The Most Popular Things To Do In Leeds City Centre

You’re about to explore the heart of Leeds City Centre. You’ll marvel at its blend of Victorian and modern architecture, wander along the Leeds Liverpool Canal, and uncover local landmarks like the Kirkstall Abbey.

You’ll revel in the city’s vibrant art scene and get your adrenaline pumping at the Leeds Escape Rooms. There’s no limit to what you can discover.

So, dive in and start your adventure in Leeds City Centre.

Key Points To Note:

  • Leeds City Centre offers a wide range of cultural attractions, including museums, art galleries, and historic buildings.
  • The waterfront activities in Leeds City Centre provide opportunities for scenic walks along the canal, exploring local landmarks, and enjoying picturesque views.
  • The city centre also offers a unique Burlesque experience for those interested in learning the art and exploring femininity.
  • The Royal Armouries Museum is a must-visit attraction, showcasing the UK’s national collection of arms and armour with live combat demonstrations.

Events In Leeds

Below can see some of the current events in Leeds.

Image name Jane McDonald at Sheffield City Hall Oval Hall Sheffield the 1 image from the post The Most Popular Things To Do In Leeds City Centre in Yorkshire.com.

Jane McDonald at First Direct Arena, Leeds

Clay Pit Lane, Leeds, LS2 8AR

Date & Time:

November 22nd, 2024 7:30pm

Whitney Queen of the Night at First Direct Arena, Leeds

Clay Pit Lane, Leeds, LS2 8AR

Date & Time:

October 31st, 2024 7:30pm

Fruity | 01.10.24 at , Leeds

Lifton Pl, Woodhouse, Leeds LS2 9JZ, UK, Leeds,

Date & Time:

October 1st, 2024 11:30pm

Unkle at Project House, Leeds

Armley Road, Leeds, LS12 2DR

Date & Time:

October 15th, 2024 7:00pm

M1llionz at HEADROW HOUSE, Leeds

Bramleys Yard, Leeds, LS1 6PU

Date & Time:

September 10th, 2024 7:30pm

Warmduscher at Project House, Leeds

Armley Road, Leeds, LS12 2DR

Date & Time:

November 6th, 2024 7:00pm

Exploring Leeds City Museum

You’ll find plenty to explore at the Leeds City Museum, located in the heart of Leeds city centre. This Grade II listed building houses fascinating exhibits on archaeology and natural history that provide a deep dive into the past.

The Ancient Worlds Gallery is a must-see, showcasing an impressive array of artefacts from different eras and civilizations. The museum also offers a plethora of engaging, family-friendly activities and workshops, making it a perfect spot for a fun-filled day out.

The visitor centre is well-equipped, providing all the necessary information to make your visit smooth and memorable.

Visiting Leeds City Art Gallery

At the heart of the city’s cultural hub, you’ll find the Leeds City Art Gallery, a treasure trove of impressive collections from both British and international artists. Adjacent to the gallery, the Henry Moore Institute showcases fascinating contemporary art, making the area a haven for art enthusiasts. You’re bound to be mesmerized by the intricate sculptures and thought-provoking pieces.

After immersing yourself in the art world, step out into the tranquillity of Victoria Gardens. Here, you can relax and reflect on the artwork you’ve just experienced.

Round off your cultural adventure at the Tiled Hall Café. It’s not just a place to grab a bite, the café itself is a piece of art, with stunning Victorian tiles adorning the walls and ceiling.

The Leeds City Art Gallery truly offers a unique cultural experience.

Appreciating the Architecture of Leeds Town Hall

Next on your itinerary is the remarkable Leeds Town Hall, where you can’t help but marvel at its stunning Victorian architecture. As you approach this Grade I listed building on Calverley Street, you’ll find yourself in awe of its grandeur. The Leeds Town Hall, designed by Cuthbert Brodrick, is a masterpiece that reflects the city’s rich history and cultural heritage.

Don’t miss the chance to explore the interior, where you’ll see beautiful details such as the ornate ceilings and the grand organ. In close vicinity, you’ll find the Henry Moore Institute, another architectural gem.

Standing tall amidst the hustle and bustle of Leeds, the town hall is more than just a building – it’s a symbol of the city’s past, present, and future.

Exploring the Henry Moore Institute

Just a stone’s throw away from the Town Hall, the Henry Moore Institute beckons, promising an immersive journey into the world of sculpture. This Leeds City Centre gem, an integral part of the Leeds art gallery, isn’t to be missed. It offers:

  • A year-round changing program of historical, modern, and contemporary exhibitions. Here, you’ll find:
  • Diverse sculptures from Moore and other renowned artists.
  • Talks, conferences, and research encounters.

An accessible library and archive of sculptural studies. This hub is:

  • A valuable resource for Leeds residents and visitors alike.
  • Packed with books, journals, and auction catalogues.

An active part of the Leeds list of cultural landmarks, with its:

  • Leading role in celebrating sculpture.
  • Commitment to expanding understanding of what sculpture can be.

At the Henry Moore Institute, you’ll discover art in three dimensions.

Touring Leeds Kirkgate Market

You’re in for a treat as you tour the bustling Kirkgate Market, known for its vibrant atmosphere and wide array of stalls.

Nestled in the heart of Leeds city centre, on George Street, this market stands as Europe’s largest covered market.

From fresh local produce to exotic spices, handcrafted jewellery to vintage clothing, Leeds Kirkgate Market has it all. It’s not just a shopping centre, but an experience, steeped in history and brimming with life.

As you wander through the maze of stalls, the scent of freshly baked goods and the chatter of vendors fill the air. With over 800 stalls, each visit promises a new discovery.

Uncovering History at Leeds City Library

Stepping into the Leeds City Library, there’s a wealth of history waiting for you to uncover. This isn’t just a place to borrow books, but a cultural institution, steeped in the rich history of the city centre.

Here, you’ll find an impressive collection of resources, including historical documents and manuscripts, rare books and maps, and digitized collections accessible online.

The library also hosts regular exhibitions showcasing Leeds’ diverse heritage and featuring items from its extensive collection.

In addition, the Leeds City Library is in close proximity to other historical landmarks such as the Leeds City Varieties, Victoria Quarter, and Town Hall.

Visiting The Tetley

At The Tetley, you’ll find a centre for contemporary art, nestled in the heart of Leeds city centre, in what was once the bustling headquarters of Tetley’s Brewery. This place pulses with the innovative energy of emerging artists while honouring its industrial roots.

Visiting The Tetley offers you a chance to immerse in dynamic exhibitions, workshops, and performances. It’s just a stone’s throw from Leeds station, making it an easily accessible gem in the city’s cultural crown.

After your visit, you can indulge in some retail therapy at nearby Trinity Leeds or Victoria Gate, where a plethora of shops awaits.

The Tetley, a creative beacon in the city, offers a unique blend of past and present, making your Leeds visit truly memorable.

Navigating the Flourishing Cultural Scene

Navigating the flourishing cultural scene, you’ll find yourself immersed in a rich tapestry of art galleries, museums, and vibrant pubs. Leeds’ city centre boasts a diverse array of cultural hotspots:

  • Arts and Theatre: Revel in performances at the Leeds Playhouse, or soak up an opera at Opera North. The Belgrave Music Hall offers a lively atmosphere with live music and comedy shows.
  • Historic Landmarks: Wander through the architecturally stunning Leeds Corn Exchange, or explore the remarkable collection at Royal Armouries.
  • Nightlife: Sample craft beers at local pubs, or dance the night away in trendy nightclubs.

This cultural journey provides a fascinating insight into Leeds’ vibrant arts scene, historical treasures, and pulsating nightlife. It’s a city that truly celebrates its culture in all forms.

Admiring Victorian Buildings and Contemporary Architecture

You’ll be amazed by the blend of Victorian and contemporary architecture that gives Leeds City Centre its unique character. As you walk around, you’re admiring Victorian buildings interspersed with modern designs, creating a delightful contrast. Notably, the Corn Exchange, a Victorian marvel, stands out with its distinctive circular design. Kings House, on the other hand, showcases sleek, contemporary architecture.

Don’t forget to visit Quarry Hill, boasting an array of architectural delights, from the classic Leeds Playhouse to the modern West Yorkshire Playhouse. This amalgamation of past and present architectural styles truly sets Leeds apart.

Victorian BuildingsContemporary BuildingsMust-Visit Areas
Corn ExchangeKings HouseLeeds City Centre
Leeds Town HallQuarry Hill FlatsQuarry Hill
Kirkgate MarketLeeds City MuseumVictoria Gate
Leeds General InfirmaryBridgewater PlaceThe Calls
Leeds City LibraryLeeds DockMillennium Square

Come and experience this architectural wonderland for yourself!

Discovering the Royal Armouries

Next on your list, there’s the Royal Armouries, home to the UK’s national collection of arms and armour. This museum in Leeds city centre is a treasure trove of history and culture. Here, you can delve into an extensive display of weaponry, from medieval swords to modern firearms.

The Royal Armouries Museum offers several galleries that showcase different aspects of arms and armour. One of the highlights is The Hall of Steel, a dazzling display of arms and armour in a stunning setting that resembles a medieval castle. Another gallery is the War Gallery, which chronicles the history of warfare from primitive times to the present day.

For those interested in the medieval sport of kings, the Tournament Gallery is a must-visit. This gallery showcases the spectacle of armoured knights and horses, giving visitors a glimpse into the world of medieval tournaments.

Located near Leeds Dock, the Royal Armouries Museum is just a short walk from the Radisson Blu Hotel and Millennium Square. So, make sure you don’t miss out on this unique, interactive experience.

Enjoying the Nightlife: Vibrant Cocktail Bars and Bustling Pubs

After exploring the Royal Armouries, it’s time to let loose and dive into the city’s nightlife, packed with vibrant cocktail bars and bustling pubs.

Head over to Call Lane, the beating heart of Leeds’ nightlife. Here, you’ll find an array of bars with live music to get your feet tapping.

Sample craft beers at North Brewing, known for their innovative flavours and relaxed atmosphere.

For a unique experience, make your way to Roxy Lanes, a lively bar where you can enjoy a pint while playing a round of bowling.

Whether you’re a craft beer connoisseur or just looking for a fun night out, Leeds’ nightlife offers something for everyone. So grab a drink, hit the dance floor, and let Leeds show you a good time.

Shopping at Trinity Leeds Mall and The Light

Wrapping up your night out, it’s high time to indulge in some retail therapy at Trinity Mall and The Light. These shopping havens in the heart of West Yorkshire offer a wide variety of stores, from high-end brands to quirky independent boutiques.

  • Trinity Mall:
  • Home to over 120 shops and an array of eateries, you’re sure to find something you love.
  • Be sure to check out the rooftop cinema and the food court featuring global cuisine.
  • The Light:
  • This shopping and leisure complex boasts a Vue Cinema, world-class theatre, and a variety of restaurants and bars.

Don’t forget to take a stroll along the Leeds Liverpool Canal. From shopping sprees to live music performances and a touch of Queen Victoria’s history, Leeds city centre has it all.

Experiencing Waterfront Walks

You’ll find the waterfront walks along the Leeds Liverpool Canal quite refreshing, offering a chance to admire locks and enjoy picturesque views of the River Aire. It’s a perfect way to experience the great outdoors within the city’s embrace.

Consider then diverting towards the Leeds Owl Trail, a delightful exploration that’ll take you through 25 owl statues, each telling a unique story about Leeds.

If you’re a nature lover, Kirkstall Valley Nature Reserve is a must-visit. Here, you’ll find diverse wildlife and stunning greenery.

For a more structured outdoor experience, Roundhay Park offers well-kept gardens and leisure activities.

Lastly, don’t miss Harewood House. Its art collections, beautiful gardens, and bird garden will surely make your visit worthwhile.

Learning Burlesque in the City Centre

In the heart of town, there’s a chance to step outside your comfort zone by learning the art of Burlesque. Nestled between the Bramley Hall Park and the Golden Acre Park, this unique experience can be a thrilling highlight of your school holidays.

The venue is easily accessible, with a well-maintained car park available to ensure a smooth start to your adventure. It’s just a stone’s throw away from the iconic clock tower, adding a touch of historical charm to your experience.

The Burlesque classes offer:

  • Techniques to boost confidence and embrace femininity.
  • An opportunity to learn from professionals in a comfortable environment.
  • A chance to meet new people and make unforgettable memories.

Visiting the Royal Armouries Museum

Next on your itinerary, there’s the Royal Armouries Museum, where you can dive into the UK’s national collection of arms and armour for free. It’s an immersive journey through history with five floors of displays showcasing over 8,500 objects. Don’t miss the live combat demonstrations that bring the artefacts to life.

Afterwards, venture to the bird garden at Tropical World, a stone’s throw away from the museum. You’ll marvel at exotic species while enjoying a lush, vibrant atmosphere.

Your Leeds experience wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Thackray Medical Museum. Here, you’ll uncover the intriguing history of medicine, completely free of charge. It’s a fascinating day of discovery, so get ready to be amazed.

Enjoying Street Art in Leeds City Centre

Taking a stroll down the streets, you’re sure to be captivated by the vibrant and visionary street art that decorates the walls. Leeds city centre is renowned for its impressive murals, from the UK’s tallest mural ‘Athena Rising’ to symbolic paintings representing intelligence and wealth. Each piece tells a story, reflecting the city’s rich history and diverse culture.

Here are some notable places to admire the street art in Leeds:

  • Athena Rising: A towering masterpiece showcasing a goddess-like figure.
  • Located near Leeds train station
  • Created by popular street artists Nomad Clan
  • Mabgate Murals: A collection of artworks each with a unique message.
  • Situated in the Mabgate area
  • Features works from local and international artists
  • Call Lane: A hub for vibrant, ever-changing street art.
  • A popular nightlife spot
  • Offers a mix of traditional graffiti and large-scale murals.

Each visit, you’re sure to discover something new. So, don’t forget your camera!

Shopping at Victoria Gate

You’ll find Victoria Gate to be an elegant shopping destination, filled with high-end designer shops and boutiques. As you stroll among its opulent glass and steel facade, you’ll be captivated by the architectural grace that sets it apart. Inside, you’re greeted by brands like John Lewis, Anthropologie, & Other Stories, and more, making it a haven for the style-conscious.

Don’t forget to check out the stunning Victoria Quarter, where you’ll find more luxury brands housed within a Grade II listed building. As you explore, you’ll notice the beautifully designed mosaic floors and intricate ironwork. And when you’ve shopped to your heart’s content, you can unwind with a cup of coffee or a meal at one of the many chic eateries dotted around.

Victoria Gate isn’t just a shopping center, it’s an experience.

Participating in Outdoor Activities in the City Centre

Now, let’s take a break from shopping and dive into the outdoor activities that Leeds City Centre has to offer. Here, you’re spoilt for choice with an array of options to keep you entertained, active, and connected with nature.

Immerse yourself in the city’s history by exploring the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey or taking a leisurely stroll through the iconic Victorian Arcades.

For nature lovers, Leeds offers wildlife spotting at Rodley Nature Reserve and a visit to Harewood House, home to a variety of birds and period art.

If you’re up for some thrill, test your skills and teamwork at one of the many Leeds Escape Rooms.

Visiting Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills

On your next excursion, Armley Mills, home to the Leeds Industrial Museum, should be at the top of your list. This fascinating museum provides a first-hand look into Leeds’ industrial past. You’ll discover an array of artefacts from the city’s textile and engineering history, all housed in what was once the world’s largest woollen mill.

Be prepared to be amazed by the working waterwheel and the interactive exhibits that bring history to life. You’ll see old spinning wheels, steam engines, and vintage cinema equipment, providing a glimpse of the city’s rich heritage.

Don’t forget to take part in the museum’s demonstrations and workshops, they’ll enhance your understanding of Leeds’ industrial past. Your visit to Armley Mills is sure to be an enlightening and enjoyable experience.

Attending a Show at Leeds Grand Theatre

After an enlightening day at Armley Mills, why not cap off your evening with a world-class performance at the Grand Theatre? Nestled in the heart of Leeds, this iconic theatre has been entertaining audiences since 1878.

Here’s what you can expect:

  • World-Class Performances: From spectacular operas to captivating ballets, there’s a show for every taste. You might even catch a Broadway or West End production on tour!
  • Beautiful Architecture: Admire the Victorian-era design, with its richly decorated interior, grand chandeliers, and plush velvet seats.
  • Lively Atmosphere: The theatre district buzzes with energy. Grab a pre-show dinner at one of the nearby restaurants or enjoy a post-show drink at a local pub.

Don’t miss the chance to experience this cultural gem in Leeds city centre.

Shopping at Leeds Corn Exchange

Just as the curtain falls on your show at the Leeds Grand Theatre, the day is far from over. Next, you’re heading to the iconic Leeds Corn Exchange. It’s not just a shopping venue; it’s an experience. Stroll inside this architectural masterpiece, as you marvel at the stunning Victorian design. This Grade I listed building is a paradise for those who appreciate craftsmanship and unique finds. It’s brimming with independent shops and boutiques, each offering a treasure trove of quirky, handmade products.

Wrap up your visit by indulging in some tasty food and drinks from the local cafes and restaurants.

StoreSpecialtyLocation
Alice Found TreasureVintage ClothingUpper Balcony
Simcha GalleryHandcrafted JewelleryLower Balcon
The Plant PointIndoor PlantsCentral Atrium
The Great Yorkshire ShopLocal ProductsLower Balcony
Yellow SunriseWorld HomewaresUpper Balcony

Visiting Leeds Museums

You’re in for a treat as you explore the museums, each offering a unique glimpse into the history, art, and culture that shape the vibrant character of this town. From the Royal Armouries Museum to the Leeds City Museum, each establishment brims with fascinating exhibits that’ll captivate your interest.

  • At the Royal Armouries Museum, you’ll:
  • Marvel at an impressive collection of arms and armour
  • Witness live combat demonstrations
  • Learn about the impact of arms on culture and society
  • The Leeds City Museum offers:
  • Engaging archaeological exhibits
  • Insight into Leeds’ rich history and culture
  • Family-friendly activities and workshops
  • At the Leeds Art Gallery, you’ll:
  • Admire a diverse collection of art
  • Discover works from British and international artists
  • Enjoy frequent exhibitions and events.

Must-visit Places in Leeds City Centre

Diving into the heart of Leeds City Centre, you’re spoilt for choice with must-visit places.

Start at the Royal Armouries Museum, it’s teeming with historical artifacts that’ll grab your attention.

Don’t forget the Leeds Corn Exchange, a vibrant shopping hub housed in a stunning Victorian building.

Fancy some fresh air? Take a stroll along Leeds Waterfront, admiring the charming blend of historic and modern architecture.

If you’re an art enthusiast, the mesmerizing street art trail won’t disappoint.

Step into the cultural hub at Leeds Art Gallery, it’s a treasure trove of British and international pieces.

Lastly, for the shoppers, the Trinity Leeds and The Light offer an array of stores.

Leeds City Centre is a kaleidoscope of experiences waiting to be explored.

Adventurous Activities in Leeds City Centre

If you’re yearning for an adrenaline rush, don’t miss out on the adventurous activities that this vibrant town has to offer. Leeds City Centre isn’t just about history and culture; it’s also a haven for adventure lovers.

  • Quad Biking at Hazlewood Castle:
  • Navigate through the castle’s woodland trails.
  • Experience a rush of adrenaline as you tackle challenging terrains.
  • Ghost Hunting at Armley Mills Industrial Museum:
  • Embark on a thrilling ghost hunt in the dark.
  • Uncover the chilling history of the museum.
  • Hot Air Balloon Rides over Leeds:
  • Soar high above the city and enjoy breathtaking views.
  • Experience the tranquility of floating through the sky.
  • Learning Survival Skills at Hazlewood Castle:
  • Learn essential survival skills in a fun and safe environment.
  • Unleash your inner adventurer and test your limits.

Popular Questions

Are There Any Family-Friendly Activities to Do in Leeds City Centre?

Absolutely! You can explore the Royal Armouries Museum’s interactive exhibits, enjoy a game of giant chess in Victoria Garden, or have a thrilling time at Leeds Escape Rooms. There’s plenty for families to enjoy.

What Are Some Unique or Local Dishes to Try While in Leeds City Centre?

You must try the Yorkshire pudding and Leeds’ local dish, the Yorkshire Hotpot, while in Leeds city centre. Don’t forget local sweets like Yorkshire Parkin or Curd Tart. Each offers a unique taste of Leeds.

What Are the Best Times of Year to Visit Leeds City Centre for Cultural Events or Festivals?

You’ll find Leeds City Centre buzzing during the Leeds International Film Festival in November and the Leeds West Indian Carnival in August. Light Night Leeds in October is also a cultural highlight not to be missed.

Are There Any Notable Historical Figures or Stories Associated With Leeds City Centre?

Absolutely! Leeds City Centre boasts stories of prominent figures like Louis Le Prince, pioneer of cinematography, and Chippendale, a renowned furniture maker. You’ll love unravelling its rich history on your visit.

What Are Some Lesser Known Attractions or Hidden Gems in Leeds City Centre?

You’ll find hidden gems throughout Leeds City Centre, such as the captivating Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills, the mesmerizing street art, or the lesser-known Burlesque experience. Explore and uncover the city’s unique charm.

Final Thoughts

So, what’re you waiting for? Dive into the cultural melting pot of Leeds City Centre.

Whether you’re an art aficionado, a history buff, or an adventure seeker, Leeds has something to captivate everyone. From the historic architecture to the bustling markets, art galleries, and thrilling escape rooms, there’s a world of experiences waiting for you.

Come, explore, and fall in love with the vibrant energy of Leeds. It’s time to create your own unforgettable Leeds story.

Accommodation Options While In Leeds

Below you can see some of the options available to booking while in the area. Also see out page on accommodation in Leeds city centre.

Novotel Leeds Centre

4 Whitehall, Whitehall Quay, Leeds, LS1 4HR, United Kingdom

The Scott at Claremont Serviced Apartments

23 Clarendon Road, Leeds, LS2 9NZ, United Kingdom

The Smeaton at Claremont Apartments

Claremont, 23 Clarendon Road, Leeds, LS2 9NZ, United Kingdom

Holiday Inn Express Leeds City Centre, an IHG Hotel

Cavendish Street, Off Kirkstall Road, Leeds, LS3 1LY, United Kingdom

Leeds Super Luxurious Apartments

Ellerby Lane, Leeds, Leeds, LS9 8DN, United Kingdom

The Deakin at Claremont Serviced Apartments

Claremont, 23 Clarendon Road, Leeds, LS2 9NZ, United Kingdom

Hilton Leeds City

Neville Street, Leeds, LS1 4BX, United Kingdom

Victoria House Apartments

101 Victoria House, 143-145 The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5RL, United Kingdom

The Waterhouse at Claremont Apartments

Claremont, 23 Clarendon Road, Leeds, LS2 9NZ, United Kingdom

Holiday Inn Express Leeds City Centre – Armouries, an IHG Hotel

Armouries Drive, Leeds, LS10 1LE, United Kingdom

The Queens Hotel, Leeds

City Square, Leeds, LS1 1PJ, United Kingdom

Park Plaza Leeds

Boar Lane, City Square, Leeds, LS1 5NS, United Kingdom

The Chambers

30 Park Place, Leeds, LS1 2SP, United Kingdom

The Cakide, Dubell Serviced Apartments Leeds, Up to 2 Guests

Leylands Road, Leeds, LS2 7AT, United Kingdom

Wisteria way cottage

Wisteria way, laburnum Lodge , Mawcroft Grange Drive, Leeds, LS19 6DJ, United Kingdom

The Grand Manhattan Apartment in Central Leeds

53 The Calls, Leeds, LS2 7BJ, United Kingdom

The Leeming at Claremont Apartments

Claremont, 23 Clarendon Road, Leeds, LS2 9NZ, United Kingdom

easyHotel Leeds

14-22 Lands Lane, Leeds, LS1 6LB, United Kingdom
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