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Things to do in Leeds

Eddison Wells is privileged to have an office in Leeds. As as a Leeds Mortgage Broker we value the opportunity to work in an area surrounded by world heritage sites .

Leeds is a historically rich city that has played a significant role in British history since the Medieval era, and one that experienced rapid waves of expansion during the Industrial Revolution. Situated in the heart of West Yorkshire, its historical makeup, proud Yorkshire heritage and tough industrial past, all amount to a unique city which wears the marks of its history through scattershot architecture — from back-to-back Victorian tenement housing to 60s modernism — and public spaces. But Leeds is also a modern and vibrant UK city which experienced a wave of infrastructural investment and expansion in the 2000's, attracting thousands to its energetic nightlife, shops, restaurants and bar culture. Whether you are with children or an adult group, or whether you are looking to save or spend money, there are many things to do in and around the city of Leeds.

Take a Walk Though History

First and foremost, Leeds boasts an impressive history. On the outskirts of the city centre lies Kirkstall Abbey, a ruined Cistercian monastery dating from c.1152. The grounds within and around the abbey provide a fascinating day out, with access to the site and park free. Across the road from the Abbey sits the Abbey House Museum, a Grade II listed gatehouse which takes its visitors back to the Victorian era as a museum and exhibit of 19th Century Leeds. There is an admission charge for the museum and it is recommended to visit both sites.

East of the city lies Temple Newsam House, a Tudor-Jacobean house with landscaped grounds designed by "England's greatest gardner", Capability Brown which is the notorious birthplace of Lord Darnley, husband to Mary Queen of Scots. With a history dating back to a 12th Century Preceptory on the site, Temple Newsam House and its Estate is open to the public at an admission charge and hosts a variety of activities in the area. If you have a penchant for period rooms, silverware, ceramics, fine art, Chippendale furniture and decorative arts, the house is accessible all year round. Several other famous period properties lie in the outskirts of Leeds, if you would like to explore more of these country house treasures, both Lotherton Hall and Harewood House both lie within 25 minutes drive of the city.

If you are content with a historical walk around the city centre of Leeds itself, Leeds Town Hall, Leeds Cathedral, Victoria Quarter, Thornton's Arcade, Grand Arcade, Queen's Arcade, Holy Trinity Church, Leeds Minster, Leeds Corn Exchange and Leeds Civic Hall offer a slice of Leeds' past. You can also take a city walk of the Civic Trust Blue Plaque Trail and Leeds Owl Trail, spotting the various blue plaques and ornate owl statues dotted around the cities architectural highlights.

Soak in Culture at a Museum or Gallery

Leeds offers an array of award-winning museums for the visitor. Aside from the local (and free) Leeds City Museum, which covers everything from Dinosaurs to Leeds history, there is the astonishing (and equally free) Royal Armouries Museum, a national museum and Northern counterpart to the Tower of London. The museum is set in the purpose built Leeds Dock, which offers fascinating walks aside Leeds' canal system. The museum contains a range of historic artefacts on display, as a history of warfare, weapons and defences both at home and abroad. The Thackray Medical Museum offers a history of medicine and sits amid Leeds' St. James' University Hospital. With a wide collection of medical artefacts and temporary exhibitions, the Museum also hosts renowned lectures and educational days for the public. 

Further museums of interest include the Leeds Industrial Museum on the outskirts of the city and, with a short 15 minute train ride, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Saltaire, a Victorian model village in Shipley which hosts both glorious architecture from the areas woollen industry days and Salt's Mill, a converted mill now art space.

Leeds also has a vibrant art scene, hosting the free and nationally significant collections of Leeds Art Gallery, the independent The Gallery at 164 and University-affiliated Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery. Leeds is also awash with small art spaces, with Lady Beck Studios and Project Space, 130 Vicar Lane, The Brunswick, The Old Red Bus Station, Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun, Union 105, The Bowery and Patrick Studios, among others, all servicing local artists and the community. 

Have a Drink and Hit the Clubs

Leeds is renowned for its nightlife. Whether sipping cocktails in the glitzy Angelica at the top of the Trinity shopping centre, or settling into the rooftop bar of the Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds has options to suite all budgets. For lovers of craft beer, Friends of Ham, BrewDog, Bundobust, North Bar and The Brewery Tap offer a variety of local, national and international ales. The Maven and Distrikt offer incredible cocktails in snazzy surroundings, and there are a wealth of historical pubs — such as Whitelock's Ale House — serving the history nerd.

But in terms of serious nightlife, Leeds goes big on its club and live music scenes. Oporto, The Wardrobe, Smokestack and Sandinasta offer cosy bar-music atmospheres, with Belgrave Music Hall offering a consistent music venue space. In terms of clubbing, Wire has the Indie crowd covered whilst HiFi blends funk, soul, rock and r&b for a vibrant city crowd. With a variety of options, its best asking your barkeep for a lowdown on the night's festivities, as there is always something on in Leeds.

Get Out into the Countryside

If you have an extended stay in Leeds, consider hopping on one of the many countryside serving train lines in Yorkshire. Leeds is connected to the impressive Settle to Carlisle railway line; a gorgeous journey through the heart of the Yorkshire Dales north of the city itself. The surrounding countryside of both the Dales, Ilkley Moor and the wild Pennine Moors known locally as Brontë Country (after the eponymous and local Brontë sisters), offer an array of walks and sights as well as an understanding of the Yorkshire way of life, dotted with pleasant tea rooms and old world pubs.