Why we love Leeds
A hotbed for shopping and the arts, you’ll find lots to do in Leeds from exploring the grounds of impressive historical houses to hunting for bargains in Europe’s biggest indoor market, the Grade I listed Kirkgate Market. Rich in heritage, this energetic former mill town boasts a thriving independent food scene, international beer festivals and a dazzling array of street art, including Britain’s tallest mural, Athena Rising.
Whether it’s tasting tours, Europe’s biggest music festivals, or celebrating its Year of Culture for 2023, Leeds rocks it all. While its compact size makes it discoverable, its diversity means there’s always something to do, whether that’s burlesque to hip-hop, culture to clubbing. Sports fans are well catered for too, with cricket and rugby league at Headingley, and Leeds United Football club playing at Elland Road. And if you want to escape to nature - relax in the vast surroundings of Roundhay Park, one of Europe’s largest city parks, or it’s just a short jaunt to the glorious Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Headingley Stadium tours
A tour behind Headingley’s famous station offers a behind-the-scenes look at one of Britain’s most famous cricket clubs. Take in panoramic views of the cricket ground from the media centre, see where players change, eat and gather, stroll around the Carnegie Pavilion and ponder over cricket memorabilia.
Founded more than 800 years ago, the abbey is one of the best preserved Cistercian monasteries in Britain.These breathtaking - and legend has it - haunted ruins sit among award-winning parkland shouldering the the River Aire. Much of it Kirkstall Abbey remains in tact, giving you a feel for the monks who lived her for nearly 400 years. It hosts regular events and across the road you’ll find a lively, interactive museum.
Things to do in Leeds
Featured things to do
Tour the city
From heritage routes to breweries and ghost hunts, Leeds is packed with guided tours which reveal more about its people and places.Learn more about Leeds city tours
Taste the region’s delicacies
Check out the Riverside Food & Drink Festival in Wetherby for mouth-watering cuisines, street food and artisan wares, all washed down with live music and a cookery theatre.Learn more about Riverside Food Festival
Hunt for ghosts at Halloween
Check out the haunted Abbey House Museum (an original gatehouse for a 12th century Cistercian monastery) for ghost-hunts and supernatural activities.Learn more about Abbey House Museum:
Take in some festive fun
From glistening Christmas trees to spectacular shows and festive markets, Leeds comes alive during the winter.Learn more about Christmas in Leeds
Places to stay in Leeds
Roundhay Park offers is to go to place for music and food festivals, and provides acres of green space, lakes, gardens and a tropical bird and butterfly house. Find lots of delis and restaurants, and all just a small walk into the centre
Headingley has been the student centre, but with it comes a thriving centre of shops, vintage wear, book shops, cafes and and lots of pubs and bars. It’s a short journey to the city centre.
If you want the best of both words - Otley offers the beauty of the Wharfe Valley and the Chevin Forest Park where hiking and biking are a must, and is also a scenic and lively market town too.
Getting to Leeds
As the largest city in West Yorkshire, the nearest main airport to Leeds is in Manchester, which serves around 225 destinations globally. Direct trains from Manchester Airport to Leeds take around 90 minutes, with driving taking a little longer. Train routes from London take just two-and-a-half-hours. Leeds Bradford Airport, around eight miles to the northwest of Leeds city centre (a 30 minute drive), also has connections to more than 75 European destinations, while National Express coaches provide routes into Leeds from both airports.
An extensive public transport network makes Leeds simple to explore and provides fantastic connections to the rest of Britain. For guidance, pop into the Visit Leeds and Art Gallery Shop, which doubles as the city’s tourist information centre.
Much of central Leeds, including the shopping areas at Trinity Leeds and Victoria Gate, is pedestrianised, making it east to explore on foot.
The Metro network services towns and villages in the surrounding area, providing reliable links to areas across West Yorkshire.
An extensive bus network connects the main places to visit in Leeds. First Bus operates more than 60 routes in the city, while Arriva and Stagecoach also provide regular services.
A daily water taxi service meanders between Granary Wharf and Leeds Dock, providing an excellent way to see the historic waterfront area.
Want to know more?
Check out Visit Leeds for insider tips and travel inspiration.