallways in Leeds City and England. While walking through the place, you will find that most of the shops there has a unique architectural element.
You can visit the Grand Arcade in the Briggate Area, built in 1897 with small boutique shops. The Thorntons Arcade was completed in 1878 and is famous for its four life-sized figures clock.
Also, there is Queens Arcade, which was opened in 1889, where you can find designer and novelty shop.
Thackray Medical Museum
Thackray Medical Museum is another place in Leeds City worth visiting. It is next to St. James’s University Hospital, housing a collection of 20,000 medical artefacts, and displays the medicines’ development through the ages.
While touring the museum, you can see an authentic reproduction of the Leeds slum area during Victorian times. It is also an excellent place for children to have fun learning about medicine and working their way through the body.
Harwood House is the residence of the Earl of Harewood. It is a beautiful Georgian country house built in 30 years and was finished in 1771.
The house is outside of Leeds City; when you visit the place, you will enjoy a spectacular interior designed by Robert Adam with walls and ceiling paintings by Angelika Kauffmann and furniture by English furniture maker Thomas Chippendale.
Also, you will see many exquisite pieces by Reynolds, Gainsborough, and El Greco. The landscape is designed by Capability Brown, with a 32-acre lake and a bird garden.
Leeds Kirkgate Market
Leeds Kirkgate Market is one of the popular attractions in Leeds. There you will find many stalls that contain everything from high-quality fresh food to jewellery, electronics and fishmongers.
The building was designed in a Victorian style with a glass roof. You can stop by on your way to the centre of Leeds.
Leeds Corn Exchange
Leeds Corn Exchange is considered one of the finest Victorian buildings. There you can also find independent retail enterprises, large chain shops, music shops, and some beautiful hand-crafted jewellery shops.
You can enjoy your vanilla coffee and grab a snack in Humpit, one of Leeds’s first hummus and pita bars. The place was designed by Cuthbert Brodrick and completed in 1864.
Abbey House Museum
Abbey House is located just west of Leeds City in Aire Valley, while the Abbey House Museum in Kirkstall is in a Cistercian house, built in 1152. The remains include a roofless church with a narrow choir and a ruined tower, preserved chapter house, and other buildings.
The Abbey House Museum includes the gatehouse and reproduction houses, shops, and workshops showing a glimpse of life in Yorkshire through the centuries. Also, children will love the toys displayed that were common during the 19th century.
The Lotherton Hall was built in the Edwardian era before World War I. It was built by the Gascoigne family, avid collectors of antiquities and art.
There is the Oriental Gallery, that includes items dating back to the 19th century, and the Nightingale Gallery displaying the work of local artists. The place is also surrounded by beautiful gardens, a bird garden that is considered home to 200 species, walking trails, and a playground for children.
Wakefield is a town located about 30 minutes from the south of Leeds by car; it includes an open-air sculpture gallery. This town was the birthplace of English author George Gissing.
Also, there you will find the Wakefield Theatre, which hosts performing arts events. Other attractions you can visit in the town are the ruins of Sandal Castle, Wakefield Cathedral, and the Wakefield Art Gallery. Stop by the Nostell Priory, built on the site of a medieval monastery in the 18th century. The house contains a collection of Chippendale furniture, paintings, and Chinese wallpapers.
The National Coal Mining Museum
The National Coal Mining Museum is located at the former Caphouse Colliery in Overton, just near Wakefield Town, showing the hard life of the miners at one of the country’s oldest coal mines.
There are underground tours and a visitor centre with exhibits about the colliery’s history. Children can catch a fun ride on one of the paddy trains used to drag workers around the massive site.
Temple Newsam House
Temple Newsam House is a perfect place to visit in Leeds. It is a mansion of 40 beautiful rooms, built on a 900-acre park on the city’s outskirts.
When you enter the mansion, you will see the beautiful interior design with various Old Master paintings and a collection of Leeds creamware and silver. The exterior design has beautifully manicured grounds with great rose bushes; it is one of the largest working rare breeds farms in Europe.
Hyde Park Picture House
Hyde Park Picture House was built in 1914, it is considered a unique building as it was built during World War I, and it includes many features like an ornate balcony, classic red chairs, and the original gaslighting. It also includes operational projectors.
Harrogate is a famous spa town in England due to the medicinal springs discovered in the 16th century. Nowadays, it is a magnificent holiday resort, including parks and flowers. It is known as Britain’s Floral Resort.
You will see a gardening museum, a model village, and a 68-acre site when you visit the place. Also, you will find famous elegant boutiques and antique shops. The Harrogate International Festival is held throughout the year and consists of a series of excellent European best festivals.
Hotels to stay in Leeds City
Novotel Leeds Centre
It is a famous hotel located in the city centre, and is only about 5 minutes away from Leeds Rail Station. Many restaurants, shopping centres, shops, and beautiful attractions surround the hotel.
The hotel includes air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi, a big-screen TV. Also, you will find a refrigerator and a coffee and tea maker. The hotel also allows pets. A swimming pool provides the visitor with a relaxing swimming experience.
Radisson Blu Hotel
Radisson Blu Hotel is in The Light complex, which is famous for its shopping and entertainment in the city centre of Leeds. The hotel is surrounded by many excellent restaurants and art galleries that tourists visit more often.
The rooms in the hotel have air conditioners, TV, telephone, and much more. It offers playing areas for children and smoking rooms. It has a restaurant serving various dishes.
Park Plaza Leeds Hotel
The Park Plaza Leeds Hotel is in the centre of Leeds, near the shopping district, close to many of the city’s famous restaurants. It is a short walk from the Leeds Grand Museum and Leeds Cathedral.
The hotel provides kids’ rooms, a large garden, parking spaces, and an exercise centre. The rooms include communication devices, desks, wardrobes, bathrooms with a shower, and bathtub.