Top Things to Do in Leeds

It’s no secret that Leeds stands as a vibrant city boasting a rich tapestry of culture, history, and adventure. From its bustling city centre to its charming suburbs, Leeds offers a myriad of experiences for visitors of all interests. Whether you are a history buff, a foodie, an outdoor enthusiast or an art aficionado, there’s always something for everyone to enjoy in this dynamic city. 
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It’s no secret that Leeds stands as a vibrant city boasting a rich tapestry of culture, history, and adventure. From its bustling city centre to its charming suburbs, Leeds offers a myriad of experiences for visitors of all interests. Whether you are a history buff, a foodie, an outdoor enthusiast or an art aficionado, there’s always something for everyone to enjoy in this dynamic city. Here’s a curated list of Things to do in Leeds to help you make the most of being a resident or your visit:


Discover the Rich History

Begin your exploration by delving into Leed’s fascinating history. Visit the Royal Armouries Museum, home to one of the greatest collections of arms and armour in the world. Explore the historic ruins of Kirkstall Abbey, a picturesque medieval Cistercian monastery set along the banks of the River Aire. There are so many attractions to choose from, see our picks below:

  • Temple Newsam: Discover the historic house, interact with rare breed animals and explore the estate.
  • Harewood House: Enjoy exhibitions, special events, themed weekends throughout the season, the lovely farm, playground, and food and drink offerings!
  • Lotherton: Explore the Edwardian hall filled with hidden treasures, encounter animals from across the globe at Wildlife World and stroll the expansive grounds and gardens.
  • Abbey House Museum: A family-friendly museum exploring social history and childhood in Victorian-era Leeds with lots of nostalgic galleries.
  • Thwaite Watermill: Explore Thwaite Watermill and find out the importance of water power to Leeds’ Industrial heritage.

Explore the Great Outdoors

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and explore Leed’s beautiful green spaces. Take a leisurely stroll along Leeds- Liverpool Canal towpath or explore the expansive grounds such as parks and indulge in numerous outdoor activities.

Nature & Parks

  • Bramham Park: Exceptional grounds with stunning views! Bramham Park is a Grade I listed 18th-century house in Bramham, between Leeds and Wetherby.
  • Golden Acre Park: A renowned park celebrated for its scenic pathway, enchanting gardens and popular tea rooms.
  • Tropical World: Visit the indoor wildlife park and see meerkats, butterflies, monkeys, snakes and much more!
  • RSPB St Aidan’s Nature Park: A nature park that’s alive with wildlife. Its relatively small size means you can easily explore a rich variety of habitats including reedbeds, wetlands, meadows and woodland.
  • Chevin Forest Park: A unique area of natural landscape fantastic for exploring wildlife, flora &  fauna and even history and geology.
  • The Donkey Sanctuary Leeds: A unique charity transforming the lives of donkeys across the world. You can learn more about donkeys or even adopt one!
  • Rodley Nature Reserve: A beautiful nature reserve created in 1999 to bring wetland wildlife back into the Leeds area.
  • Wharfemeadows Park: A visually pleasing park on the banks of River Wharfe in the market town of Otley.
  • Hope Pastures: Another rescue centre that also rehabilitates and re-homes horses, ponies and donkeys in need. You have the chance to meet the animals, learn how to look after them and even adopt them!
  • York Gate Gardens: A magical one-acre garden which features a cafe serving wholesome homemade food that can be enjoyed on the sun terrace. It also features a heritage centre, a plant nursery and a gift shop.
  • Middleton Park: A lovely park with beautiful walks and a great place to spend the day, especially with the kids for a picnic.
  • Horsforth Hall Park: A large community park approximately 6 miles from Leeds City Centre. Its attractions include large spaces of open parkland, a cricket pitch, a bowling green, an adventure playground, a bandstand and a Japanese formal garden.
  • The Hollies: Set on the steeply sloping side of Meanwood Valley, The Hollies Park has a deeply magical atmosphere. It features visually pleasing natural woodland to the north and botanical gardens to the south. There is also extensive wildlife in the park which includes kingfishers, warblers, wagtails, dippers, bats, roe deer, moles, foxes and squirrels.
  • Springhead Park Rothwell: A very popular large community park in Rothwell with a mix of formal gardens and natural countryside. Its facilities include a playground, a skatepark, tennis courts, bowling greens, an aviary, a cafe and a dementia-friendly garden.
  • Leeds Urban Bike Park: Ride or walk around the park then get cosy in the cafe or shop the bike store for the latest clothing parts and accessories.
  • Talio Electric Bikes Leeds: Whether you're eager to delve into the bustling cityscape of Leeds or venture out to the serene expanse of Roundhay Park or even the rugged beauty of the Yorkshire Dales, there's an abundance of incredible events and picturesque landscapes awaiting exploration—all easily accessible on a Talio Electric Bike.
  • Meanwood Valley Trail: Explore this 7-mile trail nature reserve and discover some highlights of cultural and natural history whilst walking the valley.
  • Howley Hall Golf Club:  The ideal place for your golf away days! It offers a newly refurbished clubhouse, perfect for any occasion.
  • Leeds Golf Centre:  The perfect place to discover everything a classic club has to offer including beautiful yet challenging courses, an extensive pro shop and a light-filled bar and brasserie.
  • Cookridge Hall Golf & Country Club: A mere 15 minutes from Leeds City Centre and offering spectacular views across the Yorkshire Dales, Cookridge Hall has everything you could ever wish for in a golf facility.

Shop till You Drop

For those who love retail therapy, Leeds won’t disappoint. Head to the iconic Victoria Quarter, a beautifully restored Victorian shopping arcade housing luxury boutiques and designer stores. You should also check out the bustling streets of the Leeds Kirkgate Market, one of Europe’s largest indoor markets, offering everything from fresh produce to vintage treasures.

To indulge in more retail therapy, consider exploring the following venues:

  • Trinity Leeds: A premier shopping centre in the heart of the city where you’ll have hundreds of shops to browse, cuisines to taste and things to do!
  • White Rose Shopping Centre: A shopping centre in the Beeston area of Leeds- it spans two floors with most floors situated on the ground floor.
  • Otley Market: An artisan market with a mix of wares and independent high street retailers makes Otley one of Leeds’ best-kept shopping secrets.
  • Queens Arcade: Located within the prime pedestrianised area of Leeds City Centre, Queen Arcade was built in 1889 with Grade II listed Victorian structure that offers a characterful place to shop and eat. It’s home to some well-known niche independent retailers.
  • The Light: The ultimate leisure and retail centre to meet, eat, drink, shop, gym and be social no matter the time of day!
  • The Merrion Centre: A large shopping centre in the heart of Leeds with a choice of shops, restaurants, bars, cafes, supermarkets and an on-site hotel.
  • The Springs: A large and modern shopping complex with a robust mix of brand-name stores, eateries and a cinema.
  • Sunday Morning Car Boot Fair: Held every Sunday from 6 am in Otley Old Road, this enormous car boot sale has become a legendary event for bargain lovers. It is the biggest in Leeds and has been going for more than 30 years.
  • Cross Shopping Centre: All on one level, all under one roof! You will find over 60 shops from great value fashion and groceries to gifts; hair and beauty, and places to eat and meet.
  • The Core Shopping Centre: A fantastic shopping mall featuring clothing and media stores, a fitness centre and a food store with global eats.
  • Crown Point Shopping Park: A neighbourhood shopping mall with fashion and home goods stores, restaurants and baby-changing facilities.
  • Morley Indoor Market Hall: A market hall with the most diverse outlets from traditional butchers and bakeries, to specialist services such as alterations, laptop and mobile repairs, fireplace installations, appliance stores, cobblers and much more! There are over 50 stalls for you to meander around at your leisure.

Culinary Delights

Leeds’ dining scene is as diverse as its population, offering a tantalising array of culinary delights to suit every palate. From traditional Yorkshire pudding to international cuisine, the city’s restaurants, cafes and eateries serve up a feast for the senses. If you’re a foodie, you won’t want to miss sampling Leeds’signature dishes such as Yorkshire pudding wraps and Parkin cake.

Here are some top recommendations across different categories:


  • The Man Behind the Curtain: This Michelin-starred restaurant offers a unique dining experience with inventive dishes crafted by Chef Michael O’Hare. Be sure to expect bold flavours and stunning presentations in a sleek, contemporary setting.
  • Tattu: known for its stunning decor inspired by Chinese culture, Tattu serves modern Chinese cuisine with a creative twist. The menu features dishes like dim sum, sushi and innovative small plates, all beautifully presented.
  • The Owl: Located in the heart of Leeds’ historic district, The Owl offers a cosy atmosphere and a menu of British classics with a modern twist. From hearty pies and steaks to vegetarian options and indulgent desserts, there’s something for everyone here.
  • Zucco: For authentic Italian fare, look no further than Zucco. This family-run restaurant specialises in small plates of antipasti, handmade pasta, and wood-fired pizzas, all made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
  • Bundobust: If you’re craving Indian Street food with a contemporary twist, Bundobust is the place to go. This popular eatery serves up vegetarian dishes bursting with flavour, along with a selection of craft beers and cocktails.


  • The Alchemist: Known for its theatrical cocktails and stylish decor, The Alchemist is a favourite among cocktail enthusiasts. Sit back, relax, and watch expert mixologists whip up innovative drinks using molecular techniques.
  • The Maven: The Maven exudes old-world charm and sophistication in a basement speakeasy-style setting. Sip on classic cocktails or sample their curated selections of spirits, all served with a touch of flair.
  • North Bar: With its laid-back atmosphere and impressive selection of craft beers, North Bar is a haven for beer connoisseurs. Choose from a rotating tap list featuring local brews and international favourites, and enjoy a cosy vibe.
  • Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen: This multi-purpose venue offers a little something for everyone, with three floors featuring a rooftop terrace, a live music venue, and a diverse food and drink menu. Grab a craft beer, tuck into some street food, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere.
  • Whitelock’s Ale House: Dating back to 1715, Whitelock’s is one of Leeds’ oldest pubs and a beloved institution among locals. Step inside and you’ll find a cosy pub atmosphere, a wide selection of cask ales, and hearty pub grub.


  • Mrs Atha’s: This charming independent cafe exudes vintage charm and serves up artisanal coffee alongside homemade cakes and pastries. It’s the perfect spot to relax with a good book or catch up with friends over coffee.
  • Laynes Espresso: Located near Leeds Train Station, Laynes Espresso is a must-visit for coffee lovers. Sip on expertly brewed coffee made with beans sourced from top roasters around the world, and pair it with a delicious brunch or pastry.
  • Bottega Milanese: Inspired by the cafes of Milan, Bottega Milanese offers a taste of Italy in the heart of Leeds. Enjoy speciality coffee, Italian pastries, and light bites in a stylish, contemporary setting.
  • Opposite Cafe: Tucked away in Leeds’ vibrant Northern Quarter, Opposite Cafe is a hidden gem known for its relaxed atmosphere and excellent coffee. Treat yourself to a slice of homemade cake or freshly baked pastry while soaking in the quirky decor.

Whether you’re in the mood for fine dining, crafts cocktails, or a cosy cafe atmosphere, Leeds has plenty to offer. These recommendations are just a taste of what the city has in store for food and drink enthusiasts.

Want to find out even more about Leeds? Check out what Leeds is famous for, 7 Amazing Facts About Leeds and The Cost of Living in Leeds.