Fascinating history, oodles of independent shopping arcades and an ever-expanding multi-cultural scene, Leeds is a city of variety with something to entertain just about everyone. While history buffs will rejoice in the number of free, and of course extremely impressive, museums, art and culture enthusiasts will thrive in Leeds’ charming arcade district packed with boutique stores and vintage finds.
Planning a weekend trip to this West Yorkshire gem? These are just a handful of the things you must see and experience during a weekend in Leeds.
As one of the biggest city parks in Europe, Roundhay Park in Leeds sprawls across over 700 acres of parkland, lakes and woodlands. On a relaxing wander around the park, you will spot stunning floral displays, specialist gardens and castle ruins.
Situated just a short trip outside of the city, Roundhay Park is the perfect place for a quick escape from the bustle of the centre. Explore the vast stretch of grounds by foot or choose to get your adrenaline pumping on the tennis court or bowling green. If you fancy coming face to face with some tropical animals and wildlife during your visit; check out Tropical World which sits at the edge of the park.
Founded by a community of Cistercian monks over 800 years ago, Kirkstall Abbey is one of the most complete Cistercian in Britain and gives visitors the opportunity to embrace the past and explore history first-hand.
During a visit to Kirkstall Abbey, you can learn about the history of the Abbey, how the monks lived, and catch sight of the ruins. Continue on a self-guided wander through the surrounding park and woodlands and along the peaceful River Aire. Depending on what day you visit, you might get to drop by the Kirkstall Abbey Market that takes place on the grounds and features hand-made crafts and delicious local produce.
Leeds Shopping Arcades
Can’t think of a better way to spend the afternoon than perusing through rails of vintage clothes and shelves of one-of-a-kind finds? This one’s for you! Leeds is famous for its historic shopping arcades that house an eclectic mix of local sellers and prominent brands.
While the stunning Victorian architecture that weaves its way through each arcade is a sight in itself, the shops within the walls are just as spectacular! Start out in Briggate, one of the oldest shopping streets in Leeds city centre, where you can check out amazing boutique shops in Queen’s Arcade, Thornton’s Arcade and Victoria Quarter. Next, drop into the Grand Arcade to check out the handmade crafts of local designers and creators.
Royal Armouries Museum
Home to the U. K’s largest collection of arms and armour, the Royal Armouries Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in seeing centuries of weapons armour from all across the world; it will even pique your interest if you have an interest in something more eccentric, like vampires (more on that below).
The museum first opened its doors in 1996 and its unique collection spans across six galleries in the building. Each gallery has a different theme including war, self-defence, hunting and peace. Get up close and personal with Henry VIII’s curly-horned helmet and discover what a samurai armour and sword really looks like. And if our vampire comment earlier intrigued you, well, the self-defence gallery includes a case of things used to kill vampires; think wooden stakes and Belgian pistols.
Harewood House Trust
Admittedly, this may be best off as a day trip but if you have the time; definitely stick it on your list! Harewood House is one of the Treasure Houses of England and houses some of the finest art collections in the country.
Enjoy the art exhibitions, beautiful staterooms, and the beautiful surrounding gardens. Harewood House often hosts great exhibitions and events to suit just about any interest while also working hard to support local creatives so be sure to check if there’s anything on during your visit. If you’re feeling peckish during your visit, check out the Courtyard Café for some delicious homemade food.
Leeds Grand Theatre
Leeds Grand Theatre sits in the centre of Leeds city centre and is the residency of the critically acclaimed Opera North and the Northern Ballet Theatre. If you’re lucky enough to catch a show during your visit, expect esteemed performances of music, dance, and drama. Recent productions include everything from Swan Lake to The Book of Mormons.
Once you’ve finished up, grab a drink at the Inkwell Bar and Restaurant in Clayton Hotel Leeds where you can expect real ale, beers, cocktails, wines and bubbles as well as an extensive bar menu of starters, mains and desserts with a dedicated menu for vegan diners.
Four Star Hotel in Leeds City Centre
End your time in Leeds with a relaxing stay in Clayton Hotel Leeds – the ideal place to stay if you’re looking to experience the city and its attractions at your doorstep. View current hotel offers and book your stay in Leeds.