25 fun things to do in leeds yorkshire

25 Fun Things To Do & See In Leeds, Yorkshire

Whether you’re looking for a lively city break or a relaxed country getaway, Leeds is the perfect destination for a weekend away (or longer). This vibrant city has something for everyone, from world-class museums and galleries to historic castles and lively nightlife.

You’re also within easy reach of the stunning Yorkshire Dales and Peak District, so you can enjoy the best of city life and the great outdoors, all within a few days.

Leeds is the largest city in Yorkshire and the Humber region, with a population of over 750,000 people. Known for its diverse culture and vibrant nightlife, there is a plethora of historical places to see in Leeds and an almighty list of top things to do to keep you busy during your stay.

Whether you want to wander around the fantastic museums, shop at the local markets, or spend a night on the tiles, there are plenty of options to keep everyone happy and entertained.

Ready to discover the best fun things to do in Leeds? Let’s get to it…

 

Brief History Of Leeds

Leeds is a city in West Yorkshire, England. The name Leeds is derived from the Old English Ladenses and means “people of the fast-flowing river”, in reference to the River Aire that flows through the city.

The city has a long and rich history dating back to Roman times. Leeds was originally a small town known as Loidis. However, the town began to grow in the Middle Ages due to its strategic location at the intersection of two major trade routes

Historically, Leeds was a market town and an important centre for the woollen trade. The Leeds Civic Trust notes that the city’s coat of arms, which features three white seahorses on a blue background, represents this maritime history.

In the 18th century, Leeds became a major hub for the production of cloth and Towcester was one of the largest export markets for Leeds cloth. The Industrial Revolution led to further growth in Leeds, with factories being built to produce textiles, machinery and other products.

The city continued to prosper in the 19th and 20th centuries, becoming a major centre for commerce, industry and culture. Today, Leeds is a thriving metropolis with a rich history and a bright future.

 

Best Things To Do In Leeds, Yorkshire

 

1. Visit The Royal Armouries Museum

royal armouries museum top things to do in leeds for a weekend

The Royal Armouries Museum is a must-see for history lovers and families. This world-class museum houses the national collection of arms and armour, with over 75,000 artefacts on display.

It is one of the largest museums of its kind in the world. It houses a vast collection of arms and armour, ranging from ancient swords and shields to medieval helms and suits of armour. The museum also has a wide variety of weapons from different cultures and periods, as well as a large number of displays on the history of warfare.

In addition to its vast collections, the museum also has a number of interactive exhibits, making it an enjoyable experience for all ages. If you’re interested in arms and armour, or just want to learn more about the history of warfare, the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds is definitely worth a visit.

You can explore the galleries at your own pace with free admission, or you can join one of the guided tours for a small fee. The museum also has a café and a shop selling books, toys and souvenirs if you’re one who likes to bring a little piece of each place you visit back home with you!

 

2. Admire The Views From Leeds Castle

visit leeds castle during your trip to leeds

Leeds Castle is one of the most iconic landmarks in Yorkshire. Set on an island in the River Len, this historic castle has been home to some of England’s most famous kings and queens.

Leeds Castle has a long and varied history, dating back to the 11th century. The castle began as a motte-and-bailey structure, built by William the Conqueror. In the 12th century, it was remodelled in the Norman style, and later in the 13th century, it was rebuilt in the Stone Gothic style.

The castle changed hands several times over the centuries and was even used as a prison during the Wars of the Roses.

Today, Leeds Castle is a popular tourist destination, known for its beautiful gardens and picturesque setting. Visitors can explore the castle’s rich history through its many exhibits and tours.

There is also a museum on site, which houses a collection of artefacts from the castle’s history. If you’re looking for interesting places to visit in Leeds with the family that’s brimming with history, Leeds Castle is a great start!

 

3. Go Wildlife Spotting At Rodley Nature Reserve

rodley nature reserve things to do outdoors in leeds

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Leeds for adults, with kids, as a couple or with the whole family, a visit to Rodley Nature Reserve is a great option.

This nature reserve is home to a variety of wildlife, including ducks, geese, swans, herons, kingfishers and dragonflies, all sitting within a floodplain of the Kirkstall Valley and itching to be explored.

There are also plenty of walking and cycling trails to explore, so you can make a day of it exploring the different terrains. From marshes and lagoons to grasslands and woodlands, each comes with its own species to spot as you get lost in the peaceful surroundings.

The reserve is located just outside of Leeds city centre, so it’s easily accessible by public transport or car.

 

4. Wander Through Roundhay Park

roundhay park leeds places to spend the afternoon in leeds with family

If you’re looking for free things to do in Leeds on a sunny day, Roundhay Park is the perfect spot for you. This 700-acre park is one of the largest urban parks in Europe and is beloved by both locals and visitors alike.

The park has something for everyone, with two lakes, woodland walks, gardens, a café and a playground. Roundhay Park is also home to a number of events throughout the year, so there’s always something going on.

In the summer months, you can enjoy live music at the bandstand, or take part in one of the parkrun events that are held every Saturday morning. There’s also an annual food and drink festival, which is the perfect opportunity to sample some of Leeds’ best cuisine.

 

5. Explore Tropical World

tropical world fun things to do in leeds with kids

Leading straight on from Roundhay Park is Tropical World – a zoological park located in Roundhay Park itself. As the name suggests, the park is home to a variety of tropical animals, including reptiles, fish, amphibians, mammals and birds.

The park has a number of different habitats for its animals, from the steamy rainforest to the arid desert. You can explore each habitat at your own pace, or join one of the guided tours that are offered.

There’s also a café on-site, so you can refuel after a day of exploring. If you’re looking for things to do in Leeds with the kids, Tropical World is a great option.

 

6. Shop Till You Drop At Trinity Shopping Centre

trinity shopping centre best things to do in indoors in leeds when its raining

Leeds is a great city for shopping, and Trinity Shopping Centre is one of the best places to go. This large indoor shopping centre is home to a variety of high-street and designer stores, as well as a food court and a number of restaurants.

The shopping centre is a vibrant and lively place, with something to suit everyone. The centre is home to a wide range of stores, from high-end fashion boutiques to more affordable chain stores. There are also plenty of places to eat and drink, ranging from fast food outlets to cafes and restaurants sprawled across the different foodie areas.

The centre is always busy, with a mix of locals and visitors alike. Trinity is also well-connected, with excellent transport links to the rest of Leeds and beyond, making a visit here that much easier

And, if you are looking for something to do In Leeds on a rainy day, then Trinity Shopping Centre is the perfect spot.

 

7. Visit The Henry Moore Institute

henry moore institute fun things to do in leeds city

The Henry Moore Institute is a world-renowned centre for the study of sculpture. The institute is located in Leeds city centre and is home to a number of exhibitions, events and programmes.

The institute also has a library and research centre, which is perfect for those who want to learn more about the history and theory of sculpture. You’ll find the research libraries open from Monday to Friday, and the galleries from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am until 5pm.

If you’re looking for quirky things to do whilst visiting this historical city, then a visit to the Henry Moore Institute is definitely worth considering.

 

8. Take A Walk Through The Meanwood Valley Trail

meanwood trail hikes to do in leeds

The Meanwood Valley Trail is a seven-mile walking trail that runs through the north of Leeds. The trail follows the River Mean from Golden Acre Park to Rothwell Country Park, passing through a number of different landscapes along the way.

You’ll get to see everything from woodlands and meadows to waterfalls and wetlands, all while getting some fresh air and exercise. The trail is well-signposted, so it’s easy to follow even if you’re not familiar with the area.

The Meanwood Valley Trail is a great option if you’re looking for something to do in Leeds that is both active and scenic.

 

 

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9. Eat Fish & Chips At Murgatroyds

best fish and chips in leeds city centre

Murgatroyds is a popular fish and chips restaurant in Leeds, England, and quite possibly one of the best fish and chip restaurants in the country!

The restaurant is famed for its fresh, delicious seafood and its friendly, welcoming atmosphere and has been serving customers since 1864, making it one of the oldest fish and chips restaurants in the UK.

The restaurant is located on Harrogate Rd, and it is always packed with customers. The menu features a wide variety of seafood, including cod, haddock, plaice, shrimp, and calamari.

The restaurant also offers a traditional English breakfast, as well as a variety of side dishes. Overall, it is an affordable option for both tourists and locals alike, and it is definitely worth a visit if you are ever in Leeds.

If I was you though, I would book in advance if you don’t want to be disappointed.

 

10. Shop At Leeds Corn Exchange

leeds cornexchange best places to go shopping in leeds

 

Leeds Corn Exchange is a historic building located in the heart of Leeds city centre. The building was originally built as a corn exchange in 1864 but has since been transformed into a shopping centre, with a variety of independent shops and cafes.

The Corn Exchange is a great place to find unique gifts and souvenirs, as well as to enjoy a cup of coffee or a bite to eat. The building is also home to a number of events and markets throughout the year, all housed under the grandiose architectural masterpiece and domed ceilings.

If supporting an independent business over the large retail conglomerates is more your cup of tea, then you will love a trip to the Corn Exchange. Stop and have a coffee at Vanilla, a nosey through vintage shops like Twit-Woo, and dive into the many handmade jewellery boutiques and craft shops.

If you are looking for unusual things to do in Leeds that are a bit out of the ordinary, then definitely add Leeds Corn Exchange to your list.

 

11. Visit The Grand Theatre

visit the grand theatre in leeds

The Grand Theatre is a historic theatre located in Leeds city centre. The theatre first opened its doors in 1878 and has since become one of the most popular venues in the city, hosting a variety of different shows and events.

The theatre is home to both touring West End shows and local amateur dramatic productions, as well as musicals, operas, comedy shows and dance performances, so there is always something on to suit whatever it is you fancy!

The theatre has played host to some of the biggest names in showbiz, including Judy Garland, Sir Laurence Olivier, and Joan Rivers. It has also been the setting for many major films and TV shows, such as Downton Abbey and Emmerdale.

The theatre is truly a Leeds landmark and catching a show during your time in Leeds should be high up on your list. And even better, if you’re looking for fun things to do for couples, then check out what is on at the Grand Theatre before you arrive.

 

12. Explore Kirkstall Abbey

kirkstall abbey cool plces to see in leeds

Kirkstall Abbey is a ruined Cistercian monastery located in the Kirkstall district of Leeds, just 5km from Leeds city centre. It is one of the largest ruins of an abbey church in England; Oxford’s has a larger monastic precinct but its church is mostly 19th-century rebuild.

Kirkstall Abbey was founded in 1152 by Robert de Lacy, 2nd Baron of Pontefract who gave the nuns land near intuitions where monks and nuns were religious people who chose to live away from others in order to better devote themselves to religious activities such as prayer and study.

The Cistercian order, which the monks at Kirkstall belonged to, was known for its simple lifestyle and self-sufficiency. The monks at Kirkstall Abbey farmed the land around them and were also involved in industries such as wool production and milling.

The Abbey flourished for centuries until the dissolution of the monasteries under King Henry VIII in the 16th century.

The ruins are now a grade I listed building and a scheduled ancient monument, and the site is managed by English Heritage. The abbey is open to the public and there is also a museum on site which tells the story of the Cistercian order and its history.

 

13. Visit City Varieties Music Hall

city varieties music hall fun places to visit in leeds

The City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds is a Victorian theatre that first opened its doors in 1858. The theatre has a rich history, hosting some of the biggest names in entertainment, including Charlie Chaplin, Harry Houdini, and Laurel and Hardy.

Today, the City Varieties Music Hall continues to host a variety of shows and events, ranging from comedy and music to dance and drama. The theatre is also home to the city’s only permanent wooden stage, which was built in 1892.

Despite undergoing several renovations over the years, the City Varieties Music Hall has retained its original charm and is considered one of the most iconic theatres in Leeds, and is well worth a visit in you’re in town.

 

14. Wander Around The Abbey House Museum

abbey house museum fun things to do in leeds with kids

The Abbey House Museum in Leeds is a fascinating and educational place to visit. The museum tells the story of everyday life in medieval England, from the abbey itself to the people who lived and worked there.

One of the highlights is the Abbey Living History Gallery, which brings the abbey to life with actors portraying monks and nuns going about their daily tasks. The museum also has a range of interactive exhibits, including a Victorian schoolroom and a working blacksmith’s forge.

The Abbey House Museum is also home to a number of historic artifacts, including a 12th-century stone carving of the Virgin Mary and a 15th-century copy of the Gutenberg Bible. In addition, there are often temporary exhibitions on topics related to Leeds’ history.

Whether you’re a local or just visiting, the Abbey House Museum is definitely one of the most fun things to do in Leeds with kids and the whole family.

 

15. Step back In Time At Kirkgate Market

kirkgate market interesting places to see in leeds city centre

Kirkstall Road is a bustling and vibrant area of Leeds, and at its heart is Kirkstall Market. The market dates back to the 19th century, and while it has undergone some changes over the years, it remains a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.

The market is made up of a series of more than 1,000 covered stalls, selling everything from fresh produce, meat, fish, and dairy products as well as a range of household goods, clothes, and jewellery.

There is also a lively food court, where you can sample dishes from around the world, with loads of options from world curries to Yorkshire pudding wraps.

Kirkstall Market is the perfect place to explore if you’re looking for a bargain or just want to soak up the atmosphere of this historic part of Leeds.

 

16. Visit Middleton Railway

middleton railway interesting things to do close to leeds

Middleton Railway in Leeds is a great place to visit for a day out with the family. The railway has a rich history, dating back to 1758, and today it is home to a variety of locomotives and rolling stock.

Visitors can take a ride on one of the heritage trains, enjoying the scenic views as they travel through the Yorkshire countryside. There are also plenty of opportunities to explore the railway museum and learn about the history of this fascinating place.

The railway is operated entirely by volunteers, and it runs steam and diesel locomotives on a regular basis. Visitors can take a ride on one of the trains and enjoy the scenic views as they travel through this Yorkshire countryside, and once you’re finished, you will be able to explore the railway museum and learn about the history of this historic line.

The Middleton Railway is a great way to experience a piece of Leeds’s industrial heritage, and it’s a fun day out in Leeds for the whole family.

 

17. Explore Harewood House

harewood house top things to do close to leeds

Harewood House is a neoclassical country house located in the Harewood estate just outside of Leeds. The house was built between 1759 and 1771 for Henry Lascelles, 3rd Earl of Harewood, and has been the home of the Lascelles family ever since.

These days, it is now open to the public for tours, where visitors can explore the lavish state rooms decorated with plasterwork, carvings, and paintings. The house also contains an extensive collection of furniture and artwork, including paintings by Gainsborough, Reynolds, and Lawrence.

In addition to its architectural and artistic treasures, Harewood House is also known for its gardens, which were designed by Lancelot “Capability” Brown in the 18th century.

The house is also home to a number of interesting factoids: it was the birthplace of Queen Elizabeth II, and Prince Charles and Diana Spencer were married there in 1981.

Harewood House is a must-see for any fan of English history or architecture, where you’ll be able to tour the house and its gardens, as well as the art gallery and gift shop inside.

You can reach Harewood House by us from Leeds city centre, which leaves every 15 minutes.

 

18. Wander Through The Victoria Quarter

places to go shopping in leeds

The Victoria Quarter in Leeds is an upmarket shopping and dining destination that is popular with both locals and visitors alike.

The Quarter is home to a variety of high-end stores, as well as a number of landmark buildings such as the historic Queens Hotel, all decorated in marble and steel and curved glass ceilings throughout

The Arcades, comprising of the Victoria Quater, Grand, Queens and Thorntons, are all well-known for their stylish bars and restaurants, which offer a range of cuisines to suit all tastes. In addition to its retail and dining offerings, the Victoria Quarter is also home to a number of art galleries and museums, making it the perfect place to while away an afternoon.

Whether you’re looking to indulge in some retail therapy or simply want to explore all that Leeds has to offer, the Victoria Quarter is definitely worth a visit.

 

 

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19. Explore The Leeds City Museum

leeds city museum interesting things to do in leeds city centre

The Leeds City Museum is a large museum located in the city of Leeds. The museum has a wide variety of exhibits, ranging from ancient Egyptian artifacts to contemporary art.

There is also a section of the museum devoted to the city’s history, and another section which houses a planetarium. The museum is extremely popular with both locals and tourists and is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Leeds.

The staff are friendly and knowledgeable, and the museum is a great place to visit in during your visit to Leeds.

20. Visit The Hyde Park Picture House

The Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds is a stunning example of an early 20th-century picture house, built in 1914 and designed by the architect Harry Fairhurst.

The exterior of the building is clad in red brick and terracotta, with a striking arched entranceway. The interior is just as impressive, with a sweeping staircase and ornate plasterwork.

The Picture House is one of the few remaining examples of its kind in the UK, and it is well worth a visit. The building has been carefully restored and now houses a cafe, bar and restaurant so make sure you add it to your list of places to see in Leeds.

It is also available for private hire, making it the perfect setting for weddings and other special events.

 

20. Visit The Hyde Park Picture House

hyde park picture house interesting places to visit whilst visiting leeds

The Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds is a stunning example of an early 20th-century picture house, built in 1914 and designed by the architect Harry Fairhurst.

The exterior of the building is clad in red brick and terracotta, with a striking arched entranceway. The interior is just as impressive, with a sweeping staircase and ornate plasterwork.

The Picture House is one of the few remaining examples of its kind in the UK, and it is well worth a visit. The building has been carefully restored and now houses a cafe, bar and restaurant so make sure you add it to your list of places to see in Leeds.

It is also available for private hire, making it the perfect setting for weddings and other special events.

 

21. Fun Day At Battlefield Leeds (Laser Tag)

battlefield leeds fun things to do in leeds with kids and family

Laser tag is a popular activity for all ages, and Battlefield Leeds offers an exciting and challenging experience for players of all skill levels, and of all ages (big ‘kids’ included).

The arena is designed to look like a realistic battlefield, with plenty of cover for players to hide behind. Additionally, the fog-filled room creates an immersive atmosphere that makes it easy to forget you’re just playing a game.

When the game starts, players are divided into teams and given objectives to complete. For example, one team might be tasked with capturing an enemy base, while the other team must defend their own base.

As the game progresses, teams will earn points by eliminating enemy players and completing objectives. The team with the most points at the end of the game is declared the winner.

Whether you’re a seasoned laser tag veteran or a first-time player, Battlefield Leeds provides an exhilarating and unforgettable experience for anyone looking for a fun and unforgettable day out in Leeds.

Two hours of fun costs £17.50, and you’ll have to be over the age of 7 to join in on this one.

 

22. Get Out On A Street Art Trail

street art trail cool things to do in leeds yorkshire

Looking for something cool to do in Leeds? The Leeds street art scene has been exploding in recent years, with new murals and pieces popping up all over the city. If you’re looking to explore the best of Leeds street art, a great place to start is the city’s very own Street Art Trail.

The trail spans eight different locations, each showcasing a different style of street art. Highlights include the “Leeds loves life” mural by local artist Jaykoe, the vibrant geometric piece by OaKoAk, and the gigantic spray-painted robot by international artist Solo.

Whether you’re a street art enthusiast or just looking to explore the creative side of Leeds, the Street Art Trail is a great way to see some of the best work in the city.

 

23. Explore The Temple Newsam House

temple newsam house interesting places to see in Leeds

Temple Newsam House is a stunning country estate located just outside of Leeds. The house was built in the Tudor style in 1530 and has been meticulously maintained over the centuries.

Today, it is open to the public as a museum and features a wealth of original period furnishings and artwork. The grounds of the estate are just as beautiful as the house itself and include extensive gardens, woodlands, and a lake.

The house is set on 1,500 acres of land and features a number of gardens, including an Italianate garden and a walled garden, as well as woodland areas and a lake. The estate is even home to a working farm, which produces beef and lamb on-site.

Visitors can enjoy miles of scenic hiking trails, picnicking in the gardens, or simply take in the breathtaking views. Whether you are interested in history or simply looking for a beautiful place to spend a day, Temple Newsam House is one of the best adventurous things to do in Leeds.

 

24. Party The Night Away At Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen

belgrave music hal best things to do in leeds at night

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Leeds at night, then Belgrave Music Hall & canteen might be right up your street.

All the benefits of an outdoor festival under one cosy roof – whether you want street food, local craft ales, live music or just somewhere to lounge around.

If you’re looking for a fun night out in Leeds, Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen is the place to be. This unique venue features all the benefits of an outdoor festival, including a wide variety of food and drink options, as well as a diverse lineup of live music.

The city’s Northern Quarter is now home to a vibrant, youthful multi-storey hangout that was once just a large nursery school. Furthermore, it’s become one of the best live music venues around due to the fact it was created by the Beacons Festival organisers.

The ground floor is dedicated to high-quality, low-cost street food and local craft beer, while the second floor offers a gig space. The rooftop terrace, on the other hand, is the venue’s hidden treasure with fantastic views and comfortable seats to enjoy long summer evenings with friends.

Whether you’re looking to party the night away or just relax and take in the atmosphere, Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen is the perfect place to spend an evening in Leeds.

 

25. Sample Some Heritage Beers On A Brewtown Tour

brewtown tour top things to do in leeds for the weekend

The Brewtown Tour is a key part of Leeds’ heritage and celebrates the city’s brewing history, which dates back to the 12th century. This cool tour takes in some of Leeds’ most historic breweries, including Theakston’s, Joshua Blake’s and Tetley’s.

The Brewtown Tour is a great way to learn about Leeds’ rich brewing history, and it’s also a fantastic way to taste some of the city’s best beers. The tour gets booked up quickly so book this one in advance, and tickets can be bought online at Brewtown Tours’ official website.

So, if you’re a fan of beer, make sure you don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to explore Leeds’ brewing heritage.

 

25 Fun Things To Do In Leeds, Yorkshire

  1. Royal Armouries Museum
  2. Leeds Castle
  3. Rodley Nature Reserve
  4. Roundhay Park
  5. Tropical World
  6. Trinity Shopping Centre
  7. Henry Moore Institute
  8. Meanwood Valley Train
  9. Fish & Chips at Murgatroyds
  10. Leeds Corn Exchange
  11. Grand Theatre
  12. Kirkstall Abbey
  13. Varieties Music Hall
  14. Abbey House Museum
  15. Kirkgate Market
  16. Middleton Railway
  17. Harewood House
  18. The Arcades / Victoria Quater
  19. Leeds City Museum
  20. Hyde Park Picture House
  21. Battlefield Leeds (laser tag)
  22. Street Art Trail
  23. Temple Newsam House
  24. Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen
  25. Brewtown Tour

 

FAQ

How should I spend a day in Leeds?

There’s plenty to see and do in Leeds for a day as a tourist. For history buffs, the Royal Armouries Museum is a must-see, with its collection of over 75,000 objects ranging from medieval armour to firearms. Art lovers can stroll through the Leeds Art Gallery, which houses one of the largest collections of 20th-century British art in the world. And for those who want to do some shopping, the victoria Quarter is home to high-end stores like Harvey Nichols and Louis Vuitton. Whatever your interests, Leeds has a little corner for everyone

Is Leeds worth visiting?

Leeds is absolutely worth visiting. It is a great city for a day trip and for those longer vacations. There’s plenty to see and do, ranging from museums and art galleries to shopping and nightlife. And with its central location in England, Leeds is the perfect base for exploring the rest of the country. So whether you’re looking for a city break or a country getaway, Leeds is definitely worth a visit.

What is Leeds most famous for?

Leeds is most famous for its breweries, museums, and art galleries. The city has a rich brewing history dating back to the 12th century, and today there are several popular breweries in Leeds, including Theakston’s, Joshua Blake’s, and Tetley’s. The Royal Armouries Museum is also one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, with its collection of over 75,000 objects. And the Leeds Art Gallery is home to one of the largest collections of 20th-century British art in the world. So whether you’re interested in history, art, or beer, Leeds has something for everyone.

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