Leeds Heritage

Table of Contents


Leeds has more listed buildings than any other city outside London. The built heritage here is one to marvel at and enjoy when strolling through the centre. Leeds Kirkgate Market, part of which is a Grade I listed building dating from 1875, is one of the largest covered markets in Europe and is open 6 days a week.

Leeds Corn Exchange is one of Britain’s finest Victorian buildings and a Grade 1 listed structure. Designed by Cuthbert Brodrick and completed in 1864, Leeds Corn Exchange holds tremendous significance both as an architectural masterpiece and cultural icon.

Kirkstall Abbey is one of the most complete 12th century Cistercian Abbeys in Britain. Enjoy the breathtaking architecture from the luscious green park that surrounds it, and take a trip to the onsite visitor centre to learn about the ruin’s history. See our article on Kirkstall Abbey.


Explore the history of the city at Leeds City Museum in the Leeds Story Gallery, from the first archaeological finds to changing community displays reflecting people’s lives in the city today. Or visit Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills; the Galleries and collections tell the story of number of industries that have shaped the city we know and love today, from the recreated Victoria Cottages through to the waterwheel.

In addition, the Royal Armouries museum, based at Leeds Dock, is one of the country’s best museums for budding historians and fans of adventure. It is home to the UK’s largest collection of arms, armour and artillery, including Henry VIII’s original armour, as well as hosting a number of workshops and events including sword fighting and jousting.

Historic Houses

For a slice of British history the city has plenty to offer with a number of nearby historical houses, including Harewood House and Temple Newsam, as well as Kirkstall Abbey, one of the most complete Cistercian Abbeys in the whole of the UK. Harewood House, just fifteen minutes from the city centre, houses one of the best art collections including originals by Turner. As well as boasting connections with royalty, the intricate interior of the house is in immaculate condition. The grounds boast an exotic bird garden, Himalayan garden and Capability Brown designed gardens. Temple Newsam, similarly offers a delightful combination of history and nature, with the historic house showcasing a fascinating costume gallery, while the grounds are home to a rare breed farm.

Discover More: Leeds & West Yorkshire.